India is secular country and all people are free to follow and practice their own religion. Christianity is the third largest religion in India after Hinduism and Islam. It is believed that Christianity arrived India in the 1st Century BC. There are a number of beautiful ancient churches built in various parts of India. There are some of the churches which are very ancient but still they have been maintained nicely, attracting a large number of visitors from all over the world.
Famous Churches of India
Basilica of Bom Jesus
It is counted amongst the most famous churches of India and is located in the beautiful state of Goa in South India. Constructed in 1695, this church is located in Panjim, the capital city of Goa. One of the main attractions of this church is the preserved remains of St. Francis Xavier. When the body of the holy saint is opened for public display, the church attracts a large number of visitors at that time. It has also been declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO.
St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church is located in Kochi, Kerala, one of the beautiful states of Southern India. It is the oldest European church in India. Built way back in 1503, St. Francis Church is the testimony to the Christian history in India. Vasco da Gama, one of the famous explorers, died in Kochi and his body was buried in this church but later on his body was taken back to his country, Portugal.
It is also counted among the famous Christian pilgrimage places in India. It is also famous by the name of 'The Church of Our Lady of Ransom'. Dedicated to Mother Mary, the church has been named after her as Mother Mary is also known here by the name of Vallarpadathamma. It was constructed in the year 1524 by Portuguese. At a later period the church was destroyed by Dutch, which was again built in 1676.
Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine
Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine is one of the very famous Christian pilgrimage places in India. It is also considered as the cradle of Christian religion in India. It is the first church amongst the seven churches which were constructed by Saint Thomas, in Kerala. It is located in Azhicode in Kerala, South Indian state.
It is counted among the prominent Christian churches in India and is located in Ernakulam district of Kerala. This church has been built by Saint Thomas, who started preaching Christianity in South India. It is said that this church was built way back in 52 AD and it has been declared as the international Christian pilgrimage place by Vatican.
Santa Cruz Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica was built by Portuguese in 1505 in Kochi, Kerala, one of the beautiful states of South India. In the year 1558, the then Pope, Pope Paul IV, elevated it to the Cathedral. At later stage it was demolished and reconstructed again in 1887 by British. It was declared as Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.