The Churches and Convents at Velha (Old) Goa owe their existence to the Portuguese rule in this part of the western coast of India.
The most comprehensive group of churches and cathedrals built during 16th to 17th century AD at Old Goa comprise of the following:
Se' Cathedral, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of St. Catherine, Basilica of Bom Jesus; Church of Lady of Rosary; Church of St. Augustine.
The Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on the original design of St. Peter's Church in Rome. The Church of Bom Jesus with its facade decorated with Ionic, Doric and Corinthian pilasters, shows the application of the Classical order. The Se' Cathedral which was begun as a small chapel built of mud and straw under the order of Alfonso Albuquerque after his conquest of Goa is yet another example of Renaissance with its Tuscan exterior, the Corinthian columns at its portals, the raised platform with steps leading to the entrance and the barrel-vault above the nave. The principal chapel is large and ornamented with engraved pillars and pilasters. The images of Senhora d’Esperanca (Our Lady of Hope), Christ crucified and St. Catherine standing in the centre with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul on either side.
The paintings in the churches were done on wooden borders and fixed between panels having floral designs as in the chapels housing the tomb of St. Xavier, the arches above the altars in the transept of the Se' Cathedral and in the nave on either side of the main altar in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Excepting a few which are in stone, the statues are mostly in wood delicately carved and painted to adorn the altars. They depict mostly the saints, Mother Mary and Jesus on the cross.
Bom Jesus is said to be one of the grandest Churches to be raised in Asia vast and magnificent with ornaments suited to its greatness. Made of black granite, it part Doric and part Corinthian facade is elaborately carved. The ceiling is highly decorated. Sarcophagi of illustrious Portuguese who were connected with the religious life of Goa are very interesting. Its high and broad altar is dedicate to the figure of infant (Bom) Jesus.