Tourist Attractions of Goa
Panaji is the capital of Goa. Literally, the word Panaji means 'the land that does not flood'. The main attraction in Panaji is the carnival held here every Sabada Gordo (Fat Saturday). The carnival is basically all about forgetting one's worries and having a fun time. There's a lot of singing and dancing, as well as a procession of heavily decorated floats
Church of the Lady of Immaculate Conception
The main place of worship in town, this church holds Mass every morning in three different languages - English, Konkani and Portuguese.
Chapel of St Sebastian
Built in the 1880s, the Church of St Sebastian is known for its crucifix of Christ, which shows Christ with his eyes open.
This was the summer palace of the Muslim ruler of Goa, Adil Shah. It is also the oldest building in this part of Goa. The Portuguese rebuilt it in 1615 and used it as the residence of the Viceroy.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Located near Panaji, on
the western tip of the island of Chorao along Mandovi River, this
sanctuary is spread over 2 sq km. Local and migratory birds can be
seen here in abundance.
Old Goa (Velha Goa)
Old Goa, the second capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty, could rival Lisbon with its magnificance in olden days. At that time, it was a fortress surrounded by a moat and had temples, mosques and a large palace for Adil Shah. Wracked by epidemics of cholera and malaria and the Inquisition, Old Goa has deteriorated from a vibrant city to a dying one with a handful of architectural relics.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Convent & Church of St Francis of Assisi
Church of St Cajetan
Beaches Fort Aguada & Candolim
This place is a 45-minute bus ride from Panaji and was once famous for its hippies and cheap accommodation. The road between the town and the beach is lined with stalls selling Kashmiri handicrafts, Tibetan textiles and jewellery.
Anjuna is famous for its Wednesday flea market. The coconut palm-strewn beach is quite clean, making it one of the few good beaches in Goa.
Chapora & Vagator
Coconut groves cover most of this rocky hill that holds the ruins of a Portuguese fort. The other major landmark is the estuary of the Chapora River. The Big Vagator Beach is also here. The Orzan Vagator Beach further down south is somewhat isolated from the area. There are lots of secluded beaches, sandy coves and rocky cliffs to explore and enjoy.
Located 32 km from Mapusa, the village of Arambol is a tranquil and friendly place with just a few hundred locals, mostly fishing folk. Only the very basic amenities are available here but the two beaches here offer a quiet and calm atmosphere — very different from most other Goan beaches.
Bondala Wildlife Sanctuary
This small wildlife sanctuary, located 50 km south-east of Panaji in the foothills of the Western Ghats, is a good place to escape to from the beaches of coastal Goa. A botanical garden, a fenced Deer Park and a zoo are things one can check out here.
An interesting small fort on the banks of the river Terekhol built by the Portuguese. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel. The Querim beach is close to the fort.
Vasco Da Gama
Vasco, as it is called, is 29 km by road from Panjim and just 3 km from the airport at Dabolim. It is one of the key shipping ports in the west coast, with container vessels and iron ore barges in traffic.
Bogmalo is a small fishing village, 8 km southwest of Vasco Da Gama, with a small sandy beach that is relatively clean and comparatively uninhabited. The waters here are safe for swimming. This is one of the places in India where one can do a PADI-approved Open Water Diving Course. Other water sport facilities are also available at the beach.
Margao (also called Madgaon) is the capital of Salcete province and is the main town in South Goa. It is 30 km from Vasco and one of the few places where one can see the remains of Portuguese rule. The Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1675 by the Portuguese, next to Largo de Igreja Square, is a fine example of Baroque architecture. Monte Hill offers a good view of the area. The De Silva House and the De Joao Figueiredo House are other interesting places to visit in Margoa.
Colva & Benaulim
The Beach Bonanza is held here on successive Sundays with live music, dancing and entertainment. Colva Beach is one of the more popular beaches in south Goa. Benaulim derives its name from the Sanskrit word 'Banali' - 'the place where the arrow landed'. Legend has it that Goa was created when Parasuram, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, fired an arrow into the sea and ordered the sea to recede from where the arrow landed. Benaulim is 2 km south of Colva and 10 km west of Margoa. The beach here is tranquil and the sea is safe for swimming.
Varka & Cavelossim
Varka is 5 km south of Benaulim and Cavelossim is a further 7 km. The beach resorts here are a little upmarket and secluded. Further south of Colva (35 km) is an old fort at Cabo De Rama. It is believed that Lord Rama and his wife Sita had spent some time here during their exile, hence the name.
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