Sights to See
Beaches Anjuna Beach
8 km west of Mapusa and 18 km from the capital city of Panaji, Anjuna Beach is has become one of the most sought after getaways in the state of Goa.
Rightly called the "Queen of Beaches", Calangute Beach is one of the most crowded beaches in the Goa, but still very beautiful.
Also known as Panaji Beach in popular parlance, Miramar Beach is located 1 kilometer ahead of the confluence of the Arabian Sea and Mandovi River. One of the most visited beaches in India, Miramar Beach is located on the way towards Dona Paula.
The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days. The Dhempe College of Arts and Science is located here and so is the memorial to Goa's first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar. A lovely golden beach of soft sand gridled with palm trees facing the blue Arabian Sea, is the nearest to Panaji.
synonymous with unbridled beauty, Vagator Beach is 22 kilometer from the capital city of Panaji. The beach’s main claim to fame is the magnificent red cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Baga Beach is one of the prominent beaches in Goa.Visitors can easily spot dolphins, explore coral reefs and be amazed by types of colourful fish.
Situated some 50 km away from Panaji, the Arambol Beach is strikingly beautiful and has a peaceful ambience.
Never overpopulated or hurried, Benaulim Beach provides great alternative to vacationers who are tired of crowded destinations. Located in South Goa, Benaulim Beach starts with the end of the Colva beach and is 8 kilometers from Marago and 41 kilometers from Panaji. The nearest railhead is Marago.
Just 3 km away from Canacona Railway station, now on the Konkan Railway, Palolem is situated at the West of Chaudi in South Goa. About 1.61 km long, Palolem Beach is endowed with crystal-clear azure waters of the Arabian Sea.
With a magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison. 13 km from Panaji, it is one of the best beaches in Goa with international class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Built in 1541, Church of the Immaculate Conception is a fine specimen of the Portuguese baroque style. Located in the town center of Panaji, Goa’s state capital, this imposing Church is one of the main attractions of the town.
Reis Magos Church
Lying on banks of the Mandovi river , the small hamlet of Reis Magos is home to two famous landmarks of Goa - the Reis Magos fort and the Reis Magos Church. It is also one of only three places in Goa, where the unique Feast of the Three Wise Men is held.
Reis Magos lies off the main road, which passes through the fishing and boat-building villages of Betim and Verem on the way to the more famous tourist spots of Calangute and Candolim beaches. The Church, whose whitewashed gabled facade is visible from across the river in Panaji, was built in 1555. Fransiscan friars, who were in charge of missionary work for the area, took over the church and founded a small seminary here.
Basilica of Bom Jesus-
Situated in Old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus was built in 1605 AD. The basilica is home to the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier. St Francis Xavier came to Goa with a view to spread Christianity.
The largest church in Goa the Se Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine. Built in the Portuguese-Gothic style, Se Cathedral has a Corinthian interior and Tuscan exterior. The main highlight of the cathedral is the Cross of Miracles that attracts a large number of visitors. The bell of Se Cathedral is one of the oldest in the sate and is known as the Golden Bell.
Saint Cajetan Church
Lying about half a kilometer away to the north east of the Se Cathedral, and quite near the ruins of the Viceregal Palace, the large and beautiful Church of St. Cajetan is said to have been modelled on the original design of the Basilica of St.Peter in Rome. The Church of St. Cajetan as it is popularly known, (originally called The Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence) and the Convent of St. Cajetan were built by Italian friars of the Order of Theatines, (known in Portuguese as Clérigos Regulares da Divina Providência). Although the church altar is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence, the church is named after the founder of the Theatine order, St. Cajetan, a contemporary of St Francis Xavier Church of Our Lady of Rosary
Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
To the west of the Se Cathedral is the former palace of the Archbishop that connects the Se Cathedral to the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The structure is built of laterite blocks and is lime-plastered.
Saint Augustine Tower
One of the most spectacular of all monuments in Goa, reproduced on innumerable travel brochures and advertisements is the St Augustine tower in Old Goa. This highly visible landmark, a 46m-high tower served as a belfry and formed part of the facade of a magnificent Church.
Other attraction of Panaji is an old palace of a ruler of Adil Shah Dynasty of Bijapur, now the Secretariat.
One of the most famous attractions in Panaji is the Mahalaxmi Temple, located on the Dada Vaidya road (Rua de Saudade during the Portuguese times).
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple at Narve
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Saptakoteshwar temple is an old shrine located at Narve 35 km from Panaji and can be reached via an interesting route which requires a ferryboat from the island of Divar.
The most important festival celebrated at the temple, attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India, is Gokulashtami.
Shri Mahalsa at Mardoli
The temple of Mahalsa Narayani is located at the small village of Mardol, just about a km from the famous Mangueshi temple and about 22 km from Panaji, the capital city. Located in peaceful environs , the temple has huge wooden pillars and a silver framed doorway. In the courtyard, there is a magnificent brass samai (ornamental lamp pillar) which is 40 feet in height and has 21 rings of a hundred fifty small lamps. When it is lit up with oil wicks on the annual festival day or Jatra, it is a sight to behold.
Shri Mahalaxmi at Bandode
The village of Bandode or Bandivade is the location of a number of temples among which is the large and beautiful temple of Goddess Mahalaxmi. Bandode is approximately 22 km from the capital city of Panaji, off the main road to Ponda, at Farmagudi.
The temple has been in existence since at least the year 1413, when information about the rituals of the temple is found on stone plaques carved during the reign of Nanjan Gosavi Pratihast over Goa.
