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About Panaji
State : Goa
Built of laterite and lime plaster, the churches and cathedrals built during 16th to 17th century A.D. at Old Goa are a legacy of the Portuguese. They comprise of -Se' Cathedral, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Asisi, Chapel of St. Catherine, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of lady of Rosary and the Church of St. Augustine. Built in a combination of the renaissance and baroque styles, these churches and convents in old Goa are architectural masterpieces. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier rest, is one of the best in design and style. The Church of St Cajetan has a façade decorated with lonic, Doric and Corinthian pilasters. The Se' Cathedral with its Tuscan exterior, Corinthian columns, raised platform with steps leading to the entrance and barrel -vault is yet another example of Renaissance architecture. The paintings in the church are executed on wooden borders and fixed between panels with floral designs. Except for a few statues which are in stone, most of the other statues of the saints, Mother Mary and Jesus are mostly first carved in wood and then painted to adorn the altars.

Panaji GoaSe Cathedral Church Panaji GoaArjuna Beach Panaji GoaThe Archaeological Museum Panaji Goa
Panaji History
Panajim or Panaji's history goes back to the Purta Dharmas - the charitable deeds of Gandagopal Kelima whose grandfather Kalapa was entrusted with the administration of Panajim by the Kadamba king, Shasthadeva (1007-1050), a good and a glorious king who "by his works redressed all the wrongs in his kingdom". This is gathered from an inscription of the Kadamba king, Vijayaditya I, dated February 7, 1107, and refers to Panajim as Pahajani Khali - Pahajani from which Panajim supposedly got its name and Khali probably refers to the creeks and backwaters abounding in the area. The first few Portuguese chroniclers, soon after the conquest of Goa, refer to Panajim as Panaji or Ponji which is said to mean "Land that never gets flooded". According to one Portuguese philologist, the word Pongy is derived from Panch Yma Afsumgary or five wonderful castles where the Muslim king, Ismail Adil Shah, and his wives used to live. Its name was later changed by the Portuguese into Panajim. When Old Goa collapsed in the 19th century, Panajim was elevated to the status of a city on 22nd March 1843 and was renamed `Nova-Goa' (New Goa). After liberation in 1961, it came to be known as Panajim.

Panajim originally was a neglected ward of Taleigao village. It was, in fact, a large coconut palm grove interspersed with ponds, backwaters, creeks, canals, sand dunes and paddy fields. The only conspicuous construction existing in the locality was the 15th century castle built by Adil Shah on the left margin of the Mandovi River.

On December 1, 1759, the Viceroy Dom Manuel de Saldanha de Albuquerque, Count Of Ega, shifted his residence from Panelim (near Old Goa) to Panajim. For this purpose, the old castle of Adil Shah was totally remodeled and a palace was built where, at present, the Government Secretariat stands. This has been the administrative and political seat of Government since then. It is here that the future of the State is decided and molded

Place to See
Church Squre
The leafy rectangular park opposite the Indian Government Tourist Office, known as Church Square or the municipal garden, forms the heart of Panjim. Presiding over its east side is the town's most distinctive and photogenic landmark, the toothpaste white baroque façade of the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Flanked by rows of slender palm trees, at the head of a criss-crossing laterite walkway, the church was built in 1541 for the benefit of sailors arriving here from Lisbon. The weary mariners would stagger up from the quay to give thanks for their safe passage before proceeding to the capital at Old Goa - the original home of the enormous bell that hangs from its central gable.

Panjim's oldest and most interesting district, Fontainhas, lies immediately west of Pato, overlooking the banks of the oily green Ourem Creek. From the footbridge between the bus stand and town centre, a dozen or so blocks of neoclassical houses rise in a tangle o terracotta rooftops up the sides of Altinho Hill. At siesta time, Vespas stand idle on deserted street corners, while women in western clothes exchange pleasantries with their neighbours from open windows and leafy verandahs. Many building have retained their traditional coat of ochre, pale, yellow, green or blue- a legacy of the Portuguese insistence that every Goan building should be colour washed after monsoons.

Sao Tome

Sao tome ward is the other old quarter, lying north of Fontainhas on the far side of Emilio Gracia Road. This is the area to head for if one fancy a bar crawl: the narrow streets are dotted with dozens of hole-in-the -wall taverns, serving cheap, stiff measures of rocket fuel 'Feni' under strip lights and the watchful gaze of colourful Madonnas.

Condolim Beach
Four or five years ago, Candolim, at the far southern end of Calangute beach, was a surprisingly sedate resort, appealing to an odd mixture of middle-class Bombayites, and Burgundy-clad Sannyasins taking a break from the Rajneesh Ashram at Pune.

Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Along the north from Panaji on the road to Belgaum, is a sanctuary that covers 240-sq-kms. Thick forest clad the slopes of the Western Ghats that is rich in wildlife and a paradise for bird watchers. Police Outpost at the gateway of the sanctuary in calm and quiet surroundings is like a painting on a canvas in Malem.

The Basilica Of Bom Jesus
Immediately to the south of the main road is the Professed House, a two-storeyed laterite building covered with lime plaster. Despite the opposition, which the Jesuits faced, the building was completed in 1585.

Sri Vithal Temple
From Kansarpal one can proceed to Sanquelim, the hometown of the Ranes of Satari who played key role in Goa's freedom struggle. The ancestors of the present Rane family, who are believed to have migrated to Goa from Udaipur about 600 years ago, built the famous Sri Vithal temple situated on the bank of Valvanta River.

Miramar Beach
On the way to Dona Paula, 1-km ahead of the confluence of the Arabian Sea and Mandvi River, under the palm shade, is "Gasper Dias" or Miramar Beach and is just 3-km away from the capital city of Panjim.

Fairs & Festivals
Goa Carnival
Although introduced by the Portuguese who ruled this territory for over 50 years, from 1510 to 1961, the three-day festival primarily celebrated by Christians, has absorbed Hindu tradition-bound revelry and western dance forms, and stimulated by the artistry of the Goan genius turned into a pageantry of singular effervescence.

Among the various colourful feasts and festivals feasts and festivals that Goa celebrates -with great eclat, Carnaval and Shigmo are the most rumbustious, awaited by the population with intense enthusiasm. Unlike 'Shigmo' which is also celebrated in some oilier parts of India, although under different appellations, 'Carnaval Goa's own, unique, and the Union Territorys contribution to India's other expressions at untrammelled revelry.

If down the centuries Carnaval was enjoyed only by the local population, today its fame has crossed the frontiers attracting thousands of people from all over India to whom this type of extravaganza is at once riotous and different.

How to Reach
Air : Goa is connected by Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, and Sahara Airlines flights from Mumbai (Bombay), Bangalore, Cochin, Delhi, Chennai (Madras), Mangalore and Trivandrum. Gateway for Goa is Dabolim Airport not far away from the city of Panaji.

Rail : Panaji is connected with Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Pune, Secunderabad, and Jaipur. Madgaon is the nearest railway station. Advance reservation can also be made at the Railway Out Agency at the Panaji Bus Terminus.