India is a staggeringly beautiful country, filled with both natural landscapes that will astound you with wonder and masses of man-made architecture that will capture your gaze.
When people think of Indian cities to visit, a lot of the attention goes to places like Mumbai, or Delhi, or people want to know what to see when in Rishikesh.
However, if you’re looking for a bustling Indian city that is surrounded by breathtaking beaches, whilst also being able to deliver a thriving culture scene, then Panaji should be the name at the top of your wish list.
“Panaji” The Capital of Goa
Panaji is the capital city of the state of Goa in Western India and is part of the North Goa district. Goa is one of the most popular areas in India to visit, due to the stunning beaches that make up the region.
Some of the most famous beaches situated along the 100km of coastline include Baga and Arambol.
The closest beach to Panaji itself is Miramar, which can either be a serene place to take in a sunrise or sunset or be the site of a massive festival and swarming with people, so make sure to check first what’s on, before you visit.
The city of Panaji, which can also be known as Panjim, is located on the banks of the Mondovi River and has a population of just under 115,000 people in the metropolitan area.
As it was built during Portuguese rule of the area, the city is populated with colorful villas and architecture that reflect the European country’s own style.
When the bright blue sky serves as a backdrop to all the reds and oranges of the buildings, it’s a mesmerizing sight to behold.
Where to Stay?
As in most of the large cities in India, Panaji has a great variety of hostels and hotels that are suitable for every budget.
If you’re trying to save the pennies as you travel, then seek out The Old Quarter Hostel, which delivers a great city-center location, at a price that can’t be beaten. It is situated in the Fontainhas, which is the historic Latin quarter.
The hostel is a mainstay for backpackers, and it carries a laid-back vibe that is perfect for those wanting to meet other travellers.
They have private rooms available which come with their own bathroom, or dormitory rooms that sleep a max of four people, and come complete with lockers and a shared bathroom.
If you’re after something a bit more upmarket, then a stay at the Panjim Peoples could be right up your street. It is again situated in the Fontainhas, and is located inside a remarkable baroque mansion that was built in the 1800s, and has now been lovingly restored into a top-of-the-line heritage hotel.
There are only actually four extravagant rooms in the entire hotel, so obviously demand can be high, but the beautifully-crafted bathrooms and luxurious furnishings make it worth it.
What to Do?
The city has so much to offer, that it’s tricky to do it all in one visit. If you’re after spectacular architecture, then your first port of call should be the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
This extraordinary church sits atop a steep hill, constantly overlooking the city, with its white paint shining brightly in the baking sun.
It has three main shrines included within its walls, and it is of immense importance to both the people of the city and the surrounding area of Goa.
It’s not just spiritually magnificent buildings that Panaji is famed for though, as the city also has buckets of tantalizing nightlife for the true party animals to dive into.
One fantastic place to go to while away during the night hours is the Deltin Royale, which is actually Asia’s largest offshore casino.
This gigantic cruise ship has over 40,000 square feet of gambling floor to enjoy, which features poker, roulette, blackjack, and much more. It also has multiple restaurants, along with a high-class whiskey lounge, that comes complete with hand-rolled cigars.
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