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Goa - Ponda

Although the central, inland town of Ponda is of no great interest, it does boast an old mosque and, in the surrounding areas, numerous unique Hindu temples. There are regular buses from Panaji and Margoa, but to get to the temples it's to have own vehicle or own transport. When Portuguese arrived in Goa, they destroyed every temples and mosques they could lay their hands on. As result, temples in Goa are generally set back from the coast and comparatively new, although some date back about 400 years. The temples near Ponda have been rebuilt from originals destroyed by the Portuguese, and their lamp towers are a distinctive Goan feature.

Five most important Hindu temples are close to the Ponda, on the inland route between Panaji and Margoa. The Siva temple of Shri Mangesh is at Priol-Ponda Taluka about 22kms from Panaji. This tiny 18th century hilltop temple with white tower, is local landmark. Less than 2kms further down the road is Shri Mahalsa, a Vishnu temple

About five Km from Ponda are Shri Ramnath and Shri Naguesh, and nearby is the Shri Shantadurga Temple. Dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess of peace, this temple sports an unusual, almost pagoda-like, structure with roof made from long slabs of stone. Further south are the temples of Shri Chandreshwar, west of Quepem; Shantadurga, east of Betul; and Shri Mallikarjuna east of Chauri.

The oldest mosque remaining in Goa is the Safa Shahouri Masjid at Ponda built by Adilshah in 1560.

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