Church of Immaculate Conception overlooks the town square in Panjim. The colonial Portuguese style church has a history going back to 1541. It is one of the largest in Goa. Mass is conducted daily in English, Konkani and Portuguese.
The Portuguese first built a chapel at the site in 1541. It used to serve the religious needs of sailors from Lisbon. The balance of power slowly started to shift from Old Goa to Panjim. Inevitably, the present day church replaced the chapel in 1609. Addition of the large bell in the bell tower was in 1871.
Exterior of the church is pristine white to symbolise the immaculate Virgin Mary. The front facade has three stories. A large bell occupies middle of the bell tower. The church houses the ancient bell that was removed from the Augustinian ruins of the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Old Goa. There are two smaller bell towers on either side. The steps are probably shaped after the Nossa Senhora da Peneda Sanctuary in Penada and the Bom Jesus do Monte church in Braga, Portugal.
The interior of the church has a simple design. Mother Mary occupies the main altar. There are two other altars on either side of the main altar. The two altars are assigned to Jesus’s Crucifixion and Our Lady of the Rosary. Marble statues of St. Paul and St. Peter flank the two altars.
Festival of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception happens every year on 8 December. During this time, the church building gets colourful illumination. A fair is also part of the festival
Location of the Church
Church of Immaculate Conception is on top of a hill in Panjim. Zig-zag stairs go up to the top. You can see Panjim Municipal Garden from the church. River Mandovi flows nearby. There are a number of restaurants and shops in the locality. The nearest airport is at Dabolim, 26.3 km (35 min). Karmali railway station is a drive of 12.8 km (20 min) via NH 748. Luxury buses link Panjim to Mumbai and Bangalore.