Margao City In Goa
The Margao is one of the largest city in the western Indian state of Goa. There are many beautiful best places to visit in Margao city Goa that you must visit once.
Margao is a Portuguese spelling. It is derived from the word Mathagram that means a place with a Matha.
Being the second largest town in Goa, this place is a complete center of trade and business.
Travelers avoid staying here for long, as it is a complete busy city. The tourists come here for a stopover and move on to other quieter locales.
This central Goan wonder has a remarkably old charm surrounding it. This is because it is predominantly occupied by Portuguese churches, and beautiful houses, which are mostly decorated with lovely pieces of furniture, made of wood.
Margao City History
It is said that this place, Margao, was a very important settlement in Salcette before the Portuguese came. It was then known as Matha grama or the village of the mathas.
Those days it was a temple town with nine Mathas. The residents were mostly Gaud Saraswat Brahmins and Daivajnas. This place was at that time famous for its beautifully constructed temples.
Margao, the matha grama had its own library. However, the sad part is that the Portuguese conquered Margao and along with it took away the beauty of Hinduism here.
The temples died an instant death and Catholic churches were built over them. All kinds of links to connections with Hinduism were wiped out.
It is believed that the first settlements in Margao were in the place where the Damodar temple was located. The original temple was destroyed. The temple tank was also filled up entirely.
This is where the Holy Spirit Church was built. The idol of the deity Damodar was carried over the Zuari Agranashini River to the place where Hindus lived.
The Sonde rulers then ruled this Hindu domain. The western side of the Holy Christ church was developed into a margao market place. The eastern side of the church is the Borda region.
Down the Ages
The city of Margao is a hustling bustling center of absolute business activities. The town has always been a source of finance through its continuous agricultural market activities.
Once upon a time, this place had innumerable temples, dharamshalas, and shrines. Today all these stand invisible as the Portuguese destroyed all this and absorbed it into their Novas Conquistas in the 17th century.
Down the ages, has seen, Margao having churches being more than shrines. Yet the unique quality of Margao is that it has been able to maintain its cosmopolitan effect.
This is attributed to the constant migration of labor from Karnataka and Maharashtra, the neighboring states. In 1961, Goa became a part of the Indian Union and Margao was announced as the administrative seat of the South Goa district.
Learn more about Arambol Beach in Goa.
Margao – Joie De Vivre In The City
The serene calm of the sea, the blue sky and the vast stretch of sand – No this is not what Margao the market city would give you. A lot of activity, transport fluttering from this place to that place and a lot of noise dominating the region.
A flurry of activity and trading and business activities is seen in this place. The commercial center of Goa, Margao, the city of Matha, is a place to reckon with if you want to carry on business activities here.
However, the place has been able to retain its past glory and cosmopolitan effect. Margao with its green surrounding offers the best sights to see as it is replete with handsome monuments and well-carved temples. Therefore, a tourist coming here would see the following:
Konkan Railway has made things easier for people in Goa. Anyone coming here has to have a stopover at Margao before proceeding anywhere. Whether by rail or road, this is the place to change. Besides, Margao is the market city of Goa. This is where people can buy stuff, shop and enjoy the pleasures of shopping. The Bazaar here is an absolute haven for shoppers with many souvenirs they can buy to take back home.
- The Stately Church of the Holy Spirit
- Holy Spirit Church
- Monte Church
The Stately Church of the Holy Spirit: The Portuguese built this church in 1675. With the late Baroque architecture, this church with its pure white background and a gracious interior is complete with its crystal made of gilt and stucco. This is located in the largo de Igreja Square. The area around is very nostalgic about a great colonial enclave that existed but which is completely in ruins now. Yet a tourist coming here should surely visit this church.
Holy Spirit Church: This was erected in 1565. It has an outstanding cross in front and is a remarkable piece of construction.
Monte Church: This is another “attraction “and site seeing spot. This is the best place where one could get a complete bird’s eye view of the city. The blue Arabian Sea is also visible from here. It is a stupendous sight.
Colva Beach: This is a nice summer retreat for the tourist. Its lovely sands and the sunsets are really a treat for the tourist’s eye. This is the best Margao Beach in goa.
Benaulim Beach: The Benaulim beach is known as “Banali” in Sanskrit. This is the name it was known by earlier. The Portuguese changed its name to Benaulim. This is found in the center of Colva Beach. It lies 7 kms away from Margao in Goa.
