Thursday, 23 February 2012

Vasco da Gama, Goa

Named after celebrated Portuguese voyager Vasco da Gama, this city is a major commercial hub of Goa. Located on the narrow western tip of the Mormugao peninsula, Vasco da Gama has prospered because of the leveraging of its strategic location. The Portuguese conquered the city in 1543 and within a short span transformed it into a bustling port throbbing with maritime trade.

During its heydays under the Portuguese, Vasco da Gama was on the verge of becoming Goa's capital and frantic construction activities ensued towards that end. Even tough the plan was subsequently scrapped; Vasco still retains its old grandeur courtesy the well laid out downtown. 

The city of Vasco is bereft of any major tourist attractions, the salient monument being the 400-year old St. Andrews Church located at the entrance of the city. However the Naval Aviation Museum nearby the city center is a popular tourist spot and is the only such museum in India. It profiles the evolution and history of Indian naval aviation through aircraft exhibits and rare photographs.

The excellent communication infrastructure has given a boost to tourism in Vasco da Gama. The Dabolim airport, Goa's only airport, is located 4 km from the Vasco city. Moreover it is also a key shipping center and a major railhead. 


Places to See:

One of its kind in India, the Naval Aviation Museum is a repository of vintage naval aircrafts. Inaugurated on October 12, 1998, the museum boasts of a collection of 12 aircrafts that served the nation in different times. The interior galleries display weapons and armaments used against enemy warplanes. The photo gallery displays photographs tracing the naval aviation history in India.

One of the oldest ports in the West coast of India, the Mormugao port was set up as part of the Treaty of Lisbon in 1878 between the British and the Portuguese Governments. It is a premier hub of maritime trade and accounts for about 32% of India's iron ore export.

Located 8 km to the south east of Vasco town, the Bogmalo beach is a secluded spot. Bereft of the noisy atmosphere of many Goan beaches, Bogmalo is the favorite destination for those looking a serene vacation. The beach is a popular diving site. The nearby Hollant beach is another tourist hub. 

Excursions...........
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Naval Aviation Museum, Vasco da Gama


The Naval Aviation Museum is a glorious tribute to the origin and evolution of the Indian Naval Wing. Showcasing a multitude of warbirds that served the duty of the land, the Naval Aviation Museum is the only one of its kind in the whole of Asia. Inaugurated on October 12, 1998, the Naval Aviation Museum is divided into two sections, an out-door exhibit and a number of indoor galleries.

Starting off with a humble collection of six vintage naval aircrafts, the museum has metamorphosed into India's second largest aviation museum with twelve aircrafts on display. Among the aircraft collection, the piece-de-resistance is the giant Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation borrowed by the Navy from the Indian Air Force. Other aircrafts include Sea Harrier, Sea Hawk, Sealand, Alize, Dove, Vampire and Hughes.

If the outdoor exhibits swell your heart with pride, the indoor galleries are no less impressive. Step inside and massive replicas of aircraft carriers INS Vikrant and INS Viraat will welcome you. The weapons and armaments galleries display a variety of bombs, torpedos, sensors and cannon used by naval aircraft over the ages. The archive section features a photo gallery where old photos are on display profiling the Naval Aviation History from 1959 onwards in pictures and footnotes............
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Mormugao Port, Vasco da Gama


One of India's top-notch natural harbours, the Mormugao port is a premier hub of maritime trade in Goa. With its location at the mouth of the Zuari River, the Mormugao port is a crucial component in the flourishing export industry of the state. The origin of the port dates back to the Portuguese era, it being a spin-off of the Treaty of Lisbon in 1878 between the British and the Portuguese Governments. 

Ever since it was accorded the status of a Major Port in 1963, the Mormugao port has contributed immensely to growth of maritime trade in India. It is the leading iron ore exporting port of India with an annual throughput of around 24.50 million tonnes of iron ore traffic. The Mormugao Port accounts for about 32% of India's iron ore export.

