Panaji /ˈpʌnədʒiː/ (Panaje, pronounced [pɔɳɟĩ], [pɵɳɟiː], Portuguese: Pangim, usually known in English as Panjim) is the capital of the Indian state of Goa and the headquarters of North Goa district. It lies on the banks of the Mandovi River estuary in Tiswadi taluka. With a population of 114,405 in the metropolitan area, Panaji is Goa's largest city, ahead of Margao and Vasco Da Gama.
Panaji means “land that never floods”.[inconsistent] It has terraced hills, concrete buildings with balconies and red-tiled roofs, churches, and a riverside promenade. There are avenues lined with gulmohar, acacia and other trees. The Baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church is located overlooking the main square known as Praça da Igreja. Colourful villas, cobbled streets and interesting buildings give Panaji a Portuguese ambience.
The word Panaji is derived from the words panjani and khali, which mean a boat and a small creek respectively, in Sanskrit. Thus the modern word Panaji is a corrupt form of the old word Panjakhali as inscribed on the copper-plates found, belonging to the rule of Kadamba king Tribhuvanamalla.
The city's official name is Panaji. The Portuguese name was Pangim. The city is called Panjim in English. It has been spelt Panaji since the 1960s. The city is called Ponnjé in Konkani.
Panaji was annexed by India with the rest of Goa and the former Portuguese territories in the invasion of 1961. Panaji became a state-capital on Goa's elevation to statehood in 1987. Between 1961 and 1987, it was the capital of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu. A new Legislative Assembly complex was inaugurated in March 2000, across the Mandovi River, in Alto Porvorim. Panaji is also the administrative headquarters of North Goa district.
The heart of the city is the Praça da Igreja (Church Square) or Municipal Garden with the Portuguese Baroque Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, originally built in 1541. Other tourist attractions include the old and rebuilt Adilshahi Palace (or Idalçao Palace), dating from the sixteenth century, the Institute Menezes Braganza, the Mahalaxmi Temple, the Jama Masjid Mosque, the Chapel of St. Sebastian and the Fontainhas area—which is considered to be the old Latin Quarter—as well as the nearby beach of Miramar. Hanuman Mandir at Malā on the hill top (Altinho) and its annual zatrā in February are a major attraction of Panaji. Panaji hosted the relics of Saint John Bosco (also known as Don Bosco) till 21 August 2011 at the Don Bosco Oratory.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a bird sanctuary named after the ornithologist Dr Salim Ali. The sanctuary, located in the village of Chorão, near Panaji, plays host to rare and endangered bird species—both migratory and resident. Goa is famous for its beaches, and Miramar, Bambolim, and Dona Paula are three popular beaches located near Panaji. Dona Paula is the meeting point for two of Goa’s famous rivers, Zuari and Mandovi. These two rivers meet at the Arabian Sea. The official residence of the Governor of Goa, known as Cabo Raj Bhavan, is situated on the westernmost tip of Dona Paula.