While exploring the beautiful state of Goa, you may have noticed some churches or chapels located on distant hills. It’s fascinating how these churches were built at such heights given the inaccessibility in the times they were built.
Nevertheless, they still stand tall in their grandeur, with their unique architecture and mesmerizing interiors, offering a splendid view of their surroundings.
A widely held reason for these historical churches and chapels to be located at higher altitudes is because they symbolized being closer to the Divine as the heavens/sky is where God is believed to be.
A church on the hill also indicated that the surrounding villages were part of the Catholic Church. A more simple reason could be that the hills provided good land to build churches and came with splendid views.
1. The Three Kings Chapel, Cansaulim
A lone structure on the Cuelim hill, the Three Kings Chapel in Cansaulim is among the more picturesque spots of South Goa. From atop the hill, you often find yourself admiring the tiny coconut trees and the distant fields that appear as a maze in different shades of green.
There are many legends about the chapel being haunted by three Portuguese kings who for the greed of power poisoned each other. However, the chapel is dedicated to the three kings who presented gifts to Jesus, and the feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 at the chapel.
The serene view from atop the hill, especially during the sunsets, is simply breathtaking.
2. The Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount, Old Goa (Capela da Nossa Senhora do Monte)
Situated at quite a height, you need to climb a great number of steps to reach the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. A splendid view of Old Goa, the beautiful river of Mandovi and the islands of Divar and Chorao is visible from atop.
Against the backdrop of a clear sky, the chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mount is relatively quieter and more secluded than other churches and chapels.
The calming atmosphere invites you to view the charming churches of St Cajetan and St Francis of Assisi and Se Cathedral that rise above the palm groves. It’s quite a common location for newlyweds to have their photo shoot.
3. Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Curca (Nossa Senhora do Rosario)
With the vantage view of the Khazans and the River Zuari flowing at a distance, you will love to gaze at the sight from the hillock at Curca that houses this beautiful church.
Dedicated to Ruzai Saibinn (Our Lady of the Rosary), the church celebrates the patron’s feast on the second Sunday in October. Devotees attend this Rozamche fest and make an offering of marigolds to Our Lady who intercedes their prayers and intentions.
The view from the hill is simply peaceful with the fields, salt pans and the river – all exhibiting Goa’s natural bounty.
4. Saint Sebastian Chapel, Loutolim
On making a trip up the hill, you are bound to be captivated by the tranquil environment around Saint Sebastian Chapel at Motir, Loutolim.
This chapel, dedicated to Saint Sebastian, celebrates the feast on January 20 (or the following Sunday), annually. The wonderful ambience includes the chirping of birds and lush greenery.
You also have a view of River Zuari and the various chapels and churches located in the vicinity while massive ships and buses at a distance appear like miniature figures.
5. Our Lady of Piety Church, Piedade, Divar (Nossa Senhora da Piedade)
On entering Divar Island via the Sao Pedro ferry route, you will notice a church at the top of the hill. This church is dedicated to Our Lady of Piety and is built on one of the highest peaks on the island.
The church of Our Lady of Piety is built in Neo-Roman style with Baroque features. While you are mesmerized by the flawless architecture of the church, which is said to be the finest among Goan churches, the panoramic view from the hilltop will captivate you.
You can see Panjim, especially the recently built Atal Setu, lit up at night; the Mandovi River and the nearby Chorao Island. The sunsets are truly spectacular to view from here.
6. Monte Chapel, Chinchinim
As you drive up the hill to reach the top, you will come across a few crosses along the road until you notice a tiny blue chapel with the most calming view.
This hilltop chapel at Chinchinim offers the most stunning aerial scene of the surrounding village. The blue skies, the light grey hills and the green fields make for a perfect photograph set-up.
From the top, you are bound to be amazed at how tiny everything looks, from the houses to the coconut trees to those commuting on the roads. The landscape appears even more delightful with the magnificent sunset.