Ponda known as the heartland of the Hindus is situated on the Panaji - Belgaum highway at about 30km from Panaji and 17 km from Margao. It has a lot of temples, mosques and spice plantations.
At Ponda one can see a lot of temples on the hills around it such as the Laxmi Narasimha temple, Mangueshi temple, Naguesh temple, Mahalsa temple, Shantadurga temple, Ramnath temple and Shri Mahalaxmi temple. It also has some spice plantations and some mosques such as the Safa Shahouri Masjid or the Safa Shahouri mosque and the Namazgah Mosque.
One can also see some ruins of an old fort here namely Mardangad which underwent renovation a number of times under the Maratha and Portuguese rule. Within the fort ruins is the Dargah or tomb of a Muslim saint, Hazrat Abdul Khan. The festival URS is celebrated each year in February in memory of the saint.
The story as to why so many temples came in Ponda is such. As the Portuguese had started destroying temples in their area, the Hindu priests with their deities slipped quietly across Goa's border, at that time the Cumbarjua Canal, to Ponda which was then under the control of the Maratha Kings and rebuilt the temples there. In 1791, by the time the Portuguese came to acquire Ponda the temples were allowed to exist as the invaders had become more tolerant.
Today Ponda for the Hindus is a popular pilgrimage spot and few tourists also stay at Ponda. One can also find a lot of hotels and restaurants in the area. There are non-stop shuttle bus services connecting Ponda with Panaji and Margao. Auto rickshaw and taxis are also available for local sightseeing at Ponda's main bus stand.