Through The Streets Of Panjim, Inhaling Its Alluring Beauty
Updated: Jun 22, 2019
On a beautiful Friday evening, I sat among a bunch of people from different walk of life at my hostel terrace in South Goa, listening to their stories. And finally, when my turn came, I was beyond grateful and happy to share my story and how I got myself into travelling. As I finished, one of my hostel mates asked me what my future travel plans were.
“Where are you headed to next?”
I said, “I leave for Panjim tomorrow. Excited to explore the city and a few parts of North Goa.”
And as I finished, I heard a voice from my left go all like, “there is nothing for people to see at Panjim. It’s just like any other city.”
This comment came from a guy who was intoxicated in alcohol and high on you-know-what, and on the other hand didn't give heed to his comments as I was high on life and you-know-what. But I chose to stay put because I believe that every place has its own charm and beauty, and is unique in its own way.
And, I was right. Panjim, you are gorgeous.
Panjim is the capital of the Indian state of Goa. Situated in the banks of Mandovi River, Panjim is the house to kind-hearted people, warm hospitality, amazing food, and of course the beautiful Indo-Portuguese architecture. With floating casinos at the bay, Panjim is a visual treat at twilight.
Streets Of Panjim Are Gorgeous AF
As a traveler who loves exploring, I believe that in order to incorporate the essence of a city – be it its architecture or food or culture or the mere scent of the place, walking is a true way to go about it. With beautiful Indo-Portuguese architecture, colourful houses, dreamy balconies, gothic churches, cute little cafes and bars, and kind-hearted, warm and friendly locals, walking around Panjim is for sure the best decision that I have made, after having decided to go to the city on the first place.
If you’re a person who enjoys the essence of a city through its architecture, serenity and alluring beauty, a walk through the heritage town of Panjim is a must in your list of things to do. You can thank me later.
As I walked through the streets, absorbing the energy of the city with a fellow hostel mate (perks of staying at a hostel – you get to meet a lot of people and you end up socialising and making friends with them), I stumbled upon a local bar. To be honest, I really wanted to go to the bar even though it seemed a little bit shady. And if you’re already following me on Instagram, you know what I’m talking about.
Joseph bar, located on Gomes Pereira Road in Panjim is one of the places where I got the true essence of the city as the people there welcomed me with a big smile on their faces. Something that you don’t experience when you go out to a posh bar or club. And walking into that bar was a decision that I made which I’ll never regret because it was a different kind of an experience altogether.
On a funnier note, this bar doesn’t require you to come all decked up. You’re free to enter the bar with your flip-flops on, every day from 6:00 PM until 11:00 PM. Now do yourself a favour and thank me later.
Panjim Is More Than A City
I stayed in Panjim for over a week and when I told my friends and fellow travellers about this, they only had one thing to say – “Roshan, you’re going to get bored.”
But on the contrary, I had one of my best times there. As I mentioned earlier and on my Instagram post, every city – no matter how big or small, fancy or plain, modern or gothic, has something to offer which is alluringly beautiful, and as a traveller and admirer who is big on knowing things, this city had a lot to offer.
Places To See In And Around Panjim
Panjim has a variety of things to offer. With a mixture of art, architecture, food, entertainment, and nature, Panjim and its neighbourhood is an utter bliss to travelers.
House of Goa is a ship-shaped museum designed by architect Gerard da Cunha, compressing the phenomenal outcome of the amalgamation of Eastern and Western architectural style, resulting in Indo-Portuguese Architecture.
This museum accommodates various aspects of the Goan style of architecture, which is unique and unseen elsewhere in the world. Telling a captivating story about the region’s architectural style by showcasing its wealth and details, this museum is at its best and one of the must visits if you’re in Goa.
This museum is open from 10 AM to 07:30 PM on all days, except Mondays. The museum has an entry fee of Rs. 100 and trust me, it’s worth the money you spend.
Diagonally opposite to House Of Goa is this beautiful gallery of India’s finest cartoonist, Mario de Miranda (1926 – 2011). As a storyteller, he illustrated stories that inspired him from various aspects of life, nature, and people. Though his cartoons were regular on The Times Of India and other publications, he rose to fame when his works were published on The Illustrated Weekly Of India.
Now, you must be wondering, ‘This dude is speaking a lot about this cartoonist. Where are his works?’ Well, it’s very simple – I don’t want you to see his cartoons and illustrations here, but in person, at his gallery, because they are amazing. Trust me.
The gallery is open on all weekdays from 9 AM to 5.30 PM, on Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM, and is closed on Sundays. The next time you visit Goa, this place is something you shouldn’t miss.
Though these two were my favourite places in and around Panjim during my recent visit, there were three more places that I wanted to visit, but couldn’t (apparently, more than a week in a city wasn’t enough for me). So, I urge you to visit the following places when you’re in Panjim or if you have already visited the following places, do let me know what I need to look out for.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim, which was built in 1541 and was eventually replaced by the bigger church in the 1600s as a part of the Portuguese Goa’s religious expansion. This church overlooks the Panjim Square, one of the prominent landmarks of the city.
Kala Academy, on the other hand, is a cultural centre run by the Government of Goa, which was started in February 1970. The Building, situated right by the sea is designed by Charles Correa, thereby to promote the cultural unity of Goa.
Art lovers, give me an Amen and trash me for not visiting this privately owned contemporary art gallery near Calangute called Museum of Goa. Founded in 2015 by Goa’s acclaimed artist Subodh Kerkar, this gallery showcases art by different artists around the world and encourages experimental exhibit ideas. I’m visiting this gallery the next time I’m in Goa. Are you as well?
Getting Around In Panjim
Panjim connects most parts of North Goa and Madgaon by bus, which in fact is the cheapest option to commute. There are direct buses to Calangute, Vasco da Gama and to the airport from Panjim and other North Goan beaches like Vagator and Anjuna can be reached from Panjim by catching a connecting bus from Mapusa.
Though buses are the cheapest mode of travel, it takes a lot of time and is crowded most part of the day – which isn’t a very comfortable scene. The other option would be to rent a bike, which is a comfortable and an affordable option if you’re looking forward to explore Goa and don’t want to miss out that perfect sunset because you had to catch an early bus to reach your accommodation.
The other options available are autos and taxis, which are expensive and I would never suggest them.
P.S – Please don’t plan your trip thinking you can get from one place to the other by taking Ola or Uber, because there isn't one.
Indulge In The Delicacies Of Your Taste Buds
Goa is one of the best places in India to treat your taste buds by indulging in some guilt-free seafood delicacies. Goan Fish Curry Meals is a must try if you’re in Goa since it’s one of the most delicious things that I have eaten in a very long time. Once again, thank me later.
Among the many restaurants present in and around Panjim, Bombay Coffee Roasters, Viva Panjim, Arcanjela Bar & Restaurant, The Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ritz Classic Restaurant & Bar have amazing, delicious and mouth-watering Fish Curry Meals. Among which Ritz Classic Restaurant & Bar’s Fish Thali is something that I’d die for any day and right now just thinking about it makes my mouth watery.
On the other hand, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. If you want to indulge yourself with some alcohol, well, Panjim offers you with bars of all ranges, ranging from the fanciest to the shadiest. You name it, the city has it.
Where to stay?
Goa as a state is filled with hotels, heritage homes and traveler’s hostels which provide its guests with the experience and comfort that they want to experience. During my recent trip to Goa, I stayed at the Old Quarter at Panjim by The Hostel Crowd.
If you’re a solo traveller and looking for an accommodation that is safe, cheap and is of value for the money that you spend hostels are the best, especially this one (not sponsored).