Altinho Hill, Bishop's Palace (Altinho),
Boca de Vaca Spring, Mahalaxmi Temple, Kala Academy, Idalcao Palace,
Immaculate Conception Church, Fontainhas etc.
Best Time To Visit :
November to February
Old Goa grew unhygenic and was struck with disease and death, the Portuguese
decided to shift their capital to Panaji. They pulled down the imposing
structures of Old Goa and carried the stones to Panaji, where they set up
several impressive structure. That was how Panaji, situated on the left
banks of Mandovi river, became the capital of Goa in the year 1843.
Today, the Portuguese heritage of the city will present itself before you
as you make your way through the remarkably well preserved narrow winding
streets, old houses with overhanging balconies and numerous small cafes and
bars. You will also get the Portuguese touch in dress and lifestyle of the
Other than exploring the Portuguese legacy, Panaji will also throw open for
you numerous other options to enjoy yourself. It is the cultural capital of
the state and as such provides you an opportunity to stir your soul with
performances of local artists. Also, since the city of Panaji is netted, as
if in a spider's net, with the network of waterways, river cruises are quiet
an activity to enjoy. At one point of time, Panaji was the fishermen's
habitat and hence the fish market of the town provides a visual impact in
itself. The colourful fishes caught by the fishermen are sold here.
How to Reach
By Air :
Nearest airport is located at Dabolim, at a
distance of 32 kms. Indian Airlines and private operators offer flights for
the major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. From the airport
you have to take the road journey to reach Panaji.
By Train :
Vasco-da-Gama (35 kms) is the nearest major
rail head. Trains for the important towns and cities of India are available
from Vasco-da-Gama. To get to Vasco-da-Gama from Panaji you can either go
via the Dona Paula ferry or the Agassaim-Cortalim ferry.
By Bus :
There are several private companies which offer
luxury, air-conditioned buses from Panaji to Mumbai. Goa, Maharashtra and
Karnataka State Transport Corporation operate buses for Panaji. Daily buses
are available from Panaji to Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Mangalore. The
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) also run buses from
Panaji to Bijapur, Badami and Shimoga.
By Local Ferry :
One of the joys of the travelling around
Panaji are the ferries across the rivers. Ferries ply between Panjim and
Betim, Ribander and Chorai Island from 7 am to 7 pm.
Places Where You Can Stay
In Panaji you will find a number of good hotels that will suit your budget.
Make your selection from a wide range of hotels in Panaji that include five
star and three star hotels, inns, guest houses and lodges.
5 Star Hotels :
Goa Marriott Resort, The Majestic Goa.
3 Star Hotels :
Hotel Golden Goa, Hotel Mandovi.
2 Star Hotel :
Hotel Delmon, Hotel Nova Goa.
Tourist Attractions in Panaji
: Altinho (pronounced as Aal-teenyu) is a hill located at the centre of the
Panji, soaring high from the river and sea fronts. Originally Altinho was a
long ridge called Oiteiro de Conceicao (Hill of Conception) and today it
looks like two hills separated by a road known as Corte de Oiteiro. In
Altinho you can see the bungalows of government ministers, bureaucrats, the
Bishop's Palace and houses belonging to some of Goa's oldest families. The
tree-lined heights and quiet winding lanes add more to the beauty of
Altinho. You can get breathtaking views of the capital city Panaji and its
waterfront from the Altinho hill.
Bishop's Palace (Altinho) :
Built in 1894, the Bishop's
Palace has twelve crosses commemorating the Stations of the Cross, tracing
Jesus Christ's walk up Calvary to his crucification. If you visit Goa on
Christmas, you must attend the open-air Christmas Mass in the courtyard of
this palace. A larger-than-life size statue of Jesus Christ holds his arms
out towards the congregation and lanterns strung up in the trees. At the
stroke of midnight on 25th December the celebration begins.
Jogger's Park :
Jogger's Park lies close to the Altinho
Hill and it provides even better view of the Panaji town. Two main roads
leading away from Jogger's Park, one road takes you to Bhatlem and Mala and
the another road will take you to Kala Academy and Campal.
