Basilica of Bom Jesus – Oldest Church of Goa

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Catholic Church located in old Goa and the state’s oldest Church. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The construction of the Church is completed in the 16th century and stands for Portuguese colonial architecture with the style of Baroque architecture.

It is a faith-based monument located in Bainguinim, about 10 km from Panjim, and attracts visitors worldwide.

The Church of Goa is home to the relics of St. Francis Xavier, who was known for both his insight and healing abilities.

Even after 400 years of burial, the Church remains in good condition. It is one of the “Seven Wonders” of Portuguese origin.

‘Bom Jesus’ is a Latin term that translates to ‘Holy (or Good) Jesus.’

The roof of the Church is triangular and contains the initials “IHS,” which translates to Jesuit, meaning that Jesus is our saviour.

The Church’s façade has a central altar with two other altars. There is a statue of Saint Ignatius Loyola looking over and helping Baby Jesus.

The museum has a lot of paintings and carvings that come from the Bible. It also has a gallery with oil paintings from 1973 and 1976.

The Architecture of Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus features the best in Baroque architectural style.

This monument is constructed from black granite (precious stone) and mixes Corinthian, Doric, and Composite styles.

The Basilica is 61 feet tall and has columns carved out of basalt intricately. 

The church’s interior design was inspired by Mosaico-Corinthian architecture and consists of two structures in front. 

The entire structure consists of an altar flanked by two chapels and a bell tower located at the back.

The right side of the church has a sculpted statue of St. Anthony and on the left is equally grand, an ornate sculpture of St. Francis Xavier.

Within the intricately designed architecture of Basilica of Bom Jesus lie two galleries.

The museum has oil paintings depicting various verses in the Bible, designed by some notable artists from 1973 to 1976.

These paintings mostly follow the traditional conventions of Italian art and indicate Italian culture and Roman Catholicism.

The top-level of this tomb is an art gallery, which is home to many rare works by Dom Martin, a Goan painter.

History of the Oldest Church in Goa

A long time ago, in 1594, the Church’s foundation was put in place. It took a long time to finish, but it was finally done in 1605.

The body of St. Francis Xavier was first preserved in Portugal but was then shipped to the Basilica. He had been known to have therapeutic healing powers, as well as some amazing insights. 

His body is still in an ornamented coffin and kept at the Basilica.

How to Reach Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is about a 10-kilometre drive from Panjim.

One of the simplest ways to get around is by hiring a taxi. Alternatively, renting a motorbike will allow you to explore the farther city.

It takes about 25 minutes to reach the Church from Panjim.

The distance between Goa International Airport and the Church is 24.1 km.

From the airport, you can take a cab or auto to your destination. You can also rent a scooter or bike for the day then go to the Church.

Best Time to Visit Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is best seen from September to March.

The glory and beauty of the church are best seen in the monsoon. The rain cleans the surroundings, so they look good, but it also leaves a pattern on the church’s exterior. 

Besides that, the church is also most visible during winters, complementing the bright sunny days with some of its parts glimmering on top.

Do you know that this is the country’s most ancient minor basilica?

The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and many consider it to be one of the best examples of Portuguese Colonial architecture in India.

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