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Shubhyatra >> Goa Yatra >>Margao


District : Margao
Location : South Goa
Known As : Commercial Capital of Goa
Best Time to Visit : During Fall and Winter

Margao - Portuguese Influence By The River Sal

Sunset at River Sal , Margao
Sunset at River Sal , Margao

To See : Beaches, Dudhsagar Falls, Church Square, Church of Holy Spirit, Damodar Temple.
Most Famous For : The Resting Caves of the Pandavas.
Don't Miss : The Hari Mandir on Martyires Dias Road, Ram Mandir and Vithal Temple at Comba.
Must Visit : Aga Khan Park, Largo da Igreja, Bodhgeshwar Temple.
Getting Around : Panaji – 33 kms, Vasco Da Gama – 30 kms, Old Goa – 10 kms.
Getting There : Air -Goa's only airport, Dablolim International Airport, is about 29 km from Margao.
Rail - Well connected with many Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai. Nearest Railway Station is at Madgaon.
Road - NH 17 via Bambolim, Verna and Neuvwm.
Inside Tip : The Grace Church on Varde Valaulikar Road has the rare Crucifix of resurrected Christ.
Must Try : Try Fernando Da Costa's tart Goan Prawn Curry-rice.
Shopping Options : Handicrafts Emporium (Tourist Hostel), Afroza's Boutique, Local Bazaar, Colva Beach.
Important Distances : Mumbai – 626 kms, Kerala – 1014 Kms.
Where to Eat : Casa Menino, Raissa's Oriental Spice, Cafe Tato, Nostalgia.
Staying Options : Hotel Satyaheera, Hotel Shalini, Green Park, Triti International.

Have you ever came across a city that is solitary amidst a bustling market, that is silent amidst an ebullient crowd. It is not because it doesn't have anything to say but, it rejoices the pleasure of being a mute spectator. Believe it, you won't get a chance to close your eyes in Margao. Abuzz with commerce and alive with culture, the discerning tourist cannot but get caught up in the currents of Margao. Nestling on the banks of a tiny stream, Margao's River Sal, this riverine city of Goa, situated at 33 km from Panjim, is an amazement in itself. It might come in the form of a racing Konkan Railway train, or a canopy of evergreen trees or the excited Kesarval Spring. As you will step into this second largest city of Goa, you will be overwhelmed to see huge Portuguese style mansions which dot its landscape. Intricately they were built, and still they enjoy the privilege of seizing the tourist's interest.

Margao, or 'Modgow' in Konkani, the local language, was once a prosperous settlement and saw boats plying cargo to and from Middle East and Africa, even before the advent of the Portuguese. It was an important centre for trade, learning and religious activities with the 'maths' (schools of thought) of the Vaishnavas first established here. You can hear many stories in this bustling city, mostly related to the origin of name. Ask any local and he will tell you how Margao evolved from 'Matha-gram' when various monasteries followed in the medieval period, and how the name gradually changed from Madgaon to its current monicker, because the Portuguese were not very comfortable with hard syllables. All these things together with the cordial air of ancient Portuguese community, makes Margao a favourable place to spend a few days of your holiday vacation.

Charms In The Old Quarter

Margao is built in the sweeping curves the Portuguese opted for, especially around the Holy Spirit Church. Today, you can find buildings mushroomed everywhere, all smiling derisively at dusty, tightly shut but still graciously portraying an architecture from a different era. For a serene escape, cross the Abade Faria Road in front of the Main Bus Stand to find a haven in the two gardens - the Municipal Garden and the Agha Khan Park - separated by a walkway at the heart of Margao. Walk along the lush green surroundings in the evenings and you can see a busy traffic racing past well-preserved culture and tradition, while you indulge yourself in eating delicious preparations sold in the nearby stalls.

