The former Portuguese colony, Goa is home to several famous churches in India. These churches epitomize the zenith of the Portuguese colony with its magnificence and exuberance. Here we have hand-picked some of the best churches in Goa that you can include in your travel list.
Here is a list of 6 famous churches in Goa that have stood the test of time, and today, stand taller than the rest.
Dedicated to St. Catherine, Se Cathedral Goa is one of the most famous churches in Goa. With an imposing structure in Old Goa, the church welcomes thousands of visitors every year. Visit Se Cathedral for its sheer grandeur and magnificent architecture.
The construction of Se Cathedral began during the rule of King Dom Sebastiao, under the administration of the Archbishops of Goa. The construction was completed by 1619. However, the main altars were not erected until 1652. The main altar of the church has gilded reredos showcasing scenes from St. Catherine of Alexandria’s life along with her martyrdom.
Se Cathedral has a Portuguese-Manueline style that combines characteristics of Late Gothic architecture with the Spanish Plateresque style, Mudejar, Flemish architecture and Italian Urban design.
Timings: Open every day from 7.30 am to 6:00 pm.
Must See Attractions At The Church:
• The existing bell tower that has the Golden Bell
• The baptismal font
• The Chapel of the Cross of Miracles.
• The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
• The wooden filigree screens.
• The six additional altars in the transept
• An 18th-century organ.
Address: Velha, Goa 403402
St. Francis of Assisi Church, Goa
St. Francis of Assisi church is the former palace of the Archbishop and is built of laterite blocks with lime plaster. The church comprises a nave with three chapels on either side, a choir, two altars in the transept and the main altar. Entering the church takes you back in history, with stunning painted panels depicting the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The seminary next to St. Francis of Assisi Church today houses a peaceful art museum that contains most of the painting earlier kept at the Panaji Secretariat.
Church of St.Francis of Assisi was constructed in 1517 and its entrance and the choir built in Manueline style. The church is the only place in the East that has its interior decorated with exquisite paintings. The floor of this church contains several tombstones intricately designed with coats-of-arms.
Famous for: A World Heritage Site
Entrance Fee: No entry fee
Visiting Time: 7.30 AM and 8.30 AM
Address: Off National Highway 4, Velha Goa, Goa 403110
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Perhaps Goa’s most famous church, The Basilica of Bom Jesus is famous throughout the Roman Catholics around the world. The church is partially in ruins, but still remains an icon of simplicity and elegance. The church has a tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, the so-called Apostle of the Indies. St Francis Xavier’s life can be understood and appreciated here, but you’ll need to hire freelance guides, that too for just INR 100.
The construction of the basilica started in 1594 and was over in 1605. The elaborate late-Renaissance structure has a facade that combines elements of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian designs. The interior of the church is simple yet grand and is contained under a simple wooden ceiling. The church is very busy during the Feast of St Francis Xavier, held annually on 3 December. As you cross the chapel towards the sacristy, there are several items that relate to St Francis’ remains. There is also a gallery of modern art.
Timings: Mon to Saturday from 9.00am to 6.30pm
Sunday from 10.30am to 6.30pm
Must See Attractions At The Basilica
• Quadrangular pediment
• Statue of St. Francis Xavier
• Main altar
• Gilded reredos with the statues of St. Ignatius and the Infant Jesus
• Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament
• Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
• Chest containing the Golden Rose
• Modern art gallery paintings, especially “The Last Judgement” and “Genesis”
Address: Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa 403402
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is one of the oldest and most famous churches in Goa. Located in the heart of Panjim, the church has a simple and elegant exterior. The two altars are dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary and St. Peter. The Xavier’s Chapel is within the church premises and is an added attraction.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is a landmark in the capital city and welcomes thousands of devotees on the day of the feast. It also has religious and historical significance. It houses the ancient bell that was removed from the Augustinian ruins of the Church of Our Lady of Grace. The bell is believed to be the second biggest bell in Goa, after the Golden Bell in the Se Cathedral.
Timings: Open all days, Mornings – 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm in afternoon.
Must See Attractions at the church:
• The Augustinian bell
• Zigzagging stairway
• Two towers on either side of the façade
• Skyline of Panaji
• View of the church after sunset
• Carved altars and pulpits
• Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
• Statue of St. Francis Xavier and marble statues of St. Peter and St. Paul
Address: Rua Emidio Garcia, Panaji, Goa 403001
Church of St Cajetan
Church of St. Cajetan is one of the most beautiful churches in Goa. It resembles the St. Peter’s Church in Rome and is constructed with laterite blocks. It was built in 1661 and is part of the World Heritage Site, Churches and convents of Goa.
One can see striking influences of the Corinthian style of architecture. The tower of the church is rectangular and the interiors are divided into various sections. These sections have numerous aisles and adjoining them are huge pillars. The main altar is dedicated to the Holy Mother, and the wooden pulpit is decorated splendidly. The church is, however, named after the founder of the Theatine order and a contemporary of St Francis Xavier, St. Cajetan. Some of the interior architecture of the church is in the Baroque style.
Timings: The church is open every day, from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm.
Must See Attractions At The Church:
• Statues of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John and St. Matthew
• Hemispherical dome
• Twin quadrangular belfry towers
• Four pillars with arches supporting the Cupola
• Verse from the gospel of Matthew inscribed around the cupola
• The Main altar
Address: Velha Goa, Goa 403402
Chapel of St Catherine
The Chapel of St Catherine is one of the most spectacular churches in Goa. However, very few people know about this small yet beautiful place. St. Catherine church is one of the first ever Christian ecclesiastical structure in Goa. The church was built by the Portuguese governor in 1510, but it was modified several times before finally being rebuilt in 1952.
The St Catherine Church commemorates St Catherine and was also built to remember the conquest by Portuguese ‘governador’ Afonso de Albuquerque over Goa. Even though this church is not as popular as other churches in Goa, it has a historical importance that is known to very few people. The Cathedral status of this place was due to Pope Paul III. Today it stands on what was the main gate of Ela, which was a Muslim city. You can still see the wall of the mosque if you happen to be here. The chapel has a simple interior design, graceful brown and white exteriors, and rectangular window panes that are in the old Portuguese style.
Timings: Open all days of the week
Address: North Goa, Goa 403110
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