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Like many Indian cities, Margao — the cultural and commercial capital of Goa — goes by several names. The city's main train station is called Madgaon and many locals use the old Konkani name of Modgannv, but the Portuguese name is the one that ended up on the maps. Margao was originally a Hindu religious center, but Portuguese invaders demolished most of the temples in the 16th century. Today, the city is better known for its historic Catholic churches, its busy markets, and its prestigious private schools and seminaries. Although far removed from the sun and sand experience of Goa's beaches, the city feels refreshingly Indian compared to ...

Like many Indian cities, Margao — the cultural and commercial capital of Goa — goes by several names. The city's main train station is called Madgaon and many locals use the old Konkani name of Modgannv, but the Portuguese name is the one that ended up on the maps. Margao was originally a Hindu religious center, but Portuguese invaders demolished most of the temples in the 16th century. Today, the city is better known for its historic Catholic churches, its busy markets, and its prestigious private schools and seminaries. Although far removed from the sun and sand experience of Goa's beaches, the city feels refreshingly Indian compared to the tourist-oriented settlements that line the coast, and the local strip of sand at Covla Beach is just as sun-kissed and sand-sprinkled as Candolim or Calangute. Margao also has a growing reputation as a center for traditional Konkan arts, music and dance. All are showcased at the Ravindra Bhavan, the venue for the 2011 International Film Festival of India. However, don't expect a tourist hub — Margao has just a handful of must-see sights and the main appeal is the chance to escape the Goa tourist trail.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located on the Arabian Sea in central India, north of Anshi National Park
  • Language: Hindi and English
  • Currency: Rupee
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November to March, avoiding the sticky summer monsoon months