About Basilica of Bom Jesus
The surroundings are frolicked with paintings and carvings directly from the Bible, and it also has a gallery that inhabits oil paintings belonging to the years 1973 and 1976.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic Church located in Old Goa and stands to be the oldest Church of Goa. It is a UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site.
The church completed its construction in the year 1604 and stands as an epitome of the Portuguese colonial architecture and Baroque architecture.
It is located in Bainguinim, about 10 km from Panjim, and attracts several tourists from all across the world. The church is known to hold the relics of St. Francis Xavier, who was known for his phenomenal insight and therapeutic healing powers.
Even after 400 years of burial, the remains are said to be in good condition and are taken out every decade. It is, in fact, one of the Seven Wonders of the World of Portuguese origin.
‘Bom Jesus’ is a word of Latin origin and translates to ‘Holy (or Good) Jesus.’ The rooftop of the church is triangular, and is inscribed with the initials ‘IHS’, which translates to the Jesuit emblem meaning ‘Jesus, Savior of Men.’
The façade of the Church constitutes a main altar flanked by two more altars. The main altar is decorated with a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola overlooking and protecting Baby Jesus.
The Architecture of Basilica of Bom Jesus-
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a finesse of the Baroque architecture. The material used to build this monumental masterpiece is black granite and is a mix of Corinthian, Doric and composite styles. The Basilica stands 61 feet tall and has pillars intricately carved out of basalt.
The interior of the church has been inspired by Mosaico-Corinthian architecture with two adjacent structures of the same decorating the entrance.
The entire structure constitutes of an altar flanked by two chapels and a belfry located at the back of the church. The right side has the altar of St. Anthony while the left side has a grand wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier.
Modern Art GalleryWithin the complex and daintily carved architecture of Basilica of Bom Jesus lie two galleries. They have oil paintings dedicated to various verses in the Bible, designed by some of the renowned artists from 1973 to 1976
These paintings are mostly Italian and speak about the culture and Christianity from an Italian perspective. The largest paintings that are on display are called ‘Genesis’ (4 ft x 28 ft) and ‘The Last Judgement’ (6 ft x 9 ft).
History of the Oldest Church in Goa-
The foundation for the oldest Church in Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus, was laid out in the year 1594, and it was completed at the hands of the then Archbishop of Goa and Primate of India Fr. Alexia de Menezes in the year 1605.
After his death, the body of St. Francis Xavier was first preserved in Portugal but was then shipped to the Basilica. St. Francis Xavier was known to have therapeutic healing powers, along with some phenomenal insights.
His body remains preserved in an ornamented coffin kept at the Basilica in a mausoleum.
How to Reach Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is approximately 10 km from Panjim. This distance can be covered by hiring a cab, or getting a rental moped or a scooter for the day. It will take approximately 25 minutes to reach the Church from Panjim.
From Goa International Airport-
The Church resides at a distance of 24.1 km from Goa International Airport. This distance can be covered by hiring a cab or an auto from outside the airport. You can also visit a bike rental shop and rent a scooter or moped for the day and then go to the Church.
Best Time to Visit Basilica of Bom Jesus
The best time to visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus is from September to March. The glory and grandeur of the church are best expressed in post-monsoon when the rain showers have cleaned the surroundings and left the exterior of the church in a vividly detailed pattern.
It stands remarkably against the dark grey clouds and contrasts with a significant superiority.
Other than that, the church is also best visible during winters, complementing the bright sunny days with some designs glimmering atop the church.
What Not to Miss at Basilica of Bom Jesus
Places to visit near Basilica of Bom Jesus-
After marveling at the intricate architecture of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, there are several places one can explore around. Here is a list of some of the most popular tourist destinations near the church:
1. Old Goa-
If you are a history fanatic, then Old Goa is bound to mesmerize you. It is flanked with ancient Portuguese buildings and churches that date back to the 18th century. In fact, most of the places here are UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites.
You will encounter various hawkers selling key-chain versions of the Bible and several other ornaments.
Location: Goa Velha, India
Distance from the Church: 0.1 km
2. Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The Church of St. Francis Assisi is set in a complex along with the Archaeological Museum in Old Goa. It is located directly opposite the Basilica of Bom Jesus, contributing to the scenic beauty of the place.
The archaeological museum inhabits culturally significant chefs-d'oeuvres dating back to the 17th century.
Location: Off National Highway 4, Nr. Archaeological Museum, Old Goa 403110, India
Distance from the Church: 0.1 km
3. Se Cathedral-
Se Cathedral is another oldest church in Goa, after the Basilica of Bom Jesus, and was built in the 16th century. It is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria.
It symbolizes the triumphant victory of the Portuguese General Alphonso de Albuquerque in 1510 over the then ruler of Goa Adim Shahi. This church is also renowned for its procession of Good FridaLocation: Old Goa, Panjim, India
Distance from the Church: 0.3 km
4. Viceroy’s Arch-
Like all the other historically significant places of Goa, the Viceroy’s Arch has an enriched heritage attached to it. It is known to be the entry point of the Portuguese Viceroy.
The exterior of the arch decorates a niche of Vasco da Gama, and its construction and architecture date back to the 16th century.
Location: Old Goa, Near OLD Goa Church Complex, Goa Velha 403402, India
Distance from the Church: 0.6 km
Other Essential Information About Basilica of Bom Jesus
Location- Basilica of Bom Jesus is located in Old Goa, the former capital of Portuguese, India.
Address- Old Goa Road, Goa Velha, 403402 India
Timings- Basilica of Bom Jesus is open for visits from Monday to Saturday, starting at 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
Price- There is no entry fee required to enter the Basilica of Bom Jesus.