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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Fairs & Festivals
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
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.
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.