Moira Church

I spent an evening recently in the charming village of Moira, once celebrated throughout Goa for its delectable variety of bananas. The primary purpose of my visit was to photograph the imposing village church.

The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception serves as a focal point for the community’s spiritual and cultural life. Built around 1619, it is conceived in the Mannerist Neo-Roman style and features a cupoliform façade. (vide The Parish Churches of Goa by José Lourenço, Amazing Goa Publications, 2006.)

Before the arrival of the Portuguese a Shiva temple stood at this site. The German researcher Dr. Gritli Mitterwallner writes in her essay titled The Hindu Past – Structure and Architecture, published in Goa – Cultural Patterns (Marg Publications, 1983):

Remains of ancient Hindu temples, which had been partly or wholly built of basalt stone, can still be detected if one explores the three Old Conquests thoroughly. During a survey of the monuments of Goa from August 1964 to January 1967, I found many an image or architectural fragment of basalt stone from ancient Hindu temples either built into churches or lying discarded near them.

One of these finds was the tripartite linga of god Siva from the razed temple at Moira (Bardez). I discovered this in the church at Moira where it was being used as a stand for the holy water basin. I removed the linga and took it to the Museum of the Archaeological Survey of India in Old Goa, donating a sum of money for a new water basin for the church.

 
 

The following exquisite scene presented itself a little before sundown.

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at Moira, Goa

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at Moira, Goa
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 

I was hoping to frame the church façade against the cobalt blue sky – a tiny window available moments before the onset of complete darkness. But in Goa the best plans can go awry. As I waited in anticipation, a neon lamp operated by the Electricity dept came to life imprinting on one flank of the church the shadow of an intermediate tree, as seen below.

Moira church

Moira church after sunset
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

 
 
Sign outside Moira church

Sign outside Moira church
5D Mark II, 24-105L

 
 
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  • amanda - October 12, 2010 - 8:12 am

    I loved the picture you have taken and was hoping if i can have the picture as im getting married in this church a month from now and would like to put on my wedding websiteReplyCancel

  • Ana Maria Goswami - January 18, 2010 - 2:47 am

    Wonderful photograph of the Moira church especially in that light.ReplyCancel

  • X M - January 18, 2010 - 2:04 am

    Dear Rajan

    Thank you. My 14 year old says that you make it look even more beautiful than in real life.

    I remember climbing up to the belfry to help the sancristan ring the bell.

    GOD bless.ReplyCancel

  • VM - January 18, 2010 - 12:37 am

    lovely light, you’re particularly good at capturing the various hues of sunrise and sunset in Goa.

    note about Moira church: uniquely (I believe), it resembles Flemish churches of the immediately preceding period, and it was financed by a pair of Flemish brothers. Like almost all the houses and churches in the village, indeed in Goa, there is nothing remotely Portuguese about this building.ReplyCancel

  • Thaths - January 17, 2010 - 10:33 pm

    What weird architecture! The tower with the cross on it looks kind of like a gopuram. The domes give it an islamic look.ReplyCancel

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