Panaji

Panaji : The Capital of a Paradise

On the banks of the gorgeous Mandovi River estuary, you will find Panaji, the capital of Goa. Originally called Panjim by the Portuguese, the spirited city has its own original brand of languidness. The Portuguese tool great care of this city which they planned quite exquisitely. The present inhabitants have adapted to the European legacy and made it their own. The architecture of the city is unlike anything else you will encounter in India. More often than not it seems that Panaji has been lifted straight out of any Portuguese town. However the Indian influence is unmistakable as you will encounter colorful Hindu temples, a short walk away from whitewashed churches

How to Get There

By Air:

Goa’s airport is Dabolim which is 29 kilometers south of Panaji. The airport is connected with all major destinations in the country. This airport has chartered flights which usually come in from Europe and from major parts of the country such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore.

By Rail:

The Panaji railway station is part of the Konkan Railway network. Trains run between Panaji and prominent cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi. The Vasco Da Gama railway station is 30 km away from Panaji.

By Road:

The Kadamba Bus Terminal in Pato, 1 km east of the main square, is a busy bus  Junction with buses coming in from neighboring Goan towns and long distance   buses from Maharashtra and Karnataka.
 

Baga Beach

Languid is not a term you will associate with the Baga beach. This beach pulsates with a vivid nightlife. Exciting activities are available in plenty here. You can get your adrenaline levels rushing with parasailing, kite surfing, wind surfing and jet skiing. Afterwards, you can unwind with the innumerable parties hosted on the sands.

Calangute Beach

The spellbinding beauty of the Calangute Beach seems rather appropriate for a lot of activities. It does not disappoint. You can roam around the beach aimlessly and be mesmerized by its allure. The nightlife is exciting with parties continuing till the start of dawn. The numerous shacks on the beach serve up lip-smacking local sea food dishes and the intoxicating Feni. You can even shop around the stalls for exquisite handicrafts items.

Dona Paula Beach

The enchanting Dona Paula Beach has a tragic story of love associated with it. The spot provides an excellent view of the Arabian Sea. The place got its name from Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior, the daughter of a Portuguese Viceroy of Jaffnapatnam. According to the story, Paula fell in love with a local fisherman but her father refused to accept such a relation. Dejected, Paula threw herself into the sea from a cliff. Her father renamed the area after her as a memorial. Sitting on the windswept sands, you can ponder on the beauty of such tragic loves.


Colva Beach

The white sands of the Colva Beach create a serene atmosphere. Scenic palm trees sline the beach providing a dash of green to the enchanting landscape. The town near the beach is rich in history. It is perfect for a quite exploration of the historical buildings, all of which look quite exquisite. Rave parties are not held here which means, you can enjoy a quiet walk on the white sands which create a ghostly scene under the moonlight. However, you can hear snatches of trance music emanating from the lounges nearby.

Candolim Beach

Candolim Beach is one of the longest beaches in Goa. It is a hip place filled with young people out to have a great time on the beach. In spite of it, the atmosphere is rather peaceful. You can enjoy a number of activates here. Snorkeling is a great way to get familiarized with the hidden beauty that lies under the surface of the sea. If you wish to go deeper, there is diving. Fishing offers you a chance to relax in the beauty of the sea.

Miramar Beach

The name Miramar in Portuguese refers to ‘viewing the sea’ which is an absolutely appropriate name for the beach. The long beach is graced with white sands that look silvery under the warm rays of the sun. Also called Gasper Dias, the beach offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea. There are many water sports to be enjoyed here in the beach. You can also simply spend the day turn to evening enjoying the variety of sea foods available here while relaxing in the lap of nature. During the winter months, you will find the beach overtaken by flocks of gulls and plovers which creates a stunning vista.

Varca Beach

The Varca Beach is one of the most exotic beaches you can encounter in Goa. An atmosphere of tranquility and silence hangs over the beach. The beach is free from all kinds of commotion. You can take long walks here without any noise to interrupt your sojourn. You can mediate in the fascinating beach for long periods contemplating anything and everything.

Anjuna Beach

One of the most spectacular and popular beaches in Panaji is the Anjuna Beach. The glorious waters brush against the shore quite entrancingly. The atmosphere here is charged with excitement as you will find innumerable flea markets bustling with the chorus of ongoing bargains. The rock formation present here is quite unusual with its black surfaces presenting a stunning contrast against white sands. Trance parties are quite common on this beach.

