A Comprehensive Article on Goa: Other Side of Goa by Patrick Donovan

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Most people’s image of Goa involves a combination of beaches, drugs, all-night raves, and burnt out hippies. Few come here to take in the Portuguese heritage of Panaji, its capital city. This is the side of Goa that captured my attention.


The Portuguese settled in India before the British and left after them. In the early 1500s they established a capital at Velha Goa. By the end of the century, the city surpassed the imperial capital in Lisbon, leading to the proverb “Quem viu Goa, dispensa de ver Lisboa” (He who has seen Goa, need not see Lisbon). Its heyday was short lived. Soon, cholera, malaria, and the inquisition led to a rapid decline. A population which once rivaled London and Paris was reduced to a mere handful. Velha Goa became a buggy ghost town with some very large cathedrals, most of which can be visited through this excellent quicktime tour.

A few of the remaining churches in Velha Goa.

A new capital rose up 9km to the west, next to the Indian Ocean. Originally called Nova Goa, the city is now known as Panaji or Panjim. The current population hovers around 100,000 and the buildings and churches are consequently more modest than the ones in the nearby ghost town.

Although the Portuguese left India in 1961, traces of their presence can still be heard, felt, and seen in Panjim. Portuguese words occasionally pop up in Konkani, the local language. An aging 4% of the population still speaks Portuguese. The influence is also apparent in the widespread presence of the Catholic church, excellent curries made with chorizo and red wine, and a latin attitude towards drinking that is absent in the rest of India. Moreover, certain areas of the Sao Tomé and Fontainhas neighbourhoods in Panjim would not look out of place on the Iberian peninsula.




The chapel of Saint Sebastian, built in 1880, Fontainhas.



Credits: Urban Photo

5 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. This is great! It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see…Good post with useful tips and ideas

    1. wow power leveling on August 3rd, 2009 at 2:53 pm
  2. What a nice place to visit. Hope to have that opportunity someday… 🙂

    Congratulations, the blog is great!

    Samu, from Aveiro, Portugal

    2. Samuel on May 27th, 2009 at 6:10 am
  3. The architecture of the buildings in the photos. Sry (lol) I forgot to mention 🙂

    3. ABucin on April 1st, 2007 at 2:08 am
  4. Very nice images, I’ve been to Goa but truly this is just splendid. I haven’t come across a lot of great architecture at all. Perhaps my reasons for visiting Goa are different from yours!

    4. Anonymous on March 21st, 2007 at 12:21 am
  5. The photos are very cool. Goa is a wonderful place. The architecture of every single building is unique.

    5. ABucin on March 17th, 2007 at 1:37 pm

One Trackback

  1. By IndianPad on March 16, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Other Side of Goa : Goa involves a combination of beaches, drugs, all-night raves, and the other side is……

    Other Side of Goa : Goa involves a combination of beaches, drugs, all-night raves, and the other side is… posted at IndianPad.com…

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