Mormugao Harbour: It is 34 Kms. from Panaji and 4 Kms. from Vasco-da-Gama. It is one of the fine natural anchorages on the West coast of India and the hub of intense maritime activity.
Panaji: The capital of Goa and headquarters of North Goa District, a small a charming city on the left bank of silvery Mandovi River, with beautiful red-roofed houses, built in Latin style, also boasts of many modern houses, well laid garden, statues and avenue’s lined with Gulmohar, Acassia and other trees.
It was a small fishing village with lots of coconut trees, creeks and fields. For centuries it remained so and was a neglected ward of Taleigao village with the only massive structure, the Adil Shah Fort by the Mandovi river. in 1632 the then Viceroy, Count de Linhares, Dom Miguel de Noronha built the 3.2km causeway linking Panjim with Ribandar village.
It exists even today and is known as the “Pointe de Linhares” and at the time it was constructed, was the longest bridge in existence. Around this time, against the backdrop of the decline of Old Goa, the idea of Panjim becoming the Capital of Goa slowly gained momentum.
On December 1 1759, the then Viceroy, Dom Manuel de Saldanha de Albuquerque, Count of Ega, shifted his residence from Panelim (near Old Goa) to Panjim. He moved to the newly re-modeled Adil Shah Fort, since known as “Idalcao’s Palace” . The “Father of Panjim” is a title that is said to belong to the Viceroy, Dom Manuel de Castro de Portugal ( 1826-1835 ).
HOW TO GET THERE
Rail: Mapusa is the pass through point for all buses travelling to and from Goa to Mumbai, Pune and a number of other destinations. So the bus stand near the main square at the entrance to the city is a busy hub of activity with hundreds of travel agents stalls for inter-state travel bookings.
Most local buses for all the nearby beaches of Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Chapora, and Arambol and other surrounding areas leave from the Kadamba bus stand on the southwest edge of town.
Motorcycle taxis are also available near the main town square and are often the quickest mode of transport to the beachside. Tourist Taxis charges are considerably more, so it is best to share the fare with four or five other travellers if possible.
Road: The Konkan Railway coming in from Mumbai stops for a few minutes at the Tivim (Thivim) railway station which lies at a distance of 12 kms from Mapusa. There are rickshaws and tourist taxis available here to take you to the nearest beach hotel or resort. Here too, it is best to share the ride with as many passengers as possible and also to fix up a fare for the trip before starting the journey.
Margao: It is 33 Kms. from Panaji. The Capital of South Goa District in the hinterland of southern Goa in Salcete Taluka is a thriving commercial metropolis linked by rail to the rest of India & Mormugao Harbour and by national highways, with Maharashtra and Karnataka.
It is a typically crowded Goan town, with chaotic, noisy traffic and quite a few architectural reminders of its Portuguese past. Margao is Goa’s second largest town and a bustling commercial centre.
Surrounded by fertile farmland, the town of Margao was once a major religious centre, with dozens of wealthy temples and dharmshalas (dormitories). in fact the name Margao is thought to be the Portuguese corruption of the word Mathgram (from Math – a Hindu religious centre that used to exist there) However most of these were destroyed when the Portuguese absorbed the area into their Novas Conquistas during the 17th century.
Margao has an old-worldly charm about it because of its Portuguese churches, and some magnificent specimens of old Portuguese houses complete with shady balcaos (porches) and oyster-shell windows in its Borda area.
HOW TO GET THERE
Rail: Margao’s new Train station, the only stop in Goa for quite a few long distance express services on the Konkan Railway, lies 3 kms south of the town centre. The Reservation office (Monday-Saturday, 8.00 am-4.30 pm, Sunday 8.00 am- 2.00 pm) at the station is divided between the ground and the first floor. There is also a 24-hour information Centre and round-the-clock pre-paid auto rickshaw stand outside the exit.
Road: Local private buses to Colva and surrounding villages make stops at various places inside the town. Long distance buses to Panaji, Vasco and destinations outside Goa, stop and leave from the main Kadamba Bus Stand, 3 km away on the outskirts of the town.
Pilar: It is 11 kms. from Panaji. It has important religious and educational centre of Christian Missionaries. The Church, Seminary and School atop hillock command a magnificent panorama of the country side around and a fine view of Mormugao Harbour & Zuari river.
Vasco-da-Gama: It is 30 kms. from Panaji. A modem, well laid out city close to Mormugs Harbour, has beautiful and extensive avenues. The air terminus of Goa at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city. It is also the railway terminus for passenger service in the South Central Railway.
The area came under Portuguese rule around 1543, and within a few years, it was transformed into one of western India’s busiest ports. The Portuguese built a fort at Sada, near the tip of the land jutting into the Arabian sea. This allowed them to effectively control the movement of ships into the Zuari river.
The fort had its most glorious moment in 1685, when Old Goa came under attack from King Sambhaji of the Marathas and the Portuguese moved women, children and other non-combatants here for safe keeping. The fort was abandoned soon after, despite plans to make Mormugao the capital of the Portuguese colony of Goa, and today only some remnants of the ramparts can be seen.
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: Goa’s only airport, called the Goa Airport lies on top of a rocky plateau at Dabolim, approximately 4 km southeast of Vasco-da-Gama. The Airport is under the control of the Indian Navy, but a large new civilian terminal handles all of Goa’s rapidly increasing air traffic from national and international flights.
There are pre-paid taxi counters inside the airport and private taxis are also available. It is best to confirm a fare with the driver before you start off on your journey. Local buses are also available from the intersection immediately outside the airport to go to Vasco, from where there are services to Margao and Panaji.
Rail: The small railway station is located at the centre, a few minutes walk from either end of the well laid out town. A number of trains that service destinations in neighbouring states like Karnataka, depart from here.
Road: Most buses arriving from Panaji or Margao, stop at the interstate Kadamba Bus Terminus, 3 km east of the town centre. There are local minibuses which carry passengers from the main bus stand to the city area. There is another bus stand near the market area.
Auto-rickshaws and motorcycle taxis are also available at the junction of the main thoroughfare, the Swantantra Path and Dr Rajendra Prasad Avenue.