Panaji City Guide – Panaji Travel Attractions
Panaji is the capital of the Indian state of Goa. The city is located on the banks of Mandovi estuary in Northern Goa. ‘Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception’ a church built in 1541 AD is the center of the city. The baroqueness of the church square is the highlight of the architecture of Panaji. The weather is Panaji is pleasant throughout the year. The temperature varies from 21°C in the winters to about 35 °C during the summers. This city with a strong Portuguese accent is worth visiting while one tours Goa. Some of the prominent locations are given a brief introduction in the following sections.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
This is one the earliest built churches in Goa. Originally the church was built in 1541. The church has a great bell call the ‘Bell of Inquisition’, which was added to the church in the year 1841. The church has a simple interior and is dedicated to Mary. One can find the idols of St. Peter, and St. Paul on the either side of the altar. There is also an altar dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, which also has an idol of the saint. As Christianity is monotheistic religion the idols here are termed as statues. The whole of the city is built around this area called the Church Square or the Municipal Gardens.
Fontainhas is located on the western side of the River Ourem. It is one of the oldest Portuguese residential areas named after the natural spring Fonte Phoenix. As a rule only the churches could be painted in white, the neoclassical facades of these ancient houses have retained the colors of their exteriors painted in yellow, blue, or green. During the month of January or February the eight-day event of Fontainhas Festival of arts is celebrated. During the occasion every house of the venue turns into art galleries. The celebrations are invigorated by dancers and musicians by their extraordinary performances.
Old Goa is located at about 10 km from Panaji. This has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. One of the major attractions for the tourists is the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. The place, which was deserted during the 17th century due to the spread of epidemics, houses a number of churches, such as Se Cathedral, Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Bom Jesus, and Church of St. Cajetan, ruins of Church of St. Augustine and Church and Convent of St. Monica.
Other places of interest in and around Panaji include Dona Paula, Ruins Of St. Augustine’s Tower, The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Aguada Fort, Archaeological Museum & Portrait Gallery, Archives Museum Goa, Bondla Forest, Miramar Beach, The Royal Chapel Of St. Anthony, Cabo Palace, Corambolin Lake, Kesarval Springs, Mayem Lake, The Viceroy Arch, and many more.
Transport and Stay
The Dabolim Airport in Vasco da Gama about 29 km south of Panaji is the nearest ariport. A number of domestic flights are operated between Dabolim and other major cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Kochi, Delhi, Chennai, and Thiruvananthpuram by both government and private sectors. Being a part of the Konkan railway network, there are number of trains to prominent cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi. There are numerous buses operated by both the government and the private operators to Panaji’s Kadamba bus terminal from different parts of the state as well as other neighboring states. Although there are buses to reach any part of Panaji, taxies and motor cycles are the preferred means of transport. The rental motorcycles here come with a driver, that is, you will have to ride on the pillion seat!
Hotel Nova Goa, Hotel Mandovi, Hotel Delmon, Hotel Park Plaza, Hotel Fidalgo, Dukes Villas, Panjim Inn (Peoples), and Hotel Joia de Goa are some of the hotels that offer star comforts to the tourists. Some of the standard hotels that offer a decent stay are Keni’s Hotel, Hotel Ashok Plaza, Hotel Manoshanti, Hotel Palacio de Goa, Hotel Rajdhani, Hotel Solmar, and Hotel Seema. There are a number of hotels and lodges that offer economy class accommodation to the visitors, and some of them are Hotel Blessings, Hotel Summit, Hotel Virashree, Hotel Belo Horison and lodges like Elite Lodge, A Pousada, Natasha, and El Paso.