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Panaji

Panaji is the capital of the Indian state of Goa. It lies on the banks of the Mandovi estuary, in the district of North Goa. With a population of 65,000 (a metropolitan population of 100,000 if suburbs are included), Panaji is Goa's third largest city after Vasco and Margao. The current official name is Panaji. The Portuguese name was Pangim. The city is called Panjim in English. It has been spelt as Panaji since the 1960s, and is also called Ponnje in Konkani, the widely spoken local language.

Earlier a small village on the river front, in 1843 the city had been renamed Nova Goa (Portuguese for New Goa) when it officially replaced the city of Goa (now Old Goa) as the administrative seat of Portuguese India, though the viceroy had already moved there in 1759.

When Operation Vijay ended Portuguese colonial rule, Panaji was incorporated with the rest of Goa and the former Portuguese colonies, into India in December 1961. Panaji became a state-capital on Goa's elevation to statehood in May 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 the suburb of Porvorim. Panaji is also the administrative headquarters of North Goa district.

The heart of the city is the 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 Idalcao palace), dating from the 16th century, the Menezes Braganza Institute and the Central Library, the \ Mahalaxmi Temple, the Jama Masjid mosque, the Chapel of St. Sebastian and the Fontainhas area in general which is considered to be the Old Latin Quarter, as well as the nearby beach of Miramar. The Carnival celebrations in February include a colourful parade on the streets. This is followed by the Shigmo, a local Hindu spring festival.

Well-known places in Panaji are the 18th June Road (a busy thoroughfare in the heart of town and a shopping area for tourists and locals), Mala area, Miramar beach and the Kala Academy cultural centre known for its structure built by the famous architect Charles Correa. Kala Academy in Panaji is a place where Goa showcases its culture and art.

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