Being one of the key religions of India, Christianity has been spread throughout the country. There are legacies and stories behind many of the famous churches in India, which has made them quite popular within the country and around the world as well. India has a vast historical and religious background, and Christianity hasn’t been far behind. For your next visit, you can take a look at these cathedrals that have extensive history behind them. Here’s a list of a few most historic and well-known churches of India.
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is known to have the relics of St. Francis Xavier. Constructed in 1594, this minor Basilica is famous for its Baroque Architecture. This popular world heritage shrine houses the body of St. Francis Xavier, and this fact has known to have attracted a large number of people including tourists and devotees. Over four hundred years old, the Bom Jesus Basilica has been one of the most sought after tourist destinations of Goa due to its divine architecture and the memoir of St. Francis, whose body lies in a silver casket inside the church.
2. Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Kerala
One of the famous heritage sites of Kerala, the Santa Cruz Basilica is among the eight Basilicas of India. Adorned with Gothic architecture, this church is an elaborate edifice. The Portuguese built the Basilica in 1505, and it was made Cathedral by Pope Paul IV. After its demolition in 1660, the Bishop of Cochin rebuilt the church, embellished with gothic style architecture that includes stained glass windows and Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting, ‘The Last Supper’. The Basilica is of great importance to the Christians, and it is also a popular tourist spot.
3. St. Francis Church, Kerala
This is the oldest European Church of India, located in the Kochi region of Kerala. It was initially constructed in 1503 and was captured by the Dutch during 1663. St. Francis Church is under the Archaeological Survey of India as a protected monument. The Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama’s body was at first buried at this church before it was relocated to Lisbon. His grave is still preserved in the church, and it is a very intriguing part for tourists as they are attracted in a large number to this popular church.
4. S Cathedral, Old Goa
This Portuguese-Manueline style church is dedicated to St. Catherine, and was erected to celebrate the victory of the Portuguese over a Muslim army. The altar is surrounded with various ancient paintings, and the interior architecture is that of the Corinthian style. It is said that a vision of Christ appeared on the right side chapel in 1919, and since then it has been of great Christian importance. Tourists are found at the church due to its detailed structural design and history behind it.
5. St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Kerala
Known as one of the most significant churches of Kerala, the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, also known as the Malayatoor Church is known to have been of great importance to Christians all over India. It has been voted as one of the eight International Shrines of the world by the Vatican. The famous history behind St. Thomas’s journey to Kerala and the legend of the golden cross has attracted a lot of tourists to the church. It is one of the most prominent shrines of St. Thomas in India; also, being the largest one.
6. Mar-Thoma Pontifical Shrine, Kerala
Dedicated to St. Thomas, this shrine is found in Marthoma Nagar of Kerala, perched upon the banks of the Periyar River. This shrine has been of great Christian importance to people all over India, and it also attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year. It contains of holy relics of a number of saints including St. Thomas. Out of the seven shrines of St. Thomas, this is quite a significant one due to its location along the river and the scenic beauty, along with its historical and religious importance.
7. Church of our Lady of the Immaculate, Goa
Initially built as a chapel by the Portuguese, this church located in Panjim is famous for its Baroque architecture and its shape of a wedding cake. Church of our Lady of the Immaculate was erected in 1541, and its altar is devoted to Mary, along with two other elaborately carved altars. The church is entirely plain white and it is illuminated by colours during the annual festival in March. Tourists are attracted to this church in a large number all round the year and mostly during March.
Christianity being a significant and prominent religion of India, the churches holds great importance throughout the country. Most churches have a vast history and heritage behind them, those that are found interesting by tourists all over the world.