Chapel of St. Francis Xavier

The majestic structure of the chapel is stunning to look at. It is a good example of the indelible mark left behind by the Portuguese in the landscape and history of Goa. The chapel was originally built in the year 1545 but fell into ruin. In 1884, the chapel was restored to its former glory. Inside the beautiful halls provide a good place for a quiet prayer.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church

The incredible building of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is the center of the spirituality of Goa. This magnificent church was built over a smaller and older chapel dating back to 1540. The present church as built in 1619. From a distance the church looks as if a white wedding cake taken out from a picture book. The white facade of the church hides inside a glorious Technicolor. The interiors are rich in decorations and adornments. The walls inside are plated with gold in floral motifs. The beauty of the church is topped by a large gleaming bell which was brought from an Augustinian monastery which now lies in ruins at Old Goa.


Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a picturesque sight indeed. It is here that the mortal remains of the great Saint Francis Xavier has been laid to rest. The architecture of the basilica is simply fantastic. It is the best example of the Baroque style of architecture in India. Inside the church you will find scenes from the life of St. Francis Xavier depicted through a series of beautiful paintings

Shanta Durga Temple

The Shanta Durga Temple is possibly the most famous Hindu temple in Goa. Dedicated to the Shantadrga avatar of Goddess Parvati, the temple is a fascinating place. The structure is no way looks like a traditional Hindu temple which makes it all the more special. The idol of Goddess Shantadurga is depicted with two serpents in each hand. The serpent on the right hand is a representation of Lord Vishnu while the other depicts Lord Shiva.

Sri Devaki Krishna Temple

The serenity offered by the Sri Devaki Krishna Temple is rich in spirituality. Over 15 deities are worshipped in the temple complex here. However, the highlight of the Devaki Krishna Temple is the shrine dedicated to Devaki Krishna. This is a unique shrine. Nowhere else in India you will find Lord Krishna being worshipped alongside Devaki, his mother.

Arvalem Waterfalls

In the midst of a scenic vista, you will find a gorgeous stream of water cascading down to a pool. The nearby hills may not be huge but they certainly are spectacular. The charming surroundings are a haven. Here you can experience serenity while the waterfall roars around you. After the monsoons, the waterfall becomes filled with energy charging the atmosphere with exuberance

Aguada Fort

The magnificent Aguada Fort serves as a reminder of the Portuguese who once ruled over these lands. Built in the 17th century, the structure has been preserved perfectly. From the fort, you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the Arabian Sea. From here you can watch the glorious Mandovi River merging with the waters of the sea. The historic fort was built to protect Portuguese interests against attacks by the Dutch and the Marathas.

Dudsagar Waterfall

An incredible vista is presented to you at the Dudhsagar waterfall. As the waters cascade down the rocky slopes, it turns frothy creating an impression of milk falling down. The scene is charming especially after the monsoons. Then, the volume of the waters increases considerably which creates a stunning sight. The waterfall seems more ferocious and energetic.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

Do not be fooled by the small size of the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary. Within its small area, it contains a remarkable collection of flora and fauna. The scenic sanctuary allows you to get close with some of the most fascinating species to grace the glorious land of Goa. Thick with evergreen and deciduous forests, the sanctuary contains various specialized areas. You can take a trip through the mini zoo to get to these creatures a bit better or you can head over to the Rose Garden to get intoxicated in the beauty and fragrance of the lovely flowers. Some of the more interesting animals that live here are panthers, snakes, crocodiles and a collection of deer species. In the air, you will find a colorful vista filled with kingfishers, hornbills and woodpeckers amongst other species.

 

Arvalem Caves

Goa offers you some spectacular beaches and natural sights. It is also capable of giving you some fascinating examples of heritage architecture. One of the most spectacular pieces of such heritage can be found in the Arvalem Caves. These caves are spectacular to look at and are rich in history. Taking a walk through these ancient caves is like steeping into a mythological tale. Also known as the Pandava Caves, these caves have been hewn and cut from rocks. Some of them date back to the 6th century. According to the Hindu mythology of the Mahabharata, these caves provided shelter to the five Pandava brothers during their period of exile. There are five caves with shivlingas here which serves as proof of this story. However, some claim that the caves were built by Buddhists. They point out to the presence of a giant statue of Buddha which looks stunning against the wild landscape. Whatever be its origin, the fact remains that the caves look enchanting in the wilderness.