Prettier than a postcard, India's tiniest state
Goa remains the vacationer's hottest spot. If
you are looking for a seductive atmosphere to
relax and rejuvenate your spirits on dazzling
sun-drenched beaches, then a visit to Goa is a
perfect choice. With its natural scenic beauty
and superb beaches, this tropical paradise on
the western coast of India is famous for its architecture,
feasts and festivals and above all, its hospitable
people with a rich cultural milieu.
is one of the youngest states to attain statehood
after 451 years of colonial rule and 26 years
as a Union territory. Today, Goa has a one of
the most developed tourism infrastructures in
Being a small state, Goa has just three major
cities, two towns & lots of villages to visit.
- THE CAPITAL
For most Panaji is simply a busy bus terminal,
however it is worth spending a few hours exploring
this most sedate of State Capitals. Situated on
the southern banks of the Mandovi River, Panaji
only became the capital of Goa in 1843 by when
the harbour at Old Goa had silted up and disease
had driven its inhabitants out.
welcomes the tourists not with tourist sites but
with its character. Apart from being the capital
of Goa, it is also the focal point of tourism
in Goa and a small and charming city on the banks
of silvery Mandovi River. Panaji has beautiful,
red-roofed houses, built in the Latin style, however
the city does not lack in modern infrastructure
and you can find modern houses, well laid gardens,
statues and avenues lined with Gulmohar, Acassia
and other trees.
best way to explore the city is by foot, wandering
around the old cobbled alleyways, colonial villas,
red-roofed houses, taverns and cafes, much like
any small Portuguese town. There are some wonderful
old government buildings; some dating to before
colonisation, and some elegant churches. Most
memorable is the Church of the Immaculate Conception,
which was built in 1541; it is topped with a huge
bell that sits between two delicate Baroque-style
high street called the 18th June Road is also
famous for its modern shops & boutiques.
Margao is the second large city in Goa and a bustling
commercial center. It is a typically crowded Goan
city with chaotic, noisy traffic and quite a few
architectural reminders of its Portuguese past.
Margao has an old-worldly charm about it because
of its Portuguese churches, and some magnificent
specimens of old Portuguese houses complete with
shady balcaos (porches) and oyster-shell windows
in its Borda area.
Largo de Igreja, or the Church of the Holy Spirit
as it is also known, dominates the entrance to
the city, just north of the Municipal Garden Square.
Beautiful old residential houses still in pristine
condition surround the church area. The church
was built by the Portuguese in 1675 and is one
of the finest examples of late-Baroque architecture
in Goa, boasting a pristine white façade
and an interior dripping with gilt crystal and
city has an excellent market area stretching from
the south edge of the main square to within a
stone's throw of the old railway station. The
Bazaar centers on a labyrinthine covered area
that's a rich source of authentic souvenirs and
a good place to browse for some bargain shopping.
famous Colva beach is just 6 kms away from Margao,
so most travellers coming to this area of Goa,
tend to spend their time in the beach area, rather
than enjoy the charms of Margao town itself.
- THE PORT CITY
30 kms. From Panaji this is a modem, well laid
out city close to Mormugao Harbour. It has beautiful
and extensive avenues. The air terminus of Goa
at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city.
It is also the railway terminus for passenger
service in the South Central Railway.
main city of Vasco is well laid out pretty much
in a straight line along parallel roads interlinked
by small by lanes. There is hardly any landmark
worth making a visit to Vasco, except for the
400-year old St. Andrews Church, which lies at
the entrance to the city. In recent times, the
city has been attracting local visitors, to what
is easily the best cinema theatre in the whole
are two beaches near the city. The bigger and
the more famous is the Bogmalo beach, which is
about 8 kms southeast of the town and the smaller
one named Hollant lies just about halfway along
the same road. Bogmalo beach has luxury and mid-range
hotels in the neighbourhood along with quite a
few shacks where you can sample some tasty seafood
13 Kms. from Panaji lies Mapusa town, the capital
of Bardez Taluka, on the national highway NH 17,
which joins Goa to Mumbai. Mapusa is Goa's third
largest town. It is mainly a market town for the
surrounding beach areas of Calangute, Candolim,
Anjuna and Baga among others. Even its name is
thought to be derived from the Konkani word for
a measure - "map" and the phrase fill
up - "sa". It is a fairly small town
with mostly modern building spread around the
slopes of a small hillock called Altinho.
Friday, the whole town has a lively look when
the famous weekly Friday Market begins. The market
attracts people from all over Goa who come here
to buy and sell their wares. Everything from fresh
and dried fish, incense, spices, fruits and vegetables
to souvenirs from other states of India is available
Ponda is a singularly drab town in the interior
of Goa. The only reason to go to Ponda is if you
are visiting the wildlife reserves or the nearby
Hindu temples. Ponda is the Hindu heartland of Goa.
Near the town are the five most famous Hindu Temples
and the 'largest' mosque of Goa. The deities of
most of these temples are ancient. Hindus fleeing
from the coastal areas shifted these deities during
the Portuguese Inquisition. The Bijapur ruler Ibrahim
Adil Shah built the Safa Masjid, a relatively small
mosque, in 1560. This is one of the few Muslim shrines
not destroyed by the Portuguese.
Tours and Commercial Services Pvt. Ltd.
G4, Donna Rosa, Near Pousada Touma - Mapusa Road, Porba Vaddo, Calangute,
Bardez, Goa - India, 403516.
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