Goans are deeply pious people and religion play an important role in the Goan society. Hinduism and Christianity are the two major religions in Goa, together constituting around 95% of the population. The Goan society epitomizes the ethos of religious tolerance and despite the bitter memories of the Inquisition, people with different religious persuasions have peacefully co-existed throughout the ages.
Hinduism is the dominant religion in Goa. A large number of prominent
Hindu temples scatter across the length and breadth of Goa. The long
rule of the Portuguese tried to crush the Hindus with widespread
destruction of temples and forcefully converting thousands of Hindus.
But Hinduism still survived in Goa and devotees clandestinely carried on
worshipping their deities in makeshift temples. Ponda is regarded the
cradle of Hinduism in Goa and there is a profusion of sacred Hindu
temples in and around Goa.
Christianity arrived on the Goan shores courtesy the priests
accompanying the traders from Portugal. The missionaries preached
Christianity and also contributed to the development of the native
Konkani language. During the Inquisition, thousands of locals were
converted to Christianity and that period witnessed a proliferation of
churches in Goa. Besides being prominent religious institutions,
churches play a prominent role in Goa's social fabric.
Goa has a minuscule Muslim population. During the reign of Sultan Adil
Shah of Bijapur, Goa witnessed a proliferation of mosques and other
Islamic monuments. The Safa Shahouri mosque in Ponda is the biggest
mosque in Goa. The Muslim community in Goa celebrates their traditional
festivals with religious fervor and devotion.