Panjim: Goa’s capital city
Our first (and lasting) impression of Panjim was that we loved it. We have deemed it our favorite place so far on the trip, even despite me being laid up for an entire day.
Panjim (also called Panaji or Panji depending on if you’re saying it in English, Hindi, or the Goan dialect) is the capital of Goa, India’s smallest state. Goa was conquered by the Portuguese in the 16th century and remained in their possession all the way until 1961, when the Indian Prime Minister ordered a military invasion and forced the Portuguese governor to surrender the state back to India. In those several hundred years of control, the Portuguese changed, developed, and influenced Goa architecturally, religiously, structurally, and linguistically. As a tourist, the most obvious and charming of those is the Portuguese architecture. The Portuguese built more than 300 churches in Panjim alone and Panjim has the only Latin quarter in all of Asia.
Our awesome hotel, the Hospedaria Abrigo de Bothello, was right in the middle of Fontainhas, the Latin quarter known for its narrow, winding streets and brightly colored buildings with projecting balconies and red-tiled roofs.
Here are lots of photos for your viewing pleasure:
Panjim is also known for the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception church, a massive all-white church that looms four stories high over the center of the city. This Catholic Church, built in the 16th century, was of course a Portuguese addition, as Indians are not historically nor traditionally Christian. Apparently the church still conducts mass every day in English, Portuguese, and the local Goan language.
When I went to visit this church, I was alone because Maren stayed at the hotel for a siesta. I met a cheerful, friendly 13-year-old local boy named Simon. Simon struck up a conversation with me and I learned that he volunteers at the church after school every day, his mother is a fisher, his dad is a fish cutter, and he doesn’t want to be anything when he grows up. He showed me a small hill near the church that you could climb to see an aerial view of the city. However, once we got up there, Simon suggested that we play an “Indian game” that involved kissing. That was my cue to say goodbye to dear Simon.
Also during my afternoon of exploring solo, I went to a very cool art museum with a cafe in the center courtyard. Here are some pics:
And finally, a few random pics that don’t belong in any section of this post: