29 kms from Panaji
Safa Shahouri Mosque, Mount Carmel Chapel,
Miraculous Cross, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Dudhsagar Waterfalls and Ponda
Best Time To Visit :
November to March.
you are looking for a connection between Goa's powerful deities and their
passionate devotees, then Ponda is a good place to soak yourself in
spirituality. Ponda, Goa's temple town will compel you to imagine what the
state would have been like, if the Portuguese had not strolled beyond
Ponda came under Portuguese rule in the year 1549. The Portuguese destroyed
the Adil Shah Fort in 1549, but Shivaji captured the fort and reconstructed
it in 1675. In 1791, Portuguese once again occupied Ponda after defeating
the king of Sonda. The king of Sonda was sympathetic to the conditions of
the fleeing Hindus and suggested them to conduct their religious rites in
the temples of Ponda. A dozen of temples were founded in Ponda during his
time to save the Gods from Portuguese attack, but the Portuguese ultimately
destroyed those temples. Today, Ponda looks like any other Indian town, with
hardly any trace of the Portuguese, except the 18th century Municipal
Ponda is famous as the home to five of Goa's important Hindu Temples and
also the largest mosque of Goa. You can see a number of unique Hindu
Temples, most of these look relatively new as they have been rebuilt after
being destroyed by the Portuguese.
Besides, a temple town, Ponda is now a bustling business as well as an
industrial centre, dotted with several factories, small industries and
shops. Ponda is also an important transport link between Panjim to Belgaum
in Karnataka via Old Goa.
How to Reach
By Air :
Ponda is 45 kms away from the Goa's Dabolim
airport. From Dabolim airport, flights are available to Delhi, Mumbai,
Bangalore and other major cities of India.
By Train :
Ponda is located at a distance of 17 kms from
Karmali railway station and 20 kms from Margao railway station.
By Bus :
National Highway 4 A, which connects Panji to
Belgaum in Karnataka via Old Goa, runs through the Ponda city. Buses run
every 15 mins between the KTC bus terminals in Ponda, Panji, Margao and
Vasco da Gama.
Places Where You Can Stay
Ponda is dotted with a number of good hotels that offer comfortable stay.
Most of the budget hotels are situated on the Belgaum Road which provide
well-furnished rooms to guests. GTDC's Tourist Cottage at Farmgudi is the
best mid-range hotel. Other popular hotels are Hotel Menino, Hotel Musafir,
Hotel President, Hotel Prakash Heritage, Hotel Venkatesh Leela, Atish Hotel
and Ganesh Residency.
Tourist Attractions in Ponda
Safa Shahouri Mosque :
Safa Shahouri Mosque is one of the
27 mosques built by Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah in Ponda. Constructed in the
year 1560, it is a small single chambered mosque having a tiled roof. The
original mosque was destroyed in the hand of Portuguese and a new one was
built up again. You can reach the main entrance of the mosque by flight of
steps. The outer periphery of the mosque is adorned with a masonry minaret
having eight-sided columns. Its platform is surmounted by finials, but many
of the columns are missing now. There is a stone water tank adjacent to the
mosque, whose walls are supported by underwater arches. The mosque and water
tank were flanked by a garden with wide laterite pathways.
Mount Carmel Chapel :
Built by Portuguese for their
battalion, the Mount Carmel Chapel is now used by the Indian Army. The 18th
century chapel has dark coloured altars, made of magnificently carved wood.
You can see people wielding brooms and dusters and cleaning the chapel.
Miraculous Cross :
Locally known as "Goddar",
Miraculous Cross is the major attraction in Ponda. Every year on the 3rd
May, the Feast of the Holy Cross is celebrated here. During the feast,
people of all religions form a solemn trek to the forest check post and
climb up a steep hill.
Wildlife Sanctuary :
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, visit the
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary which provides shelter to a variety of fauna.
Bondla is the smallest Goan wildlife sanctuary sprawling over a small area
of 8 sq. kms. Situated 3000 ft. above the sea level on the slopes of Western
Ghat ranges, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is a combination of a Botanical
Garden, fenced deer park and a zoo. Ragado river flows on the east and the
Madhel river is on the north of the sanctuary. Here, you can spot animal
species like Wild Boar, Deer, Leopard, Reptiles and thousands of domiciled
birds of different species. Guides are available here, you can hire them
from forest office.
Dudhsagar Waterfalls :
In your train journey from Vasco to
Miraj, you will be awaken by rippling sound of the Dudhasagar Waterfalls.
Situated 60 kms east of Panaji, Dudhsagar falls is a centre point of beauty
in Goa. The highlight of this falls is its white colour water, hence it is
called Dudhsagar or Ocean of Milk.
