Travel

The Churches of Goa, India

The state of Goa on the western coast of India was ruled by the Portuguese for 450 years which has a large influence on the culture, food and religion of Goa.  Today, around 27% the population in Goa is Christian while 68% are Hindu.

Prayer Candles, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa India

Prayer Candles, Basilica of Bom Jesus

The area of Old Goa has several historic Catholic churches within walking distance of each other that you can visit, worship, or photograph.  Three interesting churches to visit in Old Goa are the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, and the Church of St. Cajetan.

Of interest to photographers, is the unique Goan-Portuguese architecture, ornate church doors, statues, and alters which provide good compositions.  Photographs can be taken inside the churches but not of people worshipping inside the church.

Mary and Jesus Statue, Basilica of Bom Jesus

Mary and Jesus Status, Basilica of Bom Jesus

Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus was completed in 1605 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The church is called Bom Jesus which means “Good Jesus” or “Infant Jesus”.

Statue of St. Francis Xavier, Goa, India

Statue of St. Francis Xavier, Basilica of Bom Jesus

The exterior of the Basilica of Bom Jesus was under construction and the church was backlit when I visited so it was difficult to get good photos of the church exterior.  I did find several good compositions of statues, doors, alters, and the prayer candles inside the church.

Se Cathedral, Goa, India

Se Cathedral

The Se Cathedral is also known as St. Catherine’s Cathedral to whom the church is dedicated.  The Se Cathedral is known to be the largest church in Asia.  The cathedral was completed in 1619.

Church Door, Se Cathedral, Goa

Church Door, Se Cathedral, Goa

The church is an amazing architectural structure well worth walking around the building for several compositions.  I found the composition from the side of the building with the red dirt driveway to be my favorite.  There are several statues and alters inside the cathedral that also make good compositions.

Church of St. Cajetan

Church of St. Cajetan

Church of St. Cajetan

While not as large of a structure as the Se Cathedral, the Church of St. Cajetan is worth the short walk from the Se Cathedral.  The church of St. Cajetan was designed after the Church St. Peter in Rome.   There are interesting alters, statues, and pillars worth photographing inside the church.  The tomb marked with the skull and cross bones inside the church was an interesting photography subject.  The tomb was marked this way to warn people against opening it as plague victims were buried in the tomb.

Plague Warning, Tomb St. Cajetan

Plague Warning, Tomb St. Cajetan

Written by Martin Belan

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