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Central & the Interior Sandwiched between the Mandovi and the Zuari Rivers, Central Goa and the Interior is the most quintessentially Goan of all the regions. Inland, the state has a varied landscape, from lush tropical jungle and verdant covered mountains to bustling colonial towns. Lying on the banks of the River Mandovi, Panaji is the state’s official capital. It is a relaxed and vibrant city where crowds flock to the peninsula in search of the shopping promenades and floating casinos. Also known by its former Portuguese name Panjim, the city has retained its rich colonial character with many heritage homes in the Portuguese old quarters of Fontainhas and Sao Tomé. Just inland from Panjim, Ponda is set in the true heart of Goa, surrounded by rice paddies and vanilla groves. The area is famous for its fragrant spice plantation tours where you can see peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cumin, saffron and vanilla pods, all growing in their natural state. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Goa is one of the most impressive sights in the whole of the state. Known as ‘the Rome of the East’, in the 16th century, it was the largest, richest and most splendid city in Asia. Today, many of the churches and buildings

Dudhsagar Waterfalls © Thirteen / Shutterstock

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have been beautifully preserved giving Old Goa some of the best Renaissance architecture in the world. A visit to Old Goa would not be complete without a tour of the imposing Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Sé Cathedral, the largest church in India. On the eastern most edge of the state where Goa meets Karnataka, lies the famous Dudhsagar Waterfalls. The second highest waterfall in India measuring an impressive 603m, the falls are quite a prospect, surrounded by dense jungle and with a railway line passing through. A jeep ride up to the falls is a truly unforgettable experience taking you deep into the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. While Central Goa may not be famous for its beaches, the coastline still has its own unique charm. The shores have been sculpted by the dominating rivers forming protected bays of sand and calm waters, ideal for water sports.

Old Goa © saiko3p / Shutterstock

For more information or to book online visit GoaExperience.co.uk

The Goa Experience. November 2016 - October 2017  
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