The Church Of Our Lady Of The Rosary
Location : Holy Hill, Old Goa, Panjim, Goa
Built In : 1544-49
The Church of our Lady of the Rosary represents a fusion of European and Indian elements; while the wall frescos reveal Hindu designs, those on the alabaster tomb of Dona Catherina, wife of the first Portuguese woman to hazard the long & arduous voyage to the Indies, demonstrate the impact of the Muslim-Bijapur style. Over the years the Portuguese zeal for propagating their religion became rigid & intolerant. Consequently temples were demolished & churches built in their place. It was not until 18th century, when the conqueror's religious zeal had diminished, that Hindu temples were built in sylvan surroundings.
Driving through Goa's villages one is struck by the deep imprint of four & a half centuries of Latin Catholicism. Presiding over every village, commanding the heights at hilltops, hugging the shores of rivers, beside fields and dusty roads, and visible for miles around, sparkling white churches, crosses & small shrines indicate Christian ubiquity; religion is never more than a bend away.
The Chapels And Altars
There are two chapels and three altars. The main altar is dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. The church, with windows near the roof and with rounded towers giving an impression of a fortress church, is Manuline in style though Gothic influence can be seen in the rib-vault at the portico.
Cenotaph Of Dona Catarina
To the right of the main altar is a marble cenotaph commemorating Dona Catarina whose marriage with Viceroy Garcia De Sa was performed by St. Francis Xavier. The cenotaph slightly projecting from the wall is artistically decorated with carved miniature pillars and inscriptions in Portuguese and has a triangular pediment crowned by a shell moulding. The foliage and other decorations emanating from a vase closely resemble those on the tombs of Gujarat, thus suggesting influence of a regional art-style.
This votive chapel was built in fulfilment of a vow taken by Afonso de Albuquerque while reviewing the battle between his forces and those of the Bijapur sultan from the same spot, on which the church stands. The vow, however, could be fulfilled only after his death, since this church was built in 1544-49.