Towns, Beaches, Temples, Churches in South Goa District
- Margao: 33 kilometers down south from the state capital Panaji, is the commercial capital town of the South Goa District in Salcete Taluka. A thriving commercial metropolis linked by rail to the rest of India & Mormugao Harbour and by National Highways, with Maharashtra and Karnataka. It has imposing old mansions and modern buildings.
- Vasco-Da-Gama: 30 kilometers south-west of Panaji, is a modern, well laid out city close to Mormugao Harbour known as Vasco-Da-Gama. It has beautiful and extensive avenues. The air terminus of Goa at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city. It is also the railway terminus for passenger service on the South Central Railway.
- Mormugao Harbour: is 34 kilometers south-west of Panaji (4 kms. from Vasco-Da-Gama), one of the finest natural anchorages on the West Coast of India and the hub of intense maritime activity.
- Chandor (Chandar): 9 kms. East of Margao, the Menezes Braganza House, mostly late 18th Century and previously owned by Lemon nationalist and Journalist Luis De Menezes Braganza has a series of magnificent rooms especially the great salon with its fine furniture and the largest private library in Goa.
Beaches in South Goa District
- Colva Beach: About 6 kms. from Margao, Colva beach is the pride of Salcete and the only rival to Calangute by its scenic splendour. Here, sand, sea and sky blend in enchanting natural harmony unspoilt by men. Has good accommodation facilities particulary at the tourist cottages.
- Agonda Beach: About 37 kms. south of Margao. It is a small picturesque and secluded beach much sought after for its serenity.
- Palolem Beach: About 37 kms. south of Margao. It’s just west of Chaudi in the Southern Taluka of Canacona and is one of the most enchanting beaches in Goa relatively deserted, with the backdrop of Western Ghats.
Churches in South Goa District
- Rachol Seminary: Situated just off the banks of Zuari river, 12 kilometers north-east of Margao in South Goa. In 1521 the Portuguese, in their customary fashion first built a church, then a prison, later in 1574-1610 a seminary to impart philosophy and theology. It is in this seminary that the museum of Christian Art is housed.
Temples in South Goa District
- Shree Mallikarjun : 40 kms south of Margao at Canacona, the southernmost Taluka of Goa, is believed to have been constructed during the middle of 16th Century by ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj. It was renovated in the year 1778. The temple has massive wooden pillars with intricate carvings. There are 60 deities around the temple, Rathasaptami in February and Shigmotsav in March/April are the festivals of note, which draw large crowds.
- Shree Saunsthan Gokarn Partagali Jeevottam Math: Located at Partagali Village on the banks of the sacred rivulet Kushavati, this math established by Shreemad Narayanateertha Swamiji in the year 1475 A.D. has an uninterrupted tradition of 23 Swamijis. This is an accident Math of the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin Vaishnav Community which maintained contact with the scattered members of the community. The symbol representing the spiritual movement carried by the Math for over 500 years is one of the few huge ancient ‘vatavriksha’ (Banyan tree) which is about 200 ft. x 225 ft. and is considered a Tapasya Kshetra for over a thousand years. Vatavriksha and the Ishwar linga in front of it are worshipped by the people of Partagali and adjoining area. This place is popularly known as Bramhasthan. Partagali is being developed into a centre of culture and learning, without in any way tampering with its glorious traditions.
Mosques in South Goa District
- Jama Masjid: 26 kms from Margao at Sanguem. Built in the last century, the Jama Masjid was completely renovated in 1959. The new structure is remarkable for its harmonious proportions and elegant simplicity. It has four minarets whilst the entrance façade is flanked by two elegant towers surmounted by pillared kiosks. A domeshaped kiosk rises in the centre of the minarets. Festivals are celebrated here with due solemnity by the rejoicing devotees.
Other places of interest:
- Dudhsagar Waterfalls: 60 kms. (10 kms from Colem Railway Station) is accessible by train only. Water plummets hundreds of feet in large volume, in cascades, forming one of the most spectacular of all natural phenomena in Goa and a life line of our ecosystem in one of our Sanctuaries. A popular destination to hikers and trekkers. It is also acessible by jeepable(4 wheel drive) route (14 kms) through the Bhagvan Mahavir Sanctuary. However, one needs to obtain permission in advance from the Department of Forests at Junta House, Panaji.
- Kesarval Spring: (22 kms) The spring emerges from hard and compact rocks and people bathe in its water with strong belief that it has medicinal properties.
