Panjim is the third largest city in the state of Goa after Vasco and Margao. It is situated on the bank of the river Mandovi. The name of the city after the year 1960 was changed to Panaji from Panjim.
Earlier it just a small fishing village known for the creeks, fields and coconut trees, until the year 1632, when it was linked to the village of Ribandar by the Viceroy of the time. As a result, a causeway was developed about 3.2 km long, which was the longest bridge in Goa at that time.
During the Portuguese rule, the main capital was old Goa, which is now a World Heritage Site for its old churches and cathedrals. Due to the problems of floods and other epidemics at this place, the Viceroy at that time, Dom Manuel shifted his residence from old Goa to Panjim, at the Adil Shah Fort because of which there were protests.
Panjim means the land that does not flood. During the rule of the Portuguese in Goa, Panjim was just a landing stage with custom housing facilities and was surrounded by marshy swampland. However, in the year 1843, it became a capital.
Although the rulers and Viceroys built some popular buildings and heritage sites, but the overall development was not up to the mark and the main reason for that can be attributed to frequent natural calamities. It was because of these the Portuguese nobles preferred to set their mansions in the countryside than the city.
There are several natural beaches in Panjim, the nearest one to the capital being about 3 km to the western part of Panjim. Towards the downside of the capital is Dona Paula, which is a small town with many resorts that was earlier a fishing village. This part of the town developed gradually into one of the most visited tourist places in Goa and one of the highlights of Panjim tourism. There are numerous Panjim holiday packages that offer tourists the chance to visit all the famous sites of Panjim.
Dona Paula is the place where the estuaries of Zuari and Mandovi meet into the Arabian Sea. The beach derives its name after a Viceroys daughter jumped into the ocean after she was prevented from marrying a local fisherman. Her body is entombed in the Cabo Chapel.
Other than this town, the Baroque Church located on the main square consists of villas and cobbled streets with ancient architecture giving a glimpse of the Portuguese rule. The ruins of St. Augustines Tower that was built in the year 1602 and the Church of the Lady of Rosary located on the western side of the Basilica are other attractions in Panjim.
The best time to visit Panaji is from late October to early April. However, December and January are the peak months and finding accommodation can be tough if not booked in advance. Also tariffs are more than double at this time. The Goa Carnival, held in the month of February, is another good time to visit Panaji.
Panaji is well connected to the country by air, rail and road. The nearest airport is at Dabolim, 29 km away, which has regular flights to major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, and Kochi etc. To reach Panjim, tourists can board a train to Margaon, 39 km away, from where taxis are available to Panaji. It is also well connected by bus from other Goan towns and cities as well as places in the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra.
In addition to beach resorts, there many more hotel options in Panjim tourists can choose from. Budget hotels, 5 star hotels as well as tents and camps that are ideal for backpackers or budget conscious travellers.