The church of immaculate conception is a familiar vista in Panjim city. The first version stood on the same spot in 1541CE … later rebuilt in the 17th century. Football fever has added a new flavour to this quaint capital of the Goa state. However, we are going to travel about 10 km east of Panjim into old Goa to explore a world heritage site – The churches and convents of old Goa.
The basilica of Bom Jesus or the infant jesus is not only an important heritage monument from the 16th century but also amongst the most revered religious places worldwide for the christians. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1594CE on 24th November and after 9 years it was consecrated by the Archbishop of Goa Father Alexia De Menezes on 15th May 1605CE.
This is perhaps the only church in Goa that does not have lime plaster outside. The plaster was stripped off by Portuguese conservationists according to a few records. It brings out the texture and colour of the original stone which is laterite I think. We can see corinthian columns with ionic and doric orders and ornate decorations on the facade of the basilica.
This church contains the mortal remains of Francis Xavier which are opened for public to see every 10 years (last time in 2014). There are some paintings of religious importance displayed around the exit room.
This is a church designed in baroque style and the interior is in simple mosaico-corinthian style. The raw material required for construction was brought from Bassein (Vasai) which is more than 500km away, a little north of Mumbai city today. The main altar is flanked by two altars – one for the lady of hope and another for St. Michael … The main altar has infant jesus and above it the statue of St. Ignatius Loyola .. the founder of the jesuit order. The figurines on the side walls add to the grandeur of the interiors.
Within the world heritage complex there are two more churches that we must visit … but on some other day in some other blogpost … keep watching this space.