Panaji – The Capital City of Goa offers a variety of visual delights. From the hill-top ‘Altinho’, one can see the panoramic view of the sea. Panaji’s Portuguese heritage can still be seen from its narrow winding streets, old houses with overhead hanging balconies and red-tiled rooftops. At Fontainhas, one can almost be back in the Portuguese days since it has retained its old charm and character. Within the commercial heart of the city rises majestically, the white-washed ‘Church of the Immaculate Conception’ founded in 1540.
On the Riverside is the ‘Secretariat’, formerly the summer palace of 16th Century Ruler, Yusuf Adil Shah. Nearby is the statue of the famed ‘Abbe Faria’ a goan priest renowned for his hypnotic powers. 18th June Road is a bustling business area and shops here sell everything from cashew nuts to leather goods to household items. The “Azad Maidan Square’ houses a beautiful pavilion with classical Corinthian columns and is a place for political and cultural programmes. There are numerous bars and cafes in Panaji and the best way to experience the place is to take a walk or just watch the sunset on the long boulevard along River Mandovi’s edge.
Mapusa – 13kms from Panaji, Mapusa is a small town forming the hub of north Goa. It has an even blend of residential and commercial establishments and gardens. People from all over Goa come here to buy and sell their wares in the famous Friday market. 14 km from Mapusa is the Kansarpal-Kalbadevi temple, believed to be about 800 years old.
Margao (Madgaon) – Still resembling a portion of the Portuguese past, Margao is Goa’s second largest city and commercial metropolis of Salcete taluka in South Goa. It is connected to the rest of the Indian sub-continent by rail. Places of interest in Margao are the Holy Spirit Church founded in 1565 and the distinctive cross in front built a century earlier. One cannot miss the large rectangular ‘Jorge Barreto’ park in front of the colonial-styled building with its arched corridors. Chandreshwar Bhutnath Temple and the Rachol Seminary are also worth visiting. Margao’s famous market offers the agricultural produce of the entire South Goa. The most noteworthy of these is the ‘Sat Burnzam Ghor’ which originally had seven roofs!. The ‘Monte Church’ situated on a little promontory would also merit a visit to get a bird’s eye-view of the city below and the Arabian Sea, beyond.
Chandor – 13 km east of Margao across the fertile rice fields of Salcete lies sleepy Chandor village, a scattering of tumbledown villas and farmhouses ranged along shady tree-lined lanes. The splendid Perreira-Braganza/Menezes-Braganza house, regarded as the grandest of Goa’s colonial mansions is the prime attraction. Dominating the dusty village square, the house, built in the 1500s by the wealthy Braganza family for their two sons, has a huge double-storeyed facade, with 28 windows flanking its entrance.
Vasco-Da-Gama – This spick and span coastal town popularly known as Vasco was originally called Sambhaji. Imposing multi-storeyed buildings and a church dominate the city centre here. This well laid out city is also the railway terminus for passenger service. Goa’s only airport, Dabolim is also 4km from Vasco, at the other end.
Mosque Ponda – is also called Antruz Mahal because of the concentration of culture, music, drama and poetry. This town also has many temples – Shri Gopal Ganapati Temple, Mahalakshmi temple, Shri Nagesh temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Shri Mangesh temple and the Safe Shahouri Masjid.
Old Goa – is the state’s showpiece and the only remnant of the massive and overpowering Portuguese presence which established its capital on the southern bank of the Mandovi river. In its heyday, the 1500s, it was the largest and most flourishing of the great Asian cities and called `Goa Dourada’, golden Goa. The monuments and cathedrals today represent just a fraction of the urban development that was Old Goa.
Chapora & Vagator – This is one of the most interesting parts of Goa’s coastline, and more attractive than Anjuna for either a short or a long stay. Much of the area nestles under a canopy of dense coconut palms, and Chapora village is more reminiscent of a charmingly unruly farmyard than a beach resort. The village is dominated by a rocky hill topped by the remains of a fairly well-preserved Portuguese fort and the estuary of the Chapora River. There are sandy coves, pleasant beaches and rocky cliffs at nearby Vagator.
Goa sausages Mapusa Friday Market – 12 kms from Panaji is Mapusa town where the famous ‘Friday Bazaar’ or market is seen as the chief attraction and takes place every friday. Vendors from all over Goa come to display their wares mainly food stuffs – strings of Goa sausages (chouricos), heaps of local bread (pao), plenty of fruit, exotic plants, and seafood. It is an excellent snapshot of a rural bazaar and the only attraction not found elsewhere in the state of Goa. Prices are slightly higher on this day, but one can’t complain the fact that it is the only day where you get to see some stuff you won’t see other days. It is crowded especially during peak morning hours. Vendors make a beeline camp one day before and sleep at the market, all set for the next day.
Anjuna Flea market – held every wednesday at Anjuna beach is a good place for souvenir hunting. Here locals and foreigners are seen mostly selling their second hand wares. The items sold here by some traders like curios, artificial jewellery etc, are ‘not’ Goan products but are items from other parts of India. The ‘flea’ market used to be setup by foreigners (backpackers) and dopers selling anything from second hand watches, radios to dubious looking ‘tea-bags’. Many foreigners are seen selling some good stuff. Bargaining is a must if you want to get the best possible deal. Otherwise, the ‘flea’ market is just the place to kill your time and at the same time to experience Goa’s multi-national, multi-cultural life at it’s best.
|Churches, Temples and Mosques|