Bandel Church – Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

History of Bandel Church 

Around the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese began using Bandel as a port. During or around 1571, they were given permission by Akbar, the Mughal emperor, to build a town in Hooghly. As they began settling around the area, their priests began to baptise the natives – by 1598, Catholics in Hooghly numbered around five thousand, including natives and mixed races.

Bandel Church - Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in India

See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in Asia

See top 15 Catholic shrines in the world.

Our Lady of the Rosary

Bandel Church has several altars and a shrine of Mary, who is known as Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Happy Voyage. The church has a fascinating history. It was here that in the middle of the night that Father de Cruz heard a familiar voice of Tiago calling him from the waters of the river and announcing that ‘Our lady was coming back’.

The Father thought that it was just a dream and then Tiago announced in a miraculous light that ‘She saved the Christians from death’. The next morning the statue of Mother Mary was brought by the local fisherfolk stating that ‘Guru Maa’ is back.

As another story goes, when a captain of a vessel encountered a storm in the Bay of Bengal, Mother Mary rescued him. Hence, a ship’s mast stands in front of the church. This was in fulfillment of his vow and gratitude for having survived the shipwreck.

On the grounds of the Bandel Church one can witness violet blossoms among the vintage tombstones. A spectacular life sized statue of Mother of Sorrows in marble sitting with the body of dead Jesus on her lap can bring tear to the eyes of the beholder.

Every year during the month of November, an annual festival is held in this Basilica of Bandel. This is the time when thousands of pilgrims all over India congregate to thank Our Lady of Rosary and celebrate her miracles.

The Bandel Church is located about 43 kilometres from Calcutta in West Bengal. It can be reached by air or rail. The Basilica is hardly about fifteen minutes from the Bandel railway station.

This Bandel church is a heritage church that was declared as a Basilica in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

History of Bandel Church

Around the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese began using Bandel as a port. During or around 1571, they were given permission by Akbar, the Mughal emperor, to build a town in Hooghly. As they began settling around the area, their priests began to baptise the natives – by 1598, Catholics in Hooghly numbered around five thousand, including natives and mixed races.

In 1579, the Portuguese built a port on the banks of the Hooghly, as well as a fort, and enlisted the services of a band of Augustinian Friars, then the largest religious body in Goa. The following year, Captain Pedro Tavares obtained the emperor’s full permission to preach the Catholic faith publicly, and erect churches. Thus the Bandel Church was constructed in 1599.

This first church was burnt down during the sacking of Hooghly by the Moors in 1632. A newer church, constructed by Gomez de Soto (also spelt John Comes de Soto), was built over the ruin in 1660. The keystone of the older church can still be seen on the eastern gate of the monastery.

Prayer to Our Lady of Rosary

My dearest Mother Mary, behold me, your child, in prayer at your feet. Accept this
Holy Rosary, which I offer you in accordance with your requests at Fatima, as a
proof of my tender love for you, for the intentions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in
atonement for the offenses committed against your Immaculate Heart, and for this
special favor which I earnestly request in my Rosary Novena: [mention yourrequest now].

I beg you to present my petition to your Divine Son. If you will pray for me, I
cannot be refused. I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God s holy
Will concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted, pray that
Imay receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.
I offer you this spiritual ‘Bouquet of Roses’ because I love you. I put all my
confidence in you, since your prayers before God are most powerful. For the
greater glory of God and for the sake of Jesus, your loving Son, hear and grant my
prayer. Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

Bandel Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

This church has several altars and a shrine of Mary, who is known as Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Happy Voyage. The church has a fascinating history. It was here that in the middle of the night that Father de Cruz heard a familiar voice of Tiago calling him from the waters of the river and announcing that ‘Our lady was coming back’. The Father thought that it was just a dream and then Tiago announced in a miraculous light that ‘She saved the Christians from death’. The next morning the statue of Mother Mary was brought by the local fisherfolk stating that ‘Guru Maa’ is back.

As another story goes, when a captain of a vessel encountered a storm in the Bay of Bengal, Mother Mary rescued him. Hence, a ship’s mast stands in front of the church. This was in fulfillment of his vow and gratitude for having survived the shipwreck.

On the grounds of this basilica one can witness violet blossoms among the vintage tombstones. A spectacular life sized statue of Mother of Sorrows in marble sitting with the body of dead Jesus on her lap can bring tear to the eyes of the beholder.

Every year during the month of November, an annual festival is held in this Basilica of Bandel. This is the time when thousands of pilgrims all over India congregate to thank Our Lady of Rosary and celebrate her miracles.

The Bandel Basilica is located about 43 kilometres from Calcutta in West Bengal. It can be reached by air or rail. The Basilica is hardly about fifteen minutes from the Bandel railway station. This Bandel church is a heritage church that was declared as a Basilica in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

History of Bandel Basilica

Around the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese began using Bandel as a port. During or around 1571, they were given permission by Akbar, the Mughal emperor, to build a town in Hooghly. As they began settling around the area, their priests began to baptise the natives – by 1598, Catholics in Hooghly numbered around five thousand, including natives and mixed races.

In 1579, the Portuguese built a port on the banks of the Hooghly, as well as a fort, and enlisted the services of a band of Augustinian Friars, then the largest religious body in Goa. The following year, Captain Pedro Tavares obtained the emperor’s full permission to preach the Catholic faith publicly, and erect churches. Thus the Bandel Church was constructed in 1599.

This first church was burnt down during the sacking of Hooghly by the Moors in 1632. A newer church, constructed by Gomez de Soto (also spelt John Comes de Soto), was built over the ruin in 1660. The keystone of the older church can still be seen on the eastern gate of the monastery.

Posted in Asia & Oceania and India