Panaji | India
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Panaji, also known in English as Panjim, is the capital city of the tiny state of Goa in India. It has its own charm, a river flowing along one side of the city, some areas which are low-rise and red-roofed, and even a Latin Quarter at the eastern end of town. Increasingly, it is shaping itself as a centre where cultures (many from around the globe, and from diverse areas of India too) meet and creativity flourishes.


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Planning a Trip

1 Get in 1.1 By plane 1.2 By train 1.3 By bus 1.4 By car 1.4.1 Distances from various cities to Panaji By plane The nearest airport is at Dabolim, 35 km away. By train The nearest railway station is 15.49045873.9245351 Karmali (IR station code: KRMI), about 10 km to the east, but many express trains do not halt there. A more important railhead is Madgaon Junction, 45 km to the south, being the main junction on the Konkan Railway all trains stop here. From the railway station, taxis, rickshaws and buses go to Panaji, but if you are carrying only a backpack, motorcycle taxis are a bargain, plus you get to ride on the pillion seat! Be sure to fix fares before the ride. If you are on a tight budget, and carrying little baggage, you could take the local bus. To get to the bus stop, get out of the Karmali station, a short climb and across the road is the bus stop. Wait across the road for busses going towards Panaji. There is no sign board marking the Bus stop. On the first floor of the KTC Bus stand at Panaji is the Konkan Railway ticketing office, you can make or cancel all Indian Railway tickets here. A ₹10 service fee is levied on each transaction, which is well worth it, as it saves you making a trip to Karmali, Thivim or Madgaon station to do ticketing work. The ticketing office is air conditioned, has seats, and issues tokens, so you don't have to stand in a queue awaiting your turn. The counter is open from 8AM to 6PM on weekdays. By bus Panaji is connected with the state of Karnataka to the south and Maharashtra to the north by winding highways. A wide range of buses are available. The non air-conditioned, state transport bus, that though cheap is an interesting way to travel, if you don't mind the discomfort of a rattling bus body, rigid seats, over crowding and stopping at umpteen villages and bus depots along the route. You could also take a reserved ticket, which assures you of a seat, though is no protection against over crowding. Locals usually share seats. The state transport corporations, also have semi-luxury and luxury buses. Luxury meaning the seats are padded and recline. The major state transport corporations operating in Goa are the Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC), from Goa, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), from Maharashtra, and the Karnataka State Road Transport from Karnataka. All the state transport buses, usually begin and terminate at the Kadamba bus stand at Panaji. Bookings, time tables etc. can be had here. Dozens of semi-luxury and luxury buses also connect Panaji with Mumbai, Pune, Mangalore, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. A relatively comfortable option is the Air conditioned Volvo coaches that operate towards the later hours. Find out prices before you purchase a ticket, as it is not uncommon to find that your neighbour on the bus has paid a much higher or lower price for the ticket. Many travel agents have their offices in the building adjacent to the Kadamba bus stand. A famous romantic Bollywood film, Bombay to Goa starring the Indian super star Amitabh Bachchan, was based on this bus journey. All private buses leave from the bus stand at the beginning of the Mandovi bridge. Bus departures start daily from 4PM and go on till almost 10PM when the last Volvo coaches leave. By car NH-17 (National Highway-17) passes through Panaji. (This is the route buses will take while coming down from Mumbai). The route is scenic, and roads in good condition compared with other routes, but narrow and risky along part of the journey, so driving down is not recommended unless you are used to Indian roads. A detour from NH-17 towards Kolhapur joins you to the Expressway and further on to the Mumbai Pune Expressway. Take this route if you intend including Lonavala, Khandala or Pune on your itinerary. The expressway is also faster and safer, though the additional distance will not save you much time. NH-4A connects to the NH-17 from Panaji. This is the main highway connecting Goa with the state of Karnataka. Be prepared for a rattling travel, as the road condition has deteriorated beyond repair on a 20 km stretch near Anmod, as soon as you enter Karnataka. The Government of Karnataka has neglected this important tourist link, which connects Goa with world heritage sites at Badami, Pattadkal and Hampi. This road is one of the reasons why Karnataka lost the Tata Nano project to Gujarat, as its bad condition almost deprived Dharwad of the nearest port facility. From Mumbai - Take NH4 or the new Expressway towards Pune, Kolhapur. After Kolhapur, continue on Nh4 for 25 km, then pass the town of Nipani, then climb up a hill, and the take right towards Ajra, Sawantwadi via Amboli ghat. This will take you through Uttur, Ajra, Amboli, & finally Sawantwadi - in about 3-4 hours. After reaching Sawantwadi continue south on NH17 towards Panaji. Sawantwadi to Panaji is about 60 km; you will pass through Mapusa and you could take a detour to Calangute, Baga, Vagator. The time from Mumbai to Pune is approximately 3-4 hours. Pune - Kolhapur is approximately 3-4 hours and Kolhapur to Panaji via Sawantwadi is 4 hours. From Mumbai - Take the Pune Expressway, exit at Panvel. Take NH-17 South and continue for 600 km down south to Panaji. You will pass through Mahad, Khed, Chiplun, Vengurla, Sawantwadi and finally into Panaji. NH-17 is a narrow, winding road and expect to travel at an average of 50 km/hour. Distances from various cities to Panaji Bangalore — (592 km) Coimbatore — (769 km via NH66) Hyderabad — (690 km) Mangalore — (360 km) Mumbai — (593 km) Pune — (450 km) Chennai — (907 km)