- Ancestral Goa: (Big Foot) A centre for Art, Culture & Environment. Located at Loutolim, 9 kms from Margao, it is an aesthetically developed open air site designed to illustrate Goa’s traditional past. Set in eco-friendly surroundings, this mock-up village traces 100 years of Goa’s lifestyles and heritage alongwith a depiction of daily village activity and folk culture. Local artefacts and handicrafts are available at the handicraft centre and art gallery. The legend of the Big Foot is narrated there- With a pure heart, place your foot on the rock enbedded footprint and you will be blessed with luck. The Big Foot Eat-out offers exotic goan cuisine with spices, vegetables and fruits handpicked from the spice garden and fruit orchard, watered by an ancient system of irrigation. Flanking this is a bird habitat and a rubber plantation from which rubber is extracted and processed. A giant size footprint, ‘Big Foot’-the only designer dance floor in Goa is used as a venue for the promotion of art, dance, music and traditional culture. Another major attraction here is ‘Natural Harmony’- the longest laterite monolythic sculpture in India measuring 14 x 5 metres which makes this a must see place for every visitor Sculpted in grecoroman style, in a record time, this horizontally ethced, Sant Mirabai playing the ektara found its way into the Limca Book of Records.
Museums and Art galleries in South Goa
- Museum of Christian Art, Old Goa: Tel: 0832-2285299, Website: www.museumofchristianart.com, e-Mail: museumofchristianart[at]gmail[dot]com. Daily: 9.30 am – 5.00 pm. Entrance fee: Rs 50 per adult and Rs. 25 per child.
- Indian Naval Aviation Museum: Located at Dabolim. Contact No.: 0832-2585525 Static display of aircrafts, engines, armanents, sensors, aviation simulator, safety, archive, models, apparel and museum shop. Timings: Daily from 9.30 am – 5.00 pm. Monday Closed. Entrance fee: Rs. 20/- per adult and Rs. 5/- per child below 12 years of age.
- Galleries at Se Cathedral, St. Francis of Assisi Convent & Basilica of Bom Jesus: Timings: 9.00 am – 12.30 pm & 3.00 pm – 6.30 pm on weekdays & 10.00 am – 12.30 pm & 3.00 pm – 6.30 pm on Sundays. Galleria de Icons, Seva Samiti Bldg. Agakhan Street, Margao. Tel. 0832-730835 Timings 9.00 am – 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm – 6.00 pm. Closed on Sundays. Entrance is free of cost.
- The Big Foot Art Gallery & Local Handicarfts Centre, Loutolim: Tel: 0832-2750421/2750430 Fax: 0832-2750401. Works of local artist such as paintings, artefacts, bamboo, cane, clay & terracotta, handmade garments & souvenirs. Timings: Daily 9.00 am to 6.00 pm. Entry Fee: Rs. 150/- per person & Rs. 75/- per student.
Cultural heritage of Goa
Goa abounds in festivals and fairs around temples and churches which also commemorate early legends. They are the occasions when a Goan peasant manifesto joy and hapiness.
- Bhandap: A traditional folk dance performed by the women folk of the scheduled tribe community who were the earliest settlers of Goa, in the second half of the Hindu month Bhadrapada.
- Corredinho- Portuguese folk dance: A peasant dance which is popular among Goan elite youth.
- Dekhni-Beauty dance: Performed only by women, displays a rare blend of Indian & Western rhythms.
- Dhangar Dance: In Navratra days, a vigourous session of worship dance.
- Fugdi & Dhalo: Folk dance performed by women. The most common folk dance forms of Goa.
- Ghode Modni: It is in commemoration of the return of the Ranes after victories over the Portuguese in Bicholim and Satari Taluka.
- Goff- folk dance with chords: Manifesto joy and hapiness of Goan peasants after the harvest, during Shigmo Festival in Phalgum month.
- Hanpet- Sword Dance: A traditional warrior dance performed during the Shigmo Festival.
- Kala & Dashavtar: Folk dance forms representing the sunsequent development of jagar as tiatr. Some of the other popular folk dance forms are Ranmale, Ratkala and Tiatr.
- Kunbi Dance: Tribal Folk dance: A group dance-cum-song thoroughly rustic.
- Lamp Dance: Performed during Shigmo Festival by women holding lamps on their heads.
- Mando: A love song. It represents the mingling of Indian and Western tradition.
- Morulem: A traditional folk dance presented by the backward community during Shigmo Festival.
- Mussal-Khel-Pestel Dance: A dance-cum-song in praise of valiant Kings. It also projects incidents in the village life of the times, Romat, Tonya Mel and Dhendlo are some other folk dance forms.
- Perani Jagar: The earliest form of drama.
- Raatib: Part of religion ritual of Muslim community performed during 11th month of the Muslim calender.
- Suvari: It is a traditional tone setter to all Hindu religious and festival performances.
- Talgadi: Folk dance performed by men-a social, sophisticated, outdoor dance for men.
- Taranga Mel: Banners mela of farmers.
- Tonyamel: Folk dance with sticks. A very vigorous and muscular group dance which is connected with the farm-folk celebrating the joys of good harvest. Tipri Nritya resembles tonyamel folk dance.
- Veerbhadra: It is a typical Indian style dance performed in Ponda, Sanguem and Bicholim Talukas.
- Zagor: Folk Play. A cultural activity presented in different villages of Goa in different styles by the Gauda community.