Skip to main content

Featured Post

Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Church of St. Augustine, Old Goa

A solitary structure rises over the ruins, and stands out starkly against the unexpectedly blue sky. The monsoon is still on, but the clear skies encourage me to explore. And here I am, at the St. Augustine’s Complex in Old Goa. Once upon a time, this was a sprawling complex, consisting of a church, a chapel, and also a convent, with dining rooms, infirmaries, guest houses et al, all built by the friars of the First Augustinian Order, who arrived in Goa in 1572. 




The complex was abandoned in 1835, and the church crumbled over time. Part of it was demolished, and its artefacts were either taken elsewhere or stolen, all over a period of time, leaving just these ruins to remind us of its existence. The tower standing today is the façade of the old church, and was once 5 stories tall. It is only recently that efforts are being made to protect what remains of it, and conserve the ruins.



Interestingly, the church is associated with the story of the relics of Ketevan the Martyr. Haven’t heard of her? Not really surprising. She was the queen of Kakheti, a kingdom in eastern Georgia. After her husband’s death, she installed her underage son as the king, and took on the functions of a regent. Sent as an emissary to Iran, she volunteered to be a hostage to prevent Kakheti from being attacked. However, her efforts were futile, and eventually, she was killed at Shiraz, Iran, after prolonged tortures for refusing to give up the Christian faith and convert to Islam.



What does all this have to do with Goa? Well, as it happens, she was killed in 1624, and it was the St. Augustine Portuguese Catholic missionaries who brought back her remains to Georgia. However, the friars also brought along some of her remains clandestinely to Goa, where they had already built their church, and interred some of her remains here too. In recent times, there have been several attempts to find these relics, which are of great importance to the people of Georgia, but the St. Augustine Church crumbled soon after Old Goa was abandoned, and no trace was ever found of the relics. There have been regular explorations and attempts by the ASI in association with the Georgian authorities, and so far, all that has been discovered are records that attest that the relics were indeed said to have been placed in the church. However, considering the condition of the ruins, it’s not really surprising that little else has been found!


Standing there, looking up at the tall, crumbling façade towering over the other structures, it is impossible not to think of the story of the queen – her journey from Georgia to Iran, and finally India, and I realise that this is what encourages me to travel – these stories which bring the places alive, through the people who once walked the same path I walk today. It is their journey through life, the choices and decisions they made, which make places as interesting as they are. The architecture and the scene may make the place look picturesque, but it is the story which remains with me, long after I have returned. 

This piece was originally published on the Club Mahindra Blog. You can read it here

Because it is Friday, and because of those blue, blue skies behind the church, I am also linking this post to Skywatch Friday... For more beautiful skies from around the world, visit the Skywatch Page!

Comments

  1. A beautiful setting and a sad story. It's amazing how such a thin remainder of the ruin can remain standing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Fran! Its amazing how that thin structure has remained standing. And the story makes the entire thing even sadder!

      Delete
  2. beautiful sky and the ruin is lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a gorgeous place - lovely shots!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well written. I love the way it stands so lonely out there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very beautiful photos and a sad story for SWF! Have a nice weekend and Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Steffi!! Have a great weekend and Merry Christmas to you too!!

      Delete
  6. Beautiful images and so informative!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for this beautiful Description maa'm . It is on of the outstanding place in Goa .Beautiful captures .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful captures Anuradha! Due to early afternoon blazing sun I couldn't capture it nicely, still I'll post a couple of shots in my photo blog. Happy clicking :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi I just visited the church and I was wondering if any paintings or such existed which showed the church before it was demolished. I understand that you probably wouldn't know a lot about that but still any help is appreciated .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there are old paintings of the church.. and in fact, someone has posted a blog about them too.. just search on the net. i am sure you will find them

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Bhedaghat - Home of the 81 Yoginis

The Narmada flows down the mountains , carving out a path for herself as she makes her way down to the plains of Central India. She cascades from the rocks, her fine spray making it appear as if billows of smoke (dhuan) arise from the flowing streams of water (dhaar), giving it the name Dhuandhar. Dhuandhar Falls The force of her flow creates a gorge , smoothening and carving out the rocks into fantastic shapes, the pure white of the rocks standing starkly against the shades of the water. It is a joy to cruise down the river in a boat, seeing the natural contours created by the river, now famous as the Marble Rocks. We are at Bhedaghat, located on the banks of the Narmada near Jabalpur, where thousands of visitors turn up to see these natural landscapes, creations of the sacred Narmada, and pay obeisance to her. However, to me, the most interesting thing about Bhedaghat, isn’t the falls or the rocks, or even the river. What makes Bhedaghat special is t

Kabini Part 3 - After the Rains

Visiting Kabini in peak summer, we hadn’t bargained for the rains, which dominated our three days at the Lodge. While animal sightings were understandably lesser than usual, seeing the forest in the rain was an interesting experience in its own way. However, as we headed back into the forest for our second and third safaris, we hoped the rains would let up, and allow us to see more animals! Winding jungle paths