Shri Naguesh at Bandode
The temple of Lord Naguesh is another shrine in Bandode, lies. The area surrounding the temple is known as Nagueshi and lies just 800 metres from Farmagudi on the way to Ponda. The temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, who was known as Nagnath in ancient times. Lord Naguesh is another incarnation of Lord Shiva. Worth noting at the temple, are the colourful images of gods and goddesses around the base of the deepstambha (lamp tower).
Shri Ramnath, Bandode
The second temple in the small village of Bandode or Bandivade, as it is also known, is that of Lord Ramnath. Located about 22 km from the capital city of Panaji, the temple is just a few minutes away from Farmagudi, off the main road to Ponda.
Shri Manguesh Temple at Pirol, Ponda
The Mangueshi temple or the Manguesh Devasthan is perhaps the most famous of all Goan temples. It is located at Priol in Ponda taluka, about 21 km from the capital city of Panaji. The surrounding area is known as Mangueshi
Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla
The most ancient temple in the whole of Goa is located at a place called Tambi Surla which is approximately 66 km from the capital city of Panaji and 12 km from the border crossing post of Mollem. Tambdi Surla itself is in the midst of a forested area accessible via a 22 km route from the main town of Valpoi in Sattari Taluka. Built in the twelfth century the beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighbouring Karnataka. The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with all pomp and gaiety at the temple by the local people residing in surrounding villages.
Shri Shantadurga Temple
33 km from Panaji, Shri Shantadurga Temple is dedicated to the goddess of peace and is known for its annual carnival. Resembling a pagoda, this temple attracts people during the carnival which is a rare mix of Hindu and Christian cultures.
Safa Masjid at Ponda
Built in 1560 by Ibrahim Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, the Safa Masjid lies 2 km west of the centre of the town of Ponda, in a district known as Shahpur.
Aguada Fort (18 km)
The largest and the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa was built in 1609-12, to control the entry into the river Mandovi and to protect Old Goa against invasions from the Dutch and the Marathas
Tiracol Fort (42 Km.).
One of the most famous forts of Goa, Tiracol Fort is home to the Hotel Tiracol Fort Heritage. This wonderful Old Portuguese fort at Tiracol is also home to a beautiful small church and offers a panoramic view of the beaches, the river Tiracol and the blue waters of the sea.
This is the capital of Goa, and the North Goa district. It is situated on the banks of the river "Mandovi". It is connected to the mainland by bridges.
Goa's third largest town and the capital of the northern Bardez taluka, it is mainly a market town for the surrounding beach areas of Calangute, Candolim, Anjuna and Baga among others.
Often called the commercial capital of Goa, Margao serves as a service and transport hub to the areas of south Goa. Margao has an old-worldly charm about it because of its Portuguese churches, and some magnificent specimens of old Portuguese houses complete with shady balcaos (porches) and oyster-shell windows in its Borda area.
The famous Colva beach is just 6 km away from Margao, so most travellers coming to this area of Goa, tend to spend their time in the beach area, rather than enjoy the charms of Margao town itself.
Wildlife/bird Sanctuaries: Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary at Molem (60 Km.), Bondla Forest (53 Km. & 38 Km. from Margao), Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary (60 Km.) and Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (Chorao).
Located 60 km from Panaji and 10 km from Colem, the magnificent Dudhsagar Waterfall is perched in the high peaks of the Western Ghats and is a sight to behold especially in the monsoons when it is in full and furious flow. From a distance, the waterfall appears like streams of milk rushing down the mountainside. The exuberant and spectacular waterfall is located in the Sanguem taluka.
Measuring a mighty 600m from head to foot, this waterfall on the Goa-Karnataka border, attracts a steady stream of visitors from the coast into the rugged Western Ghats.
Located in Bicholim taluka in north Goa, east of the market town of Mapusa, it is the most famous lake in Goa and is also one of the most popular tourist destinations on the itinerary of all the conducted sight-seeing tours.
Harvalem (Arvalem) Waterfall
A short distance from the regional town of Bicholim, along the road from Mayem Lake, is the village of Sanquelim. Of interest near Sanquelim are the Arvalem Caves, about a mile from the south-eastern end of Sanquelim. A short 10-minute drive from the caves, the Harvalem Waterfalls are worth visiting after the monsoon (in October) when they cascade noisily through the surrounding trees.
Located 22 km away from Panaji, near the Verna plateau, the spring at Kesarval can be reached after crossing the bridge on the Zuari River and passing through the village of Cortalim.
MuseumsGoa State Museum at Patto
A crucible of Christian art, Goa State Museum also, located in the EDC Complex in Patto, contains some of the finest specimens of Hindu and Jain sculptures. Here you can also find Indian paintings of different styles. Archaeological Museum & Portrait Gallery, Museum of Christian Art, Wax World Museum, Galleries at Se Cathedral, St. Francis of Assisi and Bom Jesus at Old Goa , the Customs & Central Excise Museum at Panaji, the Big Foot Museum, Art Gallery, Cross Museum & Local Handicrafts Centre at Loutolim (9 Km. from Margao), Calliz Museum at Candolim, Vintage Car Museum at Nuvem, Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Houses of Goa at Porvorim, Gallery Attic, Gallery Gitanjali, Picturesque Gallery are other famous museums and art galleries in the state of Goa.
Other attractions in Goa
Fontainhas , which means “little fountain” in Portuguese, is a place where Portuguese influence is still visible in the form of narrow winding streets, quaint bye lanes , old villas and buildings.