Strolling the cobbled streets of Fontainhas, the Latin quarter of Goa’s capital city, feels more like being in old Portugal than in India. The neighborhood in eastern Panaji consists of streets lined with pastel-hued, old mansions dating back to the mid 1800s, where local residents sit out on colonnaded balconies and watch life go by at the leisurely pace Goa is famous for. Most of the historic homes haven’t been renovated; but they all receive a fresh coat of pastel paint every few years to keep the district looking vibrant and fresh.
A highlight of Fontainhas is the Chapel of St. Sebastian, built in 1818 to meet the needs of the largely Portuguese community. Today, the chapel houses an old crucifix from the Palace of the Inquisition in Old Goa, and unlike most crucifixes, this one depicts Jesus with his head up and his eyes open. Both Fontainhas and its neighboring district of Sao Tome can easily be explored on foot during a half or full day.