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Arts and Culture in Goa

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Although Goa is the smallest Indian state, it certainly doesn’t fall short when it comes to its arts and culture. Beyond the soft gold beaches, you’ll discover dozens of museums, old-world art galleries, and contemporary bohemian showrooms, as well as an array of architecturally-stunning churches and temples.

 

Museums

 

While there are a selection of museums spread throughout the state, the bustling capital city of Panaji is where you’ll find the greatest variety.

 

Goa State Museum

 

Goa’s tumultuous and endlessly fascinating heritage can be explored in this modern museum, which boasts around 8,000 unique artefacts from old-world trinkets to intricate sculptures - there’s even a chariot in there. The museum has a number of themed permanent exhibits, covering religion and natural history, so it's a really wide-ranging look at the realm of Goa.

 

EDC Complex, Panaji, Goa 403001. Tel: +91 832 243 8006

 

Goa State Museum website

 

Art galleries

 

In Goa there’s a strong Christian artistic tradition thanks the era of Portuguese rule over the state. There's also a fascination with Surrealism, inherited from the hippy scene that spread throughout Goa in the 60s, making for a rich selection of galleries.

 

Museum of Christian Art

 

Appropriately located in Old Goa - the state’s historic city - and based beside the white-washed convent of Santa Monica, this gallery displays breathtaking artefacts from the time of Portuguese rule. There are imposing paintings depicting grand religious scenes, huge gold crosses, and delicate silver ornaments that were designed and crafted by local Hindu artists under the eye of the Portuguese colonists.

 

P O Sam Rachol, Old Goa, Goa 403719. Tel: +91 832 228 5299

 

Museum of Christian Art website

 

Theatre and music

 

Goa’s local and modern cultural landscape is filled with drama and music. Much of its popular theatre is known as Tiatr, a type of musical theatre, and its music centres on both Indian and Western classical compositions.
Kala Academy

 

This government-run academy is the thriving hotspot of Goa’s cultural community, bringing together local actors, dancers, musicians, and artists for a range of events, performances and activities. Based in Panaji, beside the shimmering Mandovi River, the academy has amphitheatre-style performance halls and is the top venue for Goa’s theatrical productions. Events run almost year-round, so check the calendar, book your tickets, and get ready for an immersive cultural experience.

 

Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, Panaji, Goa 403001. Tel: +91 832 242 0450

 

Kala Academy website

 

Historic landmarks

 

Goa is so rich in history it can feel like wandering an immense open-air museum. Here are just a few landmarks that will delight the eyes and stimulate the mind.

 

Basilica of Bom Jesus

 

Based in the centre of Old Goa, this huge Basilica, built in 1605 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is considered one of the top examples of Baroque architecture in all of India. Its towering exteriors – particularly the dizzying façade set with miniature colonnades – are ornate with religious emblems and inside the great hall glows with its lavish display of golden Christian iconography.

 

Bainguinim, Goa 403402. Tel: +91 832 228 5790

 

Basilica of Bom Jesus website

 

Shanta Durga Temple

 

This sprawling temple complex is based 33 kilometres east of Panaji, in the green-washed Goan countryside. A site of spiritual importance for centuries, the temple’s current structure was built in 1738, and displays a rare mix of Indian and Portuguese architecture - with pyramid-style rooftops, vibrant stained glass windows, and deep maroon exteriors. Amble around the tranquil courtyards, and visit the flower-drenched idol of Shantadurga.

 

Nerul Road, Bardez, Goa 403114. Tel: +91 832 231 2557

 

Shanta Durga Temple website