Saturday, 13 October 2012

Old Goa, majestic beyond words

After we set off from North Goa we headed for Panaji which is considered a part of Old Goa. The distance from North Goa to Old Goa is roughly 15 kilometres and though the road is good but we got struck in a jam for sometime.

  We planned to stay for one full day in Old Goa. Panaji is a small but beautiful city. It has many buildings made in Portuguese style. The itinerary for the day included visiting some of the churches of Goa and a sunset cruise on the Mondovi river, the ticket for which we had already bought from our hotel in Calangute.

  So from North Goa we drove straight to Old Goa via Panaji where all the beautiful churches are located. The road from Panaji to old Goa is very beautiful as you drive along the Mondovi river to your leftWe saw the Basillica of Bom Jesus, a spectacular church built by the Portugues in the 16th century. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. We also visited Se cathedral, Church of St Catherine, museum and Church of St Francis of Assisi. It took us almost 4.5 hours to see the churches in detail. There were some more churches which we decided to see the next day. 

The churches are open from 9:30 AM to 5 PM everyday for public viewing. The entry is free but for the museum you need to buy entry tickets worth Rs 10 per person. Photography is also allowed inside the churches but not inside the museums. We wrote a detailed blog post on the Churches of Goa. You can get more info/pics in thas post.

Bom Jesus Basillica
  We headed back to Panaji where our boat cruise was supposed to start. We already had the tickets for the sunset cruise which starts from 6 pm and is a one hour boat ride on the Mondovi river. There are many other cruise slots
available like sundown(7:15-8:15 pm), dinner cruise(8:45-10:45 pm)We booked tickets for the launch Santa Monica.

  Since the cruise was scheduled to start at 6 pm so we were told to report to the ticket counter of Santa Monica at the jetty at 5:45 pm. The jetty office is just below the main Panaji flyover. Apart from santa Monica there were ticket counters of many other boat services like Paradise and all. We reported to the counter at 5:45PM. There is a paid parking near the jetty where cars/bikes can be parked.

  The seating arrangement on Santa Monica is on first-come-first-serve basis. If you come early you can choose your seats but if you are late then you have to be happy with whatever seat is left. Consider yourself lucky if you can grab
a seat by the sides of the boat from where you can see the sunset. There were some boats with open roofs but unfortunately ours was not.

View of sunset from inside the deck of Santa Monica
  Once the boat starts the crowd will be greeted by a DJ. There will be performers who will dance traditional Goan dances. You are also solicited to join them. The experience of catching the sunset from the river is amazing. The boat will go along the scenic river banks and every moment of the boat ride is very enjoyable.

Performance on Santa Monica

Traditional performance on Santa Monica

  As the sun sets, the boats will get lit up and you will get to see similar other boats on the river all lit up brightly by colour bulbs and the light getting reflected in the waters. The several advertisement boards also
get lighted up giving the Mondovi waters a different feel. Food and other beverage are also available on the cruises but have to be brought.

Sunset on Mandovi River, as seen from Santa Monica

One of several boats on Mandovi river; just after sunset

  As we were getting down from the boat there was another very long queue of people excitedly waiting to get in. We checked in our hotel Panaji residency(owned by GTDC), strategically located overseeing the Mondovi river. The hotel has an open air restaurant and from there we could see the boats cruising on the Mondovi river. There are also many casinos that we could see from our hotel.

  There are many tour packages available from GTDC like the Dudhsagar Falls tour, North Goa tour, South Goa tourThese can be booked from any GTDC hotels or office in person. The tour buses/jeeps will pick and drop you at the
GTDC hotels. You can also avail considerable discounts on this package tours if you stay in GTDC hotels.

  The next day we planned to see the remaining Churches Of Goa that included St. Augustine Church, Church and Convent of Santa Monica, Church of our Lady of Rosary, Church of St. Cajetan, Arch of Viceroy, Panaji Church along with Miramar beach and Dona Paola.

Miramar beach, Panaji. After sunrise.

A view from the top of Dona Paola. After sunrise.
  Miramar beach is located in Panaji. Since we went there early in the morning we saw many locals doing their rounds of morning walks on the beach. Dona Paola is also a nice view point a little far from Miramar. On the way we saw the statue of Abbe de Faria who is considered the father of modern hypnotism. The statue shows him hypnotizing a lady patient.

Abbe de Faria
  Further from Miramar beach is Dona Paola from where one can have a fine view of Marmugao Harbour. It is a place where two rivers meet the Arabian Sea. Some bollywood movies have also been shot here and it is a favourite place for tourists.

  So with the visit to all the beautiful churches, enjoying sunset on a boat cruise and stroll on beaches our Old Goa tour came to a happy end and we headed for South Goa.

Things that you must see in Old Goa:
Churches in Old Goa:
Se Cathedral 
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Chapel of St Catherine
Church and convent of St Francis of Assisi
St. Augustine Church
Church and Convent of Santa Monica
Church of our Lady of Rosary
Church of St. Cajetan
Arch of Viceroy and Panaji Church

Things that you must do in Old Goa:
Mondovi river cruise
Enjoy the Goan cuisine


  1. nice blog..but why my flag didnt show???

    1. Oh. Sorry for that. Somehow our flag counter tool is showing only two rows and five columns. Thank you so much for your appreciation.


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