On our monsoon getaway to Goa, one of the most charming sites we visited was the St. Augustine’ s Tower and Church in Old Goa (or Velha Goa). It is actually a ruined church complex and not many visitors come here, though it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Churches and Convents of Goa. I found this place having a charming aura of times gone by and a beautiful fading memory of glorious days of Portuguese rule in Goa.
The ruins of St. Augustine’s Tower and Church is atop ‘The Monte Santo (Holy Hill)’ at Velha Goa or Old Goa, which was also the site for the monastery of the Augustinian order, attached to which was the enormous church of Nossa Senhora da Graca (Our Lady of Grace). As per the information written at the entrance to the site “St. Augustine’s Tower and Church were built in 1602 by the Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1587. The tower is one of the four towers of St. Augustine Church that once stood at the site. Initially built of laterite and colossal in size, almost forty-six metres high, it had four storeys. The Tower was meant to serve as a belfry and the Church had eight richly adorned chapels and four altars and a convent with numerous cells attached to it. The church was abandoned in 1835 after the Portuguese government of Goa began evicting many religious orders in Goa under its new policies. The subsequent neglect caused the vault of the church to collapse in 1842. The body collapsed soon after and by 1871, the bell was moved from the tower to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim, where it remains to date. In 1931, the facade of the church and half the tower collapsed and by 1938, most of the other parts had also collapsed. Currently only half the tower remains.”
When we visited the ruins of St. Augustine’s Tower and Church, on a Sunday, it had few visitors, which was surprising, considering there were huge crowds at the nearby Basilica of Bom Jesus (which is also the main structure under UNESCO World heritage site – Churches and Convents of Goa).
I walked around with my friends among the ruins, enjoyed the beautiful sights of the lush greenery all around from the Monte Santo hill and the cerulean blue sky above having patches of stark white clouds floating away. The lack of crowds, the colors of the laterite stones and the lush greenery all round, made for quite a visual impact ad I cherish those moments spent at the ruins.
A visit to St. Augustine’s Tower and Church makes for some lovely time, especially in the monsoon season of Goa.
Entry is free to St. Augustine’s Tower & Church
The site is located in Old Goa and is just 2 minutes away from the famous Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Read my visit to Fontainhas in Panjim, Goa.
Road my visit to Mario Miranda Gallery in Panjim, Goa.
Read about my monsoon getaway to Goa.