Sunday, November 30, 2014

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
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.
Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
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).
Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom 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...

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
A wide monochromatic view of the inside of basilica as seen from the corridors.

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
The coffin of St. Francis Xavier.

Old Goa Monuments - Basilica of Bom Jesus
It was X-mas time and there were jingles all around!

19 comments:

  1. I agree that this church is grandest of all. It's beautiful. We went there this March and had a couple of good shots :)

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  2. I have been to Goa twice and neither time I could make myself take away from beaches and visit the churches. Sigh.

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    1. That was unfair... after all you're a fine traveler, so why not pay them a visit :-)

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    2. Who said I'm a fine traveler? :/

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    3. I completely go by what I said... you're a traveler :-))

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  3. Wow...the only church i ever visited was in a school! :P
    I love the first and last pics most. The inside of the church looks excellent.

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    1. I used to find my otherwise abandoned school chapel an ideal place to dump my infrequent blues :-P
      Yes, the first picture certainly has elements of beauty :-/

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    2. we used to have our choir group practice sessions our school chapel.
      :P
      I was a regular fixation there.
      ;)

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  4. we were there many years ago, beautiful church

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Arora... Old Goa is an excellent travelers' destination... true :-)

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. My favourite is same as Maniprna.... the interior view. :)

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