If one says the word “Bad”, the immediate opposite that comes to mind is the word “Good”. Is someone says “Demons” then the opposite is “Angels”. If one says “Ghost”, the immediate thought however is “run for your life”. Run where? To the house of the god of course but what if it is the house of the god that is haunted? What do you do then? Do not ask me, I do not have an answer.
Cansaulim is a small village situated in the Mormugao taluka in South Goa. Like rest of the Goa, even Cansaulim has a beach famous that is visited each year by thousands of tourists. Within the village, there sits on a hill-top “Our Lady of Remedios Chapel”, commonly known as “Three Kings Church”. It is one of the many well known churches of Goa but unlike the other churches, this one is not really famous for the architectural beauty or its grand history. This church is famous for being haunted to which, and quite ironically, there is also an annual festival related known as “The Feast of Three Kings”.
Goa for a long time remained a Portuguese colony or territory until the 1961 Indian annexation of Goa post which this beautiful town became a part of India. As per the legend, in ancient times, there were three kings in Portugal that constantly struggled and fought with each other to win their claim over the Indian territory of Goa. After several battles, a peace treaty was signed and they all agreed that Goa will remain as a shared territory. One of the three kings however, King Holger Alvunger, was really not happy with the treaty and wanted Goa all to himself. So one fine evening, he invited the other two kings for supper at the Our Lady of Remedios Chapel. This Supper was decided as a sign and hope of ever lasting peace but King Holger had other plans. He poisoned the other two kings that evening and claimed Goa and rest of the Portugal to himself. This act however was heavily criticized by the public and King Holger was asked to descend from the throne. Ashamed and burdened by the guilt, he then committed suicide by consuming the same poison that he had once served to his fellow kings. Ever since then, this church has been known as the “Three Kings Church” and there are numerous reports of ghost sightings by the locals. These ghosts are claimed as the restless spirits of the dead kings but have never harmed anyone.
This however is just the local legend and the lore. There have been of course no deaths because of ghosts or no accidents whatsoever. If you want to visit Three Kings, there are reasons better than seeing something supernatural. There is a grand festival held at the nearby villages which ends on January 6th each year. During this festival, three little boys ranging in years from 8 to 10 are selected as kings from the three neighboring villages of Quelim, Cansaulim and Arrosim to bring their gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense to the Child-God. Throughout the year expectations and excitement run high as to who will be the fortunate ones chosen as it must be either a son or grandson from these three villages; no outsider can claim this privilege or honor. To be a king, if only for a day is no joke, so the young monarchs take meticulous care to groom themselves for the exacting role. Meanwhile, on the Mount, the crowds gather from all parts of Goa to attend the Mass and get a glimpse of the three kings. An extensive fair also springs up covering the entire hilltop. One can buy anything from a meal to copper and brassware, furniture, clothes, toys, trinkets, sweetmeats, glass bangles and spices of all sorts.
The second reason to visit this beautiful church, and which remains available throughout the year, is the stunning view from the hill-top. Get here before sundown and you will be treated to a mind numbing sunset and spectacular 360 degree views of Goa. From here you can see the ocean and the palm trees that border the beach stretching below from Velsao all the way to Colva and beyond which is close to a 20 kms stretch. Should you be here during the morning hours and if you are lucky enough to see them, the Air Force fighters follow a flight path that takes them screaming directly over the church and straight out to sea.
So if you are planning to visit Goa, include Three Kings Church in your itinerary but do not do so in hopes of finding a ghost because there are none here. The only thing you will find here is the peace and natural beauty of the place.