Being the commercial and cultural capital of Goa, Margao, also known as Madgaon, is the largest city of Goa by population. Margao is the centre of administration for the Salcete as well as the district of South Goa. Since the construction of the Madgao Railway Station, Margao has become a focal point for travellers as everyone who wishes to arrive in Goa by train has to enter through Margao.
The origin of Madgaon’s name has various stories. Some say that it is derived from Sanskrit word Mathagram which would mean village towards the east and some say that Mathagram was the name due to the Vaishnavite Matha (cloister) located in the area. But a clear picture to the former name of Matha Gram was due to the Nine Mathas in the town. Raiders, however, destroyed these Mathas along with the Damodar Temple where the Holy Spirit Church now stands. The whole of Margao is a repository for the stories and history of Goa.
With structures like the Braganza House, Fernandes House and Sat Burzam House that are nearly as old as the town itself, there is history in every old nook and corner of Margao. The Goa Chitra Museum will introduce you to the authentic traditions and culture of Goa. The Rachol Fort will transport you back in time to the battles between Vijayanagara and Bijapur Sultans. The Municipal Gardens are the pitstop for every traveller's Imagination before continuing the journey into the festivities of the Sao Joao feast of St. John the Baptist Church.
With all such heritage to keep its travellers indulged, Margao has earned its place as the Cultural capital of Goa. The shopping scene in Margao offers everything from local street markets to signature shopping malls. There are many restaurants and cafe’s that satisfy your hunger pangs, such as the Cinnamon, Pepper’s, Martin’s, Mircho-Go that serve multiple cuisines. The nightlife in Margao, however, is dull compared to North Goa as there are no pubs or bars that stay open until late in the night.
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