Exploring Assagao: A Blend Of Art, Cafés, And Portuguese Heritage

This pretty village has undulating roads dotted with stunning Portuguese houses and a mix of ancient churches, boutiques, and cafes
The St. Cajetan Church was 
built in 1775
The St. Cajetan Church was built in 1775

Located about 45 km from Dabolim airport and tucked between Anjuna's beach resort and Mapusa's market town, Assagao is the sunshine state's best-guarded secret. A tranquil place set in a mini valley, it is surrounded on three sides by verdant hills. Like the rest of Goa, a former Portuguese colonial enclave surrounded by what was British India, Assagao, too, was long under Portuguese rule. Among Assagao's earliest recorded residents were Saraswat Brahmins from the Atri gotra, with Ravalnath as the presiding deity (the main deity in most temples of Goa). Cosmopolitan in nature, it is known for its artistic enterprises, cafés, and restaurants, and of course, a chance to look into the Portuguese legacy for which Goa is so famous.

The outdoor bar at Escobar
The outdoor bar at Escobar

Eating Out

  • Bawri: The trending Bawri restaurant is a tribute to traditional Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist. The menu weaves heirloom recipes, lost techniques, and bold flavours sourced from local ingredients. Some must-haves are the wild mango curry and spicy bheja masala. The regional influence also extends to the ambience, with decor elements showcasing Goa's rich bamboo and pottery craftsmanship.

  • Vinayak Family Restaurant: People flock to this much-loved neighbourhood favourite for their traditional home-cooked Goan dishes, like prawns machado. Their fish thali, which includes fried fish served with dry fried fish flakes, rice, mussels, and fish curry, is also very popular.

  • Escobar: This hipster hangout is frequented by a regular stream of loyalists who come here for the laidback vibe and feni cocktails. They're known for their themed nights, ranging from jazz to blues to retro to piano.

The Cheshire Cat Gallery
The Cheshire Cat Gallery


  • Cheshire Cat Gallery: Cheshire Cat Gallery is a quaint studio in Assagao, near the Pallotti Institute on the Badem-Mapusa road. It features products by Van Andel and Peace, a luxury jewellery brand with unique design approaches. Limited edition ready-to-wear seasonal collections in gold and silver with precious and semi-precious stones are also produced.

  • Rangeela: This concept store, set in a traditional Goan house, provides luxury clothes, home decor, gifts, and furniture ranges inspired by the seaside lifestyle. The items come from all around India, as well as South Africa, Bali, and Australia.

Places to See

  • St. Cajetan Church: The structure, also referred to as the "Assagao Church," was built in 1775 as a chapel connected to the Anjuna parish. The two quadrangular towers of the immaculate white church, which has a wooden roof decorated with stars, are modelled after Corinthian columns. The church's patroness, Our Lady of Divine Providence, is worshipped on the main altar. Its construction involved the use of laterite soil and lime plaster.

  • Kator Pillar: From the Saint Cajetan Church, a short walk will take you to the Kator Pillar, via the Dovornem or rest places for traders. According to Hindu tradition, the Kator Pillar represents a temple lamp.

Hotel Astoria
Hotel Astoria

Where To Stay

  • The Project Café: One of the most distinctive stays is The Project Café. The venue functions as an art gallery and retail store and is an extension of a multidisciplinary design centre in Ahmedabad. This unique stay acts as an "experiential design consortium" and allows artists and architects to present their work. Moreover, every room in the boutique hotel has been designed by a different designer.

  • Hotel Astoria: This atmospheric place is a great option for a memorable stay. It is run by one of Assagao's oldest families and is housed on a 250-year-old estate surrounded by mango trees and coconut palms.

A performance at the Assagao Mehfil
A performance at the Assagao Mehfil

Things To Do

  • Go On Walks: Wander through Assagao's undulating roads and explore the diverse flora—particularly medicinal plants, flowers, and edible berries. This location was once known as "Fullanchom Ganv" or "Village of Flowers," and you will find many varieties like Crossandra, jasmine, and chrysanthemum. It's also a birder's haven.

  • Music Events: The Assagao Mehfil hosts regular music performances by global artists. The "mehfils" are held in a 25-year-old heritage structure. In the past, they have hosted concerts by Bharatanatyam dancers of the Tanjore Quartet and NaMaNa, with Anna Shabalina on the cello and Linar Rhizatdinov on vocals and bass guitar.

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