10 Most Popular Churches in India
During 50 AD , St. Thomas came to India and introduced Christianity first in Kerala. While the disciple of Jesus built a couple of churches, others too, like him, built several worship places of Christians all over the country, especially Southern India. While these were the first traces of Christianity in the country, centuries later, the Portuguese, French, Dutch & British too established several beautiful churches with exquisite architecture.
This is a list of 10 must – visit churches in India that you should not miss out.
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
This is one of the most popular churches in the world situated in Goa. Among several reasons, this church is famous for housing the preserved remains of St. Francis Xavier. Dating back to over 300 years ago, this structure bears the edifice of Baroque style with earliest Portugal influence.
The church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is thronged by tourists from all around the world. The artistic rendition, murals, gold glided alter, and the marble flooring with precious stones and tinted windows at different times of the day makes the church a must-visit church in India.
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2. Se Cathedral Church, Goa
There is an interesting history about this old church dating back to the fifteenth century. The Portuguese were victorious over the battle for Goa and hence, the church was built to celebrate the victory. The same day was the feast of St. Catherine, so this church was dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria.
One of the largest churches in the country is 250 meters high and measures 181 meters in breadth taking more than half a century to complete construction. The church has a few pictures of St. Catherine on the main altar and also the ‘Cross of Miracles’ Chapel on the other side. The ‘Golden Bell’ is one of the main attractions for tourists from all over the world as it is known as one of the ‘World’s best church bells’.
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3. Santhome Church, Chennai
This church is of great importance in history and architecture. The white- washed church spires, arched domes, and wooden roof tops and arched windows makes the structure appreciated by several visitors. There is another highlight of the church where the earlier remnants of the older churches are put up at a museum within the church premises.
The church that features contemporary Neo Gothic architectural fashion is situated in the metro city Chennai, India. It is believed that the structure of art also houses the remains of St.Thomas.
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4. St. Paul Cathedral, Kolkata
This church situated on the ‘island of attractions’ is another historical structure in Gothic Revival architectural style. The church is well known for the beautiful art of stained glass work on windows. When the sunlight shines through them at various parts of the day, it is a moment worth capturing in lens.
The high arched windows over the vibrant pieces of glass as well as the frescoes inside the building are also are an amazing highlights of this Church in Kolkata. Attend the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve as the architectural marvel in full lighting is a feast to your eyes.
5. Santa Cruz Basilica, Kochi
Situated in the scenic town of Kochi, the Santa Cruz Basilica is an important landmark in that place. The church is historically famous for being one of the few churches that were left to stay when the other catholic churches were destroyed at the time of Dutch invasion.
The church architecture is a slight blend of Indo European style cum Gothic architecture. The interiors of the church is colorful and vibrant with stained glass windows and colors used on the high ceiling. This historic church dates back to the 1500’s when the Portugal first built the edifice. Later, the Pope Paul IV blessed the church as a cathedral. Explore Kochi through Maharajas Express which is the world’s leading luxury train.
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6. Rosary Church, Shettihalli, Hassan
The specialty of this church is the construction material used to build it. It is believed that mortar, bricks and eggs were used to build this strong church. A close by damn that was built in the 1900’s called Gorur Damn. During the monsoons each year, you can see an almost fully submerged church right up to the spire.
In the 1800’s, the missionaries of French built the church over the banks of the scenic banks of the River Hemavathy in the village region of Shettihalli. As the water recedes back, the old church emerges in all its glory. You can guess by its looks that, if you put back the broken pieces, it looks somewhat like European style architecture.
7. Our Lady of Dolours Church, Trichur Basilia
Situated in the heart of Trichur, Kerala the biggest church in India and 3rd tallest in the world is built in Gothic style architecture spread over an area of 25,000 sq. ft. The church is admired for its exuberant artistry used inside. The entrance of the tall church houses towering steeples storing the church bells. There are eleven altars in total, one main one in the center with five on the left and five on the right side.
There are two- storied aisles alongside the transepts. There are extraordinary artistic specimens of murals depicting various biblical scenes. The ceiling is also colorfully painted while there is the throne and pulpit that Pope John Paul II used during his visit in the 1800’s. Architects from Tamil Nadu & architect Ambrose Gounder finished the archaeological marvel.
8. St. George’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Kochi
Also known as the Edappally Forane Church, the church that dates back to 504 AD has been refurbished several times. It is not only one of the oldest main churches in India, but also has such a large congregation that another large church was built beside it to accommodate so many people.
The center wall has pictures of Mother Mary with angels around while there is a statue of St. George piercing the dragon while sitting up on his horse. A high sculpted arch with murals of cherubs over the alter is another attractive feature of the church.
9. St. Philomena’s Church, Mysore
The Mysore King Kirshnaraja Wodeyar IV laid the Church’s foundation stone, as it is believed. A French architect was called in to design this tall church that looks like New York’s St. Patricks Cathedral. The towering twin towers measure 175 feet in height of the structure that is built in Gothic style architecture.
Formerly called ‘St. Josephs Chaver’, the church has the clothes and a bone of a 3rd century St. Philomena in the church cellar. The catholic church has a giant sculpture of a rosary over the rails of the two twin towers touching a flower – like artwork.
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10. Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puducherry
This church of neatness and simplicity is one of the earliest churches that the Portugal built in India. With the altar on the left side dedicated to the crucification of Christ, the right side is dedicated to Our Lady Of Rosary.
One of the most popular churches in India has a large church bell in the top most spire of the exterior while stairs lead up to the entrance in a crisscrossing way. The carvings are intricately done with the statues inside that are a fine example of art of the Portugal times in this compact church in Puducherry.
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