Basilica of Bom Jesus

Weather :

Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Church & Cathedral

Timings : Monday - Saturday: 09:00 AM - 06:30 PM
Sunday: 10:30 AM - 06:30 PM

Time Required : 1-1.5 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Constructed in : Started in 1594 and completed in 1605

Mass Timings : Sunday: 8:00 AM, 9:15 AM and 6:00 PM in Konkani, 10:15 AM in English
Monday to Saturday: 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM
A mass is held at the chapel of St Francis Xavier on 6th of every month: 10:00 AM 
Holy Hour: First Friday of every month at 5:00 PM

Must View : Statue of St Francis Xavier
Chapel of St Francis Xavier
Modern art gallery

Location : Old Goa

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Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa Overview

The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church located in Goa is one of a kind in India and is known for its exemplary baroque architecture. Built in 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, it 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 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', this is the only church in Old Goa that is not been plastered on the outside. The facade of the church has 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 the Basilica 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.

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Architecture of Basilica of Bom Jesus

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.

Professed House of Bom Jesus

Lying adjacent to the Basilica of Bom Jesus is the Professed House of the Jesuits, which was the main centre from which the Jesuit missions to the east were organised. Built in 1585 under the supervision of Br. Domingos Fernandes, this building is older than the church itself. It is built as a two-storey structure with the laterite edifice being covered with lime plaster. A part of the building was destroyed in 1633 owing to fire but was partially restored and rebuilt almost immediately. Another floor on the top was destroyed between 1886 and 1887.

Modern Art Gallery

Interestingly, the complex of the Basilica of Bom Jesus also houses an art gallery, which is the largest of its kind in the continent. The main exhibits here are Italian paintings which have been made during the period between 1973 and 1976. Two of the largest paintings on display here include 'The Last Judgement' (6ft x 9ft) and 'Genesis' (4ft x 28ft).

History of the Oldest Church in Goa

The foundation of the Basilica of Bom Jesus was laid down on 24 November 1594 and was completed on 15 May 1605 at the hands of Fr. Alexia de Menezes, the Archbishop of Goa and Primate of India. After the death of St. Francis Xavier, his body was first preserved at Portugal but two years later shipped back to the basilica. The saint was believed to have phenomenal powers of therapeutic healing.

His body is still kept in a mausoleum in a nicely ornamented coffin. The Order of the Jesuits was suppressed in 1759 and all of its existing property was confiscated by the Portuguese State. However, the church was allowed to continue its services and has been a revered as a holy site ever since. It was raised to the status of a minor basilica in 1946.

How to reach Basilica of Bom Jesus

If you are in Goa, a visit to Basilica of Bom Jesus is definitely a good idea. Located in Old Goa in Bainguinim, the church is approximately 10km from Panjim. You can hire a cab from the Panjim bus stand or simply take your own bike or moped to the church. It takes approximately 20 -25 minutes to reach this oldest church in Goa from Panjim.
  • Air: Goa's international airport - Dabolim Airport welcomes many national and international flights. The church is 24.1 kilometers from the airport. A taxi can be hired from the airport to reach the church.

  • Rail: The easiest way to reach Goa is via Madgaon Railway Station, from where the distance to the church is 35.1 kilometers. Taxis and buses are easily available outside the station.

  • Road: If one is travelling from Mumbai or Pune, one can reach the church by covering a distance of approximately 500 kilometers.

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Basilica of Bom Jesus Reviews

Your rating

Asif Uzzaman

on Basilica of Bom Jesus 5 years ago
A beautiful heritage Church standing in picturesque surrounding. You can witness that the artworks inside it are different from most other churches. A little bit of spoiler here. Be prepared to shiv (Read More)er with shock/disgust when you first set your eye on the statue showing Christ's crucifixion. Give it better part of the day to enjoy its tranquility.

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