Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Penha De Franca Church, Goa

It was Easter sunday and we were in the mood for some sight seeing. Had been to this magnificent church, Penha De Franca,  in Bardez, Goa, last year. It was under renovation. Just went around the construction site and saw the work in progress.
The front of the church faces the Mondovi river, infact it on the river front. One gets a breathtaking view from the river rather than from the land. From the approach road, you can hardly see anything of the church, only when you go round the church and come to the back, that church is seen. The church and the river are an integral part of the scenery. You cannot see any part of the church without seeing the water from some opening!
There are two bell towers on either side holding large bells.
Could not recognise it as the same church; Turned out so beautiful! According to Jose Lourenco, in his book, The Parish Churches of Goa, The church of Our Lady of Penha De Franca was built by the Fransiscans in 1626. It collapsed and rebuilt in 1655. It is a large church of 3 bays and 3 storeys high.
What I liked about the design of this church is that, it has a long front entrance lobby. The main door, in the centre, has ornate wood shutters. The architecture is Mannerist Neo Roman style.
Since it is recently restored, everything in the interior was sparkling and clean. The ceiling was beautiful.
Another interesting feature of this church is attached to a square open courtyard next to it. Around the courtyard, is a colonnaded verandah, and rooms opening onto it. The courtyard is was designed beautifully with a small court in the centre with a frangipani tree, and around it is a water body or pool. A small wooden bridge connects the platform to the verandah around. The rain water from the roof, collects in the pool.
Landscaping around the church is a new feature. The idea was simple but the design is beautiful. The concept is to catch the rain water from the roof into pebble filled semi circular pools. Once the water level in these increases, it will flow into the common pool. Since the site is sloping, the water falling into the pool will naturally flow down and collect into another pool. from there it will flow into the river. rest of the open area is being developed into lawns. Already trees have been planted into circular mounds. The first monsoon since the developments has to arrive, then we will be able to see how picturesque the whole place will become.

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