Panaji, earlier called Panjim, is a small charming city on the bank of silvery
Mandovi River connected to the main land by bridges. The name is said to be a corruption of Ponjy meaning the land that never floods or Panch yma afsumgary meaning Five magnificent castles which reportedly belonged to Sultan Adil Shah. Panaji covers an area of 36 sq km and is considered as the headquarters of North Goa District. It has well laid gardens, statues and avenues lined with Gulmohar, Acassia and other trees.
Marathi are the main languages of communication.
Panaji remained a small fishing village for many years. The Portugese who acquired mastery over Goa initiated public projects, drainage systems and inspired Panjim to evolve as a magnificent city. In 1632 the then Viceroy, Count de Linhares, Dom Miguel de Noronha built the 3.2 km causeway linking Panjim with Ribandar village. Pointe de Linhares, as it is known, exists even today. Fontainhas and
San Thome are the two old sections of the city. Altinho is a hillock overlooking the city.
Panaji is now an educational, commercial, and cultural center of Goa. The Menezes Braganza Institute,
Jama Masjid, San Thome quarter, and St Sebastian Chapel are the major attractions of Panaji. The High court of Mumbai which has appellate jurisdiction over the State of Maharashtra, Goa, Daman and Diu has one of its benches in Panaji. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary situated in Chorao, has local and migratory birds. Miramar,
Bambolim, Dona Paula are the nearby beaches of Panaji. Old Goa and Mapusa are nearby towns. Kala Academy is a cultural center here.
Regular bus services are available from Kadamba bus station to other Goan cities such as
Margao, Vasco da Gama, Mapusa, Ponda among other towns in Goa and to neighboring states.
The nearest train station is
Karmali, near Old Goa. Goa Airport is about 30 km from Panaji.