|Destination: Margao (Madgaon)|
|Destination Type: Beach|
Margao is the main population centre of South Goa. It is a busy provincial town reminiscent of its Portuguese past. It is the capital of Salcete taluk and the service and transport centre for people staying at Colva and Benaulim beaches.
Margao’s Church of the Holy Spirit is beautiful and well worth a visit.
Kadamba bus stand is about 2 km north of the town centre, on the road to Panaji, while Margao's new railway station is 1.5 km east. The GTDC Tourist Hostel has its tourist office in the centre of town. The State Bank of India is opposite the Municipal Gardens. Visa or Master-Card advances can be obtained at the Bank of Baroda near the covered market.
Restaurants and Cafés
Bombay Café is a popular vegetarian restaurant.
Tato (east of the municipal gardens) is also vegetarian. A thali costs Rs 20.
Longhuinos (opposite the tourist office) serves Goan cuisine such as chourisso (Rs 25), pastries, sweets and good tandoori dishes. It also has a busy bar.
Woodlands Hotel is good value with fish curry and rice for Rs 25 and fried chicken for Rs 35.
Bus: There are deluxe buses between Margao and Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Hubli and Belgaum. The bus to Mumbai leaves daily from the Kadamba bus stand (16 hours), Bangalore (14 hours), Pune (15 hours), Hubli (6 hours) and Belgaum (5 hours). Private bus agents can be contacted in the town centre near the Tourist Hostel.
Train: Margao’s new station is about 1.5 km east of the town centre. You can cross the tracks at the old station to reach there if you are walking.
Air: Goa’s international airport is Dabolim which is 35/25 Mile from Panaji on the coast near Vasco da Gama. Major Air routes from Goa.
Bus: Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka state road transport corporations operate services out of Panaji’s Kadamba bus stand. Many private bus companies have offices outside the entrance to the bus stand. Luxury and airconditioned buses are available to Mumbai, Bangalore, Hampi and other destinations. Most private interstate buses arrive and depart from a separate bus stand next to the Mandovi Bridge. Paulo Tours and Travel has nightly sleeper coaches to Hampi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Train: Goa’s two main stations are at Margao and Vasco da Gama and 2 Konkan Railway station called Karmali and Thivam. Karmali is the station for going to Panjim and Thivam is the station to go to Mapusa/Calanguate. Bookings can be made at either of these or at the train reservation office in the Kadamba bus stand. Trains to all major Indian cities are available.
Taxi: The cost of the 600 km drive from Mumbai to Goa is about Rs 6,000 (US$ 140). The journey takes about 14 hours.
Motorcycle rental: Hiring a motorcycle is popular with many travellers in Goa. Available vehicles are Enfields, Yamaha 100s and Kinetic Honda scooters. In high season, on a daily basis, you may have to pay up to Rs 300 for a scooter, Rs 400 for the small bikes and Rs 500 for an Enfield. You may be required to give in your passport and a sizeable deposit as security. If you are involved in an accident you’ll be required to pay at least for the damage to the rented bike.
Motorcycle taxi: Motorcycles are a licensed form of taxi in Goa. They are much cheaper than other transport if you are travelling alone with a backpack that can be carried on bike
Bicycle rental: Bicycles can be hired in all the major towns and beaches of Goa for around Rs 40 per day.
Boat: Boats can be hired to cross the many rivers of Goa. The main ferries are:
Siolim – Chopdem This can be used for Arambol and places to the north. Services run every half hour from 6.30 am to 1 pm; Tickets cost Rs 0.75/3 for passengers/motorcycles.
Querim – Terekhol : This ferry goes to Terekhol Fort, in the north of the state.
Dona Paula – Mormugao : This ferry runs between September and May (till 5 pm) only. The crossings are rather erratic and take between 30 and 45 minutes. Buses wait on either side for the arrival of boats.
Old Goa – Divar Island : Ferries go every half hour to Divar Island from Old Goa.
Other Ferries: Approximately 20 other ferry services operate in the state. These include: Panaji to Betim, Aldona to Corjuem, Pomburpa to Chorao and Ribandar to Chorao.
Se Cathedral: The largest of the churches in Old Goa, it is in the Portuguese-Gothic style with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. Its bell is one of the oldest in Goa and is called the Golden Bell. (Gallery timings: 9 am to 12.30 pm & 3 pm to 6.30 pm.)
Convent and Church of St Francis Assisi: This old church has carved woodwork and old murals depicting the file of St Francis. The floor is made of gravestones carved with the coat of arms of families going back to the 16th century. Open from 9 am to 12.30 pm & 3 pm to 6.30 pm. The archaeological museum is open Saturday to Thursday , 10 am to 5 pm.
Basilica of Bom Jesus: This contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier who was on a mission to spread Christianity in the Portuguese colonies of the East. The Professed House is next to the basilica and is a two-storeyed laterite building covered with lime plaster. Open from 9 am to 12.30 pm & 3 pm to 6.30 pm.
Church of St Cajetan: This church was built by Italian friars who were sent to the kingdom of Golconda to preach Christianity. Since they were not allowed to work in Golconda, they settled in Old Goa in 1640.
Church of St Augustine Ruins: This church, constructed by Augustinian friars, was abandoned in 1835 due to the repressive policies of the Portuguese government.
Other buildings of interest in Old Goa are the Chapel of St Anthony, the Chapel of St Catherine and the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception: This is Panaji’s main church where Portuguese sailors gave thanks to Our Lady for a safe voyage.
Goa State Museum: This is near the bus stand in Panaji. (Open from 9 am to 1.15 pm and 2 to 5.30 pm, Mondays to Fridays). It has a collection of Christian art and Hindu and Jain sculpture and Indian paintings of different styles.
Chapel of St Sebastian, Fontainhas: This is famous for its striking crucifix which was originally in the Palace of the Inquisition in Old Goa.
The Secretariat: This has an interesting history. It was originally a palace of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur.
Terekhol Fort: This is a beautiful old Portuguese fort at Terekhol and houses the Hotel Tiracol Fort Heritage.
Rachol Seminary and Church: This is worth visiting for the Museum of Christian Art which has a rare collection of textiles, silver and articles once used in the churches of Old Goa. (Open Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 am to 12.30 am & 2.30 pm to 5 pm.)
Braganza House: This is one of the colonial mansions now thrown open to the public and is furnished with antiques.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary: This is the smallest of Goa’s sanctuaries, and is the easiest to reach. Bookings should be made in advance at the office of the Department of Forestry in Panaji.
Molem & Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuaries: These are larger than Bondla Sanctuary but you will need your own transport to get there. Accommodation is available at Molem but not in the Cotigao Sanctuary.
Dudhsagar Falls: A one-day trip from Margao, you can get to the Falls and back to Margao by late afternoon.
Shri Bhagwati Temple: (28 km from Panaji.) This temple is more than 500 years old. The festival of Dussera is celebrated with gaiety here.
Shri Shantadurga Temple: This temple, dedicated to the goddess of peace, has a pagoda-like structure and a roof made of long slabs of stone. The annual carnival held here is well worth attending to see the blend of Christian and Hindu cultures.
Shri Mangesh Temple: This interesting Shiva temple is at Priol Ponda Taluka, about 22 km from Panaji