When in India, you might think that the only places of worship you should visit are Hindu temples. But years of being a hub for international trade has led to the country being a melting pot of different cultures, bringing with it places of worship of different faiths, which are now of high historical and archaeological value. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Goa is one of them.

The roots of the church extend as far back as to 1517, when eight Franciscan friars arrived in Goa, who then proceeded to beseech for a plot of land or a building to convert to a place of worship. The persistence of the friars paid off when the Governor granted them a few houses that were once the property of Thanadar. The original church was consecrated the Holy Ghost and completed its constructions in 1521. However, it was later taken apart and the current church was built upon its ruins in 1661, where only the entrance of the original church was retained.

The church is of three chapels located on either side of the nave and stands facing West. In addition to the main altar, it also has two other altars as well as a choir. The evening light filters in through the stained glass, which is adorned with frescos of delicate designs of floral arrangements. In the place of honour stands a statue of Sr. Francis of Assisi made of wood, while a niche on the façade is the place of resting for a statue of Our Lady of Miracles. Annexed to the main building of the church is the convent, which is now an Archaeological Museum.

Visiting the church of St. Francis of Assisi should not be difficult when you are sightseeing in Goa. It is located off National Highway 4 and is within easy distance of popular hotels like Alila Diwa Goa. It is well worth a visit here not only to witness architectural masterpieces but also to stand in the pew and reflect on the thousands of generations that were here before you, in the same position, paying humble respects to the gods above.

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.