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Best place to visit in Goa

Discussion in 'Goa' started by Ritvik, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Ritvik

    Ritvik New Member

    I am taking my mother to Goa a place where she has always wanted to go. I will be taking her there next month where her dream of being in Goa will turn real.

    She is quite old and can not travel much and would love to see some things in Goa. We have decided that she can see a maximum of two places in Goa so that she doesn't get too tired and spoil her holiday.

    Apart from the beaches what recommendations do you give for the best place to visit in Goa?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, @Ritvik! Welcome to the forum!

    If I have to recommend only one place to visit in Goa, that would be Panaji, also known as Panjim. This is the bustling capital of the state of Goa. The beauty of the city is that it still has that charm of old Portuguese era, from its churches to its heritage homes. Being surrounded by the Mandovi River, the city has the best views to offer for travellers. You can even cruise along the Mandovi River, which I'm sure your mother would enjoy. There are also some museums and monuments that can keep you pre-occupied while on the city. The former capital of Goa, Old Goa, is also located near Panaji. Thus, it is the best place to visit in Goa, to know more about its rich history and culture.

    Here are some of the best places that you can visit in Panaji:

    • Church of Saint Francis of Assisi - This church was renovated in the 16th century by the Portuguese, although its history can be traced back to the 15th century, when the original builders were Franciscan monks. It is a three-storeyed structure, with a simple white facade, although it it starting to show some signs of old age now. The interior walls of the church has some paintings depicting some stories from the bible. On the main altar, there are statues of both Jesus and Saint Francis. The altar also showcases some paintings from the life of Saint Francis. The church now houses some artefacts from the Portuguese era and even before that. There are also some portraits of the former Portuguese viceroys who lived in Goa.
    • Church of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary - This imposing white church with a huge bell towering over it is hard to miss in the city. It originally begun as a small church in the 15th century but was renovated to become a larger church in the 16th century. Its huge bell is also known as the Great Bell of Goa, which also has an interesting history behind it. The Great Bell was located earlier in the Saint Augustine Church and Monastery and was later transferred to Fort Aguada and finally, transferred to the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. The interiors are very simple with the main altar having the statue of Virgin Mary. On its two sides are statues of Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. There are also regular masses conducted in the church that you can attend. During evening time, the church is illuminated and is quite a stunning sight to be seen.
    • Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount - This chapel was built in the 15th century by Afonso De Albuquerque. Its location is amidst a hill, which provides commanding views of the Mandovi River and the city of Panaji. You need to walk a bit to reach the church though. Its exteriors are a simple white facade which stands out amidst the greenery around it. The interiors are also fairly simple, with an altar for Our Lady of the Mount. The other altars are dedicated to Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Assumption, Saint Vincent, Saint Lawrence and Saint Anthony.
    • Chapel of Saint Catherine - This is the first chapel to be built by Afonso De Albuquerque in Goa during the 15th century. The remnants of an original mosque in the site can also be seen, said to be built by Adil Shah. The chapel was enlarged in the 1950s and as you can see, they added some laterite blocks to it. The chapel has a white facade but the addition of laterite blocks add some exquisiteness to it. The interiors are very simple just like the exteriors but the main feature of the chapel are the windows with seashell designs. The church is not a functioning one anymore though but worth a visit especially for the history lovers.
    • Church of Reis Magos - With its pure white exteriors and imposing towers, you can easily spot the Church of Reis Magos. The church is dedicated to the Reis Magos or Three Kings. The church was built in 1555 by the Franciscan friars. The main altar houses a statue of the three kings along with their gifts to the newborn Jesus. The church also houses the tombs of two Portuguese viceroys of Goa.
    • Basilica of Bom Jesus - The only basilica in Goa, with its red bricked exteriors and sloping roofs, is quite a sight to behold. Even just seeing it from a distance, you'd know that something about this church is special. It houses the tomb with relics of Saint Francis. Unlike the other churches in Goa, the basilica don't have a plastered facade. The construction for the church began in 1594 but was only completed in 1605. The main altar has a statue of Saint Ignatius and Bom Jesus. On the southern side of the basilica, you can find the tomb of Saint Francis. There's also an art gallery depicting some scenes in the bible in the upper part of the basilica.
