The most dis-service the conducted tour operators do to a tourist in Goa is by including Old Goa in the tour of South Goa. What really happens is that the tour bus stops at Old Goa for about 30 minutes and the tour guide tells the tourists only about The Basilica of Bom Jesus (the main attraction shown by the tour operators) & The Archaeological Museum on the other side of the road. By the time the tourists come out of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, their 30 minutes are already up. Yes, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is an important building in Old Goa, but so are several others. The Archaeological Survey of India's guide on Old Goa lists at least 19 monuments in Old Goa and the list will go up to 20 if you wish to include the Museum of Christian Art situated near the Convent of Santa Monica. Apart from the churches and the convents, there are fabulous structures like The Tower & The Ruins of St. Augustine Complex that get missed during this so called 'Old Goa' conducted tour. In this page, I will tell you about how to do this trip on your own easily using public transport from Panjim. Keep reading...
|Basilica of Bom Jesus Old Goa|
The Map of Old Goa
This is an image of the map of Old Goa printed by The Archaeological Survey of India (click on the map to enlarge):
|Attractions Map of Old Goa|
The Monuments in Old Goa
|The Tower of The Church of St. Augustine Old Goa|
The monuments of Old Goa are all located no so far from a square called Mahatma Gandhi Circle which is the Old Goa bus stop on Panjim - Ponda road approximately 10 kilometres from Panjim. Basilica of Bom Jesus and The Archaeological Museum are both on either side of the Mahatma Gandhi Circle. The following is the list of the monuments in Old Goa:
1. Our Lady Of The Mount
2. Church of The Carmelites
3. Chapel of St. Francis Xavier
4. Gate of St. Paul's College
5. Church of St. Cajetan
6. Gate of Adil Shah's Palace
7. Arch of The Viceroy
8. Church of The Cross Of Miracles
9. Se Cathedral
10. The Archaeological Museum
11. Basilica of Bom Jesus
12. Church of St. Francis of Assisi
13. Chapel of St. Catherine
14. Our Lady of Angels
15. Convent of Santa Monica
16. Museum of Christian Art
17. Church of St. John of God
18. Church of St. Augustine
19. Royal Chapel of St. Anthony
20. Our Lady of Rosary
Let me clarify that visiting all these monuments in a day under the hot sun will not be feasible or even possible because some of these will not be open for visitors. But many are open. Outside most of the monuments, The Archaeological Survey of India has placed sign boards containing brief history of the respective monument. A small printed guidebook on Old Goa can be purchased from the shop counter inside the The Archaeological Museum for INR 50. This book is really helpful because it tells a lot about the different monuments of Old Goa. If you wish to visit the museum, do not come to Old Goa on a Friday because the museum remains closed on that day of the week. Read the open-close timings of the complex later in the page.
The Food Stop in Old Goa
|Ratna Sagar Restaurant in Old Goa|
There is this nice restaurant in the Mahatma Gandhi Circle (towards Panjim Side) where good vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is available. The prices are reasonable and the veg-non veg seating areas are separate.
Open - Close Timings of Old Goa Monuments
All the monuments of Old Goa are accessible 365 days a year, even on holidays, from 8.30am to 5.30pm. There is no entry fee anywhere except for the museums. The Archaeological Museum opens 10.00am to 5.00pm except on Fridays. Visitors over 15 years of age are required to pay an entry fee of INR 5 to enter the museum.
Getting To Old Goa From Panjim City
Start the trip from Kadamba Bus Stand in Panjim. If you are staying in a hotel far away from the bus stand, there is more likely a public bus available that will bring you from your hotel to the Bus Stand at just INR 10 per person. Ask your hotel staff about the local bus going to Kadamba Bus Stand. Do not waste money on tuk tuk or taxi. Once you reach Kadamba Bus stand, outside itself you will hear some bus staff shouting 'Old Goa'. These are actually the slow buses called 'Local Bus'. They are slow because they stop everywhere on the way to pick up and drop passengers. They charge INR 10 per person for this trip from Kadamba Bus Stand to Old Goa's Mahatma Gandhi Circle. But there is a better option.
|Bus To Old Goa and Ponda From Kadamba Bus Stand Panjim|
You need to enter the bus stand building & turn towards the Intra-State side. Once there, ask someone about the bus going to 'Ponda'. You will come to the place as shown in the picture above. Now these are fast buses going to Ponda which is beyond Old Goa. Cost of a trip to Old Goa in this bus also is INR 10, just the same as the slow local bus. It is a 15-20 minute ride and the bus will drop you on the road across from the Basilica of Bom Jesus. If you wish to take a taxi from Panjim to Old Goa, there is a Prepaid Taxi Counter Outside Kadamba Bus Stand.
|Mahatma Gandhi Circle Old Goa|
Later to return to Panjim, just stand on the main road next to Ratna Sagar Restaurant & board a bus coming back from Ponda to Panjim, again at INR 10.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|