Though Panaji ( also called Panjim) isn't a very nice town, take a tour there. Idalcao Palace is one of the tourist attractions that you can visit.
Ohter tourist spots in Panjim are Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Braganza Institute , Jama Masjid, Mahalaxmi Temple
The best way to explore the town is by foot, wandering around the old cobbled alleyways, colonial villas, red-roofed houses, taverns and cafes.
Panaji, or Panjim as it was known in English before it had its name changed in 1960s, is the capital of the state of Goa. It's located on the southern bank of the Mandovi River and was nothing more than a small fishing village until the Portuguese moved their Goan capital here from Old Goa, 9km to the east, in 1843, even though the Viceroy's residence was transferred here in 1759.
This state museum is located over the small creek in the eastern part of Panaji. It exhibits Portuguese Christian art, rock sculptures, furniture (including a table used in the Goan Inquisition), an 18th century wooden chariot, paintings, newspaper printing presses and Portuguese rotary lottery machines that were used in the first lottery draw in 1947.
This is the oldest surviving building in Panaji and the oldest colonial building in Goa. It is also known as Idalcao's palace, "Idalcaon" being the Portuguese corrupted word for Adil Shah Khan, the Sultan of Bijapur as the building was built on the site of the Adil Shah palace. The building was initially a fortress and then the palace of the viceroy's of Goa from 1759 to 1918. In 1918, the viceroy moved to Cabo Raj Niwas in Dona Paula. Post liberation, It has housed Goa's Secretariat, legislative assembly and other important government offices.
This statue is situated near the Secretariat building and features Abbe Faria hypnotising a young woman. He was a famous Goan priest, scientist, revolutionary, and hypnotist who was born in 1756 at Candolim. His parents separated when he was eight years old, his mother became a nun and his father a priest. His father took him to Lisbon in 1777 and it was there that he completed his studies and was subsequently ordained as a priest in Rome. He reportedly collaborated with the conspirators in the failed "Pinto Revolt" in 1787. He then moved to Paris where he gained fame and took part in the French revolution, which was dramatised in Alexander Dumas's novel "The Count of Monte Cristo" as the "Mad monk". He then got interested in hypnotism. His major contribution to the modern science of Hypnotism was his insistence that hypnotic trances were a result of suggestion therapy, and formed the basis of his book "De La cause de Sommeil Lucide" published the day he died in 1819, a pauper. Today, he is considered to be the father of Hypnotism.
Boca de Vaca spring is said to contain medicinal properties to which many tourists as well as locals flock here. “Boca De Vaca” is a Portuguese name meaning “Mouth of a Cow”. This name was given by the Portuguese themselves, probably due to the shape in which this structure was built.
Fontainhas is one of the old and distinctive districts in Panaji, located in a hillside to the east of the old town. It's full of characteristic colonial buildings with overhanging balconies and narrow streets. The area is said to be named after the Fountain of Phoenix spring near the Maruti Temple.
Not any huge deal as far as gardens are concerned but it is a nice shady place to relax in central Panaji. Sometimes there are local displays or events being held here. The Ashokan Pillar at the southern end of the gardens used to hold a statue of Vasco da Gama but now has the Indian seal of 3 lions standing back to back on top of an abacus. There used to be some carved busts around the garden walls but they are now in the Goa State Museum.
This is the capital city of Goa, though it is hard to believe it. Sitting along the Mandovi River it is a town that is easily walked in about an hour from end to end. There are great small little alleyways, compact shopping district complete with open market, and very sleepy feel to it. Goans here try to observe every holiday possible and take long siestas in the afternoons so it will be no surprise when some places are shut down. If you are spending most of your time on any of Goas beaches you may not stop by, but it is worth a couple days. The old Portuguese quarter is worth a visit as well as wandering the more modern areas of the city that give the visitor a better idea of Goan life outside of the beaches and resorts.
When Goa was under Muslim rule from Adil Shah, there was a fortress built near the spot where the Secretariat now stands. When de Albuquerque arrived in 1510 he had a hard time securing control of the city from the Muslims but eventually won. The Church of the Immaculate Conception is on the site of the only other edifice built in Panjim at that time. De Albuquerque was in a bit of a hurry to secure himself as Goa's leader to build much else in the city. Marshland covered most of the area but a causeway was eventually built to connect Old Goa and Panaji, which, as you drive towards Old Goa from Panaji, you can still see to the south. When conditions in Old Goa caused the inhabitants to abandon it Panaji became more important and more land was reclaimed for residential projects. Lack of money and political interest from Portugal left Goa and essentially Panaji to low key building work and underdeveloped.
Despite the long history of the city, most of it has remained unchanged and the original charm still permeates. Despite some building projects with roads and a few more residential areas little has altered its disposition.
Most visitors treat Panaji as little more than a transport hub, but this lovely state capital has retained its Portuguese heritage in a lived-in, knockabout kind of way and exudes an aura more reminiscent of the Mediterranean than of India.
If it weren't for the crush at the bus depot, the unmistakable buzz of auto-rickshaws and the fact that the bridge over the Mandovi River has fallen down twice in recent years, Panaji could seem like any siesta-ridden provincial town on the Iberian Peninsula.
The Azan Maidan (Freedom Park) is located near to the riverside and features a small pavilion, built in 1847, which houses a modern sculpture dedicated to freedom fighter and 'Father of Goan Nationalism' Dr Tristao de Braganza Cunha (1891-1958). It originally held a statue of Afonso de Albuquerque that now stands in the Archaeological Museum in Old Goa. The pavilion itself was built using Corinthian pillars taken from a Dominican church, dating to the mid-16th century.
The Bishop's palace and is the residence of the Archbishop of Goa. Its construction was begun in 1886 and completed in 1894 and was constructed to reflect the elevation of the Archbishop to a patriarch. It has an impressive coat of arms at its entrance that belongs to Goa's first Patriarch, Dom Antonio Sebastio Valente.
Set in the picturesque area of Fontainhas in Panaji, the Chapel of St Sebastian dates back to 1818 and holds several interesting features. A notable feature of the chapel is the striking crucifix that used to hang in the Palace of the Inquisition in Old Goa.
These gardens lie just across the busy junction from the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and are also called Largo da Igreja or Church Square. The Ashokan Pillar in the centre once had a statue of Vasco da Gama on top of it but it now has the triple-lions of India's seal.
While you're in Goa, you should visit Panaji, which is the capital of this small state. See my Panaji pages for more details.