    • Saint Augustine Church and Monastery - Although already in ruins, this church is one of the oldest in Goa. The only remaining structure in the church is its bell tower, the bell of which was transferred to the Church of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary. The original structure is believed to be huge, with four altars and even a convent. It even had some cells where the monks stayed and slept. There were even remnants of a dining hall that were found.
    • Maruti Temple - This is probably one of the brightest and most beautiful temples in Goa. It has a bright orange facade and elegant design. The temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, also known as Lord Maruti locally. The interiors of the temple are also marvellously designed, with its marble flooring and intricate wall carvings. During evening time, the temple is lit up and glows amidst the city.
    • Se Cathedral - With its white facade and huge size, Se Cathedral is one of the best churches to visit in Panaji. It took over 100 years for the cathedral to be completed, from the middle of the 15th century to the middle of the 16th century. The interior houses the main altar, dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The main altar also depicts some scenes from the life of the said saint. The Cross of Miracles can also be found in this cathedral.
    • Saint Cajetan Church - This church was built around the middle of the 16th century by the Italian friars under the Order of the Theatines. It is said to be the most beautiful church in Goa but also one of the smallest. The main altar inside the church is dedicated to the Our Lady of Providence. The church is also the only one of its kind in Goa having a dome on its ceiling. The intricate carvings and designs inside the church are very well-crafted.
    • Reis Magos Fort - This fort is located on the northern side of the Mandovi River. It was originally built by Afonso De Noronha during the 15th century. It has undergone several renovations since then. Strategically, the location and the design of the fort was able to hold off many conquerors, including the Marathas. However, when the capital was moved from Old Goa to Panaji, the importance of the fort decreased and thus, it fell into disuse. In the middle of the 19th century until the 1990s, the fort became a prison for many freedom fighters and even criminals. Now though, the fort is a great place to know more about the historical past of Goa.
    • Bishop's Palace - This is the residence of the archbishop of Goa. The exterior of the palace is white with accents of red for the roof. At the entrance of the palace, there's a coat of arms design. The palace is located at a hillock named Altinho and provides a commanding view of the city.
    • Gateway of Adil Shah Palace - The original palace, which is gone now, was built by Yusuf Adil Shah. Before the Portuguese took over Goa, it was ruled by Adil Shah. He built this palace to commemorate his rule over the land. Even after Goa was conquered by the Portuguese, they used this palace as their residence. During the 18th century though, the palace was demolished and the materials left were used to build new houses. Now, only the gateway of the palace and the six steps leading to it remains.
    • Fontainhas - The only place in Goa where you might be able to find Portuguese residents. Originally built in the 18th century, this residential area still has the old Portuguese charm to it. You can find brightly coloured houses either in green, blue or yellow with red sloping roofs. The name Fontainhas means little fountain, as there's a small stream at one end of the area. The houses were designed using a typical Portuguese style, with front balconies, white & blue tiled nameplates, white bordered large windows and pillared porches. There are also some cafes, boutiques and shops within the area.
    • Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary - The only way to reach this sanctuary is by a boat ride from Panaji. The sanctuary is a haven for bird watchers as you can find species like blue-winged teals, adjutant storks, purple herons and western-reef herons. Because of the rich mangrove habitat of the sanctuary, you can also find prawns, planktons and crocodiles here. There's also a watch tower within the sanctuary premises where you can have a panoramic view of the surroundings.
    • Goa State Museum - This museum houses many artefacts related to the culture and history of Goa. It aims to preserve the rich heritage of the region. It has many galleries pertaining to religion, sculptures, numismatics, anthropology and geology. You can find various sculptures of both Christian saints and Hindu deities here. There are also many paintings of different varieties some dating back to the pre-colonial and the colonial era.
    • Pilar Museum - This museum houses artefacts found from excavations within the area. It has three sections, one for the collections prior to the Portuguese era, the second is for the collections during the Portuguese era and the last one is for the collections after the reign of the Portuguese. Some of the artefacts here are stone and wooden statues, ancient coins, postage stamps, paintings and manuscripts.
    I hope this helps you even a little bit. Enjoy you stay in Goa.:)