Famous For Famous for A World Heritage Site
Duration of Visit No Entry Fee
Fee Around 2 hours
Visiting Time 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM on all days of the week
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is a 16th-century catholic church located in Old Goa. This is one of the oldest churches of Goa and is now, a part of world heritage sites of the churches and convents in Goa. This church is considered as a victory symbol for Portuguese over Deccan rulers.
History of Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
Although there is no literature works to back-up, it is believed that this chapel was built under the order of Afonso de Albuquerque after the battle that led to Goa being re-captured by the Portuguese army. Thus, this is considered the first church of Goa. There is very little information available about the construction of the building. The earliest literature evidence mentions about three parishes of three churches including the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary built in the capital of Portugal colony of India, Goa. Thus, it is assumed to be built during 1544. However, there are letters written between the municipality of Goa and the king of Portuguese in 1549 about a new chapel built in the place of an old one. These confusing pieces of evidence make the overall information, very cloudy.
This church used to be an important pilgrimage site and politically-important structure in Goa. However, in 1843 when the Portuguese shifted its headquarters in Goa from Old Goa to the region, which is now considered as New Goa, the building lost its importance. Later, in 1897, the church underwent its last renovation. The church was opened for the public again in 1899.
Architecture of Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
The church is considered one of the best-preserved monuments of colonial times in Goa. This is the only structure of Goa, which has many medieval-styled designs in its architecture. The church has three levels and two porticos. It has round edged towers with crowns, crosses, and cupolas. The windows are located at far higher from the ground and it has more fortress look than a church structure. You can find Indian styled manual designs on the exterior parts of the church. The front corners of the church have cylinder-shaped buttresses.
The church has two chapels and one nave. The nave leads to the main altar. On either side of the main altar, you will find a smaller one. The main altar has a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary. The interior of the church has a heavy influence of the Gothic architectural style. The main room is built in the Manueline style. You will find a tombstone inside the church, which belongs to Garcia de Sa and his wife.
- Climb the staircase in the southern-most tower to get a view of the Rood Screen.
- Spot the tombstone of Garcia De Sa and his wife. Garcia De Sa was the Portuguese Governor of Goa. The tombstone has a unique Persian style architecture.
- Explore the architectural beauty and carvings of the church
- Spot Hindu styled carvings of cashews, mangos, and others in the main altar, on a granite slab.
- Walk around the small lawn around the church, which is beautified with lined flowering plants, trees, and others.
- Do not miss other attractions closer to the church like the Museum of Christian art, Church of St. John of Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, and others.
- Do not miss the ancient inscriptions on the walls of the church and carved miniature ornamented pillars.
- If the top floor of the church is open for visitors, you could get a panoramic view of Divar Island and Mandovi River. However, the floor is usually locked for tourists.
Interesting Facts of Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
- The side chapels, altar and other elements inside the church are positioned in such a way that it would look like the shape of a star.
- There are rope-twist devices outside the church, which is a tribute to the sea voyages of Portuguese.
- This is one of the earliest structures of renaissance style in India.
- There is a folklore related to the church. According to the story, Afonso de Albuquerque survived the attack of the army of Adil Shah and as thanks to his victory, he built a church.
- St. Francis Xavier taught Catechism in this church.
- The tombstone in the church belongs to the first Portuguese woman, who landed in India. An interesting fact about her is that she married the governor when she was in her death bed.
- According to legends, there was a hermitage in the site, which was later converted into the church.
- The nave of the church is now open to the sky but, it used to have a roof, which collapsed at the end of the 19th century.
Visiting Time of Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
Throughout the year from 9 am to 5:30 pm
No entry fee
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the Church is during the winter season or early summer. The peak time to visit the monument is between September and March. Winter starts in October and ends in February. Winter is cool, calm, dry and pleasing. Summer starts in March and ends in June. While summer attracts people to Goa to escape the hot climate, it is harder to enjoy sightseeing with scorching sun on top of your head. Monsoon starts in July and ends in September. Monsoon creates frequent rainfall in Goa and thus, sightseeing is a little inconvenient during this time. Moreover, the water activities and other natural beauties would be closed for tourists for safety reasons.
The best time of all is in November, during the annual feast of the church. The festival includes feast, masses, procession, fireworks, Konkani concerts, dance performances, fashion shows and much more. If you are looking for a cultural vacation in Goa, choose November to visit the church.
Also Read : Best Time to Visit Goa
How To Reach
This church is located on the Holy Hill (Monte Santo) of Old Goa. It is very close to the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The closest railway station to the church is the Vasco Da Gama railway station. From the station, you can find buses and cabs to reach the church. If you are choosing a bus, the closes bus stand is the Kadamba bus stand of Panjim. Finding road transportation from the bus stand to the church is quite expensive. Thus, people rent cars or scooters to explore Goa.
If you are visiting during the tourism season,you can easily find auto-rickshaws from Basilica of Bom Jesus or Kadamba Bus Stand to the church. It would take around 15 minutes to reach the church from the bus stand. If you are hiring a cab from Panaji or railway station, it would take 20 minutes to reach the church.
Also Read : How to Reach Goa