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Looking for another flavorful bite of “Incredible India”? Why not pay a visit to the famous churches in India? The country is home to the world’s most beautiful and architecturally superior churches.
Just like the country proudly displays its diversity, its churches also diversify in style and design. You’ll find Gothic, Portuguese, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and many more churches. No matter what your religion is, these famous churches in India are definitely worth a visit. If you’re longing for a place to worship or simply want to admire stunning architecture, the following list is all you need!
So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the famous churches in India that you absolutely must visit on your next trip.
Here, we have sorted a list of India’s top 10 most famous churches. With their blend of architectural styles and fascinating histories, these churches are worth a visit.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the most famous churches in India and is known for its beautiful architecture. It’s located in Old Goa and was built in 1594 to honour Saint Francis Xavier. This church has a rich history and is a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics. If architecture excites you, then this is definitely a church worth visiting!
It also presents one of India’s best examples of baroque and Portuguese Colonial architecture. Embodying its Portuguese colonial past, the church is adorned with Corinthian columns and an ornate facade. The interior is just as beautiful, with gilded altars and paintings. It is home to the remains of Saint Francis Xavier and is a must-see for anyone visiting Goa.
Velankanni Church, Tamil Nadu
The Velankanni Church stands among the most visited churches by Catholics in India. It’s located in the town of Velankanni in Tamil Nadu and is known as the “Lourdes of the East.” The Velankanni church was built in the 16th century and is dedicated to the “Our Lady of Good Health”. The place where this church stands is a small town located on the shores of The Bay of Bengal. The Portuguese built the church, and Pope John XXIII gave it basilica status in 1962.
This place is known for its miracles, and many people come here to pray for healing. It is a widespread belief that if worshipers offer candles at the church, their illness will be cured. The church is also popular among tourists who are known to admire its beautiful architecture. There are multiple other reasons why it’s among the most visited churches in India.
Santa Cruz Basilica, Kochi
The Santa Cruz Basilica is one of India’s oldest and most famous churches and is a must-see for anyone visiting Kochi. Built by the Portuguese in 1505, Santa Cruz Basilica is one of India’s finest examples of colonial architecture. In fact, it is the second cathedral that the Portuguese built. Later, in 1558, the church was named a basilica by Pope Paul VI, and it’s among the few buildings spared by the Dutch during demolition.
The church is situated in the Fort Kochi area and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kochi. This beautiful site attracts tourists all year round; however, the best time to visit would be from October to March. It is also known for its beautiful interiors adorned with paintings and sculptures. The church is also home to several tombs, including that of Vasco da Gama.
Our Lady of Dolours Church, Kerala
The Our Lady of Dolours Church is one of the largest churches in India and is located in the city of Thrissur. This 25000 square feet church is Asia’s third-largest church and can accommodate up to 5000 people. It was built in 1814 and is among India’s finest examples of Indo-Gothic architecture. The church is relished for its beautiful interiors and is ornamented with paintings, murals, and stained glass windows.
You can appreciate the soaring belfries at the entrance and the double-storeyed aisles with beautiful interiors better up close. However, the church’s most notable feature is the central tower, which is 260 feet, and the two front towers of 146 feet each. If you plan on visiting this beautiful site, the best time to travel is from November to March. The weather is pleasant during these couple of months, making travel optimal.
St. Paul Cathedral, Kolkata
Another prime example of the Indo-Gothic style of architecture is the St. Paul Cathedral in Kolkata. This cathedral was consecrated in 1847, and its location places it in direct sight of the Victoria Memorial. Sitting on Cathedral Road on the “Island of Attractions,” this church offers a stunning view, especially when lit at night. This site is among Kolkata’s most popular tourist attractions and is known for its beautiful interiors.
The church is adorned with paintings, arched glass windows, and intricate carvings. These carvings display the different chapters of St. Paul’s life. The St. Paul Cathedral is also the seat of the bishop of Kolkata and is one of the most famous churches in India. If you’re in Kolkata, this is a must-visit site. If you want to know the peak times of this church, it is between October and March, but it takes it up a notch during Christmas. It’s all sorts of sparkles at midnight on the eve of Christmas.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
Commonly known as the Pondicherry church or Samba Kovil, a phonetic corruption of “Saint Paul’s Kovil” where “Kovil” means church. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is a prominent church in Pondicherry. It is also known as the seat of the diocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore and is one of the oldest churches in India. The church was built in 1686 by French missionaries and is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in India.
