In a country that has around thousand dialects, Christianity is the 3rd largest religion in India introduced by Thomas the Apostle, whose glorious history and edifices dates back to 52 AD. With around 28 million followers, Christianity has influenced the traditions, culture and architecture of the country. Colonization in India has left an indelible mark on its architecture as the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British brought their own styles in the country.
- Mount Mary Church, Mumbai
Comfortably perched on the hillock at 262 feet above sea level, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is a Roman Catholic church in Mumbai. Overlooking the Arabian Sea from its mighty stance in Bandstand (West Bandra), this oldest church in the city draws lakhs of pilgrims and devotees every year. People from all faiths, come to visit the 100-year-old church to seek blessings.
Located in the area, which is now known as Mount Mary, the church has been a witness of many people testifying about the miraculous powers of the Virgin Mary. The original statue of this church is from Portugal.
- Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
Known to be one of the oldest churches in India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is nestled in Old Goa, which is a former capital of the Portugese dominion. Drawing visitors from around the globe, the basilica or “Borea Jezuchi Bajilika” is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the famous tourist spots in the state, it retains the mummified remains of St. Francis Xavier, who was one of the co-founders of the Jesuits or the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits is believed to possess inexplicable healing powers.
The construction of the church began from 1594 onwards and was consecrated in 1605. The church has been a witness to thousands of visitors annually. With breath-taking interiors, the structure signifies an authentic Baroque style architecture.
3. Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Kerala
Originally established by Francisco de Almeida (Portugese) in 1505, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica also lists amongst one of the oldest churches in the country. Located in Kochi, the church was given the status of a cathedral back in 1558 by Pope Paul IV and declared as a basilica by the then Pope John Paul II in 1984. It accounts for one of the few edifices in Kerala, that were spared during the Dutch invasion, as they wrecked other catholic buildings in the country back then.
Known as the prominent landmarks in Kochi, the Cathedral is one of the 8th Basilicas Churches of Kerala. Gaining the status of a heritage edifice in the state, its stunning and Gothic architecture beholds the sight of the visitors.
4. St. Paul Cathedral, West Bengal
Holding prominence for its Gothic Revival Style, St. Paul Cathedral accounts for one of the most beautiful and breath-taking churches in India. Built in 1847, it is the first Episcopal Church in Asia. Resting on the “island of attractions” or the Cathedral Road, it beholds a stunning sight when the sun shine falls on its high rising arched glass windows. Adding to its marvelous sight, the frescoes and paintings plays a huge role. It is a largest Cathedral in Kolkata. Best time considered to visit here is during Christmas Eve for midnight mass, as the entire cathedral is lit up making it an amazing feast to people’s eyes.
5. Velankanni Church, Tamil Nadu
Located on the coast of Bay of Bengal, Velankanni Church is renowned for its Basilica, dedicated to ‘Lady of Health’ and is called Our Lady of Good Health or Our Lady of Velankanni. Also, popularly known as “Lourdes of the East”, this the most-visited church and is said to have become a reason for curing people’s sickness. The phenomenon of people getting cured after their visit to this church has been proven right, time and again for centuries.
Built in Gothic style in 16th century, the church is a biggest Catholic pilgrimage sites in the country and was declared as basilica in the year 1962 by Pope John XXII. Worshippers who pay their visit to the church offer their prayers to the mother by lighting candles to get rid of their illnesses. It is a Christian shrine is symbolic for religious, international and multicultural harmony.
(Source: transindiatravels.com, walkthroughindia.com, tourmyindia.com)