The cultural capital of Goa, Madgaon is a popular town of the state that is dotted with many religious centers belonging to Vaishnava sect. Also reckoned as the commercial hub, this is the second largest city of Goa where port trading is quite prevalent. It is also known to be the oldest inhabited place that grew to prominence with its 9 monastic endowments. The town is located on the banks of pristine river Sal and is often referred to as Margao by locals which actually means a market city of Goa. Offering a perfect blend of retro and modish environ to the travellers, Madgaon is among the popular cities of the state where people can indulge in retail therapy at local markets conjointly discovering its ancient temples, Portuguese monuments, colonial mansions, famous churches, nearby beach fronts and whatnot.
Best Time to Visit Madgaon
The weather during October till April is extremely pleasant and enjoyable in this part of the country hence its a perfect time for travellers to visit here. The peak season is December to March when Madgaon and other places in Goa buzz with a large tourist influx.
Moreover, during this time of the year the entire state of Goa including Madgaon reverberates in the spirit of its iconic carnival and various colourful festivals like Sunburn, Hilltop Party etc which are very fascinating for the tourists.
History of Madgaon
The history of Madgaon dates back to ancient times when it was the village of the Mathas with 9 monastic endowments that were significant in temple schools at that time. Besides its religious significance that included an array of wealthy temples, it was in 1565 when the first church was built over Damodar temple on the orders of Dom Caspar Leão Pereira who was the first archbishop of Goa.
Howbeit, during the 17th century Portuguese captured Madgaon completely and it was turned into one of 7 Novas Conquistas of mailand Goa. During this phase, it emerged as an educational hub where India’s first University was established along with a huge library.
Gradually by 1881, the Portuguese colonized almost the entire Goan territory and converted this religious centre into a center for trade with many commercial activities happening here at the ports. Also during this period, the first single track railhead was also established here between the eastern belt and harbour to increase the connectivity and growing trade possibilities.
Later in 1961, the fully inhabited Portuguese colony of Goa became a part of Indian territory and Madgaon was declared as the capital of South Goa. Despite facing all the upheavals, Madgaon is still the religious, cultural, and commercial capital of the state that has retained its cosmopolitan charm.
Places to Visit in Madgaon
Besides its iconic markets, gorgeous temples, churches and monuments, the city of Madgaon is also a gateway to several gorgeous beaches of South Goa such as Palolem, Bobmaglo, Colva, Agonda to name a few. Without further ado, take a look at some exciting things to do in Madgaon.
1. Sri Damodar Temple. You can begin your expedition in Madgaon by paying homage at the oldest and iconic temple of the town. Sri Damodar Temple is a significant religious place of Madgaon that is located on the banks of Kushavati River. You can consider taking a holy dip as the water of the river is very refreshing and also has medicinal properties.
2. Margao Market. Being the Market City of Goa, shopping is a fun affair in Madgaon. From small trinkets to straw hats, local handicrafts, elaborate accessories, spices and whatnot, there is a wide range of things to buy from the markets of the town and that too at an affordable price.
3. Our Lady of Mercy Church. It is one of the popular and most visited churches of the town where people can witness the colonial architecture and old world charm. It is located in Colva and is considered as one of the oldest Catholic churches that was established in 1630. It is a popular tourist attraction of Madgaon that is totally worth visiting.
4. Town Square. Famous for two sprawling gardens, the Municipal Garden and the Aga Khan Children’s Park, Town Square is indeed a favourite hangout for families. There is also a famous library here that has a vast collection of books in different languages.
5. Braganza House. It's always a treat to go back to history and learn about our glorious past. This beautiful Portuguese mansion from the 17th century is just about that. It also offers a guided tour by one of the family members who will take you down to every corner of this grand Braganza House and share every detail about their ancestors which is quite intriguing.
6. Goa Chitra Museum. This museum located in Benaulim is one of the top attractions of Madgaon that enthralls visitors with its stunning range of about 4000 artifacts, memorabilias and objects that display the traditional Goan culture and lifestyle. Right from furniture to weapons, there is a lot on display along with a small organic farm in the vicinity.
7. Rachol Fort. A famous heritage site, Rachol Fort is very popular among history buffs and tourists alike. This laterite stone fort in South Goa has stood the testimony of many battles fought between the prominent empires of Vijayanagar and Bijapur and fascinates all with its glorified past.
8. Colva Beach. One of the best tourist places in South Goa that is closest to Madgaon is Colva Beach where you can grab the most enchanting view of sunset and sunrise. Its 2.4 km long pristine shoreline is fringed with tall coconut trees, charming shacks, gorgeous resorts and buzzing nightclubs which makes it an idyllic location for leisure and fun break.
9. Majorda Beach. Located at a distance of about 12 km, Majorda is reckoned to be one of the biggest beaches near Margao. Its expansive shoreline stretching over an area of 30 km offers the most stunning vistas of azure lagoons and shimmering sand. Along the beach there are charming cafes, food shacks, restaurants, bars where you can treat your palette with some delectable Goan delicacies.
10. Monte Hill. One of the best places to visit in Margao, Monte Hill is another significant religious site where you can take part in the unique Catholic ceremonies like crucifixion of Jesus Christ candlelight midnight Christmas mass and special food service during Good Friday.
How To Reach Madgaon
Madgaon is one of the well developed towns in Goa that has good connectivity through railways and other means of transport. Here’s the best ways for you to check out!
The closest airport to Madgaon is Goa International Airport which is well connected to flights from all major cities of India and international destinations. After deboarding, you can hire a cab to Madgaon which is about 29 km from the airport.
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The Margao railway station is one of 2 major terminus of Konkan Railways which is also among the busiest railway stations of the state. It is well connected to all major cities of India and serves many railways from different states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi etc.
Goa is well connected to all neighbouring states via highways and road networks. Regular buses ply to and fro between all cities in the state. You can also drive to Madgaon by your own vehicle or hire a cab or bus according to budget and convenience.
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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Madgaon
Q 1. What is special in Madgaon?
A 1. Madgaon is famous for its religious sites and markets. It is the center of culture, religion, trade and history.
Q 2. Is Margao worth visiting?
A 2. Margao is definitely worth visiting as it is the cultural and trade hub of the state and has many gorgeous beaches around.
Q 3. Are Margao and Madgaon the same?
A 3. Yes, Margao is an old name of Madgaon.
Q 4. Which is the most visited place in Goa?
A 4. Calangute, Anjuna and Baga in North Goa are the most visited tourist places whilst popular South Goa tourist places are Vasco da Gama and Colva.
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