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Walk through Old Goa

Typically, exploring Old Goa involves visiting the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi right across it. But the area is dotted with several other historic gems that may not always be on the tourist trail. The Church of St. Augustine, Chapel of Mount Mary, the Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Viceroy Gate are some spots worth visiting.

The churches in Goa are historical sites as well as major tourist attractions in Goa. List of Churches in Goa, Churches and Convents of Goa (1986),Churches in Goa including Catholic and Methodist Churches, famous churches in Goa

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Panaji is perhaps the most photographed church, having such a lofty location in the heart of the capital city. Somewhere in 1541, the first chapel outside Old Goa was constructed at the site where the church stands. This chapel was dedicated to Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, which was converted onto a parish church thirteen years later. The whole structure was rebuilt right from the foundation in 1619. The many flights of steps one has to ascend to reach the church were added in 1870. These are arranged in a symmetrical fashion on either side in front, giving it a rather unique appearance. The huge bell at the apex weighs 2.25 tones and belonged to the monastery of St. Augustine, Old Goa till its collapse. The feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is celebrated on the 8th of December and attracts many devotees. Being lit, it looks fabulous at night.

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa

Perhaps the most talked about ‘must do’ while in Goa, is the Basilica of Bom Jesus located in Old Goa. Known to house the relics of St Francis Xavier, the monument attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is the finest example of Baroque architecture in India. The Jesuits built the Basilica of Bom Jesus, between the years 1594 – 1605 with its three storied façade showing Iconic, Doric and Corinthian orders. It is the only church in Goa whose exteriors and denude are of plaster. On the gilded high altar, a small statue of Bom Jesus to whom the church is dedicated occupies a place on the base of the pedestal bearing the giant figure of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order. In the right transept is a chapel which holds a two tier mausoleum of St. Francis Xavier. It was designed in Florence by Giovanni Battista Foggini and gifted by a devotee of the saint, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III. On this marble mausoleum is set the silver casket, designed by the Italian Jesuit Marcello Mastrilli and executed by Goan goldsmiths. And within the silver casket in a crystal urn lie the relics of the body of St. Francis Xavier, who died on December 3, 1552 at Sanchuan. The saint is affectionately addressed as ‘Goencho Saib’ or the ‘Lord of Goa’ in the Konkani language.

St. Monica, Old Goa

St. Monica Church and convent is situated in the Holy Hill or the Monte Santo of Old Goa, opposite to the ruins of St. Augustine Church. This is also known as the Royal Monastery of Santa Monica. It was started in 1606 but was finished only in 1627, because a fire destroyed the building in 1620. It took 15 years to rebuild. It is Goa’s only convent for nuns. It used to house around 150 cloistered nuns who were called the daughters of St. Monica. The Church and the Convent of St Monica is acclaimed as the first nunnery of the East. The Convent has a vast courtyard with a cloister and its three storeys have numerous cells and halls. It was closed as a nunnery after its last sister died in 1885. It was reinstated to church status in 1968.

Three Kings Church, Cansaulim

Cansaulim is a small village situated in the Mormugao taluka in South Goa. Like rest of the Goa, even Cansaulim has a beach famous that is visited each year by thousands of tourists. Within the village, there sits on a hill-top “Our Lady of Remedios Chapel”, commonly known as “Three Kings Church”. It is one of the many well known churches of Goa but unlike the other churches, this one is not really famous for the architectural beauty or its grand history. This church is famous for being haunted to which, and quite ironically, there is also an annual festival related known as “The Feast of Three Kings”.

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