Basilica of the Holy Rosary

Catholic

West Bengal, India

Contact

Sahaganj
Chinsurah
Bandel West Bengal, India

Services

6.30 AM English (From Advent to Lent: 7.00AM )
8.30 AM Bengali
11.00 AM English
5.00 PM Hindi
2.30 PM Santali (Only on last Sunday of the month)

The story of Bandel Church begins with the first Portuguese settlements in Bengal. Most historians agree that in 1537, an Admiral, Sampovo, entered the River Hoogly with nine Portuguese vessels to support Mahmud Shah, the Pathan Nawab of Gaurav, who being hard pressed by the famous Sher Khan, had asked the Portuguese representatives in Goa for assistance. As a reward for their efforts, the Nawab allowed the Portuguese to set up a factory at a spot close to the present Hooghly jail. In 1579 the Portuguese constructed a port on the bank of the river Hoogly. It became a centre of trade and commerce.

To protect their interests they built a fort. They soon secured the services of a small band of Augustinian Friars, then the largest religious body in Goa. About the year 1580 a certain Captain Pedro Tavares, a great favourite of the Moghul Emperor Akbar, obtained from him full liberty to preach the Christian faith publicly and to erect churches. In 1599, a monastery was established at Bandel, a village about a mile from the factory. In a short time, two other churches were built within the limits of the factory – a military chapel was added to the fort and an alms-house under the title of Santa Casada Misericordia which provided help to the poor, and was also used as a school.

The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in 1524 on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were moved to Lisbon. The gravestone of Vasco da Gama can still be seen here. It is on the ground at the southern side. The gravestones of other Portuguese are on the northern sidewall and the Dutch on the southern wall. A cenotaph in memory of the residents of Kochi who fell in the World War I was erected in 1920.