Mapusa (called Mapsa by the locals) is the 3 rd largest town of Goa after Panaji and Margao, and the biggest town of North Goa. A town of 39,989 people (2001), Mapusa is 15.9 kilometers from Panaji, the state capital of Goa by the NH 66. It is also close to many famous beaches of North Goa like Vagator, Morjim, Anjuna, and Baga. These beaches are only a few minutes away by road.

There are many tourist attractions around Mapusa like temples and churches. Church of Our Lady of Miracles, Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Temple, Maruti Temple, and the Sri Kalika Temple are all worth visiting. But the main attraction of Mapusa is the Friday market that attracts a large number of tourists in peak season. The Moira River flows east of Mapusa. Also visit The Cube Gallery and see its interesting and intriguing displays, the work of artist and designer Satinder Singh.

Mapusa Map

Mapusa is a business town, much like Margao of South Goa. There are shops, few offices and commercial establishments, restaurants, cafes, and many homes located at the slope of the small Altinho hill. The town also has hospitals, nursing homes, and a few public gardens. There is a gas station on the Calanhute-Mapusa Road, just before you enter the town, close to the taxi stand.

The Panaji-Mapusa road trip takes about 30 minutes. You can take a bus to the town and then hire a taxi or a two-wheeler motorcycle here to visit the nearby beaches.

Mapusa – Quick Facts

It is the 3 rd biggest town of Goa after Panaji and Margao.

Biggest city in North Goa. Capital of Bardez taluka.

Closest airport – Dabolim – 37.3 kms.

Closest railway station – Thivim – 9.1 kms.

Panaji – 15.9 kms.

Population – 39,989 (census – 2001)

Business town, famous for the Friday market. Locals come here to buy and trade. Very popular with tourists too in peak season.

Transport hub. It is on the NH66, the main road traveling from Panaji to North Goa. Many Tourists visiting the north Goa beaches change here. Busy bus and taxi stands.

Close to many North Goa beaches – Vagator, Morjim, Anjuna, and Baga

The town has temples, churches, gardens, parks, restaurants, and cafes.

Best Time To Visit Mapusa

The best time to visit is during the winter season between November and February. You will have pleasant weather this time of the year. There is very little rain and humidity. Long hours of pleasant sunshine so you can spend time at the parks, temples, churches, visit the nearby beaches, and see the Friday market without sweating a lot. The summer season will be hot. Temperature will usually hover between 33°C and 35°C on most days. There will also be high humidity, which gets worse during the monsoon (between the middle of June to late August).

How To Reach Mapusa

  • By Air — Goa International Airport at Dabolim in Vasco is at a distance of 37.3 kilometers from Mapusa by the NH66. This is a busy airport connected to many Indian and international destinations by Air India, Indigo, Spice Jet, Go Air, Etihad, Air Arabia, Air Asia, Qatar Airways, and Jet Airways.
  • By Rail — The Thivim (station code – THVM) train station is 9.1 kilometers from the town. This is the main station of North Goa on the North-South line, connecting Mumbai (Bombay). However, only some trains stop here. You will find buses and taxis outside the station that can take you to Mapusa.
  • By Road — Panaji is 15.9 kilometers from Mapusa. The town is on NH66, a national highway that goes from Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of mainland India to Panvel on the outskirts of Mumbai. It is one of the longest highways in the country. So Mapusa is well connected by road with the rest of India.

The Panaji-Mapusa road trip takes about 30 minutes. You can take a bus to the town and then hire a taxi or a two-wheeler motorcycle here to visit the nearby beaches.

The Friday Market

The Friday Market of Mapusa is the town’s #1 tourist attraction. This is a busy market, bustling and vibrant, where you will find virtually everything, from clothes, vegetables, to junk jewelry, to home décor items, spices, Goan pottery, meats, dried fish, fruits, vegetables, dried fish, pickles, cashew nuts, accessories, handicrafts, marinated pork sausages, local desserts, and more.

The market is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 AM to 6.30-7 PM, but it is the busiest on Friday’s, because the artisans, traders, and local farmers bring their fresh produce on that day, and thus the name – Friday Market. Every Friday, you can buy directly from the producers.

Prices are much cheaper than the resort areas. However, you can still bargain to bring it down even lower. Also remember, the market almost completely shuts down in the afternoons for the siesta or traditional susegad, common in many places in Goa.

The Mapusa market has been a major center for shopping and trading for a long time. In fact, it is said that the town developed later around the business conducted at the market. Traditionally, Goan communities established community farming systems and formed associations. Market day was always very important. The associations brought their produce from the districts.

  • Open days – Monday to Saturday. Busiest on Fridays
  • Timing – 9 in the morning to 7 in the evening
  • What to do – Explore the clogged and crowded passages. Find great deals. Take pictures of the locals.
  • Visit the fish section. You will find Modso, Chonak, and other fish rarely available outside Goa.
  • Most shops accept credit cards. But the minimum billing must be 400-500 INR.
  • There are a few ATMs close to the market.

Visit ‘The Pub’ just opposite to the Friday Market. It looks like a shabby place from outside, but from the inside, the bar is buzzing. The food too is good and value for money. Try the crispy fried sardines here. This will be a perfect place for a quick bit and drink after visiting the market.

Temples And Churches

  1. Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Temple – Dedicated to Lord Bodgeshwar, popularly called Bodgini. Locally, the deity is known as a wish-fulfilling lord. This is a fairly new temple on the outskirts of the town among rice fields. Bodgeshwar is also the guarding of Mapusa. There is an annual fair held every December and January.
  2. Maruti Temple – On top of the small hill Mount Altinho. The temple is dedicated to the monkey Goa, Lord Hanuman. See the intricately carved doorway of the temple, which was constructed in 1840 and then re-done in 1843 after the Portuguese destroyed it. The hilltop location offers panoramic views.
  3. Church of Our Lady of Miracles – Also known as the St Jerome's Church, this is one of the oldest places of worship in Goa. It goes back to the 16th century. Both Christians and Hindus consider the ground where the church stands sacred. It was constructed by the Portuguese over an earlier Hindu temple. An annual feast is held here every year.
  4. Sri Kalika Temple – Hindu temple dedicated to Kali or Mahamaya. The deity was established and worshipped by the local copper-smiths. The temple’s dome has a copper pot, giving it a unique look. The architecture is typically Goan.
  5. Sai Baba Temple – Just outside Mapusa. Very pristine and peaceful surroundings that calms the mind. Good for relaxation.

Top 5 Beaches Close To Mapusa

  • Anjuna – Sandy beach with some rocky stretches. Hippie culture of the 1960s and the 1970s. Favorite with the backpackers now. Clubbing destination. There are many shacks, bars, restaurants, and cafes. The famous Anjuna flea market is at the southern end of the beach.
  • Vagator – Beautiful beach with a laid back feeling overlooking the Chapora Fort. Many beach shacks, pubs, cafes, and restaurants around the beach. The Chapora River meets the Arabian Sea here.
  • Morjim – Serene, peaceful, and clean beach. Popular with international tourists. Shallow sea good for swimming. Nightclubs, beach shacks. Popular spot for kite surfing. Olive Ridley turtle nesting site.
  • Baga – Extremely popular beach at the confluence of the Baga River and the sea. Many restaurants, shacks, cafes, bars, and nightclubs. Club Titos. Plenty of water sport action on the beach.
  • Ozran – Small beach next to Vagator. Sandy beach with several rocky outcrops. It is below Hilltop, extremely popular for parties.

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