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Reis Magos Church

The small hamlet of Reis Magos lies on banks of the Mondovi river and is home to two famous landmarks of Goa - the Reis Magos fort and the Reis Magos Church. It is also one of only three places in Goa, where the unique Feast of the Three Wise Men is held.

The Church, whose whitewashed gabled facade is visible from across the river in Panaji, was built in 1555. Fransiscan friars, who were in charge of missionary work for the area, took over the church and founded a small seminary here.

The church, which was built shortly after the fort above it, was dedicated to St Jerome. Historians have found evidence to support the fact that the Church was built on the ruins of an old Hindu temple. Two typical symbols of the Hindu Vijayanagar temple architecture - bas-relief lion figures can be seen on the flanks, at the start of the steps going up to the Church.

The Church interiors are quite colorful and impressive, with the highlight being the multi-colored wood relief showing the Three Wise Men (Reis Magos) bearing gifts to the baby Jesus, which is the centerpiece of the elaborately carved and painted reredos behind the high altar.

Every year on the 6th of January, Reis Magos comes alive with the colorful Fiesta dos Reis Magos, when the story of the three Kings is re-enacted by local youth playing the parts of the Magi. The locals celebrate the journey of the three kings who went to worship the holy Infant Child with a procession which starts from the Church and goes around the village.

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