Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is located in the capital city of Goa, in Panaji, this notable Church is exceptionally known among tourists and locals for its distinctive manifestation. This famous church in Goa is surrounded with municipal gardens that make its foreground scene.
Its architectural style being Baroque is built by the Portuguese during the colonial period. Though it was initially constructed as a chapel in 1541 but later was replaced by a larger church in the 1600s. Holding the history, our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has intricate the Goan and Portuguese-baroque style.
Primarily erected as a chapel, the site was known to be constructed for the sailors to pay their word of thanks to God for their safely return without any harm. They used to pay their heads before carrying on their expedition to Velha Goa.
Today, while constituting two different techniques, the church has two towers and a bell tower which are visible even from the distance. Church is close to some of the best restaurants and shops of the city. It is recommended to dress properly entering the church.
While the daytime makes the church looks magnificent when sun shimmers on those white marbles but also the grandeur and the lighting of the church makes it beautiful to look at during the night time.
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Reflecting and affirming to its name, camouflage of the church depicts a pristine and shimmering white color. Also, it even has the power to repudiate the time of the construction and the existence time of the church to an amateur.
On the either side of the church, one can easily notice the zigzag patterned steps athwart the hillside. The steps are 78 in number and are the new addition to the church in recent time. This feature is remarkable in it and gives this church a slightly differentiated aura. From the church steps, the view Panaji offers is delight to the eyes of the visitors.
It has a bell tower at the top of the building which is acknowledged as the second largest of its kind in Goa, highest been the Golden Bell of Se Cathedral. Also what makes this bell special is its antiquity and origin for the bell at the top is the one which was extracted from the Augustinian relics of the church of Our Lady of Grace.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church Timing
The church welcomes the worshippers and opens daily from 9:00am to 12:30pm and 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm. If you intent to hear the mass at this church, following timings are proposed on Sundays: 7:00am, 8:15am, 9:30am, 10:30am and 5:30pm. Masses are organized in English, Portuguese and Konkani for the devotees.
On comparing the interior of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim with the churches in Old Goa, the inward place is much simpler and is not decorated with red roses and carvings which are the parts of the beauty of churches in Old Goa.
But in exception and unlike other churches’ decoration, this church has a main altar and the two sub-altars which are elegantly and rhythmically accomplished. The church is arranged in a canonical fashion having a nave and a transept and is approved by the standards.
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Both the main and the sub-altar of the church have exquisite carvings and capture the heart of the visitors. Dedicated to our lady of the Immaculate Conception is the main altar; termed in Portuguese as ‘Nossa Senhora da Immaculada Conceicao’. The main altar has a sculpture relief engraving of the last supper of Jesus with his Apostles.
The podium has an illustration of the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. In addition, the main altar has portrayed strikingly and meretricious tabernacles where St. Francis Xavier’s Statue stands and relish with dignity.
Furthermore, moving towards sub-altars, the right one is dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary while the left altar gratifies the crucification of Jesus Christ. These, like the main altar, have carved works and are girdled by the statues of St. Paul and St. Peter. Among all these, the chapel of St. Francis Xavier holds the most popularity amidst all the visitors. Visiting the church during Christmas is like a treat to the eyes, so don’t miss the chance if you have.
The Immaculate Conception feast is celebrated by the church on 8th December of every year with immense grandiosity and wholeheartedness. The warmth and the sincerity of the religiousness make the ceremony more pious and peaceful.
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Firstly, nine days novena ,that is, regular prayers to Our Lady is held which is an ancient tradition in Christianity. The interior of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is beautifully decorated with bright lights and the ceilings and walls covered with the blue-white flowers reflecting the color schema as proposed by the church and as go in tradition with Our Lady.
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People then join the procession with brass band and then light the candle and make offerings to Our Lady pleading and promising their prayers with a warm heart. Candle sellers often make their way to sell the candles and are available every time.
After offerings and prayers, the devotees witness panorama of fireworks while band simultaneously play carnivalesque goan folk songs known as mando and fados.
People wear glittering clothes and dance their hearts out, enjoy performance, do shopping of statues, miniatures, souvenirs where stalls are selling the items. They can buy garments also. The feast also has food and drink stalls.
The façade with which the church is decorated has provided a picturesque landscape to many Bollywood movies. For the church is positioned on the headland, it has been allotted many names such as the “Crown of Panaji”, structure equal to a ‘big wedding cake’.
Not only for its surrounding and unique structure but also for the intricately and intermixed woven style, the church caters attention of every tourist. Whoever visits Panaji will assuredly never miss this.
Even if you are not visiting the place for the first time, you have the plentiful of chance to observe and analyze it with much care and experience.