Home > State
Information >Panaji Tourism
Location : Goa
Attractions : Altinho Hill, Bishop's Palace
(Altinho), Boca de Vaca Spring, Mahalaxmi Temple, Kala Academy,
Idalcao Palace, Immaculate Conception Church, Fontainhas etc.
Best Time To Visit : November to February
When Old Goa grew unhygenic and was struck with disease and death,
the Portuguese decided to shift their capital to Panaji. They pulled
down the imposing structures of Old Goa and carried the stones to
Panaji, where they set up several impressive structure. That was
how Panaji, situated on the left banks of Mandovi river, became the
capital of Goa in the year 1843.
Today, the Portuguese heritage of the city will present itself before
you as you make your way through the remarkably well preserved narrow
winding streets, old houses with overhanging balconies and numerous
small cafes and bars. You will also get the Portuguese touch in dress
and lifestyle of the local people.
Other than exploring the Portuguese legacy, Panaji will also throw
open for you numerous other options to enjoy yourself. It is the
cultural capital of the state and as such provides you an opportunity
to stir your soul with performances of local artists. Also, since
the city of Panaji is netted, as if in a spider's net, with the network
of waterways, river cruises are quiet an activity to enjoy. At one
point of time, Panaji was the fishermen's habitat and hence the fish
market of the town provides a visual impact in itself. The colourful
fishes caught by the fishermen are sold here.
How to Reach
By Air: Nearest airport is located at Dabolim, at
a distance of 32 kms. Indian Airlines and private operators offer
flights for the major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
From the airport you have to take the road journey to reach Panaji.
By Train: Vasco-da-Gama (35 kms) is the nearest
major rail head. Trains for the important towns and cities of India
are available from Vasco-da-Gama. To get to Vasco-da-Gama from Panaji
you can either go via the Dona Paula ferry or the Agassaim-Cortalim
By Bus: There are several private companies which
offer luxury, air-conditioned buses from Panaji to Mumbai. Goa, Maharashtra
and Karnataka State Transport Corporation operate buses for Panaji.
Daily buses are available from Panaji to Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore
and Mangalore. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC)
also run buses from Panaji to Bijapur, Badami and Shimoga.
By Local Ferry: One of the joys of the travelling
around Panaji are the ferries across the rivers. Ferries ply between
Panjim and Betim, Ribander and Chorai Island from 7 am to 7 pm.
Places Where You Can Stay
In Panaji you will find a number of good hotels that will suit your
budget. Make your selection from a wide range of hotels in Panaji
that include five star and three star hotels, inns, guest houses
5 Star Hotels: Goa Marriott Resort, The Majestic
3 Star Hotels: Hotel Golden Goa, Hotel Mandovi.
2 Star Hotels: Hotel Delmon, Hotel Nova Goa.
Tourist Attractions in Panaji
Altinho: Altinho (pronounced as Aal-teenyu) is a hill located at
the centre of the Panji, soaring high from the river and sea fronts.
Originally Altinho was a long ridge called Oiteiro de Conceicao
(Hill of Conception) and today it looks like two hills separated
by a road known as Corte de Oiteiro. In Altinho you can see the
bungalows of government ministers, bureaucrats, the Bishop's Palace
and houses belonging to some of Goa's oldest families. The tree-lined
heights and quiet winding lanes add more to the beauty of Altinho.
You can get breathtaking views of the capital city Panaji and its
waterfront from the Altinho hill.
Bishop's Palace (Altinho) : Built in 1894, the Bishop's
Palace has twelve crosses commemorating the Stations of the Cross,
tracing Jesus Christ's walk up Calvary to his crucification. If you
visit Goa on Christmas, you must attend the open-air Christmas Mass
in the courtyard of this palace. A larger-than-life size statue of
Jesus Christ holds his arms out towards the congregation and lanterns
strung up in the trees. At the stroke of midnight on 25th December
the celebration begins.
Jogger's Park: Jogger's Park lies close to the Altinho
Hill and it provides even better view of the Panaji town. Two main
roads leading away from Jogger's Park, one road takes you to Bhatlem
and Mala and another road will take you to Kala Academy and Campal.
Boca de Vaca Spring: From Jogger's Park a short
walk down the road takes you to the Boca de Vaca Spring. The cow
shaped spring, Boca de Vaca is known for its clear and sweet waters.
The local people still use the water for drinking.
Mahalaxmi Temple : Mahalaxmi Temple
is located next to the Boca de Vaca Spring. Built in 1818, the Mahalaxmi
Temple is the holy place of worship of the Hindus. The original deity
lies in a small box in the rear wall of the temple, facing the main
idol of the modern Mahalaxmi Temple.
Kala Academy : Architectured by
Charles Correa, Kala Academy fascinates the visitors by its use of
structure and space. Kala Academy has an auditorium named after Dinanath
Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar's father and two mini theatres for workshops.
There are also an open air theatre, a music library, a recording
studio, art gallery, exhibition halls, practice rooms and several
other rooms. The academy organizes cultural festivals throughout
the year for promoting local musical and dramatic talents. Check
out if anything interesting is going on in here. A visit here could
very well be a high point during your visit to Goa.
