The Three Kings Chapel: An Intriguing Tale of History & Mystery

Goa, known for its golden beaches and vibrant nightlife, also harbors a rich cultural and historical legacy. One such intriguing tale hails from the small village of Cansaulim, South Goa just a short drive away from Dabolim. Here stands the mysterious and captivating Three Kings Chapel, a site that intertwines historical significance, religious devotion, and local folklore. The Three Kings Chapel is a culturally significant site that stands as a testament to Goa’s colonial past. 

Historical Significance:

The Three Kings Chapel, or the Chapel of the Three Kings, is age-old church perched atop a hill in the quaint village of Cansaulim. Originally, the Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies (Nossa Senhora dos Remedios) was built in 1599 by Fr. Gonçalo Carvalho in Cansaulim. 

The strong church we see today on a hill, often called ‘Remete Saibinicho dongor’ by the locals, was constructed in 1721. The Portuguese influence on Goan culture and architecture is evident in the design and structure of this chapel.

Architectural Beauty:

The chapel features a simple yet elegant architectural style typical of many Goan churches and chapels built during the colonial period. The whitewashed facade, arched windows, and a modest belfry contribute to its charm. 

Inside the chapel, visitors can discover a serene and spiritual ambiance. The altar, adorned with religious artifacts and images, reflects the historical and religious significance of the chapel.

The Unique Name:

The Three Kings Chapel in Goa gets its name from two different stories. The first story is related to the biblical account of the three wise men, also known as the Three Kings, who visited Jesus Christ when he was born. This is further supported by the fact that the Feast of Epiphany, also known as the Feast of the Three Kings, is celebrated in this chapel.

The second story about the Three Kings Chapel in Goa is steeped in local legend and intrigue. This tale revolves around the power struggle between three Portuguese kings who governed the chapel.

Legend says that three Portuguese kings, who often disagreed about their territories, met a sad end and were buried here. Wanting to end their fighting, King Holger invited the others for a dinner with poison. He succeeded in getting rid of his rivals but couldn’t escape the revenge of their supporters. Finally, feeling trapped, he ate the poisoned dinner himself.

Surprisingly, all three kings ended up being buried together in this church. Locals believe that even in the afterlife, the kings continue their dispute. Some people say they’ve heard the kings talking or have seen them from time to time.

What gives us chills is the big old tree outside the chapel. It’s said that, no matter what, you shouldn’t turn around and look back at it when you leave. There’s something mysterious about it, according to the stories passed down through generations!

This story has given the Three Kings Chapel a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Goa, and even in India. Despite these eerie tales, the chapel remains a popular attraction for visitors seeking to experience a piece of Goa’s rich history and culture.

Festivals and Celebrations:

Despite its eerie history, the chapel is a place of worship and holds a feast every year on January 6th, known as the Feast of the Epiphany or the Three Kings Feast to commemorate the biblical journey of the three kings to Bethlehem. 

Pilgrims, locals and tourists alike gather to celebrate, making it a vibrant event filled with joy and devotion. The celebration involves a religious procession, prayers, and traditional festivities, making it a vibrant and culturally enriching experience.

Scenic Location:

The chapel’s location offers another reason for its popularity. Perched on a hillock in Cansaulim, the Three Kings Chapel offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the Arabian Sea in the distance. The scenic beauty of the location enhances the spiritual experience for visitors.The tranquil surroundings coupled with the breathtaking views make it a favorite spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Spiritual Retreat:

The Three Kings Chapel is not only a historical and architectural treasure but also a place of spiritual retreat. Visitors can experience a sense of tranquility as they explore the chapel and its surroundings.

Photography Opportunities: 

The breathtaking views from the hill offer excellent photo opportunities, especially during the annual feast. Since the Chapel is perched on a hilltop it is an excellent spot for drone photography, as the elevation offers a wonderful view of the surroundings. 

A Blend of History and Mystery

The Three Kings Chapel in Goa weaves together strands of faith, history, and cultural tradition with a touch of mystery, making it one of the most unique attractions in Goa. Whether you’re drawn by the historical tale, the religious significance, the stunning views, the architectural beauty, or the allure of its legends, a visit to this colonial-era chapel promises a journey into the heart of Goa’s rich heritage. 

This chapel offers a fascinating glimpse into Goa’s rich past. So, when you plan your visit to Goa, make sure to include the Three Kings Chapel in your itinerary. It’s an experience that promises to leave you with unforgettable memories.

For travelers seeking a blend of spirituality and cultural exploration, the Three Kings Chapel stands as a timeless monument to Goa’s past.

How to Reach It: 

To reach the Three Kings Chapel in Goa, you’ll need to make your way towards Cansaulim, a village located in South Goa. The chapel is situated atop a hill called Cuelim in this area. From the main road in Cansaulim, there’s a cut-off that leads towards the chapel, but be aware there may not be a sign board indicating the direction.

If you’re coming from Vasco da Gama town, the chapel is approximately 10 km away. You can consider hiring a private vehicle or taxi to reach the location as there’s no direct bus service available. If you’re closer to Verna railway station, the chapel is also nearby.

However, remember that the chapel is reputed to be haunted, and it’s recommended that you be cautious if you decide to visit. It is not recommended to stay at the chapel after sundown unless you are a mystery-hunter!