The Mormugao harbour is also a major attraction for tourists coming to the Vasco da Gama city. The harbour's claim to fame is the role it played in the 1980 war film, 'The Sea Wolves.' The film, starring Gregory Peck and Roger Moore, is based on a real-life incident where The Calcutta Light Horse, a territorial unit of British expatriates, launches a covert operation to destroy three German ships interned in the Mormugao harbor in Goa............
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Bogmalo Beach, Vasco da Gama


Being situated close to the airport of Goa, Bogmalo Beach can be easily reached from any part of the state. It lies at a distance of approximately 8 km from Vasco-da-Gama town. Spread over a vast expanse of land, the beach is not much visited by tourists and because of this, it retains much of its virgin charm. Though people visiting Goa have started exploring it, the rush is still on a very low scale as compared to the other famous beaches. This helps in making it one of the cleanest as well as the most peaceful beaches of the state.

The cluster of small shack restaurants on the beach has lent it a look that is quite different from the others. The occasional fishing villages seen lining the shore further add to this uniqueness. If you have become bogged down by the pollution and hectic pace of the city life, Bogmalo Beach will serve as your perfect respite. The air here is clean, the surroundings serene and the views picturesque. Even from accommodation point of view there is no problem, as a number of hotels and guesthouses are available nearby. 

This coconut-fringed beach is like a heaven for those who love fishing. Apart from that, you can also indulge in swimming at the Bogmalo Beach. For the adventure enthusiasts, there are a number of water sports providing the perfect thrill. Do not forget to taste the mouth-watering cuisine available at the beach; along with the renowned Goan drink Feni. Naval Aviation Museum is one of the major tourist attractions near the Bogmalo Beach. This museum gives an insight into the working of the Indian Navy. Bogmalo Beach is just the place to visit on a tour of Goa............

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Vasco da Gama Excursions

The Miramar beach is a bustling tourist hub due to its close proximity to the Panaji town. Miramar in Portuguese translates to 'viewing the sea,' an apt sobriquet considering the azure waters of the mighty Arabian Sea that expand into the horizon. Spread over a stretch of 2 km, the Miramar beach teems with vacationers and locals all the time. Pulsating with activities, the Miramar beach is definitely not the ideal place for those looking for a tranquil beach vacation. 

Although dedicated to Lord Rama, the Ramnath temple is the abode of other deities such as Shri LaxmiNarayan, Shri Kamakshi, Shri Santeri and Shri Sidhanath. Similar to the Mahalsa temple, the courtyard of Ramnath temple features a five-storied deepstambha or lamp pillar carved with images of Hindu on its base. The annual festival or Jatra of the temple is celebrated with fervor and devotion with the traditional palanquin parading around the temple................... 
Located 9 km to east of Panaji, Old Goa was the erstwhile capital of the Portuguese dominions in Goa. As the center of the Portuguese territory, Old Goa witnessed the profusion of magnificent churches and majestic buildings befitting the stature of the city. Old Goa has been declared a World heritage site by the UNESCO. 

Nestled amidst tropical woodlands and waving betel-nut palms, there is nothing extraordinary about the appearance of the Kesarval spring............

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How to Reach Vasco da Gama

Air
The Dabolim Airport, Goa's only airport, is located 4 km southeast of Vasco-da-Gama. A number of national and international flights cater to the perennial flow of tourists to Goa. There are pre-paid taxi counters inside the airport and private taxis are also available. Local buses are also available from the intersection immediately outside the airport to go to Vasco. 

Rail
The south-central Vasco da Gama railway station is located at the south end of Dr. Rajendra Prasad Avenue and is connected to many major destinations of south and central India. 

Road
Vasco has good road connectivity to major cities of Goa. The Interstate Kadamba Bus Terminus, 3 km east of the town centre, lies on the National Highway 17A. Local minibuses carry passengers from the main bus stand to the city area............

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Sanguem, Goa

Sanguem is the headquarters of the Sanguem taluka in the South Goa district. Sanguem is one of the five talukas that constitute the South Goa district. Sanguem and the adjoining areas were under the reign of the King of Soonda during the 16th century. After the Portuguese invasion, Sanguem, along with Ponda, Canacona and Quepem was merged with the Portuguese territory in 1791.

Although mention of Sanguem does not conjure up the image of a tourist hub, it boasts of a number of attractions. The Dudhsagar falls are the fifth highest waterfall in India and a tourist hotspot for its sylvan surroundings. During the monsoon period the waterfall transforms into a grand spectacle as the Mandovi river cascades down from a height of 310 meters.

The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Mollem and is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa. Spread over an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary houses the Mollem National Park in its core zone. The Tambdi Surla temple is a sacred pilgrimage that dates back to the Kadamba era. 


