The ongoing 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) has drawn numerous visitors to the tiny state of Goa these days. While they make the most of the film festival with the limited time on their hands, it is also virtually impossible for them to spend hours touring this entire holiday destination.
However, a trip to Goa would be incomplete without sampling the delicious local cuisine, checking out the heritage and generally soaking in the beauty of the land.
And, would you believe that you don’t actually need to travel the length and breadth of the state in your quest for great food, colonial homes, beautiful beaches, churches, temples and more? In fact, Goa’s capital city, Panjim, currently the hub of IFFI activity, offers all this if you only know where to look!
So, if you are in Goa for the film festival, don’t forget to add the following locations in Panjim to your itinerary, and enjoy some of the best that Goa has to offer:
Situated in the heart of the capital city of Panjim is the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Igreja da Imaculada Conceição). It was built in the 1500s, and is one of Panjim's most famous landmarks. No trip to Panjim is complete without a visit to this church.
Bubble tea, or boba tea, is a tea-based beverage that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s. It is paired with chewy tapioca balls, commonly known as bubbles or boba. Indulge in this East Asian beverage at Bubble Café, in St Inez.
With its colourful houses, unique architecture and narrow lanes, Fontainhas is Panjim’s famous picturesque Latin Quarter and gives you a whiff of life during Goa's colonial past.
From Fish Thali to Fish Fry, enjoy the freshest catch of the day at Kokni Kanteen, whose authentic Goan fish thalis are immensely popular. Situated in the heart of Panjim, opposite Mahalaxmi Temple, Kokni Kanteen opened its doors in the 70s, and has been satisfying fish lovers and vegetarian cravings ever since.
Stunning, giant graffiti murals, most of which came into being during the Serendipity Arts Festivals, adorn several buildings in Panjim, including Don Bosco High School, the Panjim market, Junta House etc.
From underwater surveys to bathymetry, the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in Dona Paula, has been actively involved in scientific research for over 50 years. It is one of the premier research bodies in Goa, but not many are aware about its existence or functions.
MARUTI TEMPLE, ALTINHO
This is one of Goa’s most famous temples. It is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and is the only temple in Panjim where a zatra is held annually.
CONFEITARIA 31 DE JANEIRO
Tucked away in Panjim’s Latin quarter, this popular bakery opened up in January 1930, and has been selling a variety of delicious traditional Goan delicacies, prepared the old-fashioned way, ever since.
If you love seafood, you might want to check out the fish thalis at Bombil restaurant, located right by the roadside, opp Kala Academy.