Panaji Tourist Attractions
Panaji is the capital of Goa, the smallest of all the capitals in India. The old quarters of Panaji are perfect for a leisurely stroll through the winding narrow streets. Painted buildings, shuttered windows and overhanging balconies are a pleasant sight. Modern houses, gardens, statues and avenues lined with a variety of trees are also part of Panaji's scenery.The heart of Panaji is the Church Square or Municipal Garden with Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, originally built in 1541. Other tourist attractions include Idalcao Palace from the 16th C, the Hindu Mahalaxmi Temple, the Jama Masjid mosque and the Fontainhas area.
Goa Velha, India
Goa Velha is one of the oldest conquests of the Portugese whose history began long before the arrival of the Portuguese. The Portugese captured Goa Velha in 1510.Today the town of Goa Velha and surrounding villages has many churches worth visiting. The Chapel of St. Catherine erected by Albuquerque after his defeat in 1510. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi was built around 1661 featuring contemporary architectural styles and a roof with wooden panels that were painted with flower patterns. The Pilar Seminary built in 1613, as a monastery remains a center of religious education. Our Lady of the Pilar Church has some intriguing old statues and the chapel has lovely paintings.The famous Procession of the Saints begins at St. Andrew's Church in Goa Velha on the first Monday of Easter week. The procession began in the 17th C by the Franciscan Order in an attempt to boost the moral values of the community.
Fontainhas is an interesting quarter in Panaji, it is one of the old Portuguese districts located west of the Ourem River. The terra cotta tiled houses with neoclassical facades have retained their colored exteriors. The yellow, ochre, blue and green paint is from the period when the Portugese insisted that only churches could be painted white.The narrow cobbled streets of Fontainhas, named for the natural spring Fonte Phoenix, is reminiscent of the Mediterranean. The whitewashed Chapel of St. Sebastian contains a number of interesting features including a crucifix that hung in the Palace of the Inquisition in Old Goa and the Viceregal Palace.Fontainhas and San Tomé, another old quarter, provide great atmosphere and scenery for a step back in time.
Cabo Rajniwas was built in 1540 as a great Portugese fort. It later housed the Franciscan monastery, added in 1594, and is now the official residence of the Governor of Goa.The Cabo Rajniwas features a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of the Mandovi River and Fort Aguada. The official reception area consists of a large hall called the Darbar Hall that is used for receptions and swearing in ceremonies. The Dining room has a seating capacity of over 30 persons. A small Chapel was constructed in the Cabo Palace and dedicated to Our Lady of Cabo.Within Cabi Rajniwas is a collection of Bohemian chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, silver and furniture.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
One of the first Churches to be built in Goa, Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception was consecrated around 1541. The Church served as a landmark for sailors to offer thanks for a safe landing.Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception has a four-tiered zigzag staircase that was built on the exterior in the 18th C while inside the main altar is flanked with two ornate altars dedicated to Jesus the Crucified and Our Lady of the Rosary. Marble statues of St Paul and St Peter stand on either side.The huge golden bell of the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Old Goa or the "Bell of the Inquisition" was moved to Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in 1841. The arches had to be strengthened to bear the weight of the bell.
Institute Menezes Braganza
The Institute Menezes Braganza was established in 1871 to encourage literacy among the people of Goa. The entrance hall is decorated with hand-painted blue and white tiles designed by Jorge Calaco in 1935. The tiles are set in a frieze that depicts the mythological story of the Portugese conquest of Goa.Within the Institute Menezes Braganza is the Panaji Central Library, one of India's oldest public libraries. The library features a large collection of invaluable books.The upper level of the Institute has an art gallery with European and Goan paintings, drawings, etchings, stone sculptures, bronze and terracotta artifacts, coins, stamps and rare prints.
Idalcao's Palace is the oldest surviving building in Panaji and it has been restored to look like a Portugese colonial structure. Originally built for Adil Shah Khan, the Sultan of Bijapur, it eventually became the palace of the Viceroy from 1754 to 1918. Finally, Idalcao Palace is the home of government offices.The Portuguese rebuilt this large fortress in 1615 after it stood as the battlements of Adil Shah.Next to the Idalcao Palace is the bronze statue of Abbe Faria, an 18th C priest who is believed to be the father of hypnotism.
Goa State Museum
The Goa State Museum is an eclectic collection of over 8,000 items. The State Museum collection includes Hindu and Jain sculptures, wooden objects, bronzes, paintings from all over India, manuscripts, numismatic gallery, anthropological objects and clay models.A few notable items of interest in the Goa State Museum are the intricately carved table that was used during the Goa Inquisition and a pair of antique lottery machines.