The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, North Goa: How To

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. 

Festivals at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church - 

December 8th is the day when the locals organise the feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It is the time when the church is illuminated with a distinct set of colours, and the ceiling is adorned with white and blue flowers to match the colour scheme of the church. 

A nine days novena to Our Lady is served before hosting this exciting fest, which includes some particular servings and offerings to the Lady. After the feast mass is over, all the people fetch some candles from the candle sellers and light them in respect to the Lady.

This practice is followed by a grand firework display on the blank canvas of the night sky dotted with shiny stars with some engaging background music by a band. This entire festival includes a fair too, where you can get some miniature statuettes, souvenirs, garments, food and drink, to name just a few. 

How to Reach The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

From Panji:

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.

What Not to Miss at The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

The entire church could be explored in less than an hour, which leaves the whole day for you to explore the city of Panaji. There numerous grand structures left by the history which you can explore:

1. St. Sebastian Chapel:

Existing since 1592, the church is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, who helped the people affected by plague and other diseases with the help of treatments and meditation.

The insides of the church has a crucifix where Jesus is found with open eyes creating fear in the minds of the wrongdoers.

2. Shree Mahalaxmi Temple:

Initially, Portugues and Hindu did not have a very healthy relationship.

But the Portugues became polite to Hindus in the early 19th century which resulted in the construction of this temple as Mahalaxmi is the Goddess of Peace to appreciate the efforts by Portugues.

3. Reis Magos Fort:

It is the oldest fort in Goa which is serving the state since 1493. Initially, it was made with the intention of defence which later turned into the jail and then hospital.

However, it was abandoned in the year 1993 and adopted by the government which restored it to serve as a Cultural and Heritage Centre.

4. Gitanjali Gallery:

Gitanjali Gallery displays works of the local and overseas artists who need a platform.

Besides the beautiful paintings, you will adore the architecture with has brown terracotta double tiles as the roof complemented by granite mosaic floor.

5. Basilica of Bom Jesus:

It is the oldest church in Goa which marks the beginning of Christianity in India.

Built in 1594, the church displays an excellent example of baroque architecture constructed with the dark hues of red and brown.

6. Aguada Fort:

Displaying the simple Portugues architecture, the Aguada Fort is named after the word ‘water’.

It was built in the year 1612 as a defence fortress against the Dutch and Marathas. Now the fort gives fantastic views of the Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. 

Other Essential Information About The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

-Location: Rua Emídio Garcia, Altinho, Panaji, Goa 403001

09:00 am to 12:30 pm and 03:00 pm to 05:30 pm

-Fee: Free

Tips for visiting Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church - 

1. There are a lot of points which you would wish to have known earlier. Read this list and check all the said things to make your visit flawless.

2. Wear knee-length clothes to respect the dignity of the church.

3. Plan your trip early in the morning or late in the evening.

4. The mass is held at 08:00 in the morning. You must plan accordingly if you wish to attend the ceremony. 

5. The church will be closed on Sundays.

6. There will only be a paid parking near the church, which is just 130 m away.

7. You must plan your visit to the church along with Mahalakshmi temple, St. Thomas Chapel, Goa State Museum and Fontainhas as they are in the vicinity of the church.

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