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“The Apostle of the Indies” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tomb of St. Francis Xavier

Tomb of St. Francis Xavier
Basilica of Bom Jesus | Old Goa, Panaji, India
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Ranked #5 of 96 things to do in Panaji
Attraction details
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
63 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
“The Apostle of the Indies”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

It felt a little bizarre to see a human entombed, decaying, and on display. But as curious and a little creeped out as I was, I was little disappointed that St Francis Xavier's casket was atop 3 tiers high. I could not make out the saint at all. It makes you wonder, is there really a body up there? or is his body somewhere else hidden somewhere in the church under lock and key? I understand that elevating the tomb up high might be the best way to keep the saint's remains secure from theft, but really I didn't see anything. Just a tomb, up there, not sure of what's inside. But still, at least I got be here and attempted a glimpse of a great saint.

From what I read from my guidebook (Lonely Planet's Goa by Bryn Thomas, pg 152), St Francis' body is brought down every 10 years for actual viewing. This apparently happens every 10 years during his Feast Day (December 3rd) and worth the looksie. But here's what I read for a better description from someone who has actually seen the body up close:

"There really isn't much left of poor St Francis. Half his skull is showing and his face is just a mass of shriveled, parchment-like skin. Little black tufts of hair cling moss-like to the top of his head. His left ear is missing, and his right is just a small brown flap. His right arm has been sent to the Jesuits in Japan and his left hand, a decomposed ghoulish claw, rests on his chest. Just one toe remains on the right foot; three others have dropped off down the ages and the fourth was bitten off in 1554 by a mad Portuguese woman desperate for a relic. It is said that under those magnificent vestments there's little more than bare bones. The miracle of the incorrupt body is indeed over."

And that explains why the tomb is up high, I wouldn't want anybody biting off my decaying toe desperate for a relic either.... Just see, no touch!!

Visited December 2012
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Toronto
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5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Touching”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

This is a shrine and only once we realized it was such did we understand why old people were camped out on the gallery surrounding it. Many garlands and candles attest to the power of this location for pilgrims.

Visited March 2013
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London
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
“This is one of the best cultural heritage of Goa”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

This is one of the must visit place if you wish to experience the cultural heritage of Goa. This was built during Portuguese colonial time in 1661 and still standing strong with all its history and artefact. The church also has the mummified body of St. Francis Xavier in a large glass container for public to see.

This is a UNESCO heritage site but we were slightly saddened with the fact very little has been done to protect the building and the contents of this building.

Photography is allowed inside the building as long as you are not photographing a person. The site can be very crowded at times during when school children’s visit.

Visited January 2013
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Mumbai, India
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“real story”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2013

the tomb is at a height but the sight is very nice, the conservation of the body is an unexplained phenomenon but a true miracle

Visited February 2013
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Goa
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15 reviews 15 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Mixed Bag”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

I really enjoyed going to see this. 8 of us took moped's from Vagator and rode to Old Goa and then Panji. However, there were others in the group who did not enjoy it as much. The church and cathedral were pretty amazing and you can get close to the coffin.

Visited January 2013
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