SET ON A HILLTOP, Pilar Seminary was originally built by the Capuchins (a Franciscan order) in 1613, on the site of an old Hindu temple. Abandoned in 1835, when all religious orders were disbanded, it was reopened by the Carmelites in 1858. In 1890, the Society of Filar set up a mission college here, and classes are still held in the old seminary building.

The adjoining Church of Our Lady of Pilar has an elaborately carved stone doorway with a figure of St Francis of Assisi above it. Inside is a statue of Our Lady of Filar, brought here from Spain. The tomb of Agnelo D’Souza (seminary director, 1918-27) lies adjacent to the church. The New Seminary, built in 1946, stands close by. Its museum displays fragments from the original temple, Christian art, Portuguese coins and a stone lion, the symbol of the Kadamba dynasty.

ENVIRONS: Goa Velha, 2 km (1.3 miles) southwest of Pilar, marks the site of Govapuri, the port-capital of the Kadamba rulers between the 11th and 13th centuries, of which few traces now remain.

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