Goa

Goa is the smallest state in India by area and also its most prosperous. It was a Portuguese colony until 1961. When the British gave India its independence in 1947, Portugal refused to cede control of Goa despite the efforts of the India government. Things reached a head in 1961 when India sent overwhelming armed forces to take Goa back. Salazar was the Prime Minister of Portugal at the time and he ordered the Governor General of Goa to hold out for at least six days while he gathered international support, to fight until the last man, and to destroy everything rather than surrender it. However, the Governor General loved Goa and its people so he could not accept the loss of life. He surrendered the second day of the invasion. He was stripped of his military rank when he returned to Portugal and sent into exile until the fall of Salazar in 1974.We will start with a quiz. Who can identify this? Answer at the end of the blog.The Basilica of Bom Jesus was constructed between 1594 and 1605. Check out the size of those flying buttresses on the left wall!The Church is relatively simple except for the Baroque style alters.The Church is noted for housing the body of St. Francis Xavier in this coffin with windows. The Saints body was first buried in Portuguese Malacca and then after two years it was shipped to Goa. It is reported that his body was as fresh as the day he was buried. The people of Goa believe that as long as his body remains preserved, they will be free of natural disasters; and so far so good. The coffin is on a raised platform so all you can see is his cheek at the bottom of the lower right window. However, the coffin is taken down every ten years for public viewing. The next viewing will be in 2024 in case you want to start working on your reservations.

While at the church, our guide also showed us the seed pod of a carob tree. These pods are remarkably uniform in weight and in ancient times were used as a measurement of weight. Gold was sold in increments of weight equal to that of 24 carob seed pods. This led to the expression 24 karat gold which is pure gold.

The Chapel of Saint Catherine is no longer used. It was the original Cathedral in the area.The adjacent Se Cathedral was completed in 1619. It originally had two matching towers, but the one on the right collapsed in 1776 and was never rebuilt.There was a team of workers weeding the lawn in front of the cathedral. However, there was no effort to clean the area just outside the walls.In the new town they had a unique version of “The Thinker”. Any thoughts on what this is? It’s a motorbike taxi, the quickest way for one person to get around town.And this is the most photographed church in Goa. Despite the cars, I prefer the version with the brick stairs in the foreground. Since I risked my life crossing the street to get the top picture, I wanted to include it. Many Bollywood films feature dancers on the stairs of the church which means everyone wants their picture taken in front of it.

The fruit in the first picture is a cashew. It is unique in that the seed (the cashew) forms on the outside of the fruit. The fruit itself is called an apple and can be eaten fresh, cooked in curries, or fermented in vinegar or an alcoholic drink.

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