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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bom Jesus Basilica - Goa

On our first day in Goa, we visited the Bom Jesus Basilica, a 500 year old church which also has the mummified remains of St. Xavier.

It was an amazing place. You walk through two giant trees which look to be 500 years old and the gas lights remind you of another age!

Calm and quiet with so many passing through the church and praying. The side of the building and some of the inside pillars are going through a renovation of sorts..

The inner sanctum..

After we visited this church we crossed the road to go to the St. Francis of Assisi Church, which also houses a museum.

But it was an extremely hot day (as is seen by the state of the street dogs at 11 AM!)

So we decided do take some pictures of Jr. and baby on the benches, and went on to buy them some hats and drink some "elaneer" (fresh coconut water)!

I could not help but wonder how this place managed to stay unchanged for so many years. Also thought of how in the US of A, historic places average anywhere between 100 to 250 years old, but the way they are publicized, facilitized and "touristized" for lack of a better word contrasts with the "yeah, it is 1000 years old! so ?" style in India.

On one hand, it is great that these places are not "commercialized" the same way as in western countries (They find out that some former president or Indian chief pissed on a stone and before you know it there is a nice highway with an exit right near the "monument", with a visitor center that sells everything from keychains to digital camera accessories, brochures, a few restaurants, not to mention a nice set of toilets with diaper changing stations!). One almost gets the same feel when you enter any of these touristy locations. I guess this is one way to create history as you grow older.

On the other hand it is also sad to see such a great resource (anything this nice and this old like the Basilica) that is under utilized (for starters, think of all the parking ticket money the local government could collect!). But it makes for a much more relaxing and natural vacation as opposed to a mechanical "visit" to a place where you almost have the trip standardized. There are pros and cons with both approaches and I am glad that I do get to go places in both countries.

We had a great time visiting the Churches. After this we went on to see a few temples which were once again very old, but that is a story for another day..

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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Kids are too cute. They need "thiristi" cleared after those pics. Baby is learning to be a good poser.


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