Churches of India

There are many ancient churches located all over India, particularly in South India that are famous for their exceptional architectural designs. Most of them depict a fusion of British and European architecture. Below are some of the popular churches in India

St. Thomas Basilica Cathedral at Mylapore : Saint Thomas Basilica is in the city of Chennai, India. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. In 1893, it was rebuilt as a church with the status of a cathedral by the British. The British version still stands today. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style. This church is one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain.

The Church of Our Lady of Good Health at Vailankanni : This church is on the coastal line, east of Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. Also known as Our Lady of Vailankanni, it is a celebrated Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary believed to have appeared in Velankanni Town. The iconic depiction of the Madonna is unique in that it is one of two only icons where Mary is portrayed wearing an Indian sari, while the other statue is said to have been buried with Aurangzeb, the Mughal Emperor .

St. Xavier’s shrine at Bom Jesus Church at Old Goa: The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Borea Jezuchi Bajilika (Portuguese: Basílica do Bom Jesus) is located in Goa, India, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rules. The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary at Bandel in north of Calcutta: The Basilica of the Holy Rosary commonly known as Bandel Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in West Bengal, India. Situated in Bandel, Hooghly district of West Bengal, it stands as a memorial to the Portuguese settlement in Bengal. Founded in 1599, it is dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Our Lady of the Rosary. It is one of the most prominent historical churches in West Bengal.

The Church of Our Lady at Sardhana near Meerut in western Uttar Pradesh: Also known as Basilica of Our Lady of Graces this Roman Catholic Church is in Sardhana, 19 km north-west of Meerut in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is dedicated to Virgin Mary. The Church was built by Begum Samru, who married a European mercenary soldier Walter Reinhardt Sombre. Samru converted to Roman Catholicism in 1781 and adopted the name Joanna Nobilis. She is regarded as the only Catholic ruler in India. The Church is the largest in North India.

The Church of Our Lady of Mount in Bombay: The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic Basilica located in Bandra, Mumbai. The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated here on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. The feast is followed by a week-long celebration known locally as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people.

The Shrine of St. Theresa of Avila at Mahe close to Tellicherry in North Kerala: St. Teresa’s shrine, Mahe is one of the most visited shrines in India and is located in the Union Territory of Puducherry which shares its boundaries with the State of Kerala.

The Shrine of St. Xavier at Kottar just north of Kanyakumari: The St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral is located at Kottar, Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state, India. While Saint Xavier was doing missionary work at Kottar and it’s neighbourhood, he averted an invasion of Padagas with the help of his cross alone and thus protected the people of Venad kingdom from that attack which was appreciated by the king, Unni Kerala Varma, who became closer to the priest and befriended him from then on. In recognition of Xavier’s services, the king allotted him a piece of land to construct a Catholic church, as a gesture of goodwill. There was already a small church, in the same place where St. Xavier’s church stands at present, dedicated to Mary the Mother of God.