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Margao City

Margao, also called Margaon or Madgaon is in South Goa. It is the second largest city in Goa by population after Vasco da Gama. Margao is also the commercial, cultural and religious capital of Goa. The Salcete sub-district’s administrative headquarters is located here. The city has a population of 87,650 according to the 2011 census. 106,484 residents live in the greater Margao metropolitan area. Margao is also one of the two major rail heads in Goa, Vasco da Gama being the other.

Sometimes crowded, but there are still many attractions in the city – churches, parks, colonial mansions, interesting mansions and Portuguese heritage! The city is also close to many good beaches of south Goa. The Goa international airport at Dabolim is 25.6 kilometers away by the NH 66 and NH566.

During Portuguese times, Margao was an important settlement in Salcete. It was called ‘Matha Grama’, which means ‘village of the Mathas’ or heads after the many temple schools here. Raiders caused a lot of damage in 1579.

Located on the Sal River, Margao is considered to be the oldest city in Goa according to ancient written evidence. The oldest state university and library were both here, but they were destroyed during the Portuguese invasion. Now, it is one of the fastest growing and rapidly developing cities in India. There are many prestigious schools and colleges, shopping and business centers.

Margao and Madgaon are the same. Margao is the Portuguese name, while the Marathi name is Madgaon. In Konkani the city is called Madugão.

Margao Map

Quick Facts About Margao

Margao is the second biggest city in Goa by population after Vasco da Gama.

It is the capital of south Goa, and the commercial, cultural and religious capital of the state.

Town area – 15.10 square kilometers, Metropolitan area – 22.1 square kms

Population – 87,650 (census 2011)

Closest airport – Dabolim – 25.6 kms.

Panaji — 35 kms.

The Margao railway station (MAO) is the terminus of Konkan Railways. It is one of the two busiest rail heads in Goa.

Margao is close to major south Goa beaches – Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Betalbatim, Majorda, Cavelossim, Mobor. The Sal River passes through the east.

City with old-world charm. There are many beautiful Portuguese churches, parks, mansions and old Portuguese houses with porches and oyster-shell windows.

Famous landmarks – Church of the Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Grace Church, Sri Damodar Temple, The Seven Gables House, Anna Fonte Natural Source, Maruti Mandir, Ravindra Bhavan, Goa Chitra Museum.

Margao is one of the best places in Goa for shopping. Visit the Mercado de Afonso de Albuquerque indoor market, Mercado Velho market and the Town Square. Many shops, street vendors, restaurants and ATMs.

Best Time To Visit Margao

People visit Margao throughout the year as it is a big city with many shops and offices. The summer is hot and humid, more so because of so many vehicles, people and commercial activity. There is heavy rain during the monsoon months with chance of some water logging.

November to February is the best time to visit Margao. The weather will be cool and very pleasant. There is very little rain. Temperature will range between 33°C and 35°C. All south Goa beaches will have the complete tourist infrastructure this time – the beach shacks, restaurants, pubs and cafes will all be open. There will be water sports too. There is very little here during the summer and monsoon months. You can easily reach these beaches from Margao as they are close. The transportation system and road network is also good.

Top 9 Places To Visit In Margao

  1. Our Lady Of Grace Church – A military church in modern building at the heart of Margao. What makes this church unique is its uncommon ‘crucifix’ of the resurrected Jesus. Christ does not have a thorny crown. He is draped in a veil while his hands are wide and open towards the church.
  2. The Holy Spirit Church – This is the biggest church in Margao. It has baroque architecture. You will also see big mansions of the affluent Catholics. The school and Associação das Communidades building adds character. The Church of Holy Spirit was constructed in 1564. A fire ravaged it, and the church was then rebuilt in 1589. Its whitewashed edifice has survived since then and is a major tourist attraction in south Goa.
  3. Damodar Temple – A sacred place for Hindus dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the first settlements in Margao were located around this temple. But the architecture of the temple is modern. The deity, however, is very old. Both Hindus and Christians visit this temple.
  4. Maruti Mandir – Dedicated to Lord Hanuman or Maruti from the epic Ramayana. Lord Hanuman is the symbol of energy and strength. This temple is close to the Market bus terminus. Pillars and arches of the temple are painted in Goan style. The pillars, ceiling and wooden doors are decorated artistically. Tuesday and Saturday are important days here.
  5. Gomant Vidya Niketan – Margao residents established this after Portugal became a republic, which ended religious discrimination of the locals. There was only a library initially, which is still there. There are a lot of cultural activities here, including classical music concerts, exhibitions and talks.
  6. Ravindra Bhavan – Opened in 2008, this swanky campus is the center of cultural activities in south Goa. International, national and locals events are held in Konkani, Hindi, Marathi and English. There are music festivals, magic shows and workshops of animation, theater, modeling and much more.
  7. Ana Fonte Garden – Margao is often called the ‘city of fountains’. The Municipal Gardens has the lotus fountain, there is one at Ravindra Bhavan, and a few colorful ones at the Aga Khan Children's Park. The Ana Fonte Garden has a natural spring, which opened in 2005. There is a beautiful musical fountain that is open daily between 5 PM and 9 PM.
  8. House of Seven Gables – Also called the ‘Sat Burzam Ghor’, this building was constructed by the private secretary and emissary of the Viceroy of Portugal. There is a chapel inside where for the first time a Goan family was allowed to perform a mass. You have to seek permission to enter the property. It has seven tiled roofs, and thus the name. The entire area has a Portuguese-era look with many large mansions.
  9. Clergy Home – Located at Miranda Road, close to the district hospital, this was founded by founded by Rev. Antonio Joao de Miranda. This used to be one of the first shelters of retiring priests. It has unique edifice.

Top Markets To Visit In Margao

Margao is a shopper’s delight, one of the best places in Goa for shopping. You will find everything here – swanky malls, traditional bazaars, and street side vendors.

  1. MMC New Market – This is a crowded marketplace with covered canopy and colorful stalls. You will find flowers, garlands, spices, footwear, clothing, jewelry, bakeries, juice counters and shops selling food in the narrow lanes. There are also many souvenir shops here. Try the Bibik or Bebinka here, which is a kind of pudding.
  2. The Pimplapedd Market – Also called Pimpalakatta, this is an indoor market. There are no counters here, which make it special. Trading is on special counters that form entire blocks together. There are narrow lanes between the sections.
  3. The Old Railway Station – There is a good market close to the old railway station where you will find many souvenir shops. This is the place for bargain hunting if you don’t want to spend more at the touristy places.
  4. Fish Market – See fishermen from all over south Goa bringing in their fresh catch. You will find many prized possessions. It is a sight to see.

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