The history is rather intricate as the church was plundered and burned down by the Dutch in 1693. It was rebuilt by the French in 1699 and again plundered by the British in 1761. The church was then rebuilt for the third time, and the rest work was done in 1791, and then Bishop Champenois consecrated it. Over the years, there were additions made to the church, like the bell tower and the choir loft. Moreover, in 1970, the sanctuary was remodelled, and further changes were made in 1987 to allow people to join liturgical ceremonies and other events.
Christ Church, Shimla
Christ Church is one of Shimla’s most popular tourist attractions and the second oldest church in Northern India. Sitting on The Ridge, it was built in 1857 to serve the Anglican British community and is a legacy of the British Raj. Designed by Colonel J.T. Boileau in 1844, this church was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Daltrey in 1857. This church boasts Neo-Gothic architecture and is embellished with stained-glass windows, a pipe organ, and a clock tower.
Five stained-glass windows represent important Christian virtues such as Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience, and Humility can be seen here. The notable additions include the pipe organ that was installed in 1899, the porch added in 1873, and the construction of the famous clock tower in 1860. These are some of the prominent features of this church that make it one of the most beautiful and famous churches in India. If you’re in Shimla, don’t forget to visit Christ Church. You may visit this piece of architecture between December to January. And if you are lucky, you might experience the magical Christmas snowfall!
Cathedral Church of the Redemption, Delhi
The Cathedral Church of the Redemption, also popularly known as the Viceroy Church, is one of the most beautiful churches in India. It is located in New Delhi and was designed by Henry Medd. Viceroy Lord Irwin laid the church’s foundation stone in 1927, and it took four years to complete its construction. The Cathedral Church of the Redemption illustrates itself as Gothic Revival architecture and is one of the oldest churches in Delhi.
Sitting amidst 14 acres of lush greenery, the church is utterly beautiful inside out. The white marble altar, high curved arches, and delicate domes make it a sight to behold. Further adding to the charm, it is adorned with beautiful stained-glass windows, a pipe organ, and intricate carvings. The architecture reflects the brilliance of Henry as the church remains cool even in extreme summers. This church also adds to the community through its contributions to education and health. Trust us when we tell you that you wouldn’t want to leave this place once you’re there!
All Saints Cathedral, Prayagraj (Allahabad)
All Saints Cathedral, also popularly known as the Patthar Girja, is one of the most famous churches in India, reflecting Gothic Revival architecture. It is located in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, and was designed by Sir William Emerson. Also, it was Sir William Muir himself who granted the land for the church while his wife laid the foundation stone in 1871.
The church is built out of stone, marble, and red sandstone and looks absolutely stunning. Once inside, you are welcomed by intricate cream-coloured structures with fine red sandstone dressings, and the roof is embellished with red tiles. The All Saints Cathedral is a must-visit for anyone interested in architecture or history. It’s a sight to behold on New Year and Christmas, which would be the best time to visit. You can also visit on All Saint’s Day (November 1) as the church celebrates its anniversary on this day.
Vallarpadam Church, Kerala
Vallarpadam Church is one of the most popular churches in Kerala and is also a National Shrine. It is located in Ernakulam, Kochi, and was built by the Portuguese in 1524. Locally known as Vallarpadathamm, the church is built on the land donated by Paliyath Raman Valiyachan. The church features the picture of the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus, brought by Portuguese merchants. The Portuguese built the church in 1524, but it was destroyed by the Dutch and was later rebuilt in 1667.
It is India’s most integral Marian Shrine, and about 5 million people visit this church every year. There is also a miracle legend associated with the church. The miracle is about a young lady escaping a life and death situation, after which she devoted her life to Mary’s service. This legend has made the church even more popular among pilgrims and tourists. Dedicated to St. Mary, the Union Government of India recognizes it as a major pilgrim centre.
To know more about this shrine, visit their website.
This brings us to the last words of our little adventure through some of India’s most prominent churches. We had fun listing the most famous churches in India, and we hope you enjoyed reading about them too. Witness the marvellous architectural brilliance and religious zeal on your next trip to India! Well, we did our part, and now it’s your turn to go out and explore these beautiful churches for yourself!
You should also check out some of India’s Famous Museums. These will definitely take you on a ride to the past!