Margao has many beautiful famous mansions to visit in the city.
- Loutolim Village
- Miranda House
- Pereira Braganza Mansion / Menezes- Braganza house:
- Braganza Mansion
- Jorge Barreto Park
Loutolim Village in Goa
This is the place where a tourist can find the best colonial styled mansions.
These have been existent since the time of the Portuguese empire until now. Those days the Portuguese empire was the main seat of the areas top ruling authorities.
This village has buses connecting it to Margao city in Goa. Where the passengers get off a crooked looking church here. The houses here sheltered by the luscious greenery around make the place look like a dream.
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This is very near to the main square. It has a very classical touch to its look. It was built in the 17th century. The Rajput bandits raided this house.
After this, it was renovated. Today people live in the house and they are believed to be direct descendants of the wealthy Areca planters.
There are two other mansions here in Loutolim. It is the Route Caetan Miranda house and the Salvador Costa House. These are on the western side of Loutolim.
Pereira Braganza Mansion / Menezes- Braganza house
This is considered one of Goa’s grandest colonial mansions. The Braganza family built this in the 15th century. They built it for their two sons. It has two stories and has 28 windows decorating its entrance.
The Story behind it – Braganza de Pereira the great grandfather of the present person who owns the mansion, was the last knight of the Portugal king.
Menezes Braganza was one of the few Goan rich people who decided to oppose the Portuguese rule. The family had to escape in 1950 but came back in 1962.
The interiors of their mansion is a dream come true. With a lot of unbelievably enthralling antiques, porcelain from China, and splendid religious relics, the mansion is a magnificent piece of work.
Amongst the religious relics St. Francis Xavier’s diamond crusted toenail is a major attraction. It was retrieved very lately from a bank and has been enshrined in the tiny chapel in the eastern wing.
Jorge Barreto Park
The huge rectangular “Jorge Barreto” Park in front of the colonial styled building is a spellbinding sight with its arched corridors. This is worth seeing.
Lutolim‘s heritage center: This is a village cum heritage center that is found a little near the square to its east. This is called Ancestral Goa. It is set up in such a ways that a tourist would understand how Goa was a century back. This is an exhibition of small miniature houses and dressed dummies.
Chandor Village in Goa
This is situated 13 km away from Margao city in Goa. This lies along the fertile rice fields. The village has a very sleepy look and has magnificent villas and many farmhouses, which give the place its unique look. There are shady trees lining the road and it is famous for its exquisitely constructed mansions. Chandor can be reached by taxi, bus or train.
This has become a site seeing spot. With its entire production on display, this is a remarkable sight. The famous margao market amongst them is the “Sat Burnzam Ghor”. This has actually seven roofs.
This is a place where the Goan market culture is in full flow. It is not needed that one needs to see pristine beaches, clear water and lovely trees.
Sometimes the daily raw life of people also intrigues the tourist. Therefore, this is necessary see.
Temple and Seminary
The Chandreshwar Bhutnath Temple and the Rachol Seminary are places, which also are nice attractive site seeing spots.
The Holy Spirit Main Squar
It has a church with its lovely architectural elegance on one side. The Portuguese built it in 1675. The parochial house is also here. On the other side, there are palatial mansions.
These belong to the elite class of the Catholics. They are all found in a row. The Associacao Das Communidades building and the school are the exceptions. These buildings have only two stories.
They also have magnificent balconies and grand verandas, which face the outside towards the square. The old market or the commercial street lies parallel to the church square. The joy square is a landscaped area. It is called the Praca De Alegria.
Margao means the village of the market. “Math” means the market and “gao“ means the village. Therefore, Margao or Maud Gao means the village of the mathas.
The importance of this city has been steadily increasing. The commercial and the administration of this city is constantly growing and is making Goa progressive.
The commercial market got attached to the town hall and so the place began to be known as Maud-Gao or the market town of Goa. A visit here surely is fruitful as it leaves the tourist asking for more. A different kind of experience but one to certainly reckon with.
Margao City Information
Location: Western India, 33km from Panjim
Also known as: Madgaon
Best time to visit: November to February
Local Transport: Mini buses, private buses, auto rickshaws
Souvenirs: Cashew nuts, local articles, handicrafts.
Places to see: Lutolim, Chandor, Colva Beach, Benaulim beach, Margao market, The Holy Spirit Main Square, Churches.