Tourist Attractions Around Ponda
Often referred to as the Hindu heartland of Goa, Ponda is home to more
than 50 temples which are situated within a 10 km radius. Start your journey
from Mangueshi Temple at Priol, whose deity is an incarnation of Lord Shiva,
worshipped only in Goa. Next visit the Mahalsa Temple at Mardol, this temple
is dominated by six-storeyed Deepstambh, considered to be the largest in
India. Further move to Shantadurga Temple at Kavlem, which is the largest
temple in Goa. Visit the Nagueshi Temple at Bandora, here you will see the
ruined Shivteerth Palace of the King of Sonda. Head for the Mahalaxmi Temple
at Bandora and after that move to Shivaji Fort near Farmagudi. Far south of
Ponda Taluka is the Kamakshi Temple which is a must visit place.
Mahalasa Temple (Mardol) :
The Mahalasa Temple at Mardol
beckons with its legends and its lamp tower. Devotees used to take oaths
under the bell of the temple. There is some confusion about the deity of
this temple, while some believe that the reigning deity is Goddess Laxmi
while some accept Mohini as deity.
Mangueshi Temple (Priol) :
The 400 -yrs-old Shiva Temple
is located at Priol in Ponda Taluka. The exquisite temple is placed on the
top of a hillock surrounded by green hill rock. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and
Goddess Parvati, the Mangueshi Temple is cooled by a breathtaking pond.
Shantadurga Temple (Kavlem) :
Situated at the foothill of
Kavlem, Shantadurga Temple is Goa's most spectacular temple. Also called as
the Santeri Temple, this temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, mother goddess
of Goa. Set amidst betal palms, the temple boasts of a massive tank, a
Deepstambh and Agrashalas.
Ramnathi Temple (Kavlem) :
A little ahead at Kavelm is
Ramnathi and the place gets its name from the Ramnathi Temple. Ramnath is
the presiding deity of the temple, other deities of the temple are
Lakshminarayan Dev, Kalinahira, Kamakshi, Betal and Santeri. Ramnathi Temple
is equally revered by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites.
Nagueshi Temple (Bandora) :
Located close to Kavlem,
Naugeshi Temple will amaze you with its beautiful courtyards and excellent
architecture. The linga inside the temple which draw the local devotees, was
found by cowherds playing in the area. The main hall of the temple has
elaborate wood murals depicting the events from the Ramayana.
Laxmi- Narsimha Temple (Nagueshi) :
Laxmi Narsimha Temple
at Nagueshi is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his consort Laxmi. The temple
has an unusual image of Laxmi in which she wears a linga on her head. In the
main hall of the temple you can see a rare treasure, wood carvings of 18
avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Kamakshi Temple (Shiroda) :
Kamakshi Temple was originally
situated in Raia and was probably the first temple to be displaced from
Salcete in 1564. The deity of the temple is Kamakshi, an incarnation of
Shiva's consort Parvati.
Vijayadurga Temple (Keri) :
From Ponda, take a different
track, after covering 12 kms of untrammeled bush you will be at Vijayadurga
Temple. The temple is believed to be around 500 years old and was renovated
Mahadev Temple (Tambdi Surla) :
Situated at Tambdi Surla,
the Shiva Temple is worth visiting. Built in the 12th century, the Mahadev
Temple is the only completely preserved basalt stone temple of the Kadamba
period in Goa. The temple is flanked by Anmod Mountain in its one side,
while other three sides have a stream.
Ponda Tour Packages
Features : On second day of
your trip, you may pay a visit to the temple town of Ponda,. A home to
Goa's important Hindu Temples, Churches and also the biggest mosque of
the state, Ponda cleans your soul and mind with its peaceful ambience.
Must visit places in Ponda include Ponda Temples, Mount Carmel Chapel,
Safa Shahouri Mosque, Miraculous Cross, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and,
Features : India by Day and
Night provides a good opportunity to explore the important towns of Goa.
On day 18 of your trip, this tour will take you to the temple town of
Ponda. See the popular Hindu Temples of Ponda and also explore its
several other attractions like Safa Shahouri Mosque, Mount Carmel Chapel
and Miraculous Cross.
Features : The last few days
of Rajasthan Heritage and Goa tour takes you to explore the attractions
of Goa. On Day-17, you get a good chance to visit Ponda, one of the
prime tourists destinations of the state. Hindu Temples are the main
attractions of Ponda, which you can see on this package. Apart from
Hindu Temples, the package also takes you to other attractions including
Mount Carmel Chapel, Safa Shahouri Mosque, Miraculous Cross and
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.