South India  |  Travel In Goa   |  Religions in Goa

Religions in Goa

Goa is a potpourri of various cultures and religious traditions. The multitude of cultural influences has had a lasting influence on the culture of Goa. The people of Goa are as diverse as any Indian state. However, being an erstwhile Portuguese colony, Goa features many elements of Portuguese culture. This makes Goa unique. The religions of Goa have coexisted for the past few centuries. There have been occasional turbulence, but over this long period, the people of Goa have learnt to respect religions other than their own. This has helped create a harmonious and cosmopolitan environment in the state that is very important for the tourism of the state.

Hinduism in Goa

Together with Christianity, Hinduism accounts for about 95 % of the local population. The various Hindu dynasties of south India that ruled over Goa in the ancient and medieval ages built many temples and other religious monuments all over Goa. With the arrival of Islam, and later, Christianity, Hinduism was under threat for some time. The Portuguese tried to suppress the religion during the infamous inquisition. Temples were destroyed, and forced conversions were rampant. However, after the end of inquisition (1812), and after the Portuguese left Goa, Hindui-sm flourished once again as the leader among the religions of Goa.

Islam in Goa

Islam was brought into Goa by the first invading forces of the Delhi Sultanate. The later Islamic rulers built many mosques and other religious monuments in Goa. Islam never got a significant foothold in the state. A minority still practices the faith, and their festivals are celebrated with the same enthusiasm as all over India.

Christianity in Goa

Christianity arrived in Goa with the Europeans. The priests who arrived with the early traders found Goa to be a good place for spreading the word of Christianity. Churches were built to serve as the religious centers of the colonialists and were for a long time the center of Portuguese social life. Later, especially during inquisition, Christianity started spreading its influence all over the state, accompanied by a flurry of church building. The churches of Goa are among the most visited monuments in the state. Buddhists and Jains are also found in small numbers in Goa.