Tucked mysteriously by the palm-fringed roads or perched on hills, Goa has a startling number of churches that are loved by tourists. These architectural masterpieces give a glimpse of the Portuguese legacy in Goa, and it is because of these imposing churches that Goa is also called the Rome of the East. These famous churches in Goa should be a part of your vacation itinerary if you're even remotely into history or architecture.
How Many Of These Famous Churches In Goa Have You Been To?
Basilica Of Bom Jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous church in Goa, and is visited by tourists from all over the world. One of the oldest ones around, the Basilica was built when the Jesuits came to India in the 15th century. This church is where the body of St. Francis Xavier lies, and it also houses the surreal impressionist paintings of Dom Martin Basilica Bom of Jesus. This Catholic church is declared as a UNESCO heritage site and exhibits Baroque architecture. It’s located in Old Goa, and has mass service each day of the week. A Konkani mass service is held on Sunday evenings.
Located in Velha, Se Cathedral is one of the biggest churches and convents of Goa, and was built in the 16th century to commemorate the victory of Portuguese rule over India. This Goa church is host to the largest ancient bell in Goa, and has also received the benediction of Pope in the form of the Golden Rose. A beautiful set of steps lead to a large courtyard where the church lies. The exterior of the cathedral is notable for its Tuscan design. The loss of one bell tower, which was never rebuilt, is what makes the exterior stand out. Mass here is held throughout the week.
Church of Our Lady of the Mount
Another notable church in Goa is located in Ella village of Goa. Church of Our Lady of the Mount is one of the most famous churches in the state. It is actually situated right next to Se Cathedral, and offers breath-takingly beautiful views of the Mandovi river, Chorao islands, surrounding hills and Old Goa. In fact, this gorgeous church with its simple exteriors and lavish interiors has been featured in several Bollywood movies too. Church of Our Lady of the Mount was established in 1510. Mass service is held every day of the week.
#Tip — if you’re visiting in February, do stop by at this Goa church to check out the Monte Music festival.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church is located in Panjim, and is a landmark in itself. The unique architecture and its convenient location makes this church in Goa a popular spot for photographs and shoots too. Established in the 17th century, it is also famous for an ancient bell that is believed to be the second largest of its kind in Goa (the first one is the Golden Bell which resides in the Se Cathedral). Mass service is available all throughout the week.
Three Kings Chapel
Three Kinds Chapel is one of the most popular churches in the state, but the reason for its popularity might surprise you. It boasts of a bunch of mysterious legends and paranormal occurrences that have lent it an eerie and haunted reputation. Established in 1721, this Goa church is located on a hill far away from the hustle bustle of city life, in a small village called Cansaulim. Apart from the mysterious tales and sounds that locals have reported, this church also draws in crowds thanks to its picturesque location and beautiful exterior.
Church of St. Cajetan
Church of St. Cajetan is easily one of the most beautiful churches of Goa, and is modelled after the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican city. With its Corinthian Architecture and Baroque style carvings, this church is the ideal place to see the Portuguese legacy in Goa. It is dedicated to St. Cajetan, who was a contemporary of St. Francis Xavier and the founder of the Order of monks called the Theatines.Church of St. Cajetan was established in 1661, and is located in Velha. Mass service is available all throughout the week.
Our Lady of Penha de Franca Church
Located on the banks of Mandovi river in Britona, Our Lady of Penha de Franca Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Goa. This place of worship promises scenic views of the landscape all around, and the interiors are creatively designed, with a distinct European influence. Mass service is available on all days of the week, and is conducted in Konkani only.
Our Lady Of Pilar
The apparition of Our Lady of the Pilar is a widely accepted tradition, and this church is dedicated to solely to this belief. According to a Spanish tradition, Our Lady of Pilar is the name given to the apparition of Virgin Mary that appeared to St. James the Apostle as he was praying by the banks of the Ebro at Saragossa. Mary is often depicted carrying the Child Jesus in her arms resting above a pillar, and hence the name Our Lady of Pilar. Located in Velha, this church is popularly called ‘The Seraulim Church’ locally in Goa.
Mae De Deus Church
The Mae De Deus Church in Saligao is known for its beautiful, stark white exteriors, the castle-like architecture and the Neo-Gothic style design. It is in fact the only church in Goa that has been built in the Neo-Gothic style. It is exceptionally beautiful at night, and we highly recommend that you plan a visit post sunset to see the beauty of the white walls and glowing statue of Mae De Deus. Mass service is available all days of the week.
Chapel Of Jesus Nazareth
Located in Siridao, the Chapel of Jesus Nazareth is a quiet, picturesque chapel done up in white and teal, that is surrounded by abundant greenery and provides beautiful views of the landscape around. A small chapel located along the shore of Siridao Beach, this church in Goa is famous for the beauty that it offers. This shrine is also famous for the Feast of Jesus of Nazareth, which is celebrated there during the first week of Easter.