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Churches In Goa
Goa is literally synonymous with churches. They are living testimonies of the rich historical past of Goa. During the early days of the Portuguese rule in India, church building was the primary concern and occupation in Goa. This was because of their zeal to spread Christianity and convert as many people as they can. The Goan churches still have that old world charm and are very popular with the tourists who visit India. The church in Goa had much importance in the social life of the people there. It helped in the spread of education, built hospitals and helped people in their day to day troubles of life. Check out our related sections about the famous churches of Goa.

Basilica of Bom Jesus Church of Mary Immaculate Conception Reis Magos Church
Se Cathedral St. Anne Church Church of St. Augustine
St. Cajetan Church Church of St. Francis of Assisi St. Paul Church

Churches In Goa,Basilica of Bom Jesus Basilica of Bom Jesus

Location: Old Goa, 10 kilometers from the city of Panjim
Highlights: World Heritage Site, Preserved body of St. Francis Xavier
How to Reach: The Bom Jesus church is a very popular tourist attraction and can be reached from Panaji or any other place nearby by hiring a taxi, auto, or even a bus.

Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous and the most revered churches among all the churches of Goa. This church houses the relics of famous St Francis Xavier who was the patron saint of Goa. The Bom Jesus church was put up in 16th century and is the first church in to be constructed in India. It is one of the dazzling examples of Jesuit architecture and is an extraordinary world heritage site. There is a modern art gallery, which draws a lot of attention of the visitors. Every year on December 3, grand feast is arranged here, following the light and sound show, which intends to draw attention to the life of Jesus Christ, St. Francis Xavier and Holy Joseph Vaz.

The interiors of this basilica are a fine blend of Mosaic and Corinthian styles. This style is noted for its simplicity. The interior is 182 ft. in length, 55 ft. in breadth, and its height is 61 ft. On each side are three rows of spectacular windows. Beside these windows are the choirs. In the second row, there are projecting galleries which are very skillfully placed. The entrance is supported by columns and is beneath the choir. The basilica is quite spacious. The church is called "Bom Jesus" meaning 'good Jesus' or 'infant Jesus' to whom it is dedicated. The fa�ade has on it, at the top, the letters, "HIS" which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek.

Basilica of Bom Jesus is a splendid architectural marvel. One should visit this beautiful place at least once to pay homage to the patron saint of Goa, St Francis Xavier, and to appreciate the seminal beauty of its architecture.
 
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Church of Mary Immaculate Conception Church of Mary Immaculate Conception

Location: Center of Panaji, Goa
Highlights: 2nd largest church bell in the world, beautiful display of lights at night
How to Reach: This church is very famous and can be easily reached by hiring local transport like taxi, auto or buses from Panaji or any other place nearby.

Church of Mary Immaculate Conception is supposed to be one of the first to be built in Goa, certainly being there by 1541. The earlier church, built in 1541 was completely re-built from its foundations in 1619 and this was even considered, taking account of the still negligible population of the area and the size of the new church, is a striking commentary on the religious climate of the time and the wealth available to the churches.

The interior of the church is relatively simple by the standards of the time although the backdrop to the main altar, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, is impressive enough. However, it is the two flanking altars that catch the eye that on the left dedicated to Jesus Crucified and that on the right to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Each is a riot of heavily gilded, deeply carved ornamentation, yet compact and controlled, a fine example of the period. At the side of each is a marble statue, one of St Peter and one of St Paul.

The Church of Mary Immaculate Conception has 2nd largest bell in the world. On the 8th of December, the feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is celebrated at the Church in great pomp and religious fervor. The church is artfully lit at night and a lively fair occupies the entire church square.
 
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Reis Magos Church Reis Magos Church

Location: Banks of Mandovi River in the village named Reis Magos
Highlights: Feast of Three wise Men every year, Reis Magos Fort
How to Reach: One can always reach this church easily by hiring local transport like taxis, autos and buses from anywhere in Goa.

