Tiswadi. Yes, it is in Goa. And the word 'Tiswadi' means 'thirty settlements.' These are those thirty settlements where Goud Saraswat Brahmins took shelter after moving to Goa. But do you know what else Tiswadi is known as? 'Ilhas de Goa', which is a sub-district in the Northern part of Goa. Geographically, it is an island bordered by the Mandovi river in the north. Smaller islands like Chorao, Divar, St. Estevam, Cumbarjua and Vanxim form the sub-district of Tiswadi.
Old Goa, which serves as an excellent World Heritage Site, was also constructed in Tiswadi. If we talk about the 14th century, Tiswadi along with the rest of Goa formed a part of the Vijayanagara Kingdom of South India. But in 1510, Tiswadi was captured by the Portuguese Afonso de Albuquerque. Hindu temples faced destruction.
But the worst happened in the 16th century when the Portuguese started forcible conversions to Christianity. The Mhamai Kamats petitioned the Portuguese authorities for reconstructing the first Hindu temple, Shree Mahalakshmi Temple.
Konkani, Marathi, Hindi, English and Portuguese are the local languages spoken here and the weather is usually humid due to the close proximity of the Arabian Sea. The current capital city of Goa, which is Panjim, also lies on this island. Panjim has a lot of tourist places of attraction which we can merrily talk about in detail.
How To Reach Tiswadi
By Rail: The nearest railway stations to Tiswadi are Dabolim Railway station and Sankval Railway station. Vasco Da Gama railway station, located 10 km near Tiswadi, is an important one.
By Air: Even the Dabolim Airport is around 15 km away. You can travel to North Goa from there.
By Road: You can travel via buses to Tiswadi, Goa from the major cities of the country. The bus station goes by the name Vasco.
Tourist Places Of Attraction
Panjim or the 'Land That Never Floods' shall never disappoint you with the exquisite variety it has to offer.
Basilica Of Bom Jesus
If one of the ancient churches of India was to be named, it would definitely be the Basilica Of Bom Jesus. The church was fully erected in 1605.
It shows fine exemplary skills of baroque architecture and you shall be glad to know that UNESCO has given its word that this is a world heritage site.
If you notice a nicely decorated casket in the basilica, the chassis of St. Francis Xavier is preserved in it. The remains are considered to be holy and possess unimaginable curing capabilities. Christian devotees from around the globe traverse this basilica in large numbers.
This can be proudly announced to be the largest church in India and even one of the largest churches in Asia. Its actual name goes like 'Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina'. Do you have an idea as to whom the church is devoted to?
It is devoted to Catherine of Alexandria. It proclaims of a 35-metre high facade. It has the choicest architecture with a Portuguese-Gothic style. The Tuscan interior with a Corinthian touch is also praiseworthy. The Se Cathedral was approved in 1940 AD though it was present since 1619 AD.
The 'Golden Bell' shall not miss your eye which is undoubtedly the largest bell in Goa. A lot of visitors stop by at this cathedral to admire its beauty.
Goa State Museum
Keen to learn about the Goan culture? The Goa State Museum is the right place. It depicts the entire evolution of Goan history in this museum. It is like a map connecting various dots to make the past meet the present. Through a wide display of artefacts, it shows the importance of varied Goan traditions at the different stages of the life of locals. 1977 AD saw the museum built in St. Inez which was just the beginning. It was transferred to the EDC Complex in June 1996 in Patto. It also flaunts 14 themed galleries which talk about current and past memoirs.
Dona Paula Jetty
It is only at a distance of 7 km from Panjim. The means of transport could be a bus, cab or motorcycle-taxi from Panaji. Frequent buses for Dona Paula beach can be availed from Panaji's Kadamba Bus Stand. Referred to as Lovers Paradise in Goa, this place got its origin from Dona Paula de Menezes. She is said to be the daughter of a colonial Indian viceroy who jumped off the cliff when denied to marry the man of her choice, a fisherman named Gaspar Dias.
The confluence of Goa's two famous rivers and the Arabian Sea is the Dona Paula bay with an exotic sight of the Mormugao Harbor. Water fanatics can have an amazing time at The Dona Paula Sports Club which comprises scooter rides, motorboat rides and many other water sports. Other tourist attraction spots which shall catch your attention are the National Institute of Oceanography, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and the Cabo Fort.
If you are a collector of local crafts, let the beachside stalls interest you in an attractive collection of straw hats, spices, lace handkerchiefs, Femi, locally made liquor and port wine. For handicrafts with a tinge of ethnicity, the Indian Arts Emporium is a magnificent choice. Some lip-smacking seafood restaurants shall definitely win your heart with their delicacies.
It is situated in North Goa at a distance of 8 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand and the beach is also known as 'Shiridon' and 'Xiddona' with a distance of about 20 km from the Vasco Da Gama Railway Station. It is also 21 km from Mapusa. It is delightful to find shining pearl shells, as well as a wide array of oysters, adorn the beach area.
It is both a rocky and sandy beach which has 'The Chapel of Jesus of Nazareth' on the very top of a cliff, in the heart of Siridao Beach. A feast takes place on the first Sunday of Easter for the 'Jesus of Nazareth'. What all can we expect to see here? At the very door, there are three statues carved out of pure stone playing musical instruments along with a dog.
You shall also come across the chapel of the Holy Souls built in the year 1973, by Lucio Miranda. The chapel is in high demand for its wonderful architecture. It is peaceful to visit this place on weekends as well during the soothing evening time. October to March is usually when people prefer visiting the beach as it is not humid or wet and the weather is just perfect for a relaxing trip.
Divar And Chorao Island
Who can refuse the heavenly abode of flora and fauna where you can avail bicycles absolutely free of cost and explore the picturesque landscape adorned with mud-thatched houses and Portuguese villas at Divar Island?
Are you a connoisseur of religious iconography? Then you shall find the 'Church of Our Lady of Compassion' pretty inviting for its insights into the Mandovi river.
Also, you shall find the Saptakoteshwar Temple at Narwe pretty intriguing with all its stories of victory and also that it was rebuilt. The sunset point at the Vitorzen Jetty is quite enchanting.
Uncle Philips bar is quite popular for some delicious chicken cafreal and an exquisite glass of beer which shall make you feel alive. The Cabral Bar consists of the tiny-shack like country bars where the farmers and fishermen love to relax. The walls have a bright tinge to them and it is said that the cashew feni there is worth a try. Find your drink of choice and laze around in peace.
Now, if we turn our focus towards the feathered creatures, we could traverse a little further towards the Chorao Island. There is a ferry at the Chorao ferry point which shall take you towards the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Here get ready with your binoculars to view the storks, kingfishers, cormorants and egrets.
You shall never regret a walk by the refreshing mangroves as well, but, of course, at low tide. You can also enjoy a wonderful cycling ride at Divar and Chorao Islands and unleash the fire in you to explore Goa like never before.
The ride starts from Soccour Church at 7:00 AM and you get to experience the thrilling sights and brilliant landscapes of the Divar Island as well as the Chorao Island by covering a total of around 25 km. So, even visiting these islands in close proximity to Tiswadi is a good decision.