The enigmatic Abbe Faria

If you walk from the Panaji Secretariat along the Mandovi river, you will come across a rather strange and haunting statue in the middle of the square near the bus stop. While most locals ignore the statue, while sitting at the square or waiting for the bus, for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off this strange yet haunting statue. And as dusk began to fall, it gathered an even more haunting, even evil feel to it.

When I returned back to my Heritage Suite at my Mitaroy Heritage Homestay, I immediately got on the internet and did some research. The statue in question was of a priest standing tall over a woman who was lying down. The priests hands are outstretched towards the woman and the woman seems to be responding to whatever effect the man is having on her.

The priest in question is Abbe Faria (Abbe meaning priest in French). Abbe Faria is claimed to be the founder of the hypnotic sciences, even though imaginably, it wasn’t very popular in those days, hypnotism being usually connected with evil spirits and black magic. It is even conceivable that Abbe Faria might have even burned alive as a witch, if he had been a woman or had not been a priest.

Jose Custodia Faria was born to Rosa Maria de Sousa of Candolim and Caetano Vitorino Faira of Colvale. Born on May 31st, 1756 in the village of Candolim in Bardez Taluka or district, Faria spent most of his life outside Goa, dying finally in Paris on September 20, 1819.

His parent’s marriage was not a happy one and they often thought of separating. Caetano Faria, Abbe Faria’s father, had been studying to be a priest when he fell in love with Abbe Faria’s mother, Rosa Maria, who had been studying to be a nun. After they separated, Caetano Faria completed his priestly studies and Rosa Maria went off to the convent to become a nun, later becoming the Superior (Prioresa) of the Santa Monica Convent.

Abbe Faria was taken by his father to Lisboa (Lisbon) in 1771. They landed in Lisboa on November 23, 1771. The reigning Monarch at the time, Dom Jose I gave permission for Abbe Faria to go study in Rome to become a priest.

Abbe Faria was ordained a priest in Rome on March 12, 1789. After his ordination, he went to Portugal but soon returned back to Paris where he got himself involved in politics.

It was here that he began his sessions on magnetism and hypnotism, in one of the halls of Butel de Sarti’s school at 49, Rue de Clichy. The sessions were held every Thursday with an admission fee of five francs. Abbe Faria seemed to attract more women than men, who came either in the hope of finding a cure to their ailments or simply for the thrill.

Abbe Faria Statue in Panjim, Goa

While looking at Abbe Faria’s statue, I recalled his name being familiar to me for some odd reason. It was then that I realised that Abbe Faria had been immortalised by Alexandre Dumas in his world famous novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”, in which he was portrayed as The Mad Monk who was thrown into the dungeons and helped Edmund Dantes become the Count of Monte Cristo and avenge his enemies…

Goa Honeymoon Packages

Marriages are made in Heaven…and consummated in Goa! Or so the saying goes…

Goa has always been one of the most beautiful honeymoon destinations in the whole of India, being blessed with miles scenic beaches with swaying coconut palms, old colonial Heritage Portuguese buildings, delicious and a easy going, laid back populace.

A short flight away from most major cities in India including Mumbai, New Delhi/Gurgaon, Kolkata, Hyderabad or Bangalore, Goa is a popular destination for honeymoon couples looking for a memorable romantic honeymoon experience.

After checking in to their Honeymoon Suite, the first thing that honeymoon couples usually do is head to the beach. There is nothing more romantic than walking hand-in-hand across miles and miles of scenic beach. And Goa does have a wide variety of beaches to offer. From the busy beaches in the north to the untouched beaches in the south, honeymoon couples are spoilt for choice. While the waves crash in the background, the honeymoon couple seems completely oblivious to the beauty outside, so taken in are they by the beauty of their partner walking hand-in-hand beside them. And after a while of walking on the beach, the honeymoon couple sit down, close to each other, and admire the expanse of seemingly endless blue ocean.

However, Goa is not just about the beaches. 400 years of Portuguese rule has left an indelible mark on the architecture of Goa and nowhere is this more evident than in the capital city of Panjim or Panaji. After building up a glorious capital city in Old Goa, the Portuguese were forced to flee to Panaji or Panjim to escape the water contamination in Old Goa. The upper class Portuguese set up residence in and around the Neighbourhood of Fontainhas and then set about building up Panjim as a worthy successor to Old Goa. While certain buildings and statues had pure prestige value, other buildings like the high court and the administrative offices also served a bureaucratic purpose. Today, honeymoon couples can marvel at the Portuguese architectural heritage as they walk past magnificent buildings built in the Portuguese era such as the first Medicine University or the old City Library. Many honeymoon couples also like to walk hand-in-hand along the Mandovi pier as they watch the twinkling lights of the luxury yachts and casino ships moored in the river.

Quietly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Panjim or Panaji, the capital city of Goa, is the neighbourhood of Fontainhas, home to my Mitaroy Goa Hotel – India’s only Couples Hotel!. The neighbourhood of Fontainhas (which means “little fountain” in Portuguese) is home to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. In 1984, Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone & most of the buildings and churches here date back to the mid 19th century.Fontainhas has a number ofdesigner boutiques where you can shop for Portuguese crockery, glassware, art and clothing. With its narrow winding streets, quaint bye lanes, old heritage houses and distinct Portuguese flair, Fontainhas evokes a nostalgia and longing for the romance of an era gone by.

As the sun sets on Goa, it is time for honemoon couples to get dressed and step out for a cocktail under the starlit sky followed by a romantic dinner at one of the many restaurants in Goa. While Candolim and Calangute and Anjuna have a few decent restaurants, both honeymoon couples and locals agree that Panjim has the best restaurants that Goa has to offer. From Punjabi cuisine to local Goan delicacies, Panjim offers it all. Fontainhas has a wide range of local restaurants and bars where honeymoon couples can sample traditional delicacies in a quiet, romantic setting.

And after a quiet romantic dinner and a glass of local Goan wine, it is time for honeymoon couples to return to their Honeymoon Suite and make love till the wee hours of the morning…

Stay Romantic!


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