When we were chalking out our itinerary for Goa, my friends and I were clear on one point- that our journey must start by visiting Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa. We got to learn from the helpdesk of our resort that, this church is situated 10 KM north of Panjim in Old Goa. It remains open every day from 9.00 am-6.30 am. But during Sundays, the timing slightly alters and it becomes 10.00 am-6.30 am. As the church draws hordes of visitors during weekend, we decided to visit it on a Monday morning.
The imposing as well as breath-taking building of the church cast a spell on us at the first sight itself. What caught my attention was that- the church’s outside is wholly stripped off of plaster. But besides this, the building was in perfectly good shape defying it’s more than 400 years of age (the construction began in 1594). The sprawling lawn surrounding the church made for the perfect ambience.
I had done some homework before hitting this shrine and informed my friend that Basilica of Bom Jesus is synonymous with the cultural and spiritual identity of Goa. What made this church most famous is that it holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier- the patron saint of Goa. When we entered inside of this church, we were rather taken aback by the simplicity of the interior. We already knew photography is prohibited here, so we devoted our whole time and attention to soak ourselves into the tranquil atmosphere.
St. Francis Xavier’s mortal remains are preserved in a silver casket and are brought out to full public view in every 10 years. Though we couldn’t get to see it, the beautiful mural paintings on the walls of Basilica of Bom Jesus -taken from the life of this patron Saint of Goa made for everything. The marble flooring of the church looked dazzling inside, while the art gallery at the upper-story had some jaw-dropping paintings in collection.
We toured around the church close to one hour and when we exited; it felt upon us that there could be no better place to start our Goa trip from, than this place.