Panaji is the capital of Goa. In Konkani it is often pronounced as ‘Ponnji’. In Portuguese it was called ‘Pongim’, from which originated the other name Panjim. The name Panjim is used mostly by English speaking people. Lying on the banks of the Mandovi estuary, in the district of North Goa, Panaji means ‘the land that does not flood’. The place is built around a church that faces a prominent square. The capital city of Goa is well furnished with terraced hills, concrete buildings with balconies and red-tiled roofs, churches, and a riverside promenade. Previously this was a small village on the riverfront. In 1843 the city was renamed as Nova Goa ( ‘New Goa’ for the Portuguese) when it officially replaced the city of Goa (i.e Old Goa of the present days) as the administrative seat of Portuguese India. It became the state capital on Goa’s elevation to statehood in May 1987. Each avenues of the place are scenic, with rows of gulmohar, acacia and other trees.
Places to see in Goa: The tourist attractions in Panaji are admired with scenic natural landscape, historically famous monuments and serene ambiance. These include:
Goa State Museum
One of the Panaji attractions, the GoaState museum is popular both among the history lovers and general tourists. The Goa State museum in Panaji was officially inaugurated on 29th September, 1977. In the year 1996 it was newly built in Patto on a new complex. The museum has twelve galleries of the Goa State museum housing historic and wonderful artifacts. Some of the galleries are: Sculpture Gallery, Numismatic Gallery, Christian Art Gallery, Furniture Gallery, Cultural, Anthropology, Contemporary Art Gallery. The place is a must visit specially for the history lovers, art lovers, and religious inclined people
Shanta Durga Temple
The Shanta Durga temple is a famous temple located close to the capital city. The entire complex of Shanta Durga temple covers a total area of 33 km. The temple is located on the hilly region of Kavalem in Ponda. It is one of the central tourist spots in Panaji. The temple has a structure like a pagoda and the rooftop is built out of blocks of stone and stands in the midst of lush green surroundings. The main temple is built in the center of three other temples where the image of other deities can be seen. The main temple is known to possess a quaint looking dome that catches the eye of many a visitor. The floor has been made out of Kashmir stone. Adorned by the image of the goddess Shantadurga, also known as the goddess of peace this is a highly believed and worshipped place of the native inhabitants of Panaji.
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim is one of the oldest churches in Goa. This 17th century church is located in the center of the prosperous Panjim city. The simple yet wonderful decorations of the church are its most note worthy aspect. The clean and tidy well maintained complex pleases the worshipers and tourists alike. This church has a couple of altars dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary and Jesus.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
This is a church is located in the ancient part of Goa and is just 10 km away from the capital city Panaji. This is one of the most eminent monumental landmarks in the history of Christian religion. Having the image of St. Francis Xavier, a disciple of Ignatious Loyola and the founder of the Jesuits community the church has a huge crowd of visitors every year. This enormous monumental structure was built by a skilled sculptor from Florence called Giovanni Battista Foggini. This church has been built in exquisite style. The interiors have been finely decorated. The floors have been made out of white marble. The smooth pathway of the altars is worth appreciating. The church has many paintings amongst which the painting of St. Francis Xavier is the most noteworthy. On the upper side of the church there lies the most enchanting relics of art called the Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery.
One of the distinguished landmark of the Panaji City is the Secretariat Building. The oldest building of the city is today one of the popular Panaji attractions. The Secretariat Building is situated close to the Chapel of St. Sebastian. Panaji’s SecretariatBuilding is a classic example of Portuguese architectural style. It was originally built by Adil Shah, the Muslim ruler of Goa of the 16th century. Then the structure was modified by the Portuguese into a fantastic rest house for the area’s viceroy.
The popular and crowded Miramar beach is only 3 kilometers from Panjim, the capital city of Goa. This dazzling sea beach also known as ‘Gasper Dias’. It is a golden beach fringed with palm trees. The soft sands of the beach makes it the best site for evening walks. Moreover, ‘miramar’ in Portuguese implies ‘viewing the sea’. Tourists can get a glimpse of the majesty of the Arabian Sea from the Miramar Beach at Goa.
The “Queen of the Beaches” in Goa, Calangute beach remains largest one in the northern region. The beach was discovered by the hippies during the 60’s and it became famous since then. The beach represents a true replica of Goan beach culture and hence its popularity. It is an ultimate place to spend great time through splendid beach experience.
