Famous Churches in North Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus
The most famous church in Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus is a marvel of baroque architecture. This 16th-century church is a UNESCO Heritage site and contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the famous Jesuit saint. Built in 1605, the church is dedicated to Infant Jesus and has several paintings, marble gilded altars, marble flooring inlaid with precious stones.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Situated in Panaji, this church is among the oldest church in Goa. It has an elegant outer structure, with a double flight of symmetrical stairs. Built in 1609, it is a fine example of Baroque architecture. This church also has the second largest bell in Goa.
Thousands gather here on the day of the feast that falls on 8th December, when the whole church is decorated with colourful lights and large fairs are held to celebrate the occasion.
Se Cathedral is among the largest of all churches in Goa, and also the most beautiful. Built in 1640, It has a magnificent architecture and has great religious importance. The church was built to glorify the Portuguese rule over India.
The church is dedicated to St. Catherine and has the Great Golden Bell. The church has received the ‘Golden Rose’ from the Pope, as a mark of reverence.
Church of Our Lady of the Mount
The Portuguese general, Afonso de Albuquerque, ordered the construction of this church in the year 1510. It is among the oldest chapels in Goa and is popular for its Monte Music Festival, a four-day celebration of Indian and Western Music performances by reputed and up-coming musicians.
The church is built on a hill and gives stunning views of Mandovi River and Divar Island, located nearby.
Church of St. Cajetan
Another famous church of North Goa is the Church of St. Cajetan. Built in 1661, it is very close to Se Cathedral, this church is a beautiful monument, said to be modelled in the lines of St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican City.
The church is an impressive remnant of the Portuguese reign over Goa. Its magnificent Corinthian architecture and impressive baroque interiors have made this among the most visited churches in Goa.
Mae De Deus Church
This church is among the best churches to see in North Goa. Built in 1873, It has a breath-taking gothic architecture and has ornate interiors. Its magnificent structure, with numerous spires, gilded altars and ornate interiors reminds us of a medieval castle and its white exterior dazzles in daylight. In the evenings though, the church is illuminated with lighting, making it a marvellous sight to behold.
Church of St Francis of Assisi
Built in 1661, the unique blend of Tuscan, Baroque and Corinthian architecture is what makes this church unique in structure and also one of the most famous churches in Goa. Its artistically gilded altars, with inlay of precious stones, and ornate interiors, making it among the most spectacular churches. Another unique thing about this church is that it has its own museum displaying paintings, sculptures, and artefacts.
St. Diogo’s Church
Built in 1604, St. Diogo Church is one of the most magnificent of churches in North Goa, St. Diogo’s Church is built in Roman style architecture. The church has 3 bells and 3 entrances. The annual feast held in the church is a festive occasion which is enjoyed with great religious fervour.
Santa Cruz Church
Built in 1547, it is also known as Holy Cross Church, this church is a spectacular example of the Neo-Roman architectural style. It was built on the recommendation of the King of Portugal to encourage people to accept Christianity.
Chapel of St. Catherine
Built in 1510, this church has a huge historical significance. This elegant church was built by the Portuguese general, Afonso de Albuquerque to celebrate the victorious march into the city.
Even today, this fact is quite evident from the inscribed stone, which tells that this is the exact spot where the Portuguese general set foot. The chapel is simple in architecture and has graceful interiors.
Church of the Cross of Miracles
Built in 1619, the church is another historical monument in North Goa. It is famous for its Miraculous Cross, which is said to have supernatural healing properties. It’s a church with a history of its own. It is visited by people of all religions on the day of the feast when thousands of devotees throng the church to seek the blessings of the Holy Mother.
Nossa Senhora de Penha de Franca
Built in 1626 and situated at the confluence of Mandovi and Mapusa rivers, this church is a scenic beauty and a visual treat. The magnificent architecture, stained glass windows, high vaulted ceiling makes it among the most beautiful churches in North Goa.
The church is named after a Spanish saint, Saint Nossa Senhora de Penha de Franca, who is believed to have saved Portuguese from a dangerous situation on their voyage to India.
St. Clara’s Church
Built in 1768 and located in the midst of lush greenery, this church is a scenic attraction in North Goa. Its white exteriors and beautiful architecture make it a surreal sight when visited in the daytime. The church was attacked several times and destroyed by the Marathas. But each time, it was rebuilt anew. The church is known for its healing sessions, which is attended by huge crowds.
Chapel of Saint Sebastian
Built in 1818, this chapel is dedicated to St. Sebastian, who once healed many people of diseases and plagues. Even now, the chapel’s crucifix is believed to be magical and punish wrongdoers and troublemakers, and bring justice to good people.
St. Elizabeth’s Church
St. Elizabeth church in North Goa has a striking Mannerist architectural style, with impressive rococo features. It was constructed by the Franciscan friars in 1618. After it was destroyed by storm in 1708, it was rebuilt on a much larger scale. This elegant church has a magnificent statue of Jesus Christ on the front of the church.
Church of Lady of Rosary
Built in 1510, this church is also amongst the oldest churches in North Goa and has an immense historical significance. This church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is believed to be built by Afonso de Albuquerque as a gratitude for his victory over armies of the Deccan Sultanate of Bijapur.
It is also here that St. Francis Xavier gave his first sermon when he arrived in Goa. The church looks more like a fortress, with its rounded towers and early Portuguese architecture.
It would be unfair to categorise the churches as per their beauty, architectural and historical importance, but if you have a knack for archaeology and history, all these churches are worth a visit and a different experience, which cannot be over-looked.
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