Basilica of Bom Jesus -Goa
Elegant, revered and famous ancient church Basilica of Bom Jesus is located near Panaji in Old Goa. Completed in 1605, an epitome of simplicity, the church is an example of Jesuit architecture and is considered among the top 20 religious destinations of India. It’s most revered of churches by Catholic Christians in Goa. A World Heritage Monument is devoid of outside lime plaster. It was taken off in 1950 by conservationist of Portugal government to restore its fascinating originality.
How to reach
Panaji is connected to all parts of the country (Flights). By road Bainguinim is 11 km, where Bom Jesus is located.
During Portuguese rule in Goa, sacred foundation stone of ancient Basilica of Bom Jesus church was laid in 1594 by Fr. Alexia De Menezes, the Archbishop of Goa. It was completed in 11 years and was completed in 1605. In 1759 the order of Jesuits was subdued and Portuguese took it under their wings. In 1946 it was given minor Basilica status. The church is dedicated to infant Jesus or Bom (good) Jesus. Three letters adorn its façade HIS, that is initials of Jesus in Greek.
The facade of church’s edifice is black granite which is designed in Composite style of construction mixing Doric and Corinthian styles and giving it an amazing common sense in its simplicity. Imposing structure is 183 feet in length, 61 feet high and 55 feet in breadth. The pillars have been aesthetically carved and interior too is charming in every sense. A single-story structure adjoining the church on its southern wing connects it with the Professed House. There are two chapels, main altar, priest’s sacristy and a choir inside the church. At the back portion bell tower also can be seen.
Inside the church
After you make an entry to the grand church, an altar on the right of St. Anthony and on right well carved wooden statue of St Francis Xavier can be seen. In the middle on the centrum a cenotaph in tribute to Dom Jeronimo Mascrahenas, the captain of Cochin who died in 1593. The church was built on the land left by him for the church.
A protruding gallery overlooking the church proceedings, runs along the church, originally was built for important people and dignitaries. Two decorated altars dedicated to our lady of hope and other to St. Michael. Richly adorned main altar has figures of infant Jesus and above that statue of St. Ignacious Loyola, founder of Order of Jesuit. One wall there is a medallion depicting letter HIS. Above it Holy Trinity, the father, the son and holy ghost are pictured.
On the northern side of the Basilica of Bom Jesus church is the chapel of Blessed Sacrament. On the southern side a unique chapel can be sighted with twisted columns and floral patterns carved in wood. Here the sacred mortal remains of St Francis Xavier are kept. A silver statue is placed before a well decorated casket there. Solemn body exhibition draws many every decade. The interiors are displayed through many carvings and paintings the life of the saint.
Grandeur of basilica is in its layout which is simply fascinating. A simple wooden one has now replaced the original vaulted ceiling. A modern art gallery is there now attached to the basilica.