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Mapusa in Goa, India

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With a population of 35,000, ramshackle MAPUSA (pronounced “Mapsa”), the district headquarters and main transport hub of Bardez taluka, is the Goa’s third largest town. If you arrive overland from Mumbai and plan to stay in one of the north Goan resorts, you can jump off the bus here and pick up a local service straight to the coast, rather than continue to Panjim, 13km further south. A dusty collection of dilapidated modern buildings scattered around the west-facing slope of a low hill, Mapusa is of little more than passing interest in itself, although on Friday mornings it hosts a lively market (whence the town’s name, which derives from the Konkani words for “measure”, map, and “fill up”, sa).

Mapusa in Goa, India

Anjuna and Ingo’s Saturday Night bazaar may be better stocked with souvenirs, but this offers an altogether more authentic shopping experience. Mapusa is where the locals from across Bardez and Pernem come to stock up on essentials, from fresh fish, fruit and veg to scooter parts and football shirts. The majority of stall-holders are women from the surrounding villages, squatting in the shade of torn umbrellas. Local specialties to look out for include strings of spicy Goan sausages (chourico), bottles of toddi spirit and the large green plantains grown in the nearby village of Moira.