Top Attractions

Panjim Church; Heritage houses along the altinho slope, 15.4917673.826241 Bishops Palace at Altinho, High COurt Complex & Lawyers Building at Altinho, Maruti Temple, 15.4957773.826532 Mahalaxmi Temple, Customs Muesuem, Santa Monica Jetty Boat Rides, Old GMC Complex, INOX theatre, Salida Del Sol (one of its kind Hotel in India) on Bernard Gues Road, Kala Academy at Campal Don't miss out on the old city. See the islands that are just across the river. It only takes a couple of minutes to cross on the car ferry, and on the other side there are unpopulated fields of high marsh grass, sweeping views and utter peacefulness. To access the islands go to Ribandar, on the road to Old Goa, and take the ferry at Ribandar going to Chorao. Or go further down, just past the Goa Institute of Management and take the other ferry. The ferry service is free to passengers, though cars, motorcycles and other vehicles pay a small fee. The islands can also be accessed from the Ferry crossing at Old Goa, behind the Church Complex, also a calm spot for a bit of fishing. Miramar Beach - A lovely golden beach of soft sand girdled with palm trees. The main beach outside of state-capital Panaji. The usual hangout for urbanites from Panaji and around, and also for 'desi' (domestic, Indian) tourists visiting the region. Try the fast-food of both Goan origin. D'Silva's, serves delicious authentic Goan snacks opposite the children's park, just past the roundabout. The place is obscure and easy to miss out. For other Indian snacks, Chaat (Bhel Puri) and Mid-East shwarma-based food go a little ahead on the beachside stalls. Cafe Coffee Day is a hip hang out for the younger set. Nice playground for kids, including a giant fish made of cement. Dona Paula A beach outside Panaji and beyond Miramar. This is where so many Bollywood (Hindi) films have been shot. No wonder it is hyped up among Hindi film audiences. Scenic. In fair weather, a boat service connects this point with Vasco da Gama. 15.492939573.83325523 Goa State Museum, Panaji, Patto, (Former EDC Complex). Hindu and Jain sculptures, including bronzes, from the 4th to the 8th centuries. The Christian Art Gallery shows different sculptures from the Portuguese period. Also on display a printing press that was brought to Goa by the Portuguese in 1556 AD.  Kala Academy, Campal, ☎ +91 832-2420452, +91 832-2420453.    Fundação Oriente, Filipe Neri Road, 175 Panjim - Goa 403001, ☎ +91 832 223 0728.  15.47742773.8090754 Goa Science Centre and Planetarium, ☎ +91 832-2463426. At a scenic location along Miramar Beach, this is a great place for kids. There's also a movie theatre showing 3D science-related films. ₹10 (less for students).    Gallery Gitanjali, E-212, 31st January Road, Fontainhas. Run by Ajit Sukhija in a building that once was the People's High School at Panjim's Latin quarter of Fontainhas.  Gallery Boa Arte (opposite the Municipal Garden).  Picturesque (opposite the Goa Urban Cooperative Bank). 


Things to do

Casino Caravela, Caravela Jetty, Opposite Mandovi Hotel, Fisheries Building, D B Mart, In the starting point for the cruise, ☎ +91 832 745-200, fax: +91 832 745-225. Casino Caravela, on board a yacht, offers a combination of sightseeing and gaming - American Roulette, Black Jack, Rummy, Stud Poker, Baccarat, Pontoon and Flash. ₹2000 (For entry and buffet.) Includes ₹1000 casino chips that cannot be cashed in. (updated Jan 2016) Dive Goa, ☎ +91 9325030110. (updated Jan 2016) Barracuda Diving. (updated Jan 2016) Walk around the alleys of Panaji soaking in the beautiful Portuguese architecture. 15.49842173.8209581 INOX - Old GMC, Old GMC Heritage Precinct, D.B. Road, Campal, ☎ +91 832 242 0999. Watch the latest Bollywood flicks at the INOX theatre at Panaji. (updated Jan 2016) Go for a short boat ride on one of the many "Cruise" boats, that sail up and down the river, with loud music, and frantically dancing revellers. Beside the Captain of Ports jetty on the Mandovi river at Panaji. The Santa Monica is the oldest and best known of the lot, though the others are as good. Cruises start from around Sunset. There is also a floating restaurant, on the same pier. Catch up with plays, dramas and Musicals at the open air theatre at the Kala Academy in Campal. Visit the Central Library, the oldest public library in India, founded in 1832, and housing a vast collection of books, some printed almost half a century ago. 15.48264573.8076632 Miramar Beach. Relax under a palm tree on Miramar beach, feel the sea breeze in your hair and watch the surf on the waves. Watch the many iron ore barges cruise lazily down the river towards the Arabian sea, in a typical "Socegad" Goan manner. (updated Jan 2016) 15.514673.85753 Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. On the western tip of the island of Chorao, along River Mandovi and can be easily accessed from Panaji. Take a bus, or drive down the causeway along the river Mandovi towards Old Goa. A little after the turn at Ribandar, take a ferry across the river to reach the Bird Sanctuary. The best time to spot birds is between October and March, when many species of migratory birds visit the sanctuary from as far as Siberia. Don't forget to bring along some mosquito repellent, as the marshy land and mangrove forests have a lot of mosquitoes   (updated Jan 2016)