Sunday, 7 October 2012

Churches in Goa

A visit to old Goa is never complete without seeing its beautiful churches and chapels.
We spent a little less than one full day in exploring the churches -a full second half of a saturday and first half of the next sunday.
  The churches are mostly built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The churches are mostly built of laterite stone, however basalt was used for pilasters and columns for decorative purposes.

  On Saturday we visted Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chapel of St Catherine and Church and convent of St Francis of Assisi. All these churches and chapels are just close to one another and can be covered on foot. There is also a museum adjacent to the Church and convent of St Francis of Assisi and the entry fee is Rs 10 per person. Photography is not allowed inside the museum.

  As you enter this compound you will be approached by local hawkers selling garland and candles though they are not very persuasive.

Map you can use to navigate the churches in old Goa
  Since we stayed at Panaji, near the Goa Secretariat, it took us 20 minutes to reach there by driving.The churches are kept open for public on all days from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Entry is free except for the museums and art gallery. Photography is also allowed inside the churches provided you don't disturb the peace inside the church and also don't take photos of people.

  Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus are situated on either side of the main road and both are declared as world heritage site by UNESCO. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous of all the church  in Old Goa. It contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. It was the first church in India to be elevated to the status of a minor basilica in 1946. There is also an art gallery towards the exit of the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Basillica of Bom Jesus
Main alter inside Bom Jesus Basillica
  After seeing Basilica of Bom Jesus we went to Se Cathedral. It is one of the most beautiful church ever seen by us. We were also very lucky to see a couple in their wedding finery who had come to the church with their family and friends to solemnise their marriage.
Jesus,SE Cathedral

SE Cathedral

Inside SE Cathedral
  Then we went to the church of St Francis of Assisi.This church is much much less crowded compared to the other two. The church has beautiful large wood panels of oil paintings, depicting the life of St Francis of Assisi, placed on the walls on either side of the main altar. The convent is housing the Archaeological museum and entry charge is Rs 10 per person.

Church of St. Francis Assisi

Inside the church of St. Francis of Assisi

Pictures on the wall inside the church of St. Francis of Assisi

Pictures on the wall inside the church of St. Francis of Assisi
   West to St Francis of Assisi is the Chapel of St Catherine. It is a magnificently built church dedicated to St Catherine and mostly made of laterite. The chapel has a small garden in front of it.

Chapel of St. Catherine
  It took us almost four hours to see these churches and chapels on Saturday. We were terribly hungry when we reached our hotel and so we decided to go to the restaurant first that was on the first floor of our hotel. It was an open air restaurant and we enjoyed our 
high snack while seeing the sunset and the cruise boats on the river Mondovi.

  We decided to see the remaining churches on the next day. Our to-see list included St. Augustine Church, Church and Convent of Santa Monica, Church of our Lady of Rosary, Church of St. Cajetan, Arch of Viceroy and Panaji Church.

  We drove straight towards St. Augustine Church which is very close to Basilica of Bom Jesus. The church is basically in ruins and has practically turned into an excavation site for the Archaeological Survey of India.There are placards in the courtyard of the church that elaborate about the history and the reasons for its destruction. The Church, when intact, was perhaps the biggest in Goa and that can still be understood from its vastness. There are still a few tiles left on the interior walls of the church.

St. Augustine Church
  We saw Church and Convent of Santa Monica from outside. Next to Santa Monica is the Museum of Christian Arts but unfortunately it was closed on Sunday. A few meters from there is the Church of our Lady of Rosary. This is the oldest surviving church in Goa.

Church and Convent of Santa Monica
Mother Mary in front of Santa Monica. You can also spot St. Augustine Church in the back.

Church of Our Lady of Rosary
  We then headed towards Church of St. Cajetan. It is a beautiful church built along the lines of the Basilica of St. Peter's in Rome. Although the church is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence, it has been name after St. Cajetan, the founder of the Order of Theatines. The Church of St. Cajetan is the only surviving domed church in Goa.

Church of St. Cajetan

Inside the church of St. Cajetan
  From Church of St. Cajetan the Arch of Viceroy is hardly one hundred meters.
It was built by Francisco da Gama, the great grand son of Vasco da Gama, who was the governor of Goa from 1597 to 1600. It was built as a memorial to the achievements of Vasco da Gama, the famous explorer. 

Arch of Viceroy
  The last church left for us to see was Panaji Church. The original name for the church is Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate ConceptionLocals call it by the name Panaji Church. We drove back to Panaji but we  could only see the church from outside.

Panaji Church
  It was time to head for Colva, our next stop in South Goa.


  1. I like to to travel to the ancient temples, considered old buildings in which people lived centuries ago, met, fell in love, cry and laugh. They were happy once. Tourists wander in these buildings now. It's a bit sad and unfair. But I always remember that the ghosts of people can live among us and try not to disturb their peace.

  2. Pictures are awesome and equally good presentation...visited another world heritage site though your blog..thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you very much for appreciating our photographs and the blog.

  3. fantastic pictures... just came from another blog post of yours.i think taking pictures of churches always demands new and innovative perspectives...because these are shot to death.i stand by my other comment.your perspective is marvelous.
    on the same note,sorry for the intrusion but i couldn't help from following your blog.looking forward for more travelogues.
    merry christmas!

    1. A very Merry Christmas to you too!!
      It really feels so good when another photographer appreciates our pictures :)

      I am delighted that you liked the pictures and followed our blog.Thank you so much

  4. thanks for the valuable information..
    We would be visiting there next week and planning to spend about 3 hours visiting churches.
    In this case, which are the churches you recommend as must see..

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for stopping by
    Since you have just 3 hours in hand so we would suggest that you dont miss
    basillica of Bom Jesus,SE Cathedral and Church of St Cajetan.

    If you get some more spare time then do see the St Augustine Church.
    Though the church is now in its ruins but still you can feel the vast magnitude the church was once.

    Have a nice trip

  6. Thanks for sharing. I am making my tour plan based on your experience ! And may I add, the photos are stunning ! Your other blog on the beaches of Goa is also very informative ! thanks again !

    1. oh, thats such a lovely compliment.Thank you so much :)

  7. The information is really great . When I visited the church is st.Francis of Assisi I by mistakenly took a picture of my friend and had to delete it as the guards came up to me and told to me it WS prohibited . I dint understand the logic tried asking the guards there and even they dint
    have answers.


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