The Reis Magos Church of Goa features as one of the most well-known churches of the state. The Church was built in 1555. Franciscan friars, who were in charge of missionary work for the area, took over the church and founded a small seminary here. The whitewashed gabled frontage of the church is visible even from across the river in Panaji.
The Reis Magos Church was built shortly after the fort above it, was dedicated to St Jerome. Historians have found evidence to support the fact that the Church was built on the ruins of an old Hindu temple. Two typical symbols of the Hindu Vijayanagar temple architecture - bas-relief lion figures can be seen on the flanks, at the start of the steps going up to the Church.  

Not long after its construction, the Church and the Seminary became a well established site for learning and its prominence can be gauged from the fact that the Portuguese royal coat of arms is imprinted below the crucifix at the top of the gable. Two of Goa's former Viceroys are actually buried here, their tombstone inscriptions in Por4tuguese and Latin still clearly legible.

On the 6th of January, every year, Reis Magos comes alive with the colorful Festa dos Reis Magos� (Feast of the Three Wise Men). During this festival, the Biblical story of the three Kings and their journey to the Infant Jesus is acted out by local youth, who play the parts of the Magi. The festivities are marked with a procession that goes around the village.
 
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Se Cathedral Se Cathedral

Location: Old Goa, 9 kilometers from Panaji
Highlights: Largest church in Asia, giant bells and exquisite architecture
How to Reach: One can always hire local transport like taxi, auto or bus from Panaji or any other nearby place to reach the Se Cathedral in Goa.

Se Cathedral Church is one of the oldest and most celebrated religious buildings of Goa. It took eighty years to get completed and it is one of the largest churches in Asia. Se Cathedral Church is located in Old Goa and it is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. During the rule of Portuguese this monument truly represents the royalty of Goa. One of the most sacred buildings for the Christians, Se cathedral has been declared a heritage site by UNESCO.

The Cathedral stands to the west of the great square called Terreiro de Sabaio and has its fa�ade turned to the east. It�s beautiful courtyard is approached by a flight of steps. The building is Portuguese-Gothic in style with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. The church is 250 ft in length and 181 ft in breath. The frontispiece stands 115 ft high.

The Se Cathedral is famous for its five massive bells. One of the bells is called the Golden Bell, due to the sweet sound it produces. There were originally two towers, one on either side of the fa�ade, but the one on the southern side collapsed in 1776. The loss of one bell tower, which was never rebuilt, has given the building a unique look. The existing tower houses a famous bell, `Golden Bell` which is one of the largest in Goa and one of the best in the world. On account of its melodic tone, it has been commemorated in a Portuguese poem.
 
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St. Anne Church St. Anne Church

Location: Talaulim, banks of River Siridao, Goa
Highlights: Excellent construction, Blend of Indian and European architectural styles, Feast of St. Anne
How to Reach: St. Anne church can be easily reached by hiring local transport like buses, taxi and autos in Goa.

Amongst all the churches in Goa, the most ostentious and notable church for its excellent architecture is St Anne. St. Anne church was reconstructed by Mons Francisco do Rego with his own money and with the contributions of some villagers. Unfortunately he could not complete the construction, which later was completed by Antonio Francisco da Cunha & main alter was consecrated to St. Anne.

The feast of St Anne that falls on July 26th is celebrated throughout Goa and with greater aplomb in the Church of St Anne at Talaulim � where it is known as �Touceachem Fest� or the Cucumber Feast. The �Touchachem Fest�, like every festival, is a festival when people beseech the saint for her graces with various offerings. In Talaulim it is celebrated with much more fun and enthusiasm and is known as Cucumber Feast. Though introduced by the Portuguese, the Goans modified the celebrations in their own style without changing the dates.
 
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Church of St. Augustine Church of St. Augustine

Location: Atop the Holy hill in Old Goa
Highlights: Ancient ruins, 46 meter high tower
How to Reach: You can easily reach the St. Augustine church by hiring local transport like taxis, autos and buses from just about anywhere in Goa.

