Goa needs no introduction. The state is famous for its beaches, party life and food. But the culture of Goa, a deep-rooted mix of Portuguese and Maratha, is also an endearing characteristic. Those who explore the culture and history of the state realize just how immense it is, and fall in love with it. And if you are curious about how Goa came to be, the best place to start your journey and satiate your curiosity would be at the museums. The small state has a surprisingly large number of museums, many of which are dedicated to its history and culture. Each museum has many stories to tell, some dating back to centuries past, while others are more recent. Here is a look at the most breathtaking museums in Goa to take a deep dive into its past. ALSO READ: Goa in August is a fantastic idea. Here’s what you can do!
Ancestral Goa Museum
We start with a museum that shows you highlights of Goan culture, history and lifestyle. More focused on the people of Goa and their cultural evolution than dynastic movements, the Ancestral Goa Museum is a good place to be to get a ground-up view of the state’s history. It is an open air museum, with a feni distillery, handicrafts, small traditional Goan houses and a massive laterite statue of Mirabai on display.
Museum of Christian Art
A quarter of Goa’s population is Christian, mostly Catholic thanks largely to the Portuguese colonial era. Much of the state’s modern history is linked to Christianity, so it makes sense to document Goa’s Christian history in a separate museum. The Museum of Christian Art showcases various Indo-Portuguese artwork, both old and new, and centuries-old relics and symbols of the colonial times. Some of the artwork was, interestingly, done by Hindu local artists. There are precious metalwork, furniture, ivory items, sculptures, statues, paintings and other curios here.
Goa State Museum
One of the most famous museums in the state, the Goa State Museum is a good place to go to get an all-in-one general version of Goan history. You can find items and exhibits related to Goa’s history, religious expression, cultural anthropology, ancient and contemporary art and sculptures here. You also get to see facets from Goa’s long freedom struggle from the Portuguese. Open, accessible and easily reachable in the state capital of Panaji, this is a place to go to if you have no clue about Goan history. CHECK OUT: Best beaches in Goa: 22 stunning beaches in Goa you must visit
House of Goa
The House of Goa in Penha de França is a unique sight; designed by the legendary Gerald da Cunha, the museum looks like a ship and showcases the architectural history of Goa, dating back to the pre-Portuguese era and the influence of the Portuguese on Goan architecture. There are three levels, all of which have fascinating exhibits showing antique furniture and information on the architectural history of the state and its evolution. If you are curious about the incredible buildings that dot Velha Goa, head to this museum.
If you are interested in learning about Goa during the medieval period, head to the Archaeological Museum in Ella, Goa. Here, you can find artifacts and items that date back to a period in the history of the region that most people hardly get to hear about. So much of modern Goa comes from its colonial past, but what you do not see is the subtle influences of Goan culture before the winds of the Arabian Sea brought sailors to its sands. Here, you can see Sati stones, Arabic and Persian inscriptions, ancient items, bronze statues, maps and wooden structures. NOW READ: 8 enchanting beaches in North Goa for your winter vacation!
Goa Chitra Museum
To learn about the Goa’s people, culture, custom, habits and evolution over centuries, head to the Goa Chitra Museum. The ethnographic museum has around 4,000 items on display, all showcasing the agrarian lifestyle and evolution of Goan culture. There are farming tools that were used by the earliest farmers in Goa, kitchen utensils, pottery, carts and music instruments on display. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, this is the best contemporary museum in India.