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THE GOLDEN CHARIOT - Destination

Goa Travel Guide

   Heavily influenced by the Portuguese colonization period in the 1500s, Goa has a lot of wonderfully preserved architecture which reflects this era. A number of forts, churches and old neighborhoods are what give Goa its cultural depth. The beach and sea, of course, provide the natural attractions, and when put together, this town provides a rare blend of culture and outdoor recreation.

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
More a piece of art than a church, this 17th century masterpiece is one of Old Goa’s real gems. The octagonal tabernacle has richly ornate interior decorations, with gilded woodwork, ancient murals showing the life and events surrounding Saint Francis, and even a whole floor made from old gravestones.

Fort Cabo da Rama
Right on the coast of Goa, this important fort was built up by successive rulers until the Portuguese finally took control of it in 1763. Although the fort itself has fallen into decay of sorts, the hilltop complex offers some of the very best views of Goa and the headland in the entire area, making a trip here worthwhile.

Mary Immaculate Conception Church
Located in Panjim, the real beauty of this church emerges after dark, when the entire structure is lit up with electric lights that turn the church into a surreal glowing spectre. It is said that this church’s bell is the second largest in the world.

Old Goa
About 9kms east of Panjim is the historic centre of the city and UNESCO World Heritage site, known as Old Goa. This charming, traditional part of town is a great place to explore the many cathedrals and churches that the Portuguese built during their reign. A few of the truly classic old buildings have been converted into cultural and historic museums that are run by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Panjim (Panaji)
Besides being the capital of Goa, Panjim itself is a lovely little town along the banks of the Mandovi river. The town has done an excellent job preserving its Portuguese heritage, and visitors can wander the narrow winding lanes and admire the old houses with their overhanging balconies. A number of pleasant cafés and bars can be found in this district, where the signs still have Portuguese language written on the shop signs. Check out Azad Maidan square and 18th June road for some the town’s best scenes.

Ponda (Antruz Mahal)
A number of important Hindu temples are located in this district of Goa, along with the Safa Masjid mosque from 1560. This is a special part of Goa if you are interested in seeing the unique Hindu and Islamic temples of the region, because this is the only part of Goa where the original ancient temples weren’t destroyed by the Portuguese when they arrived.

Vasco Da Gama
To see the modern, cosmopolitan side of Goa, head over to Vasco, a chic city on the tip of the Mormugao peninsula along the mouth of the Zuari river. Offering a distinctly different feel from districts like Old Goa, this is the place to come to see another side to the popular tourist haunt of Goa.

 

Bangalore || Mysore || Kabini || Hassan || Belur || Sravanabelagola || Hampi || Aihole & Pattadakal || Badami || Goa
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