I’ve been to Goa and its capital Panaji (formerly Panjim) a couple of times; the first time after a beach holiday in Palolem back in 2006 and again for work in 2019.
I’ve written two posts, the next one on food, and this one on stuff to see. My map is here.
If I came back I’d time it for the carnival in February, or perhaps the international film festival in November.
In 2019 I stayed at the Hotel Fortune Miramar www.fortunehotels.in, a pleasant hotel at the northern end of Miramar Beach.
From the hotel it’s about a twenty-minute walk into town. As you walk along the river you’ll notice several casino boats anchored up, another important local industry.
The nicest area to walk around in the centre is Fontainhas, the old Portuguese neighbourhood of Panjim, located in the Altinho neighbourhood.
Don’t confuse it with Velha Goa (Old Goa) as I did on my first trip. Velha Goa really isn’t worth visiting in my opinion, despite what the guide books say. Sure it’s historical, but there’s nothing there, just a couple of old churches and a rather tedious museum.
Fontainhas on the other hand is a lovely residential neighbourhood of narrow streets and alleys. The colourful colonial-era houses feature wooden, bougainvillea-draped balconies. The area was founded in the late 18th century when the colonial government headquarters moved to Panjim after an epidemic in Old Goa.
The principle attraction in the area is the Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church icchurchpanjim.com, a pearly white confection, built in 1619. The staircases were added in the late 19th century. Ironically it was closed on the Sunday I went.
And a little further along again is the Shree Mahalaxmi Temple, also in a lovely building.
Fontainhas is worth visiting twice, once in the light of day to appreciate the fluorescent and pastel colours of the buildings, and again in the evening when the incandescent lights from the bars and restaurants make it very atmospheric.
Some have compared it to the Latin Quarter in Old Havana or New Orleans. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Zone in 1984.
Elsewhere there is some Indo-Deco, along with a few more modern bits and pieces.
There is a bit of street art around including these building-sized murals.
Panjim Municipal Garden ccpgoa.com is worth a circuit to look at its interesting plants and colonial era ceramics.
After the hustle and bustle of Mumbai up the coast, it’s very relaxing to spend a few days here. And the food scene is pretty good too…