Places to See:



Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa.



Set amidst a breathtaking landscape resplendent with the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats mountains, the Dudhsagar waterfall is a prime tourism destination in Goa............

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Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanguem


Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains, the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa. Spread over an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary was previously known as the Mollem Game Sanctuary, a designated wildlife reserve since 1969. The core zone of the sanctuary, comprising an area of 107 sq. km., was declared a National Park in 1978 and is known as the Mollem National Park.

Apart from being home to exotic wildlife species, Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary boasts of a host of tourist attractions in the form of unique geographical formations and scenic spots. The basalt rock formation known as Devil's Canyon serves as an ideal vantage point for watching the wildlife of the sanctuary. The Dudhsagar waterfalls located in the fringes of the sanctuary presents a breathtaking spectacle with water gushing down from a height of 200m. The Tambdi Surla temple was built by the Kadamba kings in the 13th century. 

Flora
The sanctuary is endowed with lush green vegetation ranging from tropical evergreen forests and semi-evergreen forests to moist deciduous forests. The major species of flora found in the sanctuary are Terminalia, Lagerstromia, Xylia, and Dalbergia. 

Fauna
The sanctuary is the treasure trove of a myriad of animal species including Gaur, Sambar, Panther, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Slender Toris, Jungle Cats, and Malayan Giant Squirrels. The avian population is represented by Indian Black Woodpeckers, the Malabar Pied Hornbills, Paradise Fly Catchers, Fairy Blue Birds, Drongos, and Wag tails............

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Dudhsagar Waterfalls, Sanguem


Set amidst a breathtaking landscape resplendent with the verdant greenery of the Western Ghats mountains, the Dudhsagar waterfall is a prime tourism destination in Goa. Literally meaning 'sea of milk' in native Konkani, the Dudhsagar falls appears to be milky streaks cascading down the mountainside. At a height of 310m, Dudhsagar is the fifth highest waterfall in India and ranks 227th in the world. 

The Dudhsagar waterfalls are created as the headwaters of the Mandovi River branches into three cascades to tumble down a near-vertical cliff. The falls has acquired the sobriquet "sea of milk" courtesy the clouds of milky foam which rises up at the bottom of the falls. Some credit the name to a local legend about a princess who covered her modesty by pouring a stream of milk in front of her.

The picturesque beauty all around has made the Dudhsagar falls a popular picnic site. The waterfall has created a couple of pools nearby that lure the tourists for a bath and frolicking in the waters. The Dudhsagar Waterfall is also known as a trekking destination and one can reach the falls by traversing serpentine mountain trails............

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How to Reach Sanguem

Air
Dabolim is the nearest airport to Sanguem

Rail
The Calem station is the nearest railhead to Sanguem and is connected to Margao on the Konkan Railway network. The Colem station serves the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary while there is a railway station near Dudhsagar falls

Road
Buses are available from Margao (25 km) and Panaji (60 km) to Sanguem. Most of the tourist operators run conducted tours to the Dudhsagar waterfalls and the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary............

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How to Reach Ponda

Air
The Dabolim airport is the nearest airport to Ponda

Rail
The Margao (17 km) railway station is the nearest railhead to Ponda. 

Road 
Ponda is connected to state capital Panaji (28 km) by the National Highway 4A. The NH 4A also connects Ponda to the neighboring state of Karnataka. Buses ply regularly between Panaji. and Margao via Ponda............

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Ponda, Goa

Located 28 km from Panaji, Ponda is a major town in the North Goa district. Ponda's claim to fame is its unrivalled status as the cradle of Hindu pilgrimages in Goa. After remaining a part of the dominions of Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur, Ponda fell to the Portuguese in 1791 who annexed it along with the nearby talukas of Quepem, Canacona and Sanguem.

Among the number of sacred shrines that dot the Ponda landscape, there are five famous Hindu temples and the Safa masjid, the largest mosque in Goa. As the Portuguese unleashed a wave of destruction of religious shrines during the early days of the Inquisition, the idols of Hindu temples were clandestinely smuggled into Ponda, then a safe haven under the territory of the Bijapur Sultan. 

Today a flourishing tourism industry has grown around these renowned temples with devotees coming from faraway lands. Ponda has also come up as an industrial city with many large factories and industrial estates nearby. Goa's only engineering college, the Goa College of Engineering is located at nearby Farmagudi. Ponda also serves as a convenient base to explore two of Goa's wildlife sanctuaries, the Bondla and the Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. 


