The Immaculate Conception Church (Igreja da Imaculada Conceição) is perhaps Panjim's most famous landmark. In the first week of December, novenas are held in the church for nine days preceding the feast day on December 8.
From architecture to location, check out these interesting facts this famous church in Goa’s capital city.
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: The Panjim Church has a Baroque facade, with twin balustraded towers and a high central gable which houses a bell.
THE BIG BELL: The central gable houses a bell, which is very large, next only to that of Se Cathedral, in Old Goa. It was brought from the Augustinian Monastery in Old Goa, and is the second biggest bell in Goa.
RAISON D'ETRE: The Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim, was built in the 1500s as a small church so as to meet the spiritual needs of sailors who reached Panjim from Lisbon.
TALEIGAO CONNECTION: In the beginning, the little church was affiliated to the parish of Taleigao, of which Panjim was a ward.
FROM TALEIGAO TO PANJIM: In 1600, it was separated from the Taleigao parish and elevated to the status of a parochial church by the then Archbishop Dom Frei Aleixo de Meneses. In 1619, it was demolished and a new, bigger church was built in its place.
GRAND STAIRCASE: The prominent zigzag staircase in front of the church was built in 1870, and was styled on the staircase of the Church of Our Lady of Remedios, in Lamego, Portugal.
STATUE AT THE ENTRANCE: A beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands on the stairway in front of the church and marked the golden jubilee of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854.
CHURCH ALTARS: The church has four altars, apart from the main altar, which is in the Renaissance style.
THE PATRONESS: The church is dedicated to Mary Immaculate, Patroness of Panjim.
STATUE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA: There is a statue of Our Lady of Fatima inside the church. The statue was blessed by Patriarch Dom Jose da Costa Nunes in 1945, and crowned by the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, Cardinal Gilroy, in 1950. The statue is carried in a candlelight procession every year on October 13. The crown of the statue is made of gold and precious stones, gifted by the women who resided in the city.