14 kms north of Panaji, Candolim Beach is a part of a long extension of beach coastline along the Arabian Sea that begins at Fort Aguada and ends at Chapora Beach. The place is famous as being the birth place of one of the freedom Fighters Abba Faria, the Father of Hypnotism. The white, silvery sand dunes make the Candolim beach naturally beautiful and attract a lot of tourist every year.
Vagator Beach has dramatic red cliffs looking down on the shore and two fresh water springs within a stone’s throw of the sea. VagatorBeach is split into two main beaches by a seaside headland, while facing the sea, on your right is NorthVagatorBeach (Big Vagator) and on your left OzranBeach, more commonly known as Little Vagator Beach. Vagator is a little more laid back, though still pretty much steeped in the rave culture. The tourist traffic is predominantly Western backpackers, however it has also become popular with Indian tourists, who particularly come to watch the sunset from the rocks. The sunset through rocks is breathtaking from Vagator Beach.
Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a seventeenth-century Portuguese fort standing on Sinquerim Beach overlooking the Arabian Sea. Constructed in 1613 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas, it is one of the well-preserved historical monuments. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe at that time. This old Portuguese fort stands on the beach south of Candolim, at the shore of the Mandovi River.
Famous for its stunning natural beauty, the beach is margined with swaying palms trees on its one side. The soft powered white sands and the cool and soothing sea breeze will make your stay idyllic for spending some time forgetting all the anxieties and tensions. The beach is marked by an unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of white sand and black rock that juts out into the Sea. This area was known as the Jewel of Anjuna and called “Ozran”. Anjuna beach is a favorite haunt of the hippies who used to organize the famous rave beach parties. It was in the late 1950s to mid-1960s that hippies started visiting Anjuna beach and since then popularized the wild rave parties with trance music which have now become the characteristic features of Goan beaches.
Nearby attractions of Panaji: There are some places near to Panaji that are worth a visit. These are:
Ponda is 33 km from Panaji and lies inland to the east. This region is famous for its complex of Hindu temples surviving the inquisition, and was conquered only in the late 18th century long after it had ended. The temples attract a very large number of devotees.
The name is commonly used for both a river and the fort located on its bank. In its upper reaches the river is known as the Banda River and in the lower reaches as the Terekhol. It a boundary between Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra state and North Goa district of Goa state for some distance. Fort Tiracol located on the mouth of Terakhol River was originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century. Now it has been converted into a tourist hostel, maintained in excellent condition. Terekhol is 57km from Panaji.
Things to do in Panaji: Take a stroll in Fontainhas the Portuguese quarter where the narrow streets are filled with lovely red bricked houses, churches with stained glass windows and a sprinkling of pubs and restaurants. You can also enjoy a river cruise up the MandoviRiver or evening walk down the promenade of Miramar beach. The water sports here also thrilling and fun filled. Shop some souvenirs to take back home. Done with all the sightseeing and shopping ? Then savour a feast on some good old Goan food in any of the many restaurants here.
Best time to visit Panaji: The best time to visit Panaji is between late October and early April.
The Dabolim Airport lies just 29 kilometres from the state’s capital, Panjim. It is well connected by daily flights from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore. Passengers travelling from Kolkata have to halt at Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai as there are no direct flights available from Kolkata to Goa.
The two major railheads in Goa are Madgaon and Thivim, are well connected by trains from to all major rail stations in India like Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar etc.
There are a number of public as well as private bus operators in Goa, which offer options for intra-city and inter-city conveyance. KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC are some of the Government undertakings that operate from Panaji, Madgaon and Vasco Da Gama.
Where to stay ?
Panaji offers numerous decent and cosy accommodation options for the tourists suitable to the budget. Some options are:
Panaji Residency (Goa Tourism): +91–0832 222 7103
Paradise Inn: +91- 0832- 2420657 Website: www.paradiseinngoa.com
Hotel Palacio de Goa: +91-0832 2424289, 2426742, 24217856 Website: www.palaciodegoa.com
Hotel Fidalgo: +91-0 832 – 2226291 to 99, 2225061 Website: www.hotelfidalgo-goa.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.