St. Augustine Church is one of the most spectacular monuments in Goa and it is very popular among tourists. It is built by 12 Augustian monks who arrived in Goa on 3rd September 1572. The Construction of the church was completed in 1602AD.

Due to the ban on religious orders passed by the Portuguese government, St. Augustine Church and the adjoining convent are in ruins. The tower in the ruins of St. Augustine church is the main attraction. This huge tower reaches upto a staggering height of around 46 meters. It had four stories and was originally meant to be a belfry. The church had a giant bell that was removed and is now at the Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception located in Panaji. The church had eight beautifully adorned chapels and four decorated altars. There was also a convent attached to the church.

St. Augustine Church had a huge bell and this bell was removed from the church only when it was deserted and destruction of the church seemed imminent. The bell is now in the Church of Our Lady of Rosary. Unfortunately in the year 1931 the facade fell down and from then onwards tourists who come to this place only see half the tower. Today the place is in ruins but people flock to see what was once some of the largest buildings in Goa.
 
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St. Cajetan Church St. Cajetan Church

Location: Old Goa
Highlights: Unique and stunning architecture
How to Reach: One can reach St. Cajetan church by hiring local transport like cabs, autos or buses from Panaji or any other nearby place in Goa.

The large and beautiful Church of St. Cajetan, lies about half a kilometer away to the north east of the Se Cathedral, and quite near the ruins of the Vice regal Palace. St. Cajetan Church, which is said to have been modeled on the original design of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, is architecturally Corinthian both externally and internally while the gilded altars with rich carvings are in rich Baroque style.

The Church building itself is built of laterite blocks which are lime plastered. Inside a clever use of internal buttresses and four huge pillars has turned the interior into a cruciform. Profusely carved and gilded in Baroque style, the six altars have twisted shafts dominated by figures of angels.
 
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Church of St. Francis of Assisi Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Location: Old Goa, 10 kilometers from Panaji
Highlights: Architecture has a combination of Hindu and Christian elements
How to Reach: St. Francis of Assisi Church can be reached easily by hiring local transport like cab, auto or even bus from Panaji or anywhere in Goa.

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is situated in the same complex, where Se Cathedral is situated. St. Francis of Assisi is a stunning building, constructed during 1517-1521 AD and now it has been turned into a museum.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi of Goa is a brilliant mix of Baroque, Corinthian, Iberian and Manueline architectural features and is one of its kind in Goa. It is made up of lime plastered laterite and its fa�ade is flanked with octagonal towers on either side. It has been designed very finely. The church is much smaller than the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral. It is painted heavily and one finds generously carved altars.

The church contains a bell tower and a sacristy towards the north of the chief altar dedicated to St. Francis. On the altar stands the statue of Christ on the Cross. A recess in the wall holds the statue of our lady of Miracles brought from Jaffna in Sri Lanka. On the pedestal bearing the sign of Franciscans stands a wooden statue of St. Francis.
 
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St. Paul Church St. Paul Church

Location: Located en route Old Goa to Ponda
Highlights: Ruins of an old church maintained beautifully
How to Reach: One can hire local transport like taxi, auto or even a bus from anywhere in Goa and reach this church.

The St. Paul Church of Goa was started as an institution of the Holy Faith for training young converts. Two priests are to be credited for the establishment of Church of St Paul. Their names are Fr. Diogo de Borba and Fr. Miguel Vaz who were members of the Holy Faith. The construction of the church began in November 1541 and finished on January 25th 1543, which is the day of Feast of Conversion of St. Paul to whom the church was dedicated.

The St. Paul Church of Goa was considered among the leading educational institutions in India. Besides imparting elementary education, higher education in Music, Latin, Arts and sciences was also instructed. Even the degree of Master of Arts and the Doctorate were presented here. After some years, the old college building was pulled down and two separate buildings were constructed, both linked to each other by a passageway. The College had a large library and Asia�s first printing press. There were also several other buildings to the St Paul�s College. Three of them were a Novitiate, a Hospital and a house to shelter the newly converted.
 
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