If indeed you want to experience the most arresting part of Margao, visit the Church Square or Largo da Igreja, a Latin quarter housing graceful colonial mansions. The beauty of Margao is that you can still find numerous buildings, parks and alleyways attesting the Portuguese and varied European names and community, as this Latin quarter - a competely different way of recognition not found in other parts of India. On one side of this square rests the Church of the Holy Spirit, built by the Jesuits in 1564 in the heart of Margao. Situated near the old market, this church is hailed as a fine example of Indian Baroque with its central dome and towers on either sides. Amidst palm-green surroundings, the idyllic location creates a feast for the eyes with a vast rectangular mango tree lined square and gracious ancestral homes at the backdrop. Walk inside and you will be amazed to see intricate architecture embellishing the altars.

If you love a good view, follow the road from the Largo da Igreja to the top of Monte Hill. This trekking route due to its refreshing surroundings is a favoured picnic spot among the local residents. Spend a leisure afternoon, eating peanuts and playing with the squirrels before you move towards the Monte Chapel in the evening. Once in Margao, don't miss the Grace Church located on the Varde Valaulikar Road. The most arresting feature is the rare 'crucifix' of the resurrected Christ, draped in a shroud, sans the crown of thorns and with arms outstretched towards the congregation. At a stone's throw is the St. Sebastian Chapel, locally known as the 'Pandava Chapel'. Walk to the rear side to find a group of ancient caves, once said to be the resting pads of the Pandavas, now preserved by the Archeological Survey of India. You cannot help but think it must have been a pretty tight fit in these tucked up caves for the five Pandava brothers and Draupadi, each of whom is believed to be 13 feet high!

Rachol Seminary , Margao
Rachol Seminary , Margao

Rachol Seminary - Stairs To Enlightment

If you are interested in a little explore out, drive 8 km on Padre Miranda Road from Margao to Rachol, to reach the famous Rachol Seminary. Nestling picturesquely on a hillock, it continues to train young Goan men for priesthood. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1521, recent excavations have shown archaic presence of a Shaivite temple beneath a muslim fort. You can see some fine examples of intricate craftsmenship in the architecture of these colossal buildings.

Drive Your Way

Margao is located at the centre of Salcete Taluka in South Goa, 33 km south of Panjim on NH 17 and 626 km from Mumbai. Tourists can drive on NH 17 with mild refreshing breaks at Bambolim, Verna and Nuvem en route. The Dabolim airport is situated at 30 km and one can get a pre-paid taxi to reach Margao. Margao Junction is the most important railway station in the state of Goa well connected to Mumbai and Mangalore, with halts at Pernim, Thivim and Karmali. For more tourist related information, you can contact the office of Goa Tourism, situated behind the Municipal Building.

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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Margao

Pandava Chapel , Margao

A Magic By The River Sal
Plan a holiday visit to Margao, which still reverberates with the Portuguese charm, brought here centuries ago. This second largest city of Goa is an important centre for trade, learning and religious activities and sees tourists from all over India and world.

Leisure Amidst The Greens
To every tourist's surprise, the bustling city of Margao caresses two beautiful and serene gardens in her lap - Municipal Garden and the Agha Khan Park. Both these tranquil pockets of nature refreshes every traveller bored of the regular bedlams of life.

The White Houses of Christianity
Visit the innumerable churches that dot the green terrain of Margao, unique in their own way. Mark your footprints in the Grace Church which houses a rare 'crucifix' of the resurrected Christ, draped in a shroud, sans the crown of thorns and with arms outstretched towards the mass.

It is Where They Become 'Father' (Priest)
When in Margao for a vacation, don't miss the opportunity to visit the renowned Rachol Seminary. Dwelling in the beautiful side of nature, this picturesque place trains young Goan men for priesthood.

Trace A Tint of Christianity In Hindu Mythology
Visit the St. Sebastian Chapel, locally known as the 'Pandava Chapel'. Enjoy a walk to the back where you can find a couple of ancient caves, said to be the erstwhile shelters of the Pandavas. Preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India, these caves surely enchants every visitor.

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