THE LARGEST TOWN in northern Goa, Mapusa’s main point of interest is the colourful Friday market, with its tantalizing aromas of dried fish, spices, chillies, vinegar, local toddy and the spicy Goan sausages, chourica. The region’s famous cashewriuts are also much in demand. Hawkers peddle a range of beachwear, including cheap T-shirts and summer dresses, in the covered colonnades in front of the rows of shops. In the lanes leading off from the main market are stalls selling handicrafts and souvenirs from all over the country.

St Jerome’s Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Miracles, was rebuilt twice, first in 1719 and again in 1838, after it was destroyed by fire, Its main altar, with the image of Nossa Senhora de  Milagres, has some grand ornamental screens, salvaged from a church in Old Goa. Interestingly, both Hindus and Catholics celebrate the Feast of Our Lady (held 16 days after Easter) with equal fervour. At the end of the festival Hindu devotees, accompanied by Catholics, take the holy oil from St

ENVIRONS:Mayem Lake, 14 km (9 miles) southeast of Mapusa, is an ideal picnic spot, with boating facilities, a resort and a good restaurant.

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