Mapusa also spelt at Mapuca, Mhapsa or Mapsa is a town in North Goa, India. It is situated 13 km north of the capital Panaji. The town is the headquarters of Bardez Taluka. It is located on the main highway NH-17, linking Mumbai to Trivandrum. Under Portuguese rule, the town's name was spelt Mapuçá.
Mapusa is located about 13 km from Panjim and is one of Goa?s main commercial centres. It is known as Mapsa in the local terminology and under Portuguese rule, was written as Mapuçá. This city is the gateway to most of Goa?s famous beaches in the north. Mapusa is most famous for its weekly Friday markets that have gained an incredible reputation among tourists. The market has a lot of local flavour with people from surrounding villages and towns coming to buy and sell their various products such as agricultural produce, locally-grown fruit, dried fish, toddy vinegar, spices, clothes and other items.
Located 13 km away from state capital Panaji, Mapusa is the headquarters of the Bardez taluka. It is the third largest city in Goa and a major commercial center in the North Goa district. The name Mapusa is supposed to be a derivative of the Konkani words 'Maap' meaning measure and 'Sa' which means to fill up. Legend has it that the Mapusa town has the blessings of Lord Bodhgeshwar who has a temple dedicated to him.
The Mapusa town itself is beret of any significant travel and tourism potential and is more well-known as the gateway to Goa's most fascinating beaches. The scenic beaches of Calagunte, Anjuna and Vagator are situated nearby Mapusa. There are also a number of imposing forts such as the Aguada fort, Reis Magos fort and the 500-year old Chapora fort.
Mapusa is synonymous with its famous Friday market. On every Friday this sleepy town wakes up to a festive atmosphere with people from nearby areas turning up with their products. From sausages to dried fish, from straw hats to spices, a vast array of products is put up for sell by local vendors. Bargaining is the mantra here and you must be able to see through extravagant claims by shop owners.
Mapusa or Mhapsa is one of the five major towns of Goa. Famous for its market and Parade, Mapusa is no different from the other major towns as far as laid back attitude and enjoyment quotient is considered. The Friday market of Mapusa is considered as one of the best. Crowd from far location arrive in Mapusa even on Thursday for the market which specializes in everything, ranging from fish (sea food products), spices, handicrafts, old coins, beach articles and electronics goods etc. The Parade of Mapusa is famous as it brings out the carnival mood and revelry in the Goan populace.
The name Mapusa is derived from the Konkani term, maap, which means measure and sa which means fill up. Mapusa is the third largest city in the state of Goa and has a history of its own. It is believed that much before the Portuguese, or even the Aryans, Marathas and Sultans set their feet on the land of Goa, Mapusa was a well developed gaunkari or community farming system. The system had the people of the villagers coming together to work on the community land. The ensuing profit was divided between the workers accordingly.
Mapusa is said to have developed by the grace of Lord Bodhgeshwar who has a temple dedicated to him. The increasing number of devotees visiting the temple gradually paved way for the market that sold essential material needed for puja.
For tourist visiting Mapusa, there is not much in the form of sightseeing. However, there are definitely few attractions that will wind you during your stay in the town.
Mapusa’s main claim to fame is its famous Friday market where people from all over Goa come to buy and sell their wares. It is otherwise a small town forming the hub of north Goa.
Even before the Aryans, or Marathas, or Sultans or the Portuguese invaded Goa, this was an agrarian community with a well established Gaunkari or Community Farming System, where villages formed associations, worked on community land and shared profits. Market day was a major event, with goods brought in from every district to one central area. Mapusa has thus remained a prominent market center for many centuries.
On the Konkan Railway, Mapusa Road (6 Km north-east of town) is the nearest station, although it is not yet clear whether express trains will stop there in the future.
From the bus stand, there are public buses to Mumbai, Pune, Hubli, and Belagaum. Private operators have kiosks by the taxi and motorcycle stand, and offer coaches to Mumbai, Bangalore, Hampi and Mangalore.
There are frequent bus departures for Panaji and buses at least hourly to Calangute and Anjuna. Other buses go to Margao, Chapora and Candolim. A motorcycle to Anjuna or Calangute takes about 15 minutes.
How to Reach Mapusa by Road
Interstate bus services plying between Goa and Maharashtra pass through the Mapusa town. The Kadamba Bus Terminal is the main hub for long distance state buses and local services to the nearby beaches such as Calangute, Anjuna, Vagator, and Arambol. The bus stand, located on the southwest edge of town, is a five minute walk down the main road.
How to Reach Mapusa by Rail
Trains running on the Konkan Railway network usually halt at the Tivim Railway station, 12 km away from Mapusa. You can hire rickshaws or tourist taxis to travel to the nearest beach or resort.
How to Reach Mapusa by Air
The Dabolim airport is the nearest airport from Mapusa.
Shopping in Mapusa is steeped in the myriad hues of the Goan rural life. A well-known commercial district, Mapusa provides a number of shopping destinations encompassing local markets and stalls lined along its famous beaches. Mapusa's famous Friday market beckons vendors and tourists alike with its rustic charm.
Fridays usher in a festive atmosphere in this quaint town as villagers assemble from nearby localities with their produce. As you step inside the bustling bazaar, you will be greeted by a heady concoction of aromas arising from sources as diverse as fish, incense, spices and exotic fruits stacked in colorful heaps on the sidewalks.
What adds color to the shopping experience is the inimitable style of the Goan vendors most of whom are womenfolk attired in colorful dresses. The products in display are manifold including fresh and dried fish, incense, spices, vegetables, and souvenirs from other states of India. The famous traditional spirits of Goa such as toddi and feni are perennial favorites among locals and tourists.
Shopping in Mapusa would be incomplete without a visit to the renowned Wednesday flea market of Anjuna beach.
Come Friday, and the quaint little town of Mapusa burst into colours of enthusiasm. This is the time when the normally quiet city and its people come out of their house in large numbers and make their way towards the Friday Market. The market is located just outside the Municipal Market of Mapusa and sees a number of traders from all over Goa coming in to sell their products. "And what exactly are the products?", you might just ask. Well, their are a range of it, right from spices and T shirts to trinkets, sausages, straw hats, dried fish and furniture.
The prices of the products are pretty reasonable. Still just donot give what is demanded at first. Infact, you might just keep in mind that bargaining in Mapusa is an integral part of shopping. Without it, you'll either end up paying more or miss out the intrinsic fun associated with it.
The market is not only meant to provide you a shopping platform for Goan goods. Rather, it is a chance for you to see Goan life at its most real. Observe the way people dress, talk and interact with each other, and you will get a fair idea about the life in Goa.
Mapusa has no luxury hotels, but the town is dotted with a number of good hotels. Popular hotels of Mapusa are Hotel Bardez, Hotel Satyaheera and Hotel Shalini.