Year after year, innumerable tourists descend on the famous little destination called Goa. Yet, every time it manages to offer something new and something unforgettable. Panjim is the capital of the Indian state of Goa. This small and charming the city lies along the left bank of the Mandovi River set up against terraced hillsand red-tiled roofs and a riverside promenade. We investigate the top things to see.
1. Take a dip into history
To date, the mysterious Fontainhas, which is considered Goa’s Latin Quarter and is located in the heart of Panjim remains one of the most charming places to explore. Apart from the vibrant coloured walls and quaint streets there are some delightful hidden surprises. Make sure you have some extra space in the bag to carry some delicious treats home.
2. Holy shrines
The heart of Goa is the Church Square or Municipal Garden which is home to the Portuguese Baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church. It was built in 1541 and other tourist attractions of the place are the 16th century Adilshahi Palace, the Mahalaxmi Temple, the Jama Masjid mosque, and the Chapel of St. Sebastian.
3. The Carnival
Carnival celebrations in February go through Panaji and then the other parts of Goa. The colourful parade is a huge draw for the city and the area of Panajim.
The 18th June Road is a popular area in the heart of Panajim for shopping.
Goa is most famous for its beaches. And near Panji the most famous beaches are Miramar, Bambolim and Dona Paula. Dona Paula is the meeting point for two of Goa’s famous rivers, which meet at the Arabian Sea. Miramar Beach is located near Panjim but is very popular and can get over crowded.
6. Green Goa
Goa has some fantastic villages to explore, provided you are ready to be lost in the luscious Arpora hills. You can plunge you right into the wilderness with local experts and naturalists who give inspiring talks on snakes and the indigenous flora and fauna. Highly recommended for environment enthusiasts.
7. Birds of Goa
Many locals have an inherent eye for bird-watching in the hilly terrains of North Goa. For this you can arrange a day tour from Panjim. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is Goa’s important bird sanctuary. It is located in Chorao and is home host to rare and endangered bird species. Bird watching walks are lovely all year round except from May – July when there is a lot of humidity.
8. The Mystifying Island
From Panjim you can access Old Goa, which has always been rather elusive to the tourists who throng the popular beaches up North. We suggest you do not miss a tour to the mystifying island of Divar. The island can be reached by regular ferries from Old Goa. An old white church, flanked by Banyan trees, stands atop a hill, visible from all points below. The sleepy island has stretches of fields and hardly any inhabitation. Great for a long drive and a quick break for a cold beer in local cafes.
9. Brown Town
From Panjim take a drive to Bicholim, a pottery town and an untouched destination. It is fascinating to see the mud covered town, still preserving the old art of clay and porcelain.
10. Serene Sands
Having heard of only the popular beaches of Goa, many miss many secret pristine beaches. A forty minute drive north of Arpora will lead you to beautiful lesser known beaches called Ashwem, Mandrem and Morjim. Carefully tucked away from the busy clamour of hotels and guest houses, spend some quiet time in the few tasteful shacks at the far end of these un-commercial beaches.
11. Test your luck
As you walk out of this faraway world, you can visit one of the only casinos in India. This can be done deep in the Mandovi waters, which provides the casino an off shore status thus making it legal.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Panjim Goa
- Season – November till April is the most pleasant to visit.
- Single/ Female Travelers – Though largely safe to travel alone, single or female travelers should bear in mind that it is good to avoid late nights.
- Connectivity – Well connected by flights, trains and buses to major metros and towns of tourists’ interests like Hampi.
- Accommodation – the Casa de Morada or Vivenda Gomes Pereira are ideal places to stay in Panjim.
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