Ponda lies about 28 kms south-east of Panaji and 17 kms north-east of Margao. The town was born after the Portuguese took over the area in 1791 from the Raja of Sonda and annexed it along with Quepem, Canacona and Sanguem forming the New Conquests.
Ponda began as an administrative centre with the establishment of administrative offices and courts. It soon became a commercial centre. Most of the area known as Ponda today was a part of "Quela" village. It lies strategically along the main Panaji - Margao highway and is also connected to the neighbouring state of Karnataka via the Ponda - Belgaum highway or the NH-4.
Ponda can be described as the Hindu heart of Goa and houses Goa’s most renowned temples, which have distinct architectural styles and histories. These include the Mangeshi Temple, Naguesh Temple, Ramnath Temple, Mahalsa Temple and the Shantadurga Temple. Most of these temples look relatively new as they have been restored after being destroyed by the Portuguese.
Ponda has Goa’s largest and oldest remaining mosque - Safa Shahouri Masjid (a.k.a. Safa Masjid).
Ponda is also the gateway to Goa's wildlife sanctuaries - both the Bondla and the Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuaries are located here.
Today it is an industrial city with many large factories and industrial estates nearby. Goa's first engineering college, the Goa College of Engineering is located at nearby Farmagudi.