Friday, February 10, 2012

A Quick Tour Of Goa

Goa is the smallest Indian state by size and the fourth smallest by population. It is also by far the richest state in India. That was obvious to us as we toured with an experienced guide on our first full day there.

Goa was a Portuguese colony from the 1500s right up to 1961, and more than 26% of its residents are Catholics - lots of churches to see here. We started our tour with a hilltop view of several of them below.

That photo was taken from another church that's in the process of restoration.

An interesting detail: Clam shells were used to construct windows, giving a translucent effect to the interior of the church.

As the morning progressed we got a look at some larger churches.

And we got to view the "relics" of Saint Francis Xavier, who died in 1522 - oh goody...

Between that and a gruesome crucifix, we're looking forward to being back out in the sunshine.

But first, just one more church just across the way...

Our guide tells us there's no amplification allowed in this church, due to worries it might cause that sagging balcony to collapse. We immediately use our "inside voices" and walk on tiptoes...

These gravestones are in the middle of the church. Our guide says that as people walk over these shallow graves the belief was that the evil spirits disappear. The skull and crossbones is to warn people to stay away from the graves of those who died from cholera.

Just one last church...

It's almost lunchtime.

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