Historical and Religious Churches in Goa, India
Churches are one of the major tourist attractions in Goa. Goan churches are famous for their interesting architecture usually a blend of two or more forms. Most of the churches during the Portuguese rule were built in Old Goa and today Old Goa along with its churches is a world heritage site.
Goa is also popularly known as the “Rome of the East”, due to many beautiful churches. Well acclaimed for its architectural marvels Goa houses some of the country’s most historical Churches. Old Goa is the hub for churches, almost 90% of Churches are located in North Goa.
History of Goa Churches
There are a number of churches in Goa built by the Portuguese. Many magnificent churches were built by them in Old Goa which is well known for its churches. The Old Goa churches remind of its former glory that once rivaled that of Rome.
The architecture of Goa’s churches have undergone notable changes with the passage of time and the fashion of the era that they were built in.
The church architecture can be categorised as follows:
The Early period (From 1510 – 1550 AD)
The style of Churches during this time period is termed as “Manueline” after King Emmanuel of Portugal. This style is an amalgamation of Gothic and Renaissance and is a style peculiar to Portugal of that time. The decorative motifs of this style centered on Portuguese dominance of seamanship and included cables and anchors with seashells etc. The oldest surviving Church in Goa today is the Church of Our Lady of Rosary on Monte Santo, Old Goa.
The Baroque period (From 1550 – 1660 AD)
Church building during this time reached a fever pitch with styles and plans that are totally European. The great churches of Old Goa including the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral, and the Church of St Cajetan and the largest of them all, the Augustine Church of Our Lady of Grace, now in ruins, belong to this time period and style.
The Indian baroque period (From 1660 – 1760 AD)
The churches of this period represent the local contribution to church building in terms of style and design. The most important being the design of the outer facade and the ceiling with inclusion of flowers, tropical motifs etc. The prominent churches of this period include the Church of St Francis of Assisi at Old Goa, The Church of Holy Spirit at Margao and the Church of St Ana at Talaulim and The Church of Our Lady of Compassion at Divar.
The Rococo period (From 1760 – 1899 AD)
The churches of this period are characterized by their rather small size but with an accent on exquisite and ornate finishing on the inside with local motifs and paintings. Another element was the use of Stucco on the exterior facade. The style reflected to a large extent the relaxation of the religious fervor of the Portuguese.
The modern period (From 1900 onwards)
This period dates from the early nineteenth century onwards. There is a multitude of different styles and represents the freeing of the rigid structure of the past. Some examples include the Church of Nossa Senhora at Saligao built in the gothic style.