Old Goa

Along the Mondovi River lies Old Goa – Velha Goa – location to some of the greatest old Churches of India; all monuments the regions Portuguese colonial past. About 10 km east of the state capital, Panaji – stands the first minor Basilica in India; Bom Jesus Basilica.  This stunning Basilica was built in the year 1594 and is considered a baroque architectural masterpiece. The layout of this massive cathedral is reflective of its period of construction during the Great Renaissance period but the intricately gilded altars decorated with frescoes are unmistakably Baroque. Exquisitely carved basalt embellishments make this 16th-century church a veritable work of art, with columns covered in white marble and inlaid with precious stones.


This Basilica is renowned in the Christian World as the resting place of the sacred relic of Saint Francis Xavier; Patron Saint of Goa, co-founder of the Society of Jesus (along with Saint Ignatius Loyola), and the indomitable traveller who spread the message of Jesus throughout India, Japan and China. Saint Francis Xavier travelled extensively and as he was adept in many local languages, could easily spread the Gospel. He died in the Chinese Island of Shangchuan on his way to Malacca in 1552 at the age of 46.  His body, which is miraculously preserved for centuries despite repeated burials and exhumation, even after subjected to being buried under a pile of lime in the earlier burial time, is kept in a Silver Casket atop a richly carved wooden mausoleum in this basilica.

St.Francis Xavier is credited with hundreds of miracles throughout the period and hence this basilica attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. This basilica is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Hardly at a distance of a stone’s throw lies another spectacular Church SE Cathedral; one of the largest Churches in Asia and with the largest bell in Asia. Nearby you will find another 16th Century Church, St. Francis of Assisi and within a short distance is the St. Cajetan Church, a magnificent white church modelled onSt. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Old Goa is renowned for numerous Catholic churches founded by the Portuguese Colonial.