The second largest city in Goa, Margao was once a major religious center and is today the commercial and cultural capital of Goa. Also known as Madgaon, it is a major railway hub for accessing South Goan destinations such as Cavalossem, Colva, Canacona and Palolem.
Margao is the perfect blend of modern and traditional, with its magnificent Portuguese churches and houses, complete with shady balcaos (porches) and oyster-shell windows, found in the Borda suburb. The Largo de Igreja or the Church of the Holy Spirit dominates the entrance to the city. The nearest airport is Dabolim at 25 km (15.5 miles) away.
1. Church of the Holy Spirit
This is an old beautiful church, in the heart of Margao, near the Old Market. The main square of the Holy Spirit Church is made in the Indian baroque architectural style, with a parochial house on one side and the palatial mansions of affluent elite Catholics, positioned in a row on the other side.
The central dome of the church has towers on either side. The grand interior has a stucco ceiling, a gilded pulpit decorated with carvings of the apostles, a Rococo altar, and an elegant Baroque altar. The interior of the church is decorated with crystals, a pipe organ, and stucco. The cross inside the church is from the late 17th century and the altars inside the church are dedicated to Mary, St. Peter and St. Michael. In the month of December, a feast is held at the church.
You can take photos of the church, as long as they don’t include any living persons or selfies. After visiting, you can climb Moti Dongri (Mount Hill) which gives a beautiful view of Margao City. Another church is also located on the top of this hill.
Church of the Holy Spirit
Address: In the heart of Margao, near the Old Market
Opening times: 7 am - 7 pm daily
2. House of Seven Gables or Sat Burzam Ghor
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The House of Seven Gables or the house of Eurico Santana da Silva, was built by Sebastiao da Silva in 1790, who served as an emissary and private secretary to the Viceroy of Portugal. The building holds the distinction of being the first in the area to perform a mass, at a private chapel built inside the premises.
This elegant Portuguese mansion is located near Largo de Igreja Square. Designed like a palace, the mansion originally sported a row of seven, typically high-pitched, Goan gables. Of the seven, only three remain today. A wonderful specimen of Portuguese architecture, the main entrance sports Baroque features, above the door. The family chapel with its Baroque and Rococo art, showcases the grandeur of the Portuguese era. Balconies supported by corbels, front the oyster shell windows.
House of Seven Gables
Address: 5.6 km (3.10 miles) from Margao Railway Station
Opening Times: 7 am - 7 pm daily
3. Margao Market
Margao Market offers a lot for visitors and locals. It has amazing ambiance and a wide variety of goods. You can buy genuine authentic Goan products here, including things used daily by locals, vegetables, meat, spices, garments, fabrics, local crafts made from bamboo, straw or grass, woodwork, pottery and metalware, all in one location.
Tourists will love this place but the only drawback is the bazaar weaves through narrow lanes, stretching all the way from the main square to the old railway station. Wandering through the bazaar, you can pick up typical Goan memorabilia, antiques, and souvenirs.
4. Colva Beach
The white sand and blue-green water of Colva Beach is lovely and it is one of the most happening beaches in South Goa, with a lot of activities, like water skiing, paragliding, and boating. Situated near the Margao Railway Station, it’s quiet and far less commercial than the north.
Colva Beach is approximately 18 km (11 miles) long, in an almost straight line. It has a long street, full of shops, banks, change bureaus, restaurants, and hotels. It’s fun to be on this beach in the evening, as the place comes alive at night and gets very lively. If you like a busy and bustling atmosphere, you will love this place.
Address: Near Margao Railway Station
5. Majorda Beach
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This beautiful beach is located close to the city of Margao and is comprised of palm groves, dotted with several famous hotels and resorts. The beach is also famous for its bread and bakers and the tradition of baking European style bread, began here. The famous Goan toddy, which is a fermented liquor, made from the sap of the coconut palm, also started here. The beach offers a variety of awesome seafood and there are numerous shacks along the beach serving wonderful Goan, European and Indian cuisine. A candle lit dinner on the beach with the occasional wave tickling your feet, is like a fairy tale dream come true.
A popular attraction on the beach is the 1588 A.D Mae De Deus Church. The beach is also famous for hosting the Goa Christmas Carnival, every winter. The beach offers water sports like water skiing, jet skiing and parasailing.
Address: 4 km (2.48 miles) from Margao and 5 km (3.10 miles) from Colva Beach
6. Sri Damodar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this popular temple is situated on the banks of the Kaushavati River. The walls and pillars of the temple have beautiful carvings as well as inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita. According to the locals, the idol enshrined at this temple was originally installed at the site of the Church of the Holy Spirit. Both Christians and Hindus pay homage at this site.
According to folklore, a dip in the Kushawati River cures several skin diseases. Every Monday, the Pallakhi of Sri Damodar can be seen at the temple. The annual fair at this temple is organized between Ashwin Poornima and Vadya Chaturthi.
Sri Damodar Temple
Address: About 22 kms (13.67 miles) from Margao, on the banks of the Kushavati River
Opening times: 6 am - 7 pm daily
Loutolim is a town located 10 km (6.2 miles) away from Margao and is famous for its beautiful colonial mansions and Portuguese style architecture. The Ancestral Goa Museum is the prime attraction, here. A beautiful small church, known as the Saviour of the World Church and the Ancestral Goa Theme Park, also known as the ‘Big Foot’, are other major attractions of this town. The laterite stone sculpture of Mirabai is the main attraction of this park. Tourists can also visit the Miranda Mansion, an old Goan house.
Address: 10 km (6.21 miles) from Margao
8. The Town Square
A popular attraction in Margao, the Town Square is located in the center of Margao and is comprised of two gardens, the Agha Khan Market and the Municipal Library. The northern segment of the municipal garden was developed by the Mavany family and is named after Agha Khan, just after his visit to Goa. His visit was prior to the invasion of Goa and now the entire garden is municipal property and maintained by the MMC. The statue of Luis de Menezes Braganza and a public library are other attractions in the Town Square. The Margao Library has books in various languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Konkani, English, and Portuguese. This square’s surrounding is spectacular as it displays unity among diversity. One can see people from different communities here, always united and humble.
The Town Square
Address: In the center of Margao
9. Rachol Seminary
Located on the peak of a hill, amidst a peaceful atmosphere and a nearby river, the Rachol Seminary is one of the most important seminaries in Goa. The Patriarchal Seminary of Racho is the diocesan major seminary of the Primatial Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. The fort-like facade, imposing watchtower and murals, portraits of Goa’s archbishops, religious objects of the 17th and 18th century, and a treasure-trove of books from the Latin and Portuguese era, make it a prime tourist attraction for art lovers.
The seminary runs a theological college, hospital and a school for the poor and was known for imparting high-class education, in Goa.
Address: About 7 km (4.34 miles) from the city of Margao, in Salcette Taluka
A perfect blend of modern and traditional
The Portuguese churches, magnificent old houses, beaches and water sports make Margao an ideal destination for those who love history, art and culture. Whereas the old structures take you back to the 15th and 16th century, the modern society, beaches, and nightlife of Margao welcome you to enjoy its colorful life. Margao is a perfect blend of modern and traditional where both youth and septuagenarian, can enjoy their lives.
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