Places to See:

Mangueshi temple is the most famous among the temples in Goa. Located about 21 km from Panaji, the deity of the temple was shifted from Cortalim to the Priol village of Ponda in 1560 to escape the destruction by the Portuguese. Lord Manguesh, the presiding deity of the temple, is an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

Located in the Bandode village of Ponda, Sri Ramnath temple is believed to have been set up by Lord Rama after his slaying of King Ravana. This temple too was relocated from the original site in Loutolim to the Bandode village for fear of persecution by the Portuguese. The Ramnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The smallest among the wildlife reserves in Goa, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is more popular as a wildlife resort than a sanctuary. The sanctuary houses a botanical garden, a rose garden, deer safari park and a zoo, initially established as a refuge for injured or orphaned animals.

Also known as the Shahouri masjid, the Safa masjid is the biggest of the 27 mosques built by Sultan Adil Shah in and around Ponda. The mosque was located at the center of a sprawling complex of gardens and fountains remnants of which can be witnessed today. The structure of the masjid is replete with typical elements of Islamic architecture of that period. 

The opulent Mahalsa temple is one of the most famous temples in Goa. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. 

Sri Devaki Krishna temple is of great religious significance, it is the only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna, a confluence of Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki. 

Excursions...........

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Ponda Excursions

Sprawling over a nine acre hillock at Loutulim in South Goa, the Ancestral Goa project is an effort to recreate the rural life of Goa as it had existed in the days of yore. Essentially a miniature Goan village, Ancestral Goa is the culmination of the dream and singular efforts of Goan artist, Maendra J. Alvares.

Sprawling over an expanse of 20 km, Colva beach is the longest beach in Goa. Miles of golden sand and shades of palm trees conspire to unfold an enchanting landscape all around. In contrast to overcrowded beaches like Anjuna or Miramar brimming with locals and tourists, the Colva beach comes as a pleasant surprise with its laidback ambience and relatively sparse crowd.

Located at the Cortalim village, Mormugao taluka, the waters of the Kesarval spring are renowned for having medicinal properties. Because of the supposed curative nature of the spring water, people from the neighboring areas and faraway places flock the Kesarval spring to purge their ailments with a bath in the spring's healing waters............

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Kesarval Spring, Verna


Apart from a profusion of stunning beaches along the coastline, nature has enriched Goa with a multitude of lakes, waterfalls and other water bodies. Among these the Kesarval spring stands out for its unique characteristics. Located 22 km from state capital Panaji, the waters of the Kesarval spring are renowned for having medicinal properties. 

Nestled amidst tropical woodlands and waving betel-nut palms, there is nothing extraordinary about the appearance of the Kesarval spring. But what is lacking in appearance is pretty much made up by the supposed curative nature of the spring water. People from the neighboring areas and faraway places flock the Kesarval spring to purge their ailments with a bath in the spring's healing waters.

The Kesarval spring takes its name from the Indian word for a flock of eagles that resided among the magnificent forested slopes. During the monsoon season the spring is at its magnificent best, as it tumbles forward in a dashing cascade. But during the summer months the water body is reduced to a lean stream............

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Sri Devaki Krishna Temple, Ponda



Located 17 km from state capital Panaji, Marcel in Ponda taluka is home to some of the most sacred Hindu temples in Goa. Among these shrines, Sri Devaki Krishna temple is of great religious significance. The uniqueness of the Devki Krishna temple lies in the fact that it is the only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna, a confluence of Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki. 

Apart from the chief deity of Devakikrishna, the temple enshrines the deities of Bhumika Devi, Laxmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyayani, Chodaneshwar and Dhada Shankar. Originally located at the Chorao Island, all the deities were moved to Mayem in Bicholim to escape the wrath of the Portuguese rulers. They were finally established at the present location at Marcel. 

The idol of Devaki and Lord Krishna is the main feature of the Garbha Griha or the inner sanctum of the temple. The idol of Devaki is depicted in a standing posture with child Krishna between her legs. Malni Purnima is the most important festival of the temple celebrated with great pomp and fervour during the January-February period............

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Naguesh temple, Ponda


One of the ancient Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Courtesy a stone plaque found near the temple, the origins of Sri Naguesh temple can be traced back to 1413, when the region was under the rule of Veer Pratap Devraya of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire. 

