Time Required : 1 hour
Entry Fee : No entry fee
Timings : 09:00 AM - 06:30 PM except Sunday, on Sunday - 10:30 AM - 06:30 PM
The Basilica of Bom Jesus church is one of a kind in India and is known for its exemplary baroque architecture. Built in the year 1594 and consecrated in 1605, the building of this church coincides with the beginning of Christianity in India. The church is located in Old Goa in Bainguinim about 10 km away from Panjim. The oldest church in Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the remains of St. Francis Xavier, a special friend of St. Ignatius Loyola with whom he founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Even after 400 years, the remains are in a good condition and are taken out once every decade. A site with rich cultural and religious significance, the Basilica of Bom Jesus has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Literally translating to 'Holy Jesus', the basilica of Bom Jesus is the only church in Old Goa that is not been plastered on the outside. The facade of the church has a triangular roofing which is delicately carved with the initials 'IHS', which is an abbreviation for Jesuit emblem meaning 'Jesus, Saviour of Men'. Inside, the floor of this church is made of marble mosaic with precious stones, giving it a solemn appearance. The interior is embellished with a screen that runs from the floor to the ceiling and has the image of St. Ignatius Loyola protecting an infant Jesus. Above all is the image of the Holy Trinity, which is the most sacred symbol in Christianity. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is over 408 years old and is open to the public every day.
Except for its gilded altars, the structure of the Basilica of Bom Jesus has a simple construction and is a fine example of Baroque architecture. The facade of the building is built out of black granite and is a subtle mix of Doric, Corinthian and composite styles. The church stands tall at the height of 61 feet, and the pillars are carved from basalt. The Mosaico-Corinthian style inspired the interior of the church and the main entrance has two smaller ones adjacent to it. In its image, the altar has two chapels beside it with a belfry at the back. The altar of St. Anthony lies towards the right while the left side has an exceptional wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier. The northern wall has a cenotaph dedicated to Dom Jeronimo Mascarenhas, the Captain of Cochin, while the southern wall a carved wooden pulpit with a canopy on top. The pulpit has the figures of Jesus engraved on its three sides, the four evangelists and four doctors of the church. The bottom of the pulpit depicts seven figures.
Two decorated altars again flank the main altar out of which one is dedicated to Our Lady of Hope and the other to St. Michael. The main altar has a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola overlooking a figure of baby Jesus, and above a medallion with the letters "HIS" inscribed can be seen. Above the medallion, the Holy Trinity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are depicted as well. The southern side has another chapel which has twisted columns which are made out of gold and wood. The relics of St. Francis Xavier are kept safely here, with a beautiful silver statue in front of the cenotaph. Paintings and carvings here depict the life of the Saint as well. A beautiful silver statue is kept in front of the casket. The silver casket, which serves as a reliquary containing the sacred relics of the body of St. Francis Xavier, is exquisitely carved and was once studded with precious stones. The casket is divided on each side into seven panels, each of which has two plates representing in relief important incidents in the life of the saint.
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