Out the ones who occupied India the Portuguese were the most stubborn. The Brits left in 1947, the French evacuated Pondicherry in 1954 but the Portuguese were determined to stay put in Panaji(Panjim), their colonial capital. They were also the first to come and establish the Portuguese India while roaming the Malabar coast in search of spices. They first established an interest in Cochin, down the coast in Kerala, and after they they moved up in Goa that they conquered in 1510. So when time came to leave, The Prime Minister of bad memeory Salazar refused to cede the territory and asked all the inhabitants to fight till death in spite of the obvious lack of chances to succeed. In 1961 the Indian Army invaded putting an end of 450 years of Portuguese occupation. Quite a long run.
One of the way the Portuguese succeeded was through the influence of the church and nowhere else this can be sensed than in Old Goa – Wehla Goa – a town full of enormous, but for sure not beautiful, churches. Most of the churches’ construction date in the middle of the 16th century and the cathedral was at the time the seat of the Patriarch of India.
With this apparatus in place the Portuguese started the process of showing the Indians the way of their own God and started an intense process of forced conversion to Christianity. With religious forces exported from Europe the campaign was in full swing when on stage came St Francis Xavier who was probably the most devout activist of the Church at the time. A co-founder of the Jesuits, he was an advocate of forced conversion and the punishment for those who do follow and petitioned the King of Portugal to introduce the Inquisition in the colony. He died traveling the East Seas several years before the Inquisition was adopted in Goa but he is credited to its future implementation, one of the most brutal manifestations of its kind in the world. However for his activism he was beatified and canonized by the church and his relics are kept in a glass coffin under a curtain of stars in Basilica Bon Jesus, right across the cathedral.
But in spite of the Portuguese destructive efforts, and the large number of Christians that are currently in Goa, the original Hindu tradition did not die and around Goa there are numerous Hindu temples rebuilt around the 18th century. Most of them were dating from the beginning of the 16th century but were razed by he Portuguese, like the beautiful Mahalsa Temple and Manguesh Temple, not far from Old Goa. The beautiful tower that is typical of Goan temple architecture would have been lit in the night by the numerous candles that were place in the niches marking the time of the pooja.