Roughly 30% of Goa’s population is Christian, 65% are Hindu and 5% Muslim. But statistics don’t reveal the complex religious concoction that typifies the population’s belief. Christians and Hindus frequently pay respects to festivals of one another’s faith, and in Goa’s whitewashed churches, Christ and the Virgin Mary are often adorned with Hindu flower garlands. Fittingly, Goan temple architecture is a hybrid, blending Muslim and Christian elements into traditional Hindu designs. Domed roofs, for example, are a Muslim trait, while balustraded facades and octagonal towers are borrowed from Portuguese church architecture. Their most distinctive features, however, are their deepastambhas, or ‘light towers’, which are atmospherically decorated with oil lamps during festival periods. Churches bear the hallmark of Portugal, many of them cruciform and constructed of whitewashed laterite stone; even most humble village churches have sumptuous interiors, with an elaborate gilt reredos (ornamental screen), and lots of carving, painting and chandeliers.