THE LANDMARK SYNONYMOUS WITH THE CITY
By Karishma D’Mello
Two stairways converge, connecting tourists and locals to the threshold of a white church upon a hill – The Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church (Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceição). What was once just a quaint, white chapel, serving as a colonial port landing for sailors to disembark, grew into the magnificent white structure synonymous with the city and the spirit of Panjim.
Neither faith nor culture determines your connection with this church. This is evident throughout the year, but particularly on the 8th of December, when the church lights illuminate the square below, and Goans celebrate the “Panjim Feast” (the Feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception).
The church has overseen selfies, cinema, celebrations, and even protest. The latter, most recently on 19th December 2020, a day that marks the 59th year of Goa’s liberation from colonial rule, when protestors, mostly made up of youth banded together in solidarity to draw attention to the ecologically destructive infrastructural projects in Mollem.
It only makes sense that when the city lights up for the International Film Festival of India, the church illuminates too. You can get a glimpse or few of this shared connection of cinema in films like Josh (2000), Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), and Aashiqui 2 (2013), among others, that give you a familial glance at the Panjim Church Square. There’s not much you miss when you’ve been nestled upon a hill for over four hundred years.
Two stairways converge, connecting cultures, causes, and the city.