Rain in the Basilica: Protecting Goa’s Bom Jesus from the Ravages of Climate Change





Basilica of Bom Jesus, St. Francis Xavier, Tropics, Goa, climate change, monsoon, architectural conservation, climate imaginary


Over the last century, monsoons in Goa have become more intense, with an increase of over 68% in rainfall (Goa State Biodiversity Board, 2019, p. 42). Such effects of climate change are devastating to architectural heritage, especially those structures built using materials like laterite, a weaker stone, vulnerable to rapid deterioration when it is left exposed. This is the precise problem concerning the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a sixteenth century building that is still in use. The monument which houses the relics of St. Francis Xavier is one of the most important cultural icons of Goa, as evidenced by its ongoing use and also its iconic representation in visual culture. While research may be available regarding the effects of climate change and architecture in the tropics generally, little pertains to the specificities of Indo-Portuguese architecture and especially heritage buildings. My article seeks to make an intervention in this regard, focusing on the effects of climate change with regard to the conservation of Bom Jesus. Considering the adverse effects of climate change on built heritage, architectural conservation in Goa cannot be merely about preserving cosmetic appearances, but rather must involve safeguarding monuments against major structural damage.  

Author Biography

Vishvesh Prabhakar Kandolkar, Goa College of Architecture, Goa University, Indian State of Goa

Vishvesh Prabhakar Kandolkar, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Architecture at Goa College of Architecture (Goa University) and the Programme Coordinator of the Masters of Architecture in Urban Design programme at the college. His research on Goa’s architectural history focuses on early modern church design, as well as the evolution of Indo-Portuguese aesthetics. His writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Economic and Political Weekly, Journal of Human Values, and Journal of Hindu Studies. Based on his research about the Bom Jesus Basilica, Kandolkar’s art installation, This is Not the Basilica!, will be exhibited at Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts from 8th September to 20th November 2021.


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How to Cite

Kandolkar, V. P. (2021). Rain in the Basilica: Protecting Goa’s Bom Jesus from the Ravages of Climate Change. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 20(2), 95–113. https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.20.2.2021.3814