Fontainhas, Panaji, Goa-403001 | +918322221122

Heritage Walk

Panjim Heritage Walk

1) Panjim Inn: – The Panjim Inn welcomes you to our quaint little town –Panjim which is now known as Panaji and locally as Ponnji.Panjim was originally a fishing village which got developed as the grand old colonial city of Old Goa succumbed to the ravages of Plague. In 1843 Fontainhas became the capital of Panjim and the first area where People settled in is Fontainhas the heart of which is where the Panjim Inn is located.Fontainhas was originally a Coconut plantation which belonged to Jose Antonio Sequeira.He bequeathed it to the Carmelite religious order of “nossaSenhora di chimbel”.With the exodus from Old Goa Demand for land in Fontainhas grew and the Carmelites parceled out land rapidly.Fontainhas Developed in a haphazard manner with winding alleys and narrow lanes and a number of charming mansions came up.The Panjim Inn was one of the original grand houses of Fontainhas Built by Francis Assis D’ Silveirain the 1880’s.It was converted into a Heritage Hotel by Eng. Ajit Sukhija a 4th generation descendent of Silveira and is presently managed by him and his family members.As you walk along you will see that the interiors are supported by thick 90 cm laterite load bearing walls which at times gives the interiors a dark and foreboding look.Laterite stones were a common building material used in the walls of Old Goan houses and these were plastered with lime.You will see that the insignia “FAS” of Francis Assis D’ Silveira adorns the pelmets and railings of the Panjim Inn.

2) Panjim Peoples:As you step out of the Panjim Inn Entrance you will see an impressive building right in the centre of the road.The Panjim Peoples is another late 19th century which has been converted into an upmarket Heritage hostelry by the Sukhija family. The 200 square metre ground floor of the building is an art gallery which displays contemporary Indian and Goa art.This building housed the Peoples school which was the first English medium school in Goa.The school has now shifted to a larger modern campus close to the building and the owners bought the building and restored it.

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3) Panjim Pousada:As you step out of the Peoples take a left ,offa bye-lane is the Panjim Pousadaa charming Hindu house.Hindus and Catholics are the 2 major communities with their own distinct food,dress sense and religious festivals.However they have always co-existed peacefully.Life in a traditional Hindu house centeredaround the “Raj angonn” or the Courtyard.Observe the elegant courtyard of the Pousada with its auspicious Tulsi Plant.From this courtyard rooms branched off and in fact the Pousada had twenty small rooms around the courtyard.

4) Beco’s:- Step out of the Pousada and turn to your right. Take the 1st narrow lane you find to your right,stick to your left till you reach the St Sebastian chapel.These narrow lanes or “Becos” predominate in Fontainhas and were public pathways.

5) St Sebastian Chapel: You are now at the St Sebastian chapel. White washed Chapels and churches dominate the Goan Landscape and are a inheritance of our 450 year old Colonial Legacy.As you look down the St Sebastian square you will see a number of elegant houses Painted in Red, Yellow,Green and Blue.You will notice that none of the houses are painted in white which was reserved for the Church.Normally the Main area of a town or village was centeredaround the Church.Every Parish in Goa has its own fete or Queremeis and the queremeis of Fontainhas celebrated in the St Sebastian Square is a very popular one.

6) Well: if you are facing down St Sebastian Square take a left and you soon come across a well.Wells were the main source of water for drinking and washing and the well you see was a communal well which served a number of households.In the olden days Fontainhas was known for its music and even now if you are lucky you might see a musician or two at play.

7) Corte deOiteiro: Continue walking down and at the HospedariaAbrigo de Botelhotake a right till you reach the main road(31st Janaury road) and then left.You are at the Corte de oiteiro“ort he cut in the hill”. This development spurred the growth of Fontainhas as it linked it to the center of Panjim town.

