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Imagining the grandeur of St Augustine Church


A visit to the heritage site of Old Goa will leave any person awestruck with the majestic structures that have stood the test of time. But there is one majestic church that hasn’t had the fortune of surviving the forces of nature and what remains today is a sole pillar that stands sentinel on a hillock watching over the rest of the sacred land. The St Augustine tower has been seen as it is now for the past two centuries, following its collapse in 1842 owing to neglect and weather conditions.

People living today would have wondered how the church would have looked if it were still standing and many may have searched through the archives for any clues of the structures original majesty. This is what triggered the Archaeological Survey of India Goa Circle to take a step and give history and heritage architecture enthusiasts a respite by putting up a line drawing of the original church. “People don’t know what the church looked like in its days of glory. So we have put up a plaque of translucent Pyrex glass with the line drawing of the original church, sourced from our archives. The glass is installed in such a way that the visitor can adjust his vision and his height so that the standing pillar corresponds with the pillar on the drawing. This will give him an idea of the extent and facade of the church,” says Rohini Pande Ambekar, assistant archaeologist, ASI Goa Circle.

The plaque which was set up last month has given the visitor a chance to see the pillar in new light. The pillar itself which can be seen from anywhere in Old Goa attracts a lot of visitors. One begins to wonder, if the pillar can be so visible towering over the canopy of trees, what would have the original been like?

About the church

 The Tower and Church were built in 1602 by the Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1587.

 The church was initially built of laterite and almost forty-six metres high, it had four storeys.

 The church was abandoned in 1835 due to the repressive policies of the Portuguese government.

 The tower’s huge bell was moved in 1871 to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji, where it remains today.

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