This second most important city of Goa was once a major religious and educational center, well known for its numerous wealthy temples. But its glorious heritage was destroyed when the Portuguese took over the area into their ‘Novas Conquistas’ during the 17th century. The Portuguese influence can still be seen in its imposing old mansions, which are considered to be the finest examples of Portuguese architecture in entire Goa. The city is also a shopper’s delight and the weekly Friday fairs held here are very interesting and popular.
Church of the Holy Spirit: The church at Old Market Square was built in 1675 and is considered to be the finest example of Baroque architecture in India.
Largo de Igreja or Main Church Square: Some of the grandest Portuguese mansions built in Spanish and Colonial architecture can be seen here. These are noted for spacious terraces, patios, and red-tiled sloping roofs.
Damodar Temple: Famous for the Dindi Festival.
Loutulim (9 kms.)
This peaceful village is a fine place to explore the Goan countryside. Some grand old houses built in Goan country house architecture are noteworthy.
Ancestral Goa (Big Foot): This center for art, culture, and environment has a mock village set-up amidst eco- friendly surroundings to illustrate a cross-section of Goan village life as it was a hundred years ago. It daily exhibits Goa’s lifestyle and heritage as well as daily village activities and folk culture. Local artifacts and handicrafts are available at the handicraft center and art gallery. The legend of Big Foot is narrated here, which says that if you place your foot on the rock embedded footprint, with a pure heart, the lady luck will smile at you. A 14 x 5-meter sculpture of saint poetess Mira Bai playing her ektara is quite interesting. It is the country’s longest laterite monolithic sculpture and was sculpted in the Greco-Roman style.
Chandor (13 kms.)
This small village is noted for its splendid villas, farmhouses, and shady tree-lined lanes. It is also the site of ancient Chandrapur, the capital ofKadamba dynasty.