Unlike most of the Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh Temple was spared the threat of persecution by the Portuguese and the temple has been in existence in its original location for centuries. The present structure of temple is the culmination of an extensive renovation process undertaken in 1880. The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains intricate wood carvings depicting the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other. 

Located within the temple precincts is a magnificent tali or water reservoir surrounded by palms. The reservoir is built in such a way that standing at a certain location around the tali, a person can view the reflection of the idol of Lord Naguesh and the lighted lamps in the inner sanctum............

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Mahalsa Temple, Ponda


The opulent Mahalsa temple is one of the most famous temples in Goa. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hence the temple is also as the Mahalsa Narayani temple, Narayan being another name for Vishnu. The Mahalsa temple is located one kilometer afar from the Mangueshi temple, another prominent temple in Ponda.

Another victim of the Portuguese excesses during the Inquisition, the deity of the Mahalsa temple was originally located in the village of Verna in Salcete taluka. With the threat of persecution looming large, devotees clandestinely transferred the idol across the river to the present location of Mardol.

The visually appealing outline of the temple is augmented by the six-storied 'deepstambha' or ornamental lamp pillar in the courtyard. This splendid pillar is 40 feet in height and has 21 rings of a hundred fifty small lamps. A fascinating spectacle unfolds when it is lit up with oil wicks on the annual festival day or Jatra. Apart from the Jatra, the Jaiyanchi Puja held in August and the Kojagiri Pornima are two other special occasions............

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Sri Ramnath Temple, Ponda


Located 22 km from the state capital Panaji, the origin of the temple of Lord Ramnath is steeped in mythology. Natives believe that after slaying King Ravana of Lanka, a remorse-filled Lord Rama installed a shivalinga on the shores in order to atone for his act. Since then the temple came to be known as Rameshwar or Ramnath.

The Ramnath temple was originally located at a settlement called Loutolim, set up by Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. As the Portuguese went about their task of reducing Hindu temples to ruins, the idol of Lord Ramnath, like many other deities in Goa, was removed from the original temple and shifted to its present day location at Bandode. The Bandode area was under the reign of Bijapur Sultan at that time.

Although the presiding deity is Lord Shiva, the Ramnath temple is the abode of other deities such as Shri LaxmiNarayan, Shri Kamakshi, Shri Santeri and Shri Sidhanath. Similar to the Mahalsa temple, the courtyard of Ramnath temple features a five-storied deepstambha or lamp pillar carved with images of Hindu on its base. The annual festival or Jatra of the temple is celebrated with fervor and devotion with the traditional palanquin parading around the temple carrying the idol of the deity............

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Safa Masjid, Ponda


The Safa masjid is a prominent Islamic shrine in Ponda, commonly regarded the citadel of Hindu pilgrimages in Goa. Built in 1560 by Ibrahim Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, the Safa mosque survived the havoc wreaked by the Portuguese colonizers as part of the Inquisition process. During the reign of the Bijapur Sultan, the region witnessed a proliferation of mosques and Ponda alone was home to 27 of them.

Also known as the Shahouri masjid, the Safa masjid presents an elegant spectacle with typical Islamic arches decorating the walls. The mosque was located at the center of a sprawling complex of gardens and fountains remnants of which can be witnessed today. The rectangular prayer hall of the mosque rests above a high base and is capped with a pointed terracotta tile roof.

The massive water tank within the mosque premises is another attraction. Featuring small chambers decorated with 'meharab' designs, the tank is located to the south of the prayer hall unlike most mosques where it is located outside the main entrance. This mosque is a venue of celebration during festivals of Id-Ul-Fitr and Id-Ul-Zuha, by the local Muslim community............

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Pernem, Goa

Pernem is the northernmost administrative region of Goa. Pernem belongs to the sub-region called Novas Conquistas, or New Conquests, a group of seven administrative districts of mainland Goa which were annexed to Goa at a comparatively later date. Before being merged into Goa, Pernem was a part of the territory of the Rajas of Sawantwadi, a state on Goa's northern border.

With regard to tourism, Pernem has a lot of catching up to do vis-à-vis other regions of North Goa. A predominantly Hindu locality, Pernem is home to prominent temples such as Shri Bhagavati and Shri Sapteshwar Temples. The annual fair at the Shri Bhagavati Temple held on the occasion of Kojagiri poornima enjoys widespread popularity.

