The Panjim Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is placed on the hillside and just high above the Idalco Palace built by Adil Shah. Standing on the gallery of the church, you can see the entire view of the lovely Panjim city. It is one of Panjim’s best attractions located in the heart of Panjim city and is the first church of Goa, built in 1541.
In this century this area was hilly and residential. Land around was swampy covered by the field of paddy, coconuts groves and watery. It was in 1843 the land was developed by the Viceroy when he took over Panjim; and in the year 1855 the ‘Praca de Flores’ (Square of Flower’s) was built in front of the church. In the year 1619 the church was re-constructed by enlarging it further looking at the population growth.
The decoration of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church is simple, but still it is amazing to the eyes because of it simplicity. In the year 1871, the great bell belonging to the Augustinian Church of Our Lady which is in Old Goa was brought here in Panjim Church to install. After the Golden Bell in Se Cathedral, this is second bell which is large and heavy in weight and due to this the whole pediment of the fa�ade was renovated and increased in the size.
The Panjim Church has ordinary interior. The main altar is honoured to Mary Immaculate, and it has two more altars, on the left is Jesus crucified and to the right is Our Lady of the Rosary. On the both sides there are two marble statues, one of St. Peter and one of St. Paul. On the right of the main altar in the south transept there is a Chapel of St. Francis Xavier.
The area above the church on hilltop is called Bairro Altos de Pilotos because large beacons used to be lit here to guide ships into the estuary before the light house. On the right side of the church down to the lane little further is Secretariat Building. On the down the lane few steps is Jama Masjid and built in is a Muslim College. Further on the street is the Hindu Mahalaxmi Temple which is main temple in Panjim, In front of the church is the view of Municipal Garden, hotels, boutiques etc.
The feast of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church is celebrated on 8th December every year. During its feast this church is beautifully decorated with lights and decoration and the entire Church Square is occupied by a lively fair. Infact this location of the church is so popular that many film shootings have been carried on this place. Standing on the high on the hill this church is indeed the crown of the Panjim city.
About The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Classic white Baroque architecture blended with Portuguese flavours and dash of Goan touch; the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is an excellent structure standing proudly on the Church Square Panaji.
The church could be easily spotted amidst the colourful buildings reflecting the Portuguese roots in the land of beaches. One can hire a cab or self drive through the neat streets of Goa to reach the beautiful church.
The massive white structure has zig-zag staircases to let you inside the church’s prayer hall. You can offer your silent prayers to the Lady of the Immaculate Conception and also adore the architecture and design of the church, along with the second-largest bell hanging on the top.
The top area forms a beautiful crown on the head of the church, which is often referred to as the crown of Panaji. Make sure you visit here to capture the beauty and simplicity of Goa and its vibes.
On the street, you can buy some souvenirs to take home or munch on some Goan cuisines and street food. You may even like to talk to the locals as they are adorable and always ready to help. It would be a great deal for you to explore the buried history of Goa along with the evolved culture of the state.
History of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church –
Originally believed to be built in the year 1541, the chapel was used by the Portuguese sailors sailing nearby. They used to visit the chapel to thank god for their safe arrival in the state.
After that, they used to continue their journey to Velha Goa. However, there are no references for the architectural style of the chapel. So, one can not compare the designs of each of the structures.In 1609, the chapel was rebuilt as it was to be turned into a church which stands chic white today. Over time, many changes were introduced to the structure to give it the face it has today.
The zig-zag staircases were added in the year 1871 along with strengthening the pediment and belfry. It was done to install the second most massive bell called Augustinian bell.
Architecture of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church –
The Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church possesses a beautiful blend of the Portuguese and Baroque architecture with a dash of Goan style. It is a classic whitewashed structure which shines brightly under the golden sun.
The reason behind choosing the white colour is to signify the Immaculate Virgin, Mary. This colour is complemented with a little use of deep sky blue colour to signify the calmness. The prominent feature of the church are the two beautiful towers constructed on the top of the church.
There is an even taller belfry adorned with the second most massive bell of its kind called Augustinian bell. It is often referred to as the ‘crown’ of Panaji as it looks like one. You will find a very skillfully designed zig-zag staircase of 78 steps leading you to the church, which can make one of the best backgrounds for your Instagram photos.
How to Reach The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is 2.4 KM from Panji. You can hire a cab and get yourself a drive to the church from Panji. Also, buses are commuting through this route that you could board to cover this distance.
However, if you are comfortable walking, then a 16 minutes walk through the streets of Goa will take you to the church without any charges.
From Goa International Airport:
Goa International Airport is 28.2 KM away from the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church. Hiring a cab from the exit of the airport will be the best way to cover this distance. However, you can save some money by commuting through local buses which will be a little hectic as you would have to change at least three buses.
From GOI, you need to reach Vasco Da Gama. Here you can get a bus to Panji and then from there you can board a bus to take you to the church.
Best Time to Visit The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Best time to visit Goa is winters between November and March. This is the time when the state is at its best adorned with green carpets of grass and tall, healthy palm and coconut trees. Even the salty breeze feels perfect at this time of the year. All this makes it the best time to visit the church also as the soothing temperatures makes the free tours easy.
Summers get extraordinarily harsh and humid, making your trip extremely difficult with pinching sunlight and sweating glands.
Although Monsoon is more relaxed than the summers, the high tides in the sea make the watersports impossible, giving the season negative marks for travelling.