8) St Thomas ward and Chapel: Continue walking down 31st January Road.You are in Sao Tome or the St Thomas Ward.Take the 2nd right and then the 1st left.Continue walking down Sao Tome which was a busy commercial cum residential area till you reach the St Thomas chapel at the end of the road.St Thomas is known locally as the Saint of the Carpenters and this chapel is dedicated to him.Masons and carpenters had a important place in Goan culture and infact on the annual day of the town processions began from near the Tobacco square across with the workmen leading the way.

9) Miguel Caetano Dais Statue:cross the road(do be careful as traffic can be quite busy) and you come to the statue of Gen Miguel Caetano Dias.A famous Surgeon general he was the only Goan General in the Portuguese Army Medical corps.

10) Tobacco Square and post office: in front of the statue is a square known as the tobacco square. The Goan economy was in the doldrums in the 18th century and to kick-start it the Portuguese thought of introducing Tobacco.It was imported from South America and trading commenced in the house across the street- today the post office and once known as Tobacco house, unfortunately the fortunes of the economy did not revive.

11) Mandovi River: Behind you is the Mandovi River. The two major rivers are the Mandovi and the Zuari and they had been the lifeline of Goa.Before the Portuguese arrived in 1510 Goa was ruled by the Adil Shah of Bijapur.AdilShah had an oppressive tax regime and it was because of this that the Goan Hindu Land owners collaborated with the Portuguese led by Afonso De Alburquerque.The Portuguese fleet sailed down the Mandovi and first attacked Old Goa between March and May 1510.However they were forced to surrender it and spent the monsoons marooned in the Mandovi scavenging on any food they could find.Supplies were provided by the local people from the village of Taleigao about 6 km away.Eventually with the help of the locals they retook the city of Old Goa in December 1510.

The Mandovi remained an important entreport for traders to the Imperial city of Old Goa.Dutch Fleets used to enter the Mandovi and had frequent skirmishes with the Portuguese here.Today the Mandovi is an important source of transport for the iron ore trade besides supporting tourism activities like Boat cruises and casinos which incidentally have faced a lot of local opposition.

Panjim Heritage Walk- Church of Immaculate Conception Detour

1) Panjim Inn

2) Panjim Peoples

3) Panjim Pousada

4) Beco’s

5) St Sebastian Chapel

6) Well

7) Corte de Oiteiro

8) Church Of Immaculate conception: This white Baroque church built in 1541 and enlarged and rebuilt in 1619 dominates Panjim.The Bell fitted in the Old Church is the 2nd largest in Goa and was bought from the original Augustinian Monastery from the Grand city of “Velha Goa”.

9) Panjim Garden:From the Church take the 1st right after the George Bar and you come to the Panjim garden. Also known as the “JardimDeGarcia De Orta after the famous physician who spent his entire life cataloguing Indian Herbs and produced a masterpiece on the comparative study of India and Portuguese Medicine.In the center is India’s national emblem, the Ashoka Pillar with the 4 Lions.There is also a bandstand and in the good old days a band played here regularly.It was the place where the citizens of Panjim town flocked for their evening entertainment.

10) Clube Vasco da Gama:The venerable building to the right of the Panjim garden i.e. if you are walking towards the river is the Clube Vasco da Gama one of the favorite local watering holes.

11) Abbe Faria: Walk down the Club Vasco Da Gama road and take the 1st right after theMunicipal garden and before the traffic umbrella.Diagonally to your left you see the Mesmerizing statue of the father of Hypnotism – Abbe Faria who introduced Oriental hypnosis in Paris.To the laymen he is better known as the prisoner in Alexander Dumas’es “Count ofMonte Cristo”.

12) Adil Shah Palace: Just to the side of the statue of Abbe Faria is the Idalcao Palace.It was built in 1500 by Yusuf Adil Shah primarily for his entertainment but was fortified and later served as a strategic point of defense for the Portuguese and also as the first custom post, with the cargo from foreign ships being checked here.After liberation it housed the Legislative assembly and is presently undergoing renovation.

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