On the list of the top most things to do in Panjim city, for me during our monsoon getaway to Goa was is to visit Fontainhas quarters. The Fontainhas is the old Latin Quarters in Panjim city and the Portuguese traditional architectural and town planning influences have been preserved here. Visiting Fontainhas heritage quarters is taking a walk back into time, to the days of Portuguese rule in Goa. We spent the most delightful time walking around in Fontainhas, admiring the stunning colors, architecture and decor of the area.
The beauty of Fontainhas is in the almost perfect way it has maintained to this day its Portuguese influence in its architecture and also town planning , such as narrow and pretty winding streets as found in many European cities, brightly colored old villas and buildings with projecting balconies painted in the traditional tones of yellow, green, or blue, and roofs made of red colored tiles. As we walked around on a humid day in which the sun played hide & seek, it was an almost hallucinating effect on our visual senses to see so many bright yellow, blues, whites all around. The Fontainhas quarters has many art galleries, heritage hotel as well as regular villas which are not open to public; the half opened doors of these villas seemed to be calling to us to listen to their interesting stories.
The old houses/villas in Fontainhas were built in the 18th and 19th centuries in Portuguese architectural style look to be retained in their original form. We got to know that, The Fundacão Orienté, a Portuguese public organization is involved in the restoration of heritage buildings in Fontainhas (as well as whole of Goa).
We walked into couple of art galleries which also had the traditional painted tile work, glassware and ceramic ware for sale. Everything on display was exquisite, however, I did not buy anything as packing it in luggage would have been a big headache (as I learnt the hard way on my trip to Uzbekistan).
The Chapel of St Sebastian, erected in 1880, is located at the southern end of the Fontainhas; its a well preserved chapel.
Fontainhas is located at the foot of the Altinho hills, and is easy to reach within Panjim city. It is a must visit in Panjim city, Goa for heritage lovers.
Read here fellow traveler ‘Travelling Camera’ account of top reasons for monsoon getaway to Goa