Some of the most famous and biggest churches in India are among the most visited tourist sites in the country, along with being sacred places for India’s Christians. This article explores the top 10 biggest churches in India. These largest Indian churches are the heritage of the nation.
A church is a place of worship for followers of the Christianity faith. It has long been used as a place to spread the message of Jesus Christ across the world. In India, churches are present in almost all states of India. Although Christianity is one of the oldest religions in India, it is still not a very common religion in India. In 2014-15, the number of Christians stood at 2.3% of the total population of India. In this article, we will explore the list of the most beautiful and biggest churches in India.
Also Read: Top 10 Most Beautiful Hindu Temples in India
Top 10 Most Famous and Biggest Churches in India
1. St Francis Church, Kerala
St Francis Church is the oldest European church in Asia. It was built in 1661 by the Portuguese. This church accepts thousands of visitors every year. It is the place where Vasco da Gama took his last breath in the year 1524. It is also one of the oldest churches in India. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama brought Christianity to India, Africa, and Europe.
It was his third visit to this sacred place, and his body was covered here itself. It is said that his remains were sent to Lisbon after 14 years, but the tombstone is still here. Voyagers from various parts of the world come here to see the tombstone of Vasco da Gama. The structural alteration was made by the British and Dutch to look like the present-day appearance.
2. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
A UNESCO world heritage site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the most famous churches in India. It is known for having the oldest bell tower in Asia. It is a recorded fascination for visitors from across the globe. The development of Bom Jesus Church started in 1594 and the congregation was blessed in 1605. It is one of the most established houses of worship in India and a place of interest. Tourists visiting the city add this place to their itinerary without fail.
3. Velankanni Church, Tamil Nadu
One of the biggest churches in India, Velankanni Church of Tamil Nadu is a historic Christian place of worship in the town of Velankanni. It is also called “Lourdes of the East” because of the devotion of many Catholics. This church is known to have been developed in the sixteenth century. The church was built in 1560 and became a basilica in 1962. It is considered to be one of the most important Catholic churches in India. This church adds a gem to the beauty of Velankanni seaside town. It is one of the oldest churches in southern India.
4. St Paul Cathedral, West Bengal
This church is very beautiful and impressive. It is well-known for its Gothic architecture. It was built in 1847, and it is the first Episcopal Church located in Asia. The stained glass windows are breathtakingly amazing. The paintings and frescoes inside make the place even more beautiful. This church is also a scientific marvel and gives heavenly sight when the sun lights up the curved glass windows. It is a must-visit place and a sacred house for prayer. This church was built to replace St. John’s Church. With the growing European community in Kolkata, St. John’s Church became too small for them.
Also Read: 10 Most Beautiful Hindu Temples in Pakistan
5. St Catherine Church, Goa
Goa is known for its churches, and St Catherine Church is truly a spectacular example of that. It was built by the Portuguese recognizing the victory over a Muslim army that led to the capture of Goa in 1512, the cathedral additionally houses an enormous bell known as the “Brilliant Bell”, which happens to be one of the largest in the world. The exterior is Tuscan, whereas the interior is Corinthian. Built in 1619, the church is designed in the Manueline style. The congregation in one of the biggest churches in India is mostly devoted to Catherine of Alexandria. It also houses various works of art.
6. Sacred Heart Church, Shimoga
At the end of the 17th century, the Paris Foreign Mission Societies, with its headquarters at Pondicherry, assumed control of the Mysore mission. The civil districts of Shimoga, Chitradurga, and Chikkamagaluru fell into the able hands of the Fathers of the Paris French Mission Society. By 1830, Shimoga already had a small church and a burial ground. It was established as a parish in 1847. In 1871, a new church began to be built and it was completed and consecrated on 4th April 1875. It was dedicated to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus.
As the Catholic population grew, this church was found to be too cramped and an extension was built and inaugurated on 30 November 1976. This church is currently spread over an area of 18000 sq ft and is one of the largest churches in India.
7. Medak Cathedral, Telangana
It is one of the largest churches in Telangana state. Medak Cathedral was established on 25th December 1925 and renovated by British Wesleyan Methodists. Medak Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop in Medak for the Church of South India.
The cathedral is 100 feet (30 meters) wide and 200 feet (61 meters) long and conforms to the Gothic Revival style. It can accommodate up to 5,000 people at one time, putting it on the list of the biggest churches in India. The mosaic tiles were brought from Britain and are made up of six different colors. Italian masons from Bombay were hired for laying the decorative floor. Massive pillars built with finely hewn and well-dressed grey stones support the gallery and the entire building. The main attraction of the Cathedral is its stained glass windows depicting various scenes from Christ’s life. These include the Ascension behind the altar, the Nativity on the west side, and the Crucifixion on its east side.
8. Vallarpadam Church, Kerala
Vallarpadam Basilica is the most important Catholic shrine in India. All people from all parts of the globe irrespective of caste or creed visit the Church to seek the blessings of the Mary, the Mother of Jesus, commonly known as “Vallarpadathamman”.
Vallarpadam lies next to Bolgatty Island on the west and is connected to the Ernakulath mainland via the new Gokkara bridges. It is about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 mi) in length in the north-south direction and hosts a population of 10,000 people. Vallarpadam, which is about 1 km (½ mile) away, is located on Ernakulam island.
9. San Thome Basilica, Tamil Nadu
San Thome Basilica is one of the three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus. The other two are St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. Its present-day structure was built by the Portuguese over the tomb of Thomas the Apostle. The Rib vault ceiling of this church is made of teak wood and built with 16 windows and 34 stained glass. The main stained glass of this church represents “Saint Thomas Touching The Wound Of Jesus Christ”.
10. House of God of Our Lady of the Rosary, Kunkuri
Listed among the biggest churches in India, Kunkuri Church is located in the Jashpur district in Chhattisgarh state. It was built by late religious administrator Stanislas Tiggo. Brother Joseph Toppo started developing this church. After his death, Fr. Manuinsant SJ continued the development of this church. In 1979, it was inaugurated by late Bishop Francis Ekka. God of Our Lady Of The Rosary is under the care of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jashpur.
We hope you liked this collection of the 10 biggest churches in India. We might have missed several names that you might have in mind. If you have visited a church that you think deserves to be on this list, you can suggest us on social media.