Ponda (pronounced /fɔɳɖɛ̃ː/) (Konkani: Fonda, Portuguese: Pondá), also known as Fonda, is a city and a municipal council in the South Goa district of Goa, India. Located in the central area of Goa, Ponda lies 28 km (17 miles) southeast of Panaji, the capital of Goa and 17 km (10.6 miles) northeast of Margao. Ponda is also known as "Antruz Mahal" because of the presence of numerous famous temples and rich cultural heritage. The industrial center of the state, Ponda is home to many large factories and industrial estates, and is Goa's fastest-growing city.
Ponda formed part of the Novas Conquistas (New Conquests) of Portuguese India. It was ruled by the Sonde Rajas under the Vijayanagara Empire and the Bijapur Sultanate. In the 16th century, due to the absence of the Portuguese, Ponda was a safe haven for Hindus fleeing persecution by Jesuits and the Portuguese. In 1675, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj seized Ponda from the Bijapur Sultanate. It remained part of the Maratha Empire until 1764. Under Shivaji, Saundekar Raja was the vassal of Ponda.
The forests of Ponda were ideal places for Hindus to form makeshift temples with the idols they had salvaged from the broken temples of Sashti. These makeshift temples were slowly renovated as the Hindus gained prosperity. Now, most of the major Hindu temples in Goa are found in Ponda.
The Portuguese eventually took over the area in 1791 from the Raja of Sonda, along with Quepem, Canacona and Sanguem. It began as an administrative center with the establishment of administrative offices and court, and soon became a commercial center. Most of the area known as Ponda today was a part of Kavale village. The religious zeal of the Portuguese had ebbed by the 18th century, and Portugal itself had seen many political and religious changes due to the prevailing inquisition, so Ponda continued to have a Hindu majority even during Portuguese rule. Ponda was known as Antruz Mahal during Portuguese rule.
Ponda is located at 15.40°N 74.02°E / 15.40; 74.02. It has an average elevation of 42 metres (138 ft).
Ponda lies along the National Highway 4A, which connects Panaji to Belgaum in the neighboring state of Karnataka.
According to the 2011 census of India, Ponda had a population of 22,664. Males constituted 51.8% of the population and females 48.2%. Ponda had an average literacy rate of 85.2%, higher than the national average of 74.0%, with male literacy at 86.7% and female literacy at 83.5%. In Ponda, 9.9% of the population was under 6 years of age. Konkani is a widely spoken language.
There are many Hindu temples in and around Ponda. The Gram Daivat (root deity) of Ponda is Shri Kapleshwar, whose temple is in Kapileshwari, Kavlem. The famous Temples of Shri Manguesh (Shiva), Shri Nagesh, Shri Ganapati, Shri Ramnath and the Goddesses Shri Shantadurga, Shri Mahalasa, Shri Mahalaxmi are all located nearby.
The historic Safa Masjid is a mosque built in 1560 by the Bijapuri ruler Ibrahim Adil Shah I about 2 km from center of Ponda. It is one of two sixteenth century Islamic monuments in Goa that survived the Portuguese inquisition.
The village Bandivade in Ponda was established by King Sripala. He also built a Jain temple of Neminatha in Ponda.
Once Goa had Jain settlements. The sculptures, temples, inscriptions found in various parts tell us how Jainism flourished here. Most of the vestiges of the Jain heritage are lying neglected now. We have submitted a memorandum recently to chief minister Manohar Parrikar to take steps for the protection and conservation of these assets of our history.
National Institute of Technology Goa(NIT GOA), Goa Engineering College (GEC), Ponda Education Societys Rajaram & Tarabai Bandekar College of Pharmacy is located at Farmagudi, 3 km from Ponda. The National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR) is located in Ponda. The Kamakshi Higher Secondary School and Kendriya Vidyalaya Ponda is located at Curti, Ponda. St. Mary's High School, S.S. Samiti's I.V.B.D. High School, M.I.B.K. High School, A.J.D.E Almeida High School, GVM's Dr. DADA VAIDYA COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, Goa Engineering College (Farmagudi), S.S. Samiti's Higher Secondary School of Sciences, G.V.M.'s College of Arts and Science, P.E.S. Shri Ravi Sitaram College of Arts & Science, P.E.S's Rajaram and Tarabai Bandekar College of Pharmacy and Dada Vaidhya High School Curti are some of the schools and colleges located in Ponda.
Ponda is the gateway to Goa's wildlife sanctuaries, both the Bondla and the Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, and also to the Dudhsagar Waterfalls. The nearby Butterfly Conservatory of Goa attracts nature enthusiasts. It is at Pisgal, Priol, and very close to the Tropical Spice Plantation.Nearby cities: Margao, Vasco da Gama, Panaji
Nearby beaches: Colva, Benaulim, Majorda, Betalbatim, Betul, Canaguinim, Agonda, Palolem, Rajbhag, Polem
Borim broken bridge.
Shree Kamakshi Devi temple ; Shiroda -Goa.
Shri Sai Baba temple,Borim -Goa.
Sri Gomantak Tirupati Balaji Padmavati Temple in kundaim.
Farmagudi Fort, Farmagudi, Goa
Ponda is connected by road to the capital of Goa Panaji ,to the main railway junction of Margao and to the International Airport at Dabolim. Regularly-scheduled bus services to Panaji, Margao & Vasco (near Dabolim) depart from the Kadamba Transport Corporation bus stand on the outskirts of the town. Buses to nearby villages and towns, as well as interstate buses, also depart from the same bus stand. There are buses regularly between Ponda and Dharwad, Hubli and Belgaum run by the Kadamba Transport Corporation & Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. The national highway 17B connects Ponda to Vasco via Verna. The national highway 4A connects to Belgaum/Hubli and Panaji.