Basilica of Bom Jesus – A Goan wonder
The Basilica of Bom Jesus comes across as an imposing brick structure that holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Located in Old Goa, the former capital of Goa, the basilica is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. Construction on the church started in 1594 and was sanctified in 1605, making the Basilica of Bom Jesus one of the major religious sites for Christianity. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it an important landmark in the country.
The style of architecture
This late-renaissance structure, though imposing, is beautifully simple yet ornate from the inside. It features a wooden ceiling, beautiful gilded reredos (ornamental screens) behind the altar and to the right of the altar lays the mausoleum on which is placed the body of St Francis himself, in a silver casket. On the upper level and overlooking the tomb, you will find the Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery, which contains the work of Goan surrealist painter Dom Martin. More than 408 years old, the basilica is open to the public every day. It also boasts of gorgeous courtyards and lush greenery all around it, making it a serene place to relax and reflect.
The Feast of St Francis Xavier
You will find a huge throng of tourists from all over the world visiting Goa during the Feast of St Francis Xavier. It is held annually on the 3rd of December, with much light-hearted festivity going hand in hand with the more solemn masses. The body of St Francis Xavier is exhibited to the public every ten years, during which it is taken all around Old Goa so everyone can catch a glimpse of the revered Saint. Since a huge number of visitors are expected in Goa during the feast, hotels in Goa are almost always booked to the limit. So, if you plan to visit Goa in December, make sure you have made your reservations in a Goa hotel.
Even if you plan to visit Goa during the off-season it is a great idea to book one of the hotels in Goa in advance. Next time you visit, don’t forget to take a trip to Old Goa to visit the magnificent Basilica of Bom Jesus. You’re sure to fall in love with the peace and quiet of the place!