The capital of Goa and headquarters of North Goa District, a small and charming city on the left bank of silvery Mandovi river, with beautiful, red-roofed houses, built in Latin style, also boasts of many modern houses, well laid gardens, statues and avenues lined with Gulmohar, Acassia and other trees. Enchanting panorama unfolds from atop Altinho (Hill Top)
|Panji at a glance|
|Area||35.99 Sq Km|
|Language||Konkani, Marathi, Hindi, English|
|Religion||Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam|
Goa is connected by Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, and Sahara Airlines flights from Mumbai (Bombay), Bangalore, Cochin, Delhi, Chennai (Madras), Mangalore and Trivandrum. Gateway for Goa is Dabolim Airport not far away from the city of Panaji.
Panaji is connected with Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Pune, Secunderabad, and Jaipur. Madgaon is the nearest railway station. Advance reservation can also be made at the Railway Out Agency at the Panaji Bus Terminus.
Panaji, the capital of Goa, is one of the busiest towns in Goa. Once you have toured to Panaji, then Idalcao Palace is one of the tourist attractions that you can visit. The Portuguese had captured it in 1510 and had expanded it. From this palace, you can get some good views of the river. Then there is the museum to visit. The Archives museum has only a small collection of priceless souvenirs depicting Goa, but it is definitely worth a visit. The main attraction being the original Provedoria lottery machine built in Lisbon. Apart from this, there are some religious antique collection of Hindus and Christians. The market area in Panjim is always bubbling with activity. This is one of the shopping spot in Goa where tourists often frequent, may be because this market is centrally located and fallen route to various other tourist attractions in Goa. Otherwise the stuff you get out here at Panjim market can be slightly expensive.
Located just about 7 km From Panaji, North Goa city is the the Lover's Paradise, Dona Paula Beach. This place is called the Lovers Paradise, due to a myth attached to this place. It is said that the Viceroy's daughter after objections from her family regarding her love affair with a poor fisherman jumped off the Cliff. This is a spot to sunbathe and relax. Dona Paula is very famous for sea sport and fun. Dona Paula Sports Club, has some of the best water sports facilities to the sports lovers including Water-scootering, Motor-boating, etc. The beach also has a colorful water sports festival in November. Festivals of Janmashtami (Lord Krishna's Birthday) and the Feast of St. Lawrence are particular to the Dona Paula Beach. One can also buy cheap seaside goods from local vendors. A bus or motorcycle-taxi from Panjim or the service by ferry from Marmagao is the best way to reach this place. One can get Buses to Miramar & Dona Paula at regular intervals from Panjim's Kadamba Bus Stand. While at Goa's Dona Paula beach, it is a good idea to visit the National Oceanography Institute. The National Oceanography Institute, set up in the 1960s, delves not only upon marine biology but incorporates almost all the major branches of coastal and marine oceanography. The major attraction of the institute is its Marine Biology Museum and Taxonomy Reference Center. Then there is the Cabo Raj Niwas (the Governor's House) which is half a kilometer away from the National Oceanography Institute. It houses the tomb of Dona Paula de Menzes in the Cabo Chapel. The Raj Bhawan offers an excellent view of the nearby coastline and the Aguada Fort. Other attractions at Dona Paula Beach are Reis Magos Church and the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Approximately 10 km from the beach is one of the oldest churches built in Goa, the Reis Magos Church. It is dedicated to the three Magi (the wise men of the East)-Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthazar who, according to a legend, were guided by a star to Bethlehem to greet the newborn Jesus. This church was once the residence of all dignitaries and a mission center of the Franciscan order.
The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is situated on the western tip of the island of Choro, along the Mandovi River, about 9 km from Dona Paula Beach. Spread over 2 sq km, this sanctuary is a mangrove forest. Local and migratory birds are found here all through the year. However, permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden is required for visitors.
Madgaon town in Goa is the second busiest place after Panaji. Though Madgaon is quite busy, it is also home to lonely streets lined with Portuguese town houses or climb Monte Hill to catch some good views of Goa. While at Madgaon, a tourist should definitely visit the Baroque church. Goa Baroque church, built in 1564, has some good architectural work to boast about. The statues of St Anthony and of the Blessed Joseph Vaz are kept here in glass cabinets. The market at Madgaon is not very frequented by many people but you may get some good stuff at fairly reasonable prices.