15 Best Places to visit in Goa
Tourist Places to Visit in Goa: –
The scenic capital of Goa, Panjim is located along the river Mandovi. Tiers of white washed red tile-roofed buildings rising up the hill give it a Mediterranean flavour. Panjim is noted for its fine buildings. The present government Secretariat is located along the river. Once the governor’s residence, it is built at the site of the palace of Adil Shah, the ruler of Bijapur. The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception dominates the city square and its steps zig zag up the hill. The old Latin quarter of Fountains has immense old world charm, Its little lanes and stairways going up the hill are lined with quaint street houses with wrought iron balconies. The little Chapel of San Sebastian blends into these surroundings. The Kala Academy, the focus of all cultural activities in Goa, is a beautifully designed modern complex along the river. Close by is the Miramar beach.
Margao to the south of Panjim is major commercial center. It also has beautiful old houses and churches. The towns of Vasco da Gama and the Mormugao Port are close by. Mapsua is another town with great charm that comes alive each Friday when a local market springs up.
PICTURE (RIGHT) : Palm fringed beach (image courtesy – alamy)
At every twist and turn of the undulating Goa coast there are alluring little coves or bays each completely different and each with its own special charm.
Along the coast are picturesque villages with tall white washed churches and red tiled houses that nestle into the lush green of the Goa countryside.
In north Goa (north of Panjim) some of the finest beaches are edged by tall laterite cliffs. They include Sinquerim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator and Chapora with an old fort overlooking the beach.
The Arambol beach has a delightful fresh water pond at the base of a verdant slope. The Tiracol fort at the northern most extremity of the territory, built on a tall promontory has a splendid view over the sea.
The southern beaches with their expanses of sparkling white sand and calm sea include Bogmalo, Utorda, Majorda, Colva, Benaulim, Cavelossim and Mobor. The tiny bay at Palolem, is especially beautiful. Goa beaches are among top places to visit in Goa.
PICTURE : Gilded altar, Se Cathedral
Velha Goa the old capital of the Portuguese, lying further upstream from Panjim is practically an open air museum. The magnificent 16th century city once known as Goa Dourada( Golden Goa) rivaled the European cities in splendour and wealth. Today some of the grandeur can be seen in the imposing churches, convents and monasteries that remain. They have high vaulted roofs and lavishly baroque interiors with carved and gilded altar pieces and statues. The majestic Tuscan style Se Cathedral dedicated to St. Catherine da Se has some of the finest examples of religious art. The little chapels that lie off the main nave are beautifully ornamented in different style. Near by is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The archaeological Museum is housed in the adjacent convent. The Basilica of Bom Jesus enshrines the miraculously preserved remains of St. Francis Xavier- displayed in an exquisitely crafted silver casket resting on a multi-hued Italian marble base. The imposing structure supported externally by buttresses has an elaborately gilded altar. The St. Cajetan Church close by, modelled on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is topped by a dome. Halfway up a near by hill is the massive Convent of St. Monica constructed in 1627 AD, and at the top are the majestic ruins of the St. Augustine’s Church. Goa Churches are among popular tourist places to visit in Goa.
PICTURE : Shri Monguesh Temple
Goa’s many charming temples are built in a style that incorporates Hindu, Islamic and Christian architectural elements. Many are located in the vicinity of Ponda. In the 16th century, when Portuguese persecution was at its peak and temples were being destroyed deities from ancient shrines were stealthily smuggled out across the border into the adjoining area of Antruz, now Ponda. In the 18th century these make shift shrines were converted into graceful temples and built in a style unique to Goa. These complexes have elaborate deepa stambhas, domes in place of shikaras which are crowned by kalasas, sarecenic arches, traditional mandapas and temple tanks.
Along the most reversed temples in this area are the Shri Manguesh Temple in Priol, the Shri Naguesh Temple, The temple of Shri Mahalsa Narayani, a folk deity, the Shri Ramnathi temple at Kavelam and the Shri Shanta Durga Temple, a shrine of Durga worshipped usually in a peaceful avatar.
Up in the hills, safe from the depredation of the invaders, is he sole surviving example of Kadamba temple architecture. Built in black basalt stone the Mahadeva Temple at Tamdi Surla is adorned with sculpted monolithic pillars and niches and delicately carved bas relief’s. It is among popular tourist places to visit in Goa.
At Ponda is the elegant Safa Mosque built in 1560, evidence of Goa’s Muslim past.
PICTURE (RIGHT) : A Typical Goa House, Margao
Step into Goa’s exciting past at ‘Ancestral Goa’, a mock up of a typical Goa village of a hundred years ago, frozen in time. Built on a verdant hill side close to Loutolim (10 km from Margao), it is surrounded by varied plantation of spices, vegetables and fruits, watered by an ancient system of irrigation.
An ‘Eat Out’ offers Goa meals and specialties that allow you to enjoy the full flavour of Goa and the ‘Big Foot’ a designer dance floor in the shape of a giant foot print is an ideal location for a spot of fun. ‘Natural Harmony’ an immense laterite sculpture (14 m by 5 m) of Meera Bai playing the Ektara in 30 days time, has found a place in the Limca Book of Records.
Flour attractive wildlife sancturies preserve thick forests and habitat along the slopes of the Western Ghats. They include the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (60 km east of Panaji). It is among popular tourist places to visit in Goa.
(60 km south of Panaji). The wet deciduous forests of these preserve have abundant birdlife and are the habitat of animals like the bison, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, chital, pangolin etc. It is among popular tourist places to visit in Goa.
The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary located on the island of Chorao along the river Mandovi, close to Panjim, has mangrove forests and varieties of water birds.
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