The Arambol beach and the nearby fishing village are prime tourist destinations because of their idyllic landscape. The beach offers the attractions of paragliding and dolphin spotting boat trips. The Terekhol fort located at the estuary of Terekhol river was a vital part of Portuguese defence against enemy forces. 


Places to See:

Terekhol fort, also called Tiracol fort, is a fort in Goa, India. Located on the northern tip of Goa at the mouth of Terekhol river, Terekhol fort is reached by a car ferry from Querim, 42 km North of Panaji. The fort was originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century. The site chosen was a hillock on the Northern (right) bank of the river, which gave a commanding view of the Arabian sea. The Bhonsles of Sawantwadi kept a sizeable fleet of native vessels which sheltered in the Terekhol river............

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Terekhol Fort, Pernem


Located on the northern tip Pernem of Goa at the mouth of Terekhol river, the Terekhol fort was a lynchpin of the Portuguese efforts to protect their coastline from invading armies. Originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century, the Terekhol fort was extensively revamped in 1764 after the Portuguese Viceroy Dom Pedro Miguel de Almeida captured it.

Perched atop a on a hillock overlooking the Arabian Sea, the Terekhol fort was a massive structure with sturdy fortifications and turrets. In 1825, when Dr. Bernardo Peres da Silva, the first Goan born Viceroy of Goa, led an uprising against the Portuguese colonizers, the Terekhol fort served as a hideout for the rebels. 

The Terekhol fort is in a state of ruins and the remnants of the original structure have now been converted into a hotel, the Terekhol Fort Heritage. The fort houses the century old Church of St. Anthony in its courtyard. But it is not open to the general public except on certain occasions such as the annual feast that is usually held in May............

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How to Reach Pernem

Air
Dabolim is the nearest airport to Pernem

Road
Pernem is connected to the state capital Panaji by the National Highway 17. The NH 17 connects Goa to Mumbai. If you are planning to reach Pernem from the beaches of Anjuna, Vagator, or Chapora, you will have to travel a few kilometers inland to pick up the Main Calangute Road to the river crossing at Siolim. 

Rail
The Pernem station lies on the Konkan railway network and is located at a distance of about 4 km east from the town. Pernem is the last station in Goa for trains leaving for Mumbai............

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Panaji, Goa

Located along the banks of River Mandovi, Panaji is the capital of Goa. Once a nondescript fishing village, Panaji started to gain prominence during the second half of the 18th century when the erstwhile power center of Old Goa gradually faded into oblivion. On March 22, 1843 Panjim was conferred the status of a city and was rechristened `Nova-Goa' or New Goa. 

As the Portuguese strengthened their hold over Goa, Panaji developed into a vibrant city bustling with commercial and tourism activities. The Christian rulers built some of Goa's most majestic churches here. The quaint villas and pretty houses with red roof tiles present an enchanting spectacle in Panaji. Most of these buildings bear the hallmark of Portuguese architecture. 

As the state capital, Panaji figures prominently in Goa's tourism scenario. It houses some of the prominent government offices and educational institutions. The 15th century palace of Sultan Adil Shah, now housing the government passport office, is a major landmark of the Panjim city. Other major tourist spots include the Dona Paula beach, a bevy of ancient churches and the Braganza Institute. 


Places to See:

The palm-fringed beach of Dona Paula features prominently in tours of Panaji. The beach is named after Dona Paula de Menzes, the daughter of a viceroy during the Portuguese rule. The beach has come to be known as a favorite shooting destination for Bollywood movies. It is also a popular hub for various water sports.



The Miramar beach is located very close to the Panaji town. As such the beach remains overcrowded most of the time, with locals and tourists indulged in a multitude of activities. From the beach one can have a nice view of the Aguada fort across the river Mandovi. 

The Institute Menezes Braganza is named after eminent Goan freedom fighter Menezes Braganza. The museum boasts of an eclectic collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures, most of them dating back to the Portuguese era. 

Statue of Abbe Faria


Located centrally near the Secretariat building, this statue depicts Goan legend Abbe Faria hypnotizing a young woman. A veritable genius, Abbe Faria was a priest, scientist, revolutionary, and hypnotist all rolled into one. After completing his studies in Lisbon, Faria took part in the French Revolution. Faria's contribution to the science of hypnotism is unrivalled and he was the first one to proclaim that hypnotic trances were a result of suggestion therapy. 

