Our favourite places in India – Panjim, Goa
Panaji, or Panjim is the capital of the small state of Goa, and was a Portuguese colony up until 1961. During the Portuguese rule, the main capital was Old Goa, 10km further inland, which is now a World Heritage Site filled with churches and cathedrals. Due to repeated flooding and cholera and malaria epidemics, the Portuguese Viceroy in 1843 shifted his residence to Panjim, which was nothing more than a small fishing village known for the creeks, fields and coconut trees.
Meaning “Land that never floods”, Panjim has terraced hills, pastel shaded buildings more at home in the Mediterranean, excitable shades of Latin America, the craziness of India, baroque churches and a riverside promenade. The narrow winding streets of the Portuguese colony give Panjim a charming ambience that is unique in India.
Although Goa is more famous for its beaches, Panjim is a charming and unique town worthy of a few days stay. It’s a great base to explore Old Goa, the Mandovi River as well as the spice plantations and wildlife parks further inland.
Probably my favourite pastime in Panjim though is eating. Goa is home to the spicy Indian style of curry – Vindaloo and being based along the Arabian sea, copious amounts of wonderful seafood are available. Panjim is one of the best places to find authentic Goan cuisine, which understandably is heavily influenced by Portuguese flavours. Don’t leave Panjim without trying a Vindaloo or Xacuti ‘curry’ and Bebinca – the amazing multi-layered Goan pudding/cake.
Tags: beaches, Bebinca, Goa, Goan cuisine, Indian curry, Mandovi River, Old Goa, Panjim, Portuguese colony, seafood, spice plantations, Vindaloo, wildlife parks, world heritage site, Xacuti
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