What is Goa most popular for? Its beaches of course. Those lovely stretches of sand that are great for spending a day in complete relaxation or enjoying various water sports in Goa. However, what most tourists forget is that Goa has a lot to offer besides its beaches, like its forts, spice plantations, casinos, and such other stuff that make for a memorable vacation.
Goa is also home to a number of churches, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are repositories of heritage and culture. Some of these churches are architectural marvels while others attract tourists for the fascinating history associated with them. One would hardly be wrong in saying that no visit to Goa is complete without a visit the most popular churches in Goa.
1. Bom Jesus Basilica
Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the oldest and most popular churches in Goa, besides being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s quite interesting to know that this churches contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. This church was built by Jesuits in the 15th century, and is considered to be an incredible representation of Baroque architecture. Other qualities which make it so famous are the exquisite works of precious stones and works by the Goan surrealist painter, Dom Martin.
2. Se Cathedral
Se Cathedral is not just one of the largest churches, but also the oldest one. This is one of the churches which you must visit to make your Goa visit a memorable one with Goa tour packages. The church was built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese ruler Afonso de Albuquerque for capturing the Goan city in 1510. Se Cathedral is built in the Portuguese-Manueline architectural style with Tuscan exteriors and Corinthian interiors. The interiors of the church contain a Golden Bell, which is the largest in Goa.
3. Chapel of St. Catherine
Chapel of St. Cathrine is special because it was the first of its kind to be built in Goa. Built by the Portuguese governor in 1510, the elegance of the church is reflected in its exteriors. An important characteristic of its interiors is the rectangular window panes. Chapel of St. Catherine was built in the commemoration of St. Catherine and underwent several modifications before being rebuilt in 1952.
4. Church of St Francis of Assisi
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is a mixture of several architectural styles including Tuscan, baroque and Corinthian styles. The attractions of this church include a museum with fabulous paintings, sculptures and artefacts which showcase Goa’s culture, along with its past. The interiors of the church are adorned with several ornaments. Several paintings that depict the life of St. Francis of Assisi are also an attraction.
5. Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
If you are thinking of spending your holidays in Goa, then the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception certainly deserved your visit. Located in Panjim, the capital of Goa, it consists of two altars, one dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary and the other to St. Peter. The church receives thousands of visitors on the day of the feast. The church captures your attention at first sight with its double flight of steps zigzagging across the hillside on which the church is situated.
6. St. Cajetan Church Goa
The resemblance of St. Catejan Church in Goa to St. Peter’s Church in Rome is striking. Adorned with Corinthian and Baroque style of architecture, it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Goa. The main altar of the church is dedicated to the Holy Mother and there are several pictographic and sculptural depictions of the royal family. St. Cajetan Church in Goa is built in a rectangular shape and is divided into different sections.
7. Monte Hill
Monte Hill church is located to the southeast of Sat Burzam Ghor palce of worship in Margao. To reach this church, one has to ascend the Monte Hill, which is an exciting activity in itself. The exteriors, which are basically white-washed, are humble yet elegant. Upon reaching the church, you are treated to panoramic views of the surroundings.
8. Church of Our Lady of Miracles
One should visit the Church of Our Lady of Miracles to witness the heritage of Goa. This beautiful church once served as a military chapel and had collapsed once before being rebuilt. Located in Sanguem, the church attracts people of all religions and communities on the Holy Feast. It’s believed that many people have experienced spiritual healing at this church.
9. Mae De Deus Church
At first sight, Mae De Deus Church looks like a fairytale castle with its Gothic spires and immaculate white walls. The Mae De Deus Church, which was built in 1873, is surrounded by the beautiful surroundings of the Goan countryside. Among the many attractions inside the church is the miraculous statue of Mae De Deus (Mother of Goa). Besides the main altar, there are six other altars.
10. Santa Cruz Church
Santa Cruz Church, also known as the Holy Cross Church, is situated in Santa Cruz or Calapur village. The façade of the Church of Santa Cruz is basically a replica of Se Cathedral. Apart from the main church building, there are 5 chapels and 9 crosses, besides the various crosses which have been erected by the family themselves.