Located on the River Sal, Margao, also known as Madgaon, has long been a commercial hub and cultural capital of Goa. The city is brimming with colonial-era buildings, beautiful churches and Portuguese vibe, which makes it a must-visit for architecture and culture buffs alike. Check out some of the best places to visit in Margao.
Holy Spirit Church
The Holy Spirit Church is the oldest and largest church in the city. It was originally built in 1564, though Indian Baroque elements have been added after a fire destroyed the church in 1571. It’s a majestic Baroque masterpiece, complete with whitewashed exterior and the interior adorned with stucco ceiling, Rococo altar, Baroque altar, and a gilded pulpit with carvings. This church has a peaceful charm and should not be missed while visiting Margao.
Our Lady of Grace Church
Once a military chapel, Our Lady of Grace Church is situated in the heart of the city, and is therefore one of most recognisable chapels of Margao. It has some elements of classic Italian architecture, and colourful murals on the exterior wall. Though it is not as grand as other chapels of Margao, it has a charm of its own that attracts people from far and wide. It celebrates the annual feast day on the first Sunday of February.
Shri Damodar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Damodar (an incarnation of Lord Shiva), the Damodar temple is a religious sanctuary visited by both Hindus and Catholics. The temple has modern architecture, complete with stunning carvings and etchings from the Bhagavad Gita, and is nestled on the embankment of Khushwati River, which is said to have medicinal properties that can cure several skin diseases.
Sat Burzam Ghor
Also known as the House of Seven Gables, the Sat Burzam Ghor is a stunning Portuguese mansion, along with elements of Baroque and Rococo art. It originally had seven Goan-style gables, of which now only three are left, but nonetheless stunning. The highlight of the mansion, apart from its old-world charm and Portuguese vibe, is the beautiful church within it, which was the first in the area to perform mass. It must be noted that it is a private property, so visitors need to make an appointment in order to explore the premises.
Blessed with white powdery sand, blue waters and looming coconut trees, Colva is a beach lovers’ paradise. Beach bums can relax and soak up the sun and sand, and adventurers can indulge in water sports, such as paragliding, snorkelling, banana rides, parasailing, speed boat rides and jet skiing. Also, there is an array of beachside shacks with chairs on the sand – a perfect way to enjoy a drink or two and soak in the stunning vistas. Colva’s charm extends a few miles from the beach, with plenty of bars, restaurants, shops and hotels on hand nearby.
Situated right in the center of Margao, the Town Center is a bustling spot that is lined with colonial-era buildings, including Municipal Council office, public library, Margao Municipal Garden and Aga Khan Park. Visitors can marvel at the colourful colonial structures that are reminiscent of the bygone Portuguese era. Those who want to be at one with nature can head to the Municipal Garden or park that offers well-maintained pathways and green spaces for jogging, walking, and relaxing. And, those who want to get their literary fix can head to the public library, which is stocked with plenty of books in several languages, including English, Hindi, Portuguese, Konkani and Marathi.
Margao Market is one of the largest and most bustling markets in Goa. It is a perfect place for shopping for a wide range of items, from spices, seafood, and fresh vegetables and fruits, to souvenirs, antiques, pottery, woodwork, fabrics, clothes, local crafts made of bamboo, straw or glass, household items, and much more. Everything on offer depicts some aspect of the Goan culture.
Margao Market,Fatorda, Goa, India. Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00am-8:30pm
To experience the cultural side of Margao, Ravindra Bhavan is the place, which plays host to some marvellous and unforgettable events and shows. It is Margao’s hub for cultural activities, ranging from theatre performances to music, festival celebrations and much more. While in the city, do catch up on a play in English, Hindi or Konkani here. Several workshops on animation, carol singing and theatre also take place sporadically at the center.
Ravindra Bhavan, Swimming Pool, Fatorda, SH 5, Fatorda, Margao, Goa, India, +91 0832 272 6980