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  CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE

 

Christianity has had long and glorious relations with India. According to the legends, St. Thomas sailed to India from Eastern Asia in AD 52. He spent 12 years in India, the last eight of his life in Mylapore in Madras (now Chennai). Several shrines have been created in the places associated with him. Apart from this, the advent of Europeans in India from the 15th century onwards led to the mass influx of Christians and subsequent development of Christian worship places. Some of the churches of colonial India are comparable to the best in the world and are as much a part of the heritage of India as its ancient temples. You must visit these churches and explore the fascinating world of Christianity in India.

Significence of Pilgrimage
Church of St. Cajetan, Old GoaPilgrimage is an important part of spiritual life for many Christians. Christians see life itself as a journey, coming from God and returning to God. The pilgrim seeks to separate himself from the everyday concerns of the world, and to spend time in the presenceof God as he travels to a place of special meaning. A pilgrimage is a symbol that is acted out. Back in the Middle Ages pilgrimages were very popular. Pilgrimage was long and very dangerous - not at all like a holiday! It may have taken many years. The pilgrims would usually travel in groups, and stay in monasteries or inns overnight.

Christian Pilgrimage Centres in India
People went on pilgrimage for many reasons - perhaps to say sorry to God for something they had done wrong (penance), or because they were ill and wanted God to heal them. How do people decide where to go on pilgrimage? Over the years, places have become special for different reasons, and Christians decide to visit them to become closer to God in these special places.

  • Basilica of Bom Jesus - Goa
    The church of Bom Jesus, "Good" or "Infant" Jesus, is known principally for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. In 1946, it became the first church of India to be elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. One of the richest churches in Goa, it is covered with marble and inlaid with precious stones and paintings depicting the life of St. Francis Xavier. The basilica, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept, is the best specimen of baroque architecture in India. St. Francis's body was brought to Goa almost 150 years after his death. It was a gift from Medici, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. It now lies in an airtight glass coffin, placed inside a silver casket fashioned by a 17th century Florentine jeweller. The chapel attracts large numbers of visitors every year.
  • The Church of St. Cajetan, Goa
    The Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on the original design of St. Peter's Church in Rome. The Church of Bom Jesus with its facade decorated with Ionic, Doric and Corinthian pilasters, shows the application of the Classical order. The Se' Cathedral, with its Tuscan exterior, the Corinthian columns at its portals, the raised platform with steps leading to the entrance, the barrel-vault above the nave, is yet another example of Renaissance.

    The paintings in the churches were done on wooden borders and fixed between panels having floral designs as in the chapels housing the tomb of St. Xavier, the arches above the altars in the transept of the Se' Cathedral and in the nave on either side of the main altar in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Excepting a few which are in stone, the statues are mostly in wood delicately carved and painted to adorn the altars. They depict mostly the saints, Mother Mary and Jesus on the cross.
  • Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral, H.P.
    The most prominent building on the famous Mall of Shimla is the yellow Christ Church, reputed to be the second oldest church in northern India. It still has those lovely stained glass windows for which it is so famed.
  • Church of St Francis of Assisi, Goa
    This church is the former palace of the Archbishop that connects the Se Cathedral to the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The exterior of the Church is of the Tuscan order while the main entrance is in Manuline style.

    To the west of the Se Cathedral is the former palace of the Archbishop that connects the Se Cathedral to the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The structure is built of laterite blocks and is lime-plastered. The church faces west and has a nave with three chapels on either side, a choir, two altars in the transept and a main altar. To the north of the main altar is a belfry and a sacristy. The convent, which forms an annexure to the church, now houses the Archaeological Museum.
  • Church of the Sacred Heart, Delhi
    Further north, at the south end of Bhai Vir Singh Marg, is one of Medd's more ambitious projects, the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart.

    This Church displays a strong Italianate influence, with a facade of white pillars supporting a canopy set against a dark brick background, and circular arcades turrets rising above the roof to each side of the entrance porch. The lofty interior has a towering curved roof, polished stone floors and broad arches set into smooth walls, presenting a very grand look.
  • Santa Cruz Basilica, Kerala
    The Santa Cruz Basilica is a historic church that was built by the Portuguese. The church was elevated to a cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558 AD. In 1795 AD, it fell into the hands of the British when they took over Cochin and was demolished.

    About a hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887 AD. The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.
  • Cathedral Church of St. Thomas, Mumbai
    St. Thomas' Cathedral, the city's first Anglican Church is situated in the heart of the commercial fort area, in Mumbai . The foundation was laid in 1672 during the governorship of Gerald Aungier, and was opened to public on the Chris Ãtmas Day in 1718, and subject to a number of later additions. Though simple in structure, the interior of the Church has some exquisite art adoration. A marble plaque at the front entrance reads: "Let all who enter this church remember Richard Cobbe, chaplain to the Honorable East India Company 1715 to 1719, this church had risen to 15 feet when the building ceased and the site lay desolate for 33 years. It was consecrated in 1816 and became a cathedral in 1837.
  • Little Mount, Chennai (Madras)
    Little Mount in Saidapet is where he lived and preached. It is not much of a hill but high enough for the churches on it to be noticed form a distance. The new church, consecrated in 1971 attracts attention by unusual circular shape. However, it is the old church next door, built in 1711 as extension to shrine which the Portuguese had built in 1511, that is thronged by pilgrims. It is not impressive from the outside, but is miniscule interior has an atmosphere not found in many churches. This Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is built against and above the rock cave that was St. Thomas' home.
 
 
 
Catholic Church, Kerala
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