Panaji: The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, a major tourist attraction, would be closed for visitors and parishioners for a month from November 5 as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will take up its restoration work, a church priest has said.
The more than 400 years old church, which houses the relics of St Francis Xavier, was consecrated in May 1605 by the then archbishop. The church, known for its baroque architecture, is located nine kilometres from the state capital Panaji.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has recognised is as a world heritage monument. Some of the church structures, including the altar, are made of wood.
The church’s rector Fr Patricio Fernandes told reporters on Saturday evening that the ASI will take up its restoration from November 5 onwards and it will take at least a month to complete. “I have been constantly speaking about the need for restoration of some of the church elements, specially the wooden structures which are attacked by termites,” he said.
He said they have been witnessing that the area in front of the church gets flooded during rains. ”The state Water Resources Department will take up the work of levelling the place and ensure it does not get inundated in rains,” he said.
The entry of tourists, pilgrims and parishioners will be banned during this period, Fr Fernandes said. “Those who want to attend the masses can do it online through the church’s YouTube channel or the dedicated mobile App,” he said.