Boca de Vaca Spring :
From Jogger's Park a short walk down
the road takes you to the Boca de Vaca Spring. The cow shaped spring, Boca
de Vaca is known for its clear and sweet waters. The local people still use
the water for drinking.
Mahalaxmi Temple :
Mahalaxmi Temple is located next to the
Boca de Vaca Spring. Built in 1818, the Mahalaxmi Temple is the holy place
of worship of the Hindus. The original deity lies in a small box in the rear
wall of the temple, facing the main idol of the modern Mahalaxmi Temple.
Kala Academy :
Architectured by Charles Correa, Kala
Academy fascinates the visitors by its use of structure and space. Kala
Academy has an auditorium named after Dinanath Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar's
father and two mini theatres for workshops. There are also an open air
theatre, a music library, a recording studio, art gallery, exhibition halls,
practice rooms and several other rooms. The academy organizes cultural
festivals throughout the year for promoting local musical and dramatic
talents. Check out if anything interesting is going on in here. A visit here
could very well be a high point during your visit to Goa.
The Panaji Riverfront :
On the riverfront road, you will
come across some of the popular sights of Panaji. The Panaji Jetty is the
place where you will find small crafts like barges, yachts and trawlers.
Next is the Abbe Faria statue, the man behind the Pinto Revolt of 1787. The
statue depicts Abbe Faria hypnotizing a woman.
Idalcao Palace :
Panaji's oldest surviving building,
Idalcao Palace is located next to the Abbe Faria statue. Originally built by
Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, the palace underwent total change to suit the
requirements of the Portuguese Viceroy's Palace in 1615. The Viceroy's
Palace was still there in Idalcao Palace up to 1759. In 1843, the
Secretariat of the Portuguese Govt was shifted over here and now it is
functional as passport office of the Govt of India.
Kamat House :
Situated opposite the Idalcao Palace, the Mhamai Kamat
House is the ancestral home of the Raghvendra Mhamai Kamat, who constructed
the Mahalaxmi Temple.
Immaculate Conception Church :
Church is the main church of the Panaji town. The imposing church that dates
back to the 16th century is well-known for its spectacular double staircase
built in 1870. Immaculate Conception Church has the Mannerist facade of most
old churches in Goa and it has twin towers and a central gable which houses
the main bell. Every year, on December 8, a feast is held here. Before the
feast, novenas are held followed by dazzling fireworks.
Panaji's heritage area Fontainhas is located
west of the Ourem River. With narrow winding streets, old buildings,
shuttered windows and small overhanging balconies, Fontainhas offer an
atmosphere of Portuguese era. Confeitaria 31 de Janueiro, one of the Goa's
oldest bakeries is situated in Fontainhas. Step inside to get a taste of
colonial Goa at tea time or try the Pinagre, Bebinca, Doce and Bolinas.
St. Sebastian Chapel :
St. Sebastian Chapel stands in
Fontainhas at the end of a beautiful street. It was built in 1880 and is
known for a number of striking features. St. Sebastian Chapel is renowned
for its crucifix which once hung in the Palace of Inquisition in Old Goa.
The crucifix depicts Jesus Christ with his head erect and his eyes wide
Panaji Museum :
Panaji Museum is a modern and
well-maintained museum. The museum has an archive of photography, painting
and sculpture brought from Goa and all over India. Panaji Museum is open
Monday to Friday from 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5.30 pm.
Boat Cruises :
Your trip to Panaji is incomplete without a
ride on Goa Tourism's boat, Santa Monica. The cruise boat will take you
either east to see the Chorao island or west to view the sunset. Go on an
early morning cruise and grab a front seat to watch the magnificent banks of
Mandovi river. While you cruise through the river enjoy the music of live
If you are visiting Goa during Christmas, then be assured that you are
going to have some enormously enjoyable moments aboard. This is because
during Christmas, Panaji's entire riverfront is lit with fairy lights. It
makes you feel as if the illumination all over is magical and intend to
bring an unprecedented joy, specially in your heart.
