Welcome to Panaji, the capital city of the Indian state of Goa and a charming destination that offers a unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. Located on the banks of the Mandovi river estuary, Panaji boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant atmosphere that makes it a must-visit destination for any traveler. With a population of over 114,000, Panaji is the largest urban agglomeration in Goa and is known for its terraced hills, concrete buildings with balconies and red-tiled roofs, churches, and a riverside promenade.
One of the main attractions in Panaji is the baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, which overlooks the main square known as Praça da Igreja. The city also has terraced hills, concrete buildings with balconies and red-tiled roofs, churches, and a riverside promenade. There are avenues lined with gulmohar, acacia and other trees. Panaji has been selected as one of hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under the Smart Cities Mission.
Panaji has a fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century when it was elevated from a town to a city. The city was built with stepped streets and a seven-kilometer-long promenade on a planned grid system after the Portuguese relocated the capital from Velha Goa. The city was renamed from Panjim in English to Panaji, its present official name in the 1980s. The Portuguese name is Pangim. The city is sometimes written as पणजें in (देवनागरी) कोंकणी or Ponnjé in Romi Konkani.
Panaji is a city of landmarks, and one of the most popular is the Praça da Igreja (Church Square) where the Jardim Garcia de Orta (municipal garden) with the Portuguese Baroque Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceição, originally built in 1541. Other tourist attractions include the old and rebuilt Adilshahi Palace (or Idalção Palace), dating from the sixteenth century, the Institute Menezes Braganza, the Chapel of St. Sebastian and the Fontainhas area—which is considered to be the old Latin Quarter—as well as the nearby beach of Miramar.
Panaji is also known for its festivals and celebrations, including the carnival celebrations in February, which include a colorful parade on the streets. This is followed by the Shigmo / Xigmo, or Holi. The Narkāsūr parade on the night before Diwali in the city is very colorful. Well-known places in Panaji are the 18th June Road, a busy thoroughfare in the heart of the town and a shopping area for tourists and locals, Mala area, Miramar beach and the Kala Academy, a cultural center known for its structure built by architect Charles Correa.
Panaji is a city that offers something for everyone, from history buffs to foodies to beach lovers. Whether you’re exploring the city’s landmarks, enjoying the local cuisine, or simply soaking up the vibrant atmosphere, Panaji is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Come and discover the magic of this enchanting city for yourself!