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"Vasco da Gama sits on the narrow western tip of the Marmagoa peninsula, overlooking the mouth of the Zuari River. Vasco da Gama was formerly among the busiest ports on India's west coast."
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Mormugao Port, Vasco da Gama Gao
Mormugao Port, Vasco da Gama- Goa

29 km south west of Panjim, on the narrow western tip of the Marmogoa Peninsula is Vasco da Gama. Overlooking the Zuari river, it's a city that is named after the famous Portuguese sailor, Vasco da Gama. The history of the place states that the Portuguese got hold of it around 1543 and within a span of few years converted it into one of the most sought after ports of India. A fort was constructed at Sada so as to easen up the task of monitoring the movements of ships into the Zuari river. The fort played an important role during the year 1685 when the Maratha king Sambhaji marched in with his army to capture the place. The Portuguese, worried about the safety of their women and children, used the fort as a safe haven.

Around this time, plans were also made to shift the capital city from Old Goa. Vasco, or rather Marmugoa, was a strong contender for the post. The Viceroy of the time, D Fransico de Tavora was in favour of Vasco becoming the capital city of Goa. For this purpose, numerous construction work were carried out. Viceroy's Palace, offices and warehouse sprung up to take care of the needs of future. However, the plans came to an abrupt end when the court of Lisbon scrapped the plans of making Vasco as the capital of Goa. This was despite the fact that Vasco is the only city in entire Goa that is well connected by all means, both within and outside the state. It is the only city that has an air, rail, road and sea links.

Today, Vasco exudes all the charms of a metropolitan city. People from all over India have made Vasco da Gama their home. The town of Vasco is well planned. It is laid out straight with parallel roads connected to each other by smaller bylanes.

Being a commercial hub, Vasco is more liked by business class people. It provides good connectivity and also has a number of good hotels to stay in. However, if you come to Vasco thinking that there are a number worth visiting sites, then probably you'll end up a bit disappointed. This is not to say that there is absolutely nothing at all to see and do in Vasco, but perhaps they are few and numbered.

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Bogmalo Beach

This is just 8 km away to the south east of the town. The speciality of this beach lies in the fact that it provides a good combination of serenity and fun. The beach is not as crowded as its counterparts in Anjuna and Calangute, nonetheless, there is no dearth of adventure. Moreover, the natural beauty exuded by hills on three sides is simply magical. Right in the sea water is the Grande Island around which most of the diving sites are situated. You can take a splash in the sea water, or go for diving. Alternatively, you can just walk on the beach barefooted.

A little distance before you actually reach the Bogmalo beach is another beach. The Issoricim or Hollant beach, albeit its smaller size, can be a much better place if you really wish to spend a secluded time. And, if you feel like having a bit of adventure, you can undertake a trek to the Bogmalo beach.

The Naval Aviation Museum

This one is probably the only one of its kind in entire India and one amongst the few in the continent of Asia. With Bogmalo beach providing a wonderful backdrop, the museum exhibits the various type of aircraft and weapon system utilised by Indian naval air arm. A guide will accompany you on your visit and lead to the various sections of the museum. Simultaneously, this person will also provide information on various exhibits. While in the museum, make sure that you visit the armament room, the safety room and the archive hall. The first one of the three houses numerous bombs and torpedos while the second one displays complete pilot safety equipments. In this section you will also find photographs rare photographs of the liberation of Bangladesh in the year 1971. The last one, the archive hall, has a huge model of the ship, INS Virat along with photographs of Bagladesh liberation.

Other interesting exhibits of the museum include a Super Constellation and a Sea Hawk. The museum is open from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening. A small entry charge of Rs 15 has to be paid.

Mormugao Port

The port is a natural harbour and immensely important from commercial point of view. However, you can also pay a visit to the port because a number of cruise ship sail in every morning. These cruise ships take you round on a trip to Goa, passing through beaches, churches and temples. These trips are basically for few hours since the ship sail out of Goa in the evening.

Pilot Point

A little ahead of the Mormugao port, an open space uphill is wonderful if you wish to catch glimpses of the port actions.

Japanese Garden

Still further ahead from the pilot point, at the zenith of the Mormugao ridge is the Japanese Garden. This garden houses the remnants of the Fortaleza Santa Catarina. The fort commanded immense significance during the erstwhile era, however today all it does is to offer a good view of the Zuari river. Other highlights of the garden are the Shri Durga Mata Shiv Mandir and a small beach. Walk on the soft sands of the beach and hear an interesting story related to the temple during your visit to the Japanese Garden.

Getting There

By Air

Dabolim Airport is just 4 km south east of the town. Flights from here connect to other Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Kozhikode, Pune and Agatti (in Lakshadweep). The airport is not a civilian one since it is run by the aviation arm of the navy. From the airport, taxis are available that can take you to Vasco or for that matter, any other destination in Goa. There is a taxi information counter as well as taxi booking counter in the airport. Motorcycles are also available if you are alone and want to save money

By Rail

Vasco has a railway station at the southern end.

By Road

The Interstate Kadamba bus terminus is located 3 km east of the town centre. Mini buses from here transport passengers to central market bus stand

 


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