Called Panjim by the Portuguese, Panaji, which means “the land that does not flood” is the state capital of Goa. Unlike many capital cities, Panaji has a distinct unhurried character. It is situated on the southern banks of the Mandovi River, which makes this town all the more charming.
Typical of a Goan town, Panaji is built around a church facing a prominent square. The town has some beautiful Portuguese Baroque style buildings and enchanting old villas. The riverside, speckled with brightly whitewashed houses with wrought iron balconies, offers a fine view.
There are some fine government buildings along the riverside boulevard, and the Passport Office is especially noteworthy. In the 16th century, the edifice was the palace of Adil Shah (the Sultan of Bijapur). The Portuguese took over the palace and constructed the Viceregal Lodge in 1615. In 1843, the structure became the Secretariat, and today it is the Passport Office.
1. Church Of Our Lady Of Rosary:
Not far to the west of the Basilica of the Bom Jesus is the Holy Hill at the extremity of which is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Built of laterite and plastered with lime mortar, it has a two-storeyed portico. The portico as well as the façade of the church has rounded towers on either side with the cross on top. The roof of the church is tiled, supported by wooden rafters.
The Chapels And Altars
There are two chapels and three altars. The main altar is dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. The church, with windows near the roof and with rounded towers giving an impression of a fortress church, is Manuline in style though Gothic influence can be seen in the rib-vault at the portico.
Cenotaph Of Dona Catarina
To the right of the main altar is a marble cenotaph commemorating Dona Catarina whose marriage with Viceroy Garcia De Sa was performed by St. Francis Xavier. The cenotaph slightly projecting from the wall is artistically decorated with carved miniature pillars and inscriptions in Portuguese and has a triangular pediment crowned by a shell moulding. The foliage and other decorations emanating from a vase closely resemble those on the tombs of Gujarat, thus suggesting influence of a regional art-style.
This votive chapel was built in fulfilment of a vow taken by Afonso de Albuquerque while reviewing the battle between his forces and those of the Bijapur sultan from the same spot, on which the church stands. The vow, however, could be fulfilled only after his death, since this church was built in 1544-49.
2. Dona Paula:
At the place where two of Goa’s famous rivers meet the Arabian Sea is the secluded bay of Dona Paula with a fine view of the Marmagao Harbour. 7-km from Panjim, nestled on the south side of the rocky, hammer-shaped headland that divides the Zuari and Mandovi estuaries, this former fishing village is nowadays a commercialized resort. This is an idyllic spot to relax and sunbathe. Water scootering facilities are also available over here.
The official residence of the Governor of Goa, Known as Cabo Raj Bhavan is situated on the westernmost tip of Dona Paula. Along the road leading to this place lies the ruins of the small military cemetery the British built at their brief occupation of the Cabo, to deter the French from invading Goa.
A Love Story
Named after Dona Paula de Menezes, this place is called the Lovers Paradise due to a myth that has been attached to this place. According one legend the Viceroy’s daughter after facing objections from her family about her love affair with a poor fisherman jumped of the cliff.
Another legend says that punished for captivating Francisco de Tavora, the Count of Alvor with her charm the Viceroy’s daughter was pushed off a cliff to drown in the waters below. Her irrepressible spirit still continues to haunt every visitor with legends of her lovers. She is even supposed to have been seen emerging from moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace.
Tranquil and blue, Dona Paula unravel the ultimate in aquatic sport and fun.Dona Paula Sports Club, Dona Paula offers some of the best water sports facilities to the sports enthusiasts including Water-scooter rides, Motor-boat rides, etc.
3. Miramar Beach:
On the way to Dona Paula, 1-km ahead of the confluence of the Arabian Sea and Mandvi River, under the palm shade, is “Gasper Dias” or Miramar Beach and is just 3-km away from the capital city of Panjim.
In Portuguese language ‘Miramar’ stand for viewing the sea. Situated on a good location for evening walks, the coast is spread upto 2-km, having a fine silvery sand bed. From here one has an excellent view of the Aguada fort just across the Mandovi River.