|Tourists posing in front of the Basilica of Bom Jesus|
Although I started my "Old Goa Monuments" photo series with the ruins of St. Augustine complex, the Basilica of Bom Jesus was the first monument I had visited in Old Goa, and in my humble opinion it was the finest as well as grandest of all! The history of this massive church dates back to 1594 (aged more than 400 years!) and till date it is considered as one of the most outstanding specimens of baroque architecture in India. Thankfully the Basilica of Bom Jesus (in Portuguese, 'Bom Jesus' means Good Jesus) is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|Interior view of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, towards the main altar.|
The church has a cruciform plan with three-storied facade having a main entrance flanked by two smaller entrances. As you enter the church, the exquisite ornamentation of its inside walls will surely impress you. The entire back wall of the main altar is designed, alike the facade in numerous carvings in wood, of pillars, friezes, and arabesques all gilt in pure gold. Above the altar and tabernacle stands a giant statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the priestly vestments almost three meters high. St. Ignatius is the founder of the Society of Jesus whose members are worldwide known as Jesuits. His gaze is fixed immediately on the medallion containing the Greek letters IHS (the first three letters of the Holy name of Jesus).
|An exquisitely carved wooden door!|
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is more popular among tourists and sacred among Christians as it houses the coffin of St. Francis Xavier. This sacred coffin made up of pine wood was built during the 1744 exposition. The coffin of St. Francis Xavier is covered on the outer side by the silver cloth and fine gold lace. Interestingly, this coffin has three brass locks with three keys- one key was kept with the archbishop, another with the Governor and the third with the administrator. During peak season you have to struggle for quite a good time to get a clear shot of the coffin. There is an Art Gallery if you take the stairs up but photography was prohibited in that floor. If you want to know more about the life of St. Francis Xavier, go for the light and sound show which the church organizes in different languages. Don't expect much visual grandeur in that light and sound show as it's more of an education endeavor. I'm done for the day and you keep guessing which will be the next monument on board. Do not forget to check three more photographs posted below...
|A wide monochromatic view of the inside of basilica as seen from the corridors.|
|The coffin of St. Francis Xavier.|
|It was X-mas time and there were jingles all around!|