Churches in Goa

Churches in Goa

A visit to old Goa is never complete without seeing its beautiful churches and chapels. The Churches and Convents at Velha (Old) Goa owe their existence to the Portuguese rule in this part of the western coast of India.

The most comprehensive group of churches and cathedrals built during 16th to 17th century AD at Old Goa comprise of the following:

Se’ Cathedral, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of St. Catherine, Basilica of Bom Jesus; Church of Lady of Rosary; Church of St. Augustine.

Map you can use to navigate the churches in old Goa

  Since we stayed at Panaji, near the Goa Secretariat, it took us 20 minutes to reach there by driving.The churches are kept open for public on all days from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Entry is free except for the museums and art gallery. Photography is also allowed inside the churches provided you don’t disturb the peace inside the church and also don’t take photos of people.

  Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus are situated on either side of the main road and both are declared as world heritage site by UNESCO. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous of all the church  in Old Goa. It contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. It was the first church in India to be elevated to the status of a minor basilica in 1946. There is also an art gallery towards the exit of the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Basillica of Bom Jesus
Main alter inside Bom Jesus Basillica

  After seeing Basilica of Bom Jesus we went to Se Cathedral. It is one of the most beautiful church ever seen by us. We were also very lucky to see a couple in their wedding finery who had come to the church with their family and friends to solemnise their marriage.

Jesus,SE Cathedral

SE Cathedral


Inside SE Cathedral

  Then we went to the church of St Francis of Assisi.This church is much much less crowded compared to the other two. The church has beautiful large wood panels of oil paintings, depicting the life of St Francis of Assisi, placed on the walls on either side of the main altar. The convent is housing the Archaeological museum and entry charge is Rs 10 per person.

Church of St. Francis Assisi

Inside the church of St. Francis of Assisi


Pictures on the wall inside the church of St. Francis of Assisi


Pictures on the wall inside the church of St. Francis of Assisi

   West to St Francis of Assisi is the Chapel of St Catherine. It is a magnificently built church dedicated to St Catherine and mostly made of laterite. The chapel has a small garden in front of it.

Chapel of St. Catherine

  It took us almost four hours to see these churches and chapels on Saturday. We were terribly hungry when we reached our hotel and so we decided to go to the restaurant first that was on the first floor of our hotel. It was an open air restaurant and we enjoyed our 
high snack while seeing the sunset and the cruise boats on the river Mondovi.

  We decided to see the remaining churches on the next day. Our to-see list included St. Augustine Church, Church and Convent of Santa Monica, Church of our Lady of Rosary, Church of St. Cajetan, Arch of Viceroy and Panaji Church.

  We drove straight towards St. Augustine Church which is very close to Basilica of Bom Jesus. The church is basically in ruins and has practically turned into an excavation site for the Archaeological Survey of India.There are placards in the courtyard of the church that elaborate about the history and the reasons for its destruction. The Church, when intact, was perhaps the biggest in Goa and that can still be understood from its vastness. There are still a few tiles left on the interior walls of the church.

St. Augustine Church

  We saw Church and Convent of Santa Monica from outside. Next to Santa Monica is the Museum of Christian Arts but unfortunately it was closed on Sunday. A few meters from there is the Church of our Lady of Rosary. This is the oldest surviving church in Goa.

Church and Convent of Santa Monica
Mother Mary in front of Santa Monica. You can also spot St. Augustine Church in the back.


Church of Our Lady of Rosary

  We then headed towards Church of St. Cajetan. It is a beautiful church built along the lines of the Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome. Although the church is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence, it has been name after St. Cajetan, the founder of the Order of Theatines. The Church of St. Cajetan is the only surviving domed church in Goa.

Church of St. Cajetan


Inside the church of St. Cajetan

  From Church of St. Cajetan the Arch of Viceroy is hardly one hundred meters.
It was built by Francisco da Gama, the great grand son of Vasco da Gama, who was the governor of Goa from 1597 to 1600. It was built as a memorial to the achievements of Vasco da Gama, the famous explorer. 

Arch of Viceroy

  The last church left for us to see was Panaji Church. The original name for the church is Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate ConceptionLocals call it by the name Panaji Church. We drove back to Panaji but we  could only see the church from outside.

Panaji Church

Pictures taken from –