Bambolim is Tiswadi or Ilhas Taluka’s cute little village. Since long it has been made known by the Miraculous Cross, and more recently by the sprawling Goa Medical Complex, the AIR Super Power Transmitter and the Military camp. Hence passersby traversing via the NH 17 highway may be compelled to believe that whatever meets the eye is all that comprises Bambolim. Actually what one sees once one climbs up the asphalted highway slopes from Santa Cruz on the North and Siridao on the South is the ‘synthentic’ side of Bambolim, which a blue-blooded Bambolkar is hardly proud of. And nothing you fleetingly glance at on its now concretized plateau prepares you for the profound scenic interlude that its rustically beating heart emits.
Formerly, Bambolim was part of the Siridao parish, with the Church being on the site where today Siridao’s cemetery stands. Around 1610, Agustinian Archbishop Dom Frei Aleixo de Menezes declared Bambolim as a separate parish, and in 1616 a new Church was built on a hill with the monetary support of Gonsalo Pinto da Fonseca. In 1619, Archbishop Dom Frei Cristovao de Sa e Lisboa elevated it to a Parochial Church. But the Church structure which had an underground tunnel lasted for two and a half centuries. The hill on which the old Church lay is today known as Orth de Vigar or Padigaracho Dongor. The Comunidade de Bambolim then built a chapel in 1851. This chapel was raised to a Church in 1825 and consecrated to Our Lady of Belem. Confraria Nossa Senhora De Belem is its confraternity.
Bambolkars in the past, especially the Catholics, married within the bowl-like village. Whether a marriage or a feast, they would wholeheartedly participate and celebrate. Even for a village Cross feast they used to be staged a Konkani Tiatr, mostly written by the ageing Luis Joaquim Monteiro. Perhaps the first recorded miracle was that of Santana Afonso of Siridao. Santana was in the terminal stage of cancer and all medical hope was lost. In desperation, when she and her husband Cassiano visited the Cross, she suddenly began writhing in pain. While in pain she vowed to provide a canopy for the Cross if she was cured. And cured she was, miraculously. Santana kept her promise and the Cross got its first temporary canopy. The covering kept changing over the years. Beautification of the Cross came in 1969 through the officers and jawans of the military camp set up in the vicinity. The marble tiles plastered to the Cross by the military are still intact. For the military camp, the Cross was their place of worship. Bambolim owes its fame to the humble Holy Cross, but may blame its ruin on the sophisticated overhead satellite township. The forested plateau may have vanished, but the balmy side of Bambolim will hopefully survive.