Being the commercial and cultural capital of Goa, Margao, also known as Madgaon, is the largest city of Goa by population. Margao is the centre of administration for the Salcete as well as the district of South Goa. Since the construction of the Madgao Railway Station, Margao has become a focal point for travellers as everyone who wishes to arrive in Goa by train has to enter through Margao.
The origin of Madgaon’s name has various stories. Some say that it is derived from Sanskrit word Mathagram which would mean village towards the east and some say that Mathagram was the name due to the Vaishnavite Matha (cloister) located in the area. But a clear picture to the former name of Matha Gram was due to the Nine Mathas in the town. Raiders, however, destroyed these Mathas along with the Damodar Temple where the Holy Spirit Church now stands. The whole of Margao is a repository for the stories and history of Goa.
With structures like the Braganza House, Fernandes House and Sat Burzam House that are nearly as old as the town itself, there is history in every old nook and corner of Margao. The Goa Chitra Museum will introduce you to the authentic traditions and culture of Goa. The Rachol Fort will transport you back in time to the battles between Vijayanagara and Bijapur Sultans. The Municipal Gardens are the pitstop for every traveller’s Imagination before continuing the journey into the festivities of the Sao Joao feast of St. John the Baptist Church.
With all such heritage to keep its travellers indulged, Margao has earned its place as the Cultural capital of Goa. The shopping scene in Margao offers everything from local street markets to signature shopping malls. There are many restaurants and cafe’s that satisfy your hunger pangs, such as the Cinnamon, Pepper’s, Martin’s, Mircho-Go that serve multiple cuisines. The nightlife in Margao, however, is dull compared to North Goa as there are no pubs or bars that stay open until late in the night.
Places To Visit
The captivating Colva Beach, located in South Goa, is one of the most visited beach of Goa. The 2.5 km long beach is known for its powdery white sands flanked by swaying coconut trees that add to its beauty. It looks more stunning with shacks, nightclubs and souvenir stalls all around.
Colva Beach is also popular for water sports like paragliding, jet-skiing, snorkelling, speed boat ride and banana boat rides. It is visited by tourists for its stunning sunset and calming blue waves. While the Colva Beach is serene for peace-lovers, it perks up at night for party-lovers. With the nonchalant ambience, mesmerizing view of the endless beach and spirited people, Colva Beach is one of the most loved beaches of Goa.
Goa Chitra Museum, located in Benaulim, is an ethnography museum displaying the traditional Goan way of life and culture. The museum was established by Victor Huge Gomez as a tribute to his Portuguese ancestors. He has collected over 4000 items such as woodwork, metalwork, weapons, furniture, religious Goa artefacts and other memorabilia. It also showcases an organic farm.
Goa Chitra actively conducts workshops and activities to share their knowledge about the traditions with the public. It has been titled by the Archaeological Survey of India as the topmost contemporary museum in India.
Our Lady Of Mercy Church
Our Lady Of Mercy Church, located in Colva, is a colonial church founded in 1630. It was earlier known as Nossa Senhora de Merces. The church houses a statue of infant Jesus Christ which is believed to be found on the Mozambique coast by Fr Bento Ferreira who brought it to Goa and installed it in the church in 1648.
Church Of the Holy Spirit Goa
Church Of the Holy Spirit is a 17th century Portuguese church in Goa and one of the oldest churches in Margao. The site initially had a shrine dedicated to a Hindu deity, Lord Damodar, which was destroyed by the Portuguese before the church was erected. It was further destroyed a number of times by the Muslim Army till finally the structure that currently exists was built in 1675. The monument is famous for its splendid architecture and religious significance.
One of the more crowded beaches of South Goa, Majorda beach is a golden sand beach located between Utorda and Betalbatim Beach. Lined with swaying palms and calm azure water, this is one of the most gorgeous beaches in South Goa. Majorda Beach is usually crowded with Russian tourists and offers a wide range of water sports activities. Dotted with sunbeds the beach is ideal for sunbathing and relaxing.
Streetside stalls can be found on Majorda Beach selling funky souvenirs that Goa is famous for. A large number of churches dot the map of Majorda, a great display of the Portugues architecture ever-present across Goa. Paintball and Go Karting facilities can be found closer to the highway. For those looking to do something truly offbeat, the Ashvek Vintage Car Museum is definitely worth a visit, displaying cars and related paraphernalia dating back to 1886. All in all, the charming Majorda has a little something for everyone who crosses its path.