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“Goa” the name itself paints vivid picture of happening beaches, free spirited travelers, wild parties and a vibrant carefree lifestyle.
All this while, that’s what Goa was for us too.
Our experience of Goa was limited to hopping from one beach to another, indulging in adventurous water activities, enjoying nightlife and good food. I know it’s hard to believe, but during our past 8 to 9 trips to Goa, North Goa always took precedence and we never care to explore any other part of this beautiful paradise (oh wait, we stayed in Dudhsagar once!) If you want to visit some of the most popular beaches in north Goa, check out my blog Goa – Explore the most popular beaches in North Goa
But our recent trip was different; this time we experienced a completely different facet of Goan kaleidoscope. We had many first time experiences during this short trip. To start with, we stayed in South Goa, which is way quieter, peaceful and beautiful then its northern counterpart.
And then we headed out for sight seeing exploring the popular places in Goa. Although the party animal in us was somewhere craving for the familiarity and comfort of North Goa. (Guess what one evening we took time and visited north Goa too). Sharing the feel of experiencing the old world charm in Panaji.
Sometime back I read about Fontainhas and I think that inspired us to experience the old world charm midst these heritage colonial quarters, which Goa has preserved for ages.
With an intention to explore some of the major tourist attractions in Goa (apart from the beaches), we visited Panaji Church and Fontainhas, both of which are located in the same vicinity. We also explored the famous Bom Jesus church in old Goa.I will soon write about it.
Narrow lanes lined with brightly colored colonial quarters exuding the past glory, transports you back into time. That’s what Fontainas is all about. A well-preserved Portuguese colony situated in the heart of Panaji, the Capital of Goa.
We spent our afternoon walking across the narrow lanes, admiring old colonial houses, some of which are rundown in the course of time but overall they are very well-preserved. The old houses/villas in Fontainhas were built in the 18th and 19th centuries in Portuguese architectural style.
Almost all the houses seem to be freshly painted with bright colors most dominating being yellow, green and blue. Roads are very neat.
Many of the houses are converted into shops, some of them into restaurants offering delicious local as well as continental delicacies. There are art galleries too in the area. Unfortunately it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed and due to time limitation, we could not explore the restaurant. But the good part was the roads were empty and walk itself was quiet fascinating. We walked till the main road over looking the beautiful Mandavi River bustling with all its cruises and casinos.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception church – Beautiful & Serene church painted in all white with characteristic asymmetrical crisscrossing stairs on either side has been one of the popular films shooting locations in Bollywood and an important landmark in Panaji. First built in 1541 as a Chapel this colonial Portuguese style church was replaced by a larger church in the 1600s . Apart from the unique stairs, the church also houses an ancient bell. This bell is considered to be the second largest of its kind in Goa. Church is built on a hilltop overlooking the market. We spent some time there basking in the beauty and serene atmosphere.
After spending our afternoon pleasantly walking and exploring the Goan heritage, he headed to the Famous Bom Jesus church. I will share the details of it soon.
I must say Fontainhas and Panaji church are places worth exploring and experiencing, even if you love beaches. Take time out and make a visit.
Have you visited these places in Goa? How was your experience? Do share..
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