Tourist Attractions around Panaji
Xavier Institute of Research :
Drive over the Mandove
Bridge to reach Porvorim where Xavier Institute of Research stands. The
Institute has a rich collection of over 26,000 books, ancient tomes, theses,
journals, and an art gallery with rare paintings of 17th century. The Xavier
Institute is open from 9.30 am to 1 pm and 2-5 pm all weekdays except
Salvador do Mundo :
A little further down the road from
the Xavier Institute the road bifurcates, take left turn to reach the quiet
Bardez village of Salvador do Mundo. Here you will see the three-storeyed
boat-shaped buildings of Goa Museum built on a teriffic island. The museum
has the collections of models and panels of old Goan houses and ancient
Ali Bird Sanctuary :
Set on the western circuit of Chorao Island,
the Bird Sanctuary is surrounded by the waters of Mapusa and Mandovi river.
The Bird Sanctuary of migratory birds spreads over 1.78 sq. km area of
Beaches around Panaji :
Located 9 kms south west of
Panaji, Dona Paula is a popular stop for sightseeing tours. The beach
divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries and provides spectacular views of
Mormugao town. The Cabo Raj Bhawan, official residence of the Governor of
Goa is situated on the westernmost tip of Dona Paula beach. Miramar Beach is
another beach near Panaji, just one kilometre away from Dona Paula.
Shopping in Panaji
Shopping in Panaji is an exciting affair. Untouched by the advances in
technology and development, you can find a range of handicrafts and
traditional Goan items. For branded shopping, head to colourful MG Road and
the 18th June markets. You can shop branded clothes - cottons, denims,
salwar kameezs, kids wear and sarees, shoes - leather, sport shoes, rainwear
and jewellery in these markets. In these markets you will also find the
liquor and wine shops.
Browse through the Panaji Corporation market where you will get everything,
from local and exotic fruit and vegetable to fresh and dried fish. People
come here to buy tiger prawns, mackerel, kingfish, squid, crabs, pomfret,
mussels and oysters. The market also has stalls selling cloths, bags, shoes,
electronic gadgets, spices, flowers and sweets.
Panaji Tour Packages
Features : You will visit
this town on the second day of Goa Tour in India package. Panaji, the
capital city of Goa is home to a number of tourist attractions. Major
attractions are Altinho Hill, Bishop's Palace (Altinho), Boca de Vaca
Spring, Mahalaxmi Temple, Kala Academy, Idalcao Palace, Immaculate
Conception Church and Fontainhas. You can also pay a visit to the nearby
attractions like Xavier Institute of Research, Salvador do Mundo, Salim
Ali Bird Sanctuary and the lovely beaches.
Features : On day seven,
apart from Old Goa, this tour will take you to Goa's capital city,
Panaji. This tour provides you an excellent opportunity to visit the
tourist attractions of Panaji, namely - Boca de Vaca Spring, Altinho
Hill, Bishop's Palace (Altinho), Immaculate Conception Church, Mahalaxmi
Temple, Idalcao Palace and Kala Academy. Apart from these, on this tour
you also get a chance to meet the local people who even today follow the
centuries old Portuguese culture.
Features : On Day 17,
Rajasthan Heritage and Goa will take you to Goa's capital city Panaji.
This tour provides you a fine opportunity to explore the tourist
attractions of the town. Some of the famous places which you can visit
on this tour include Mahalaxmi Temple, Kala Academy, Immaculate
Conception Church, Boca de Vaca Spring, Bishop's Palace, Altinho Hill
Features : Best of South
India, a 13 days tour, takes you to the beautiful state of Goa on very
first Day of your trip. Popularly known as tropical paradise, Goa is
home to enchanting tourist destinations namely Panaji, Old Goa, Mapusa,
Vasco da Gama, Margao, Canacona and Ponda. Each of these destinations
has a gamut of attractions, both in terms of sightseeing and activities.
Visit these tourist destinations on this tour and avail a good chance to
explore and enjoy these attractions.