Ponda (or Fonda as it is called in Konkani) is a city in the district of South Goa, about 30 km southeast of Panaji, the state capital. It is popular as the ‘Hindu heart of Goa’ as there are many temples in and around the area. Besides, there are some age-old churches here along with the state’s largest mosque. Ponda is also known as Antruz Mahal owing to its rich cultural heritage. Another reason why travellers visit Ponda is that it is the gateway to Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries and Dudhsagar Falls.
Today, this city is frequented by business travellers as well, as it an industrial centre of Goa with many estates and large factories nearby. There are a number of schools and prominent colleges in and around the area like Goa Engineering College (GEC), National Institute of Technology (NIT), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR) and others. It is owing to such fast growth that many hotels in Ponda have come up over the years.
Shopping and Dining in and around Ponda
There are many shopping malls near hotels in Ponda, Goa, including Menino Trade Centre and The Atrium Mall for those who wish to indulge in retail therapy. Besides, the city is dotted with a number of stores selling essentials and more.
Those looking for a nice dining experience in Ponda can go to Abhiksha Palace, The Goan Majestic, Taste of Goa, Pan Aroma Restaurant, Cool n Spice, Dee Sigdii House, Café Bhonsle and The Roadhouse Bar and Restaurant, among others.
Places to Visit in and around Ponda
When in Ponda, it is a must to visit the Hindu temples in the area like Kapileshwar Mandir, Shantadurga Mandir, Mahalaxmi Mandir, Nagesh Maharudra Mandir, and Ramnath Temple, among many others. The historic Safa Masjid and churches, such as St. Anne’s Church and Mount Carmel Chapel are also worth exploring. The area has many spice plantations including Pascoal Spice Village, Sahakari Spice Farm and Tropical Spice Plantation that can be explored from Ponda hotels.
How to Reach Ponda
Ponda is connected to Panaji via National Highway 4A; travellers can take this route to reach the area by cab or rental car. Regular bus services are available from Ponda to Goa hotels in important places such as Panaji, Vasco da Gama and Margao. The Madgaon Railway Station is 19.8 km while Goa International Airport is 31 km away. Private taxis are easily available from both the transit hubs to reach Ponda.