In my books, Panaji (the anglicized form being Panjim) is probably the most quaint Indian city that is a pleasure to stroll in....
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Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Built in the year 1619, this church looks unique because of its design which is like a Christian Wedding Cake. The church was built by the Portuguese by replacing what was an even bigger church. The previous church was built in the 16th Century. Over the years there have been many additions and beautifications made to this church and this is also one reason for which it stands steady whereas the main church of Goa is almost in ruins in spite of being built in the 18th Century. This was earlier the place where the sailors from Lisbon used to halt and pray to thank the lord for their safety and then head towards Ela in the North Goa.
3. Divar Island, GoaThe island of Divar lies in the Mandovi river in Goa. The rather huge island is home to some fascinating people and cultures. The island in itself has four villages which are diverse and fascinating in their practices. Its relative isolation has kept Divar in a unique state, which appears to be stuck in time. According to folktales, Divar was originally occupied by people of Old Goa who migrated here to escape a disastrous plague, which spread across Goa at that time.Every year Divar is decorated with lights to celebrate three festivals – two of them being Bonderam and Potekar. Bonderam is a carnival that takes place on every fourth Saturday of August, when each part of the village takes out their floats for the parade. Potekar, like Halloween, is celebrated three days before Lent and is a spectacle where locals roam around wearing handmade masks and bells!How to reach: Ferry from Ribandar and Old Goa. The island is about 10 km upriver from Panjim.
This is the capital of the state of Goa and is probably the smallest state capital. Panaji is also the headquarters of the North Goa District and is situated on the banks of the Mandovi River Estuary is the Tiswada Region. The more popular name is Panaji but Panjim is also a commonly used term. This was the name by which the Portuguese used to address this city. When the whole of India got independence, Goa was still under the colonial rule of the Portuguese who freed it a number of years later. The Portuguese effect is what you will get in each and every thing of Goa and Panjim too. The attractions here are the lovely white church, the food that you will get here and of course the different types of building lined on the sides of the narrow streets. These houses are the remains of the various clans who have ruled here including the Latins and the Portuguese. The houses look beautiful and brightly coloured and many of them have simple yet pretty wrought iron balconies too. Many of these are now either resorts for budget concious travellers or restaurants for the ones who love to taste Portuguese and Goan cuisine.