Known as much for its impressive architecture as for the splendid collection of ancient artifacts and sculptures, the Goa State Museum has done much to preserve the heritage of the state. 

Established in 1541, the Church of Mary Immaculate Conception is one of the earliest churches built in Goa. Located at the heart of Panaji, this majestic church is a prominent landmark of the city. 

Located at the heart of the Panaji city, the Mahalaxmi temple is a sacred shrine for Hindu devotees. The Mahalaxmi temple enshrines the deity of Mahalaxmi, the Goddess of wealth. Mahalaxmi is also regarded the presiding deity of the Panaji city. 

Excursions...........

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Panaji Excursions

Located 9 km to east of Panaji, Old Goa was the erstwhile capital of the Portuguese dominions in Goa (India). As the epicenter of Portuguese territory, Old Goa witnessed the profusion of magnificent churches and majestic buildings befitting the stature of the city. Old Goa has been declared a World heritage Site by UNESCO.

Located about 21 km from Panaji, the Mangueshi temple stands tall amidst the scores of Hindu temple that dot the Goan landscape. Lord Manguesh is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and the Shivalinga inside the fluorite designed sanctum is flanked by dwarpalas (guards). During the annual Jatra, the temple is illuminated brightly.

Calangute is the numero uno beach in Goa. Stretching over an expanse of seven kilometers, Calangute beach is known by the sobriquet the 'Queen of Beaches' for its pre-eminence among the scenic beaches that dot the Goan landscape. Due to its extreme popularity, Calangute beach beckons tourists and backpackers from all over the world.

Built in 1551, the Reis Magos fort is another manifestation of the Portuguese rulers' resolve to defend their territory against invaders from the neigbouring states of Goa. Originally built by Sultan Adil Shah, the Reis Magos fort was annexed by the Portuguese in 1760. The Reis Magos church, present at the base of the fort, adds to the charm of the village.

Candolim Beach is situated in the northern side of Goa. It is the perfect place for those who have come on a vacation to forget the tensions of their daily life and intend to spend their time relaxing and rejuvenating. Though it doesn't boast of too many facilities, the beach can surely be your answer to the serene surroundings that you are looking for. 

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the smallest among the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. The small area notwithstanding, the sanctuary teems with the winged visitors who come here searching for the ideal habitat............

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Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary


Named after renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali, this bird sanctuary is the abode of a myriad of bird species, both local and migratory. Encompassing an area of 1.8 sq. km, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is the smallest among the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. The small area notwithstanding, the sanctuary teems with the winged visitors who come here searching for the ideal habitat.

The island landscape abounds with thick mangrove vegetation found sporadically along the banks of River Mandovi. The mangrove ecosystem facilitates breeding grounds for several varieties of fish and insects that are natural preys for birds. A watch-tower inside the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary serves the cause of enthusiastic bird-watchers.

Flora
The flora of the sanctuary largely consists of mangrove shrubbery. 

Fauna
A veritable paradise for bird-watchers, the sanctuary plays host to exotic varieties of avian species. During the winter season, migratory birds flock to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in large numbers. Apart from birds, flying foxes, jackals and crocodiles are found in the sanctuary............

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Mangueshi Temple, Manguesh


Located about 21 km from Panaji, the Mangueshi temple stands tall amidst the scores of Hindu temple that dot the Goan landscape. One of the survivors of the destruction unleashed by the Portuguese, the Manguesh temple was originally located at Kushasthali (present day Cortalim). With the threat of persecution looming, the linga was transferred from the original temple to the present location at Priol, then a part of the dominions of Sultan Adil Shah. 

After the shifting of the deity in 1560, the Sri Mangueshi temple underwent many subsequent rounds of renovation during the reign of the Marathas and again in the year 1890. As part of the refurbishment of the temple in 1973, a golden kalash (holy vessel) was fitted atop the tall dome of the temple. 

The architecture of the Mangesh temple reflects an amalgamation of Hindu, Christian and Muslim styles of construction. Lord Manguesh is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and the Shivalinga inside the fluorite designed sanctum is flanked by dwarpalas (guards). During the annual Jatra held in January, the temple is illuminated brightly and the deity is taken out in a palanquin and paraded in huge chariots............

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