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Panjim is one of the best planned cities in the country, with a neat network of main avenues and connecting roads, a sewerage system, gardens and excellent Indo-Portuguese architecture. Panjim is a microcosm of Goa with a river and the Arabian Sea lapping at its feet, Khazan and salt pan lands which have now turned into the bus terminus and Patto Plaza the corporate district of Goa., from the salt pans to the coconut groves and Panjim rises up in an extremely picturesque manner to its hilltop at Altinho.

Panjim was originally a small fishing village with lots of coconut groves between creeks and fields. This capital city was a ward of Taleigao village. It so enamoured Adil Shah that he built his summer palace surrounded by a moat which was later filled up by the Portuguese when they came in to power and left Old Goa with its pestilence and disease to build a new city or Nova Goa as Panjim was called. But it was only during the early 19 th century that the city was enlarged, public sewerage, tree-lined avenues, gardens and ornamental park benches etc. The city was elevated to the status of city and became the capital of Goa by a royal decree and was known as Nova Goa.

The magnificent edifices of Old Goa were dismantled and the stones were reused to build smaller but very elegant houses for the people of Panjim and sturdy but again, elegant government buildings. Panjim with its broad tree lined avenues, gardens and beautiful buildings earned her the sobriquet, “Princess of the Mandovi”.

But all things must end, especially those who had to protect this beautiful city from the ravages of time. After Liberation the buildings of Panjim, began to lose their sparkle as those entrusted with their maintenance allowed the city to go to wrack and ruin.

Now Panjimites realize the value of its heritage and the Goa Heritage Action Group has been in the forefront of restoring Panjim to its earlier glory.

Architect Raya Shankwalker has taken photographs of some of Panjim’s old structures which have been renovated. His photographs prove that sometimes city fathers and city people can come together to bring a city to life. Raya too has played a large part in the beautification of Panjim city.

Goa Statistics

Co-ordinates: 15o29’35’’N 73o49’05’’E / 15.493oN 73.818oE

Area: 3702 km2

Capital: Panaji

Official language: Konkani

Altitude: sea level up to 1022 mts

Climate: max 36oC, min 17oC

Annual rainfall: 300 cms (average)

Population: 13, 43,998

Population density: 363/km2

Literacy rate: 82.32%

Time zone: IST (UTC+5.30)

Districts: 2

Established: 30th may 1987

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Places in Goa

The Tonca Pillar

It is to be known that Panaji as an area was not inhabited, though it had sparse pockets of houses. The primary residential habitation was in the village of Taleigao and people walked down from there to carry out errands and employment to the port city of Panaji.

The area of Panaji now referred to as Miramar, Campal, Tonca and others were marshy areas interspersed by rivulets passing through the lands thereby giving it an impression that this area was made up of islets – hence the Taluka was called as ‘Tiswadi’ or a place made of 30 “wadis” or locales. Besides being uninhabited the area between St. Inez to Taleigao comprised of a thick jungle and was void of any decent access.

The construction of Panjim – Dona Paula Road was ordered by Antonio Cesar de Vasconcellos Correa, Visconde de Torres Novas. He was Governor between 1855 and 1864. The road was inaugurated on 3 rd November 1859, precisely on the 4 th Anniversary of Torres Novas having assumed the high office of Governor of Estado da India. The works of building the roads was taken up from the present location of Don Bosco High School up to Dona Paula. Though much of the road was constructed by the end of the 4 th year, it nearly took 11 years in all for the entire road to be completed.

Located a hundred meters before the Tonca junction of Santa Ines, the one surviving pillar (of the possible two landmarks) contains the following on two of its four sides – the Northern & Western sides. The stone engravings read as follows:

That to the West :

EM 1859

(Road to Dona Paula, ordered and completed during the
fortuitous governance of Most Illustrious Excellency the
Viscount of Torres Novas in 1859)


That to the North:


(Inaugurated on 3 rd November, 1859 – 4 th Anniversary
of the day when his Excellency held the reigns of
Governance of this State)

Source: ‘Historicus’ Private Archives of Vasco Pinho - 2229602

COMPILED BY:- SANJEEV V. SARDESAI – sanscritic@sify.com

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