The Panaji Riverfront : On the riverfront road,
you will come across some of the popular sights of Panaji. The Panaji
Jetty is the place where you will find small crafts like barges,
yachts and trawlers. Next is the Abbe Faria statue, the man behind
the Pinto Revolt of 1787. The statue depicts Abbe Faria hypnotizing
Idalcao Palace : Panaji's oldest
surviving building, Idalcao Palace is located next to the Abbe Faria
statue. Originally built by Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, the palace
underwent total change to suit the requirements of the Portuguese
Viceroy's Palace in 1615. The Viceroy's Palace was still there in
Idalcao Palace up to 1759. In 1843, the Secretariat of the Portuguese
Govt was shifted over here and now it is functional as passport office
of the Govt of India.
Mhamai Kamat House : Situated opposite the Idalcao
Palace, the Mhamai Kamat House is the ancestral home of the Raghvendra
Mhamai Kamat, who constructed the Mahalaxmi Temple.
Immaculate Conception Church : Immaculate
Conception Church is the main church of the Panaji town. The
imposing church that dates back to the 16th century is well-known
for its spectacular double staircase built in 1870. Immaculate
Conception Church has the Mannerist facade of most old churches
in Goa and it has twin towers and a central gable which houses
the main bell. Every year, on December 8, a feast is held here.
Before the feast, novenas are held followed by dazzling fireworks.
Fontainhas : Panaji's heritage area Fontainhas
is located west of the Ourem River. With narrow winding streets,
old buildings, shuttered windows and small overhanging balconies,
Fontainhas offer an atmosphere of Portuguese era. Confeitaria
31 de Janueiro, one of the Goa's oldest bakeries is situated
in Fontainhas. Step inside to get a taste of colonial Goa at
tea time or try the Pinagre, Bebinca, Doce and Bolinas.
St. Sebastian Chapel : St. Sebastian Chapel
stands in Fontainhas at the end of a beautiful street. It was
built in 1880 and is known for a number of striking features.
St. Sebastian Chapel is renowned for its crucifix which once
hung in the Palace of Inquisition in Old Goa. The crucifix
depicts Jesus Christ with his head erect and his eyes wide
Panaji Museum : Panaji Museum
is a modern and well-maintained museum. The museum has an archive
of photography, painting and sculpture brought from Goa and
all over India. Panaji Museum is open Monday to Friday from
9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5.30 pm.
Boat Cruises : Your trip to Panaji is incomplete
without a ride on Goa Tourism's boat, Santa Monica. The cruise
boat will take you either east to see the Chorao island or
west to view the sunset. Go on an early morning cruise and
grab a front seat to watch the magnificent banks of Mandovi
river. While you cruise through the river enjoy the music of
If you are visiting Goa during Christmas, then be assured that you
are going to have some enormously enjoyable moments aboard. This
is because during Christmas, Panaji's entire riverfront is lit with
fairy lights. It makes you feel as if the illumination all over is
magical and intend to bring an unprecedented joy, specially in your
Tourist Attractions around Panaji
Xavier Institute of Research : Drive over the Mandove
Bridge to reach Porvorim where Xavier Institute of Research stands.
The Institute has a rich collection of over 26,000 books, ancient
tomes, theses, journals, and an art gallery with rare paintings of
17th century. The Xavier Institute is open from 9.30 am to 1 pm and
2-5 pm all weekdays except Sunday.
Salvador do Mundo : A little further
down the road from the Xavier Institute the road bifurcates, take
left turn to reach the quiet Bardez village of Salvador do Mundo.
Here you will see the three-storeyed boat-shaped buildings of Goa
Museum built on a teriffic island. The museum has the collections
of models and panels of old Goan houses and ancient household artefacts.
Ali Bird Sanctuary : Set on the western circuit of Chorao
Island, the Bird Sanctuary is surrounded by the waters of Mapusa
and Mandovi river. The Bird Sanctuary of migratory birds spreads
over 1.78 sq. km area of mangrove forests.
Beaches around Panaji : Located 9 kms south west
of Panaji, Dona Paula is a popular stop for sightseeing tours. The
beach divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries and provides spectacular
views of Mormugao town. The Cabo Raj Bhawan, official residence of
the Governor of Goa is situated on the westernmost tip of Dona Paula
beach. Miramar Beach is another beach near Panaji, just one kilometre
away from Dona Paula.
Shopping in Panaji
Shopping in Panaji is an exciting affair. Untouched by the advances
in technology and development, you can find a range of handicrafts
and traditional Goan items. For branded shopping, head to colourful
MG Road and the 18th June markets. You can shop branded clothes -
cottons, denims, salwar kameezs, kids wear and sarees, shoes - leather,
sport shoes, rainwear and jewellery in these markets. In these markets
you will also find the liquor and wine shops.
Browse through the Panaji Corporation market where you will get everything,
from local and exotic fruit and vegetable to fresh and dried fish.
People come here to buy tiger prawns, mackerel, kingfish, squid,
crabs, pomfret, mussels and oysters. The market also has stalls selling
cloths, bags, shoes, electronic gadgets, spices, flowers and sweets.
Request for Customise