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|Elevation||42 m (138 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Ponda (pronounced /fɔɳɖɛ̃ː/) (Konkani: Fonda, Portuguese: Pondá), also known as Fonda, is a city and a municipal council in the North Goa district of Goa, India. Located in the central area of Goa, Ponda lies 29 kilometres (18 mi) southeast of Panaji, the capital of Goa. 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  It has an average elevation of 42 metres (138 ft)..
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. The temples of Lord Mangesh (Shiva), Lord Nagesh, Lord Ganapati, Lord Ramnath and the Goddesses Mhalasa and Shantdurga 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.
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 is located at Curti, Ponda. St. Mary's High School, S.S. Samiti's I.V.B.D. High School, A.J.D.E Almeida High School, 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, and Dada Vaidhya High School Curti are some of the schools and colleges located in Ponda.
Places of interest
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.
- Sai baba Temple Borim.
The city is connected by roads to the Goan capital of Panaji and the main railway junction of Margao. Regularly-scheduled bus services to Panaji and Margao 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 Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation. The national highway 17B connects Ponda to Vasco via Verna. The national highway 4A connects to Belagao and Panaji.
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