Goa is lively and modern, with many western style entertainments. there is a choice of luxurious hotels with plenty of night life, or simplicity and tranquility in one of the inexpensive, clean and comfortable rooms with their own charm, right on the beach. The Portuguese influenced food is mouthwatering. Choose massive fish steaks fresh from the sea or a wide and delicious choice of both continental and Indian dishes.
Panaji, the capital, is an easy-going town with Portuguese styled cafes, whitewashed churches and overhanging balconies; a delight after your journey. Old Goa, east of Panaji, was once the capital of the eastern Portuguese Empire. Now, it is little more than a fascinating small village surrounded by huge convents and churches dedicated to the zeal of Christianity, including the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the famous Basilica of Bom Jesus. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, who spread Christianity among the subjects of the Portuguese colonies, are entombed here. Which beach to choose from along the 100km long coastline of silvery sand.
Possibly Colva with its warm turquoise sea and fishermen hauling in their nets by hand in the clear morning light as they chant an ancient sea song; or maybe sophisticated Aguada, with its jet-set beach and sixteenth century fort. Try the experience of a full-moon party at Anjuna, or mingle with the variety of people in Calangute selling handicrafts, jewellery and modern fabrics. Enjoy the old Portuguese fort in Chapora, surrounded by secluded and sandy beaches and dense green coconut palms. Visit all the beaches or just adopt one and make it your home. Wild boar and sambar in their natural habitat in the hills of the Western Ghats can be seen in Bondla, one of the Goan wildlife sanctuaries. In addition, the region is justly famous for its many colourful festivals, including Mardi Gras, celebrated with Christian fervour.
There are so many delights in Western India and so many glorious choices; from the vibrant life of commercial Bombay to the home of the indomitable Mahatma Gandhi then down to the peace and magic of sunny Goa - the choice is yours. As a matter of fact the Goa is for relaxation and experience the idyllic peace. If you have ever dreamt of a warm land of space and light, where the beaches stretch for silvery miles, where the glittering sea always beckons you, where the people are always smiling, where the succulent juice from a bite of ripe pineapples or papaya drips on your hot skin as you luxuriate lazily on the white sand, then Goa, a fascinating blend of Latin and Indian cultures, will be a place where the wish to linger will be overpowering.
Population : Approx 1.6 million
Climate : Maximum: 34° C and Minimum: 20° C
Best times to visit : Throughout the year (November to February is pleasant while June to September is rainy season).
Places of Interest in Goa
Beaches of Goa are much ahead of other beaches in India in terms of popularity and the facilities that are available here. The beaches here have been accepted as a matter of life, there are exotic cuisine backing the pleasure of have on sun and sand, and water sports facilities that include from water scooters to water gliding. To add on you can shake your legs for some time with a glass of feni and beer, engaged in shopping on the beachside, or have midnight bonfire on the beach.
Important Beaches of Goa
Anjuna Goa Beach , Arambol Goa Beach , Agonda Goa Beach , Calangute Goa Beach , Colva Goa Beach , Dona Paula Goa Beach , Miramar Goa Beach , Palolem Goa Beach , Vagator Goa Beach .
Daily river cruises are run both by the GTDC and La Goa Travels. The hour-long sunset and sundown cruises takes you down the river Mandovi from Panaji's Bombay jetty returning after doing a round of Miramar beach while a professional troupe entertains you with folk dances and songs.
Institute Menezes braganza
The walls of lobby of the Institute of Menezes braganza, which houses the Central Library, are lined azulejos, Portuguese painted and glazed decorative tiles created by use of cobalt blue paint on white tin-glaze. They depict scenes of Vasco da Gama's journey from Lusiadas, the epic poem composed by the Portuguese national poet Camoes, who visited Goa at the height of its glory in the 16th century.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Spread over 1.78 sq km and located at the western tip of the island of Chorao along the river Mandovi, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is an idyllic, mangrove retreat criss-crossed by a maze of tributaries and inland streams. A variety of local as well as migratory birds breed and visit the area. The sanctuary can be visited any time of the year with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji. The sanctuary can be reached on foot after crossing over on the Ribandar - Chorao ferry. An ideal way to see the sanctuary is to take a boat tour on a canoe fitted with an outboard motor.
Goa State Museum
At Patto. This is a vast storehouse of invaluable objects gleaned from several sources. From the former state museum at St. Inez, it has a fine collection of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian art which includes sculptures, paintings, coats of arms, coins, manuscripts and woodcraft. Since its inauguration in 1996 it has added several galleries. One is devoted to former governor of Goa, Bannerjee's private collection which includes artefacts from the Indus Valley, Gandhara art, miniature and modern paintings, as well as Buddhist and other objects from various countries in South East Asia, and Nepal. There is also a gallery of contemporary art and one of religious music, manuscripts and utensils. One gallery houses the Institute Menezes braganza's treasured collection which has, among other things, signed limited edition prints by great impressionist painters Matisse, braque, Renoir, Rousseau and Cezanne, dozens of original paintings by Indian, Goan and European artists, including M F Husain, bronze statuettes by French sculptors, coins and stamps, priceless antiques, as well as the original table from the Goa Inquisition. Popular with visitors are two lottery machines dating from the Portuguese era. The museum plans to add several more galleries this year on anthropology, Goa's freedom struggle, landscape, and one on Goa's flora and fauna to be set up by the WWF.
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Entrance free.
Dating back to 1624, this was once the most important of coastal forts, situated at the extreme northwestern point of Salsete and guarding the entrance to the port. An inscription over the gate reads (in translation from the Portuguese): The Catholic King Dom Filippe, the third of this name, reigning in Portugal, Dom Francisco da Gama, fourth Count of Vidigueira, Admiral of India, a member of His Majesty's Council and a Gentleman of the Royal Household, being Viceroy for the second time, this Fortress was begun, the first stone being laid on ...April 1624…."
The fortress, about 10 km in circumference, contained 20 bulwarks, three magazines, five prisons, a chapel and quarters for the guard. There were two beautiful fountains. One, the Fonte de Malabar, bore the royal arms and was said to spring from a gold mine. The other, Fonte de Santo Ignacio, had a more modest origin in a sulphur mine.
Nothing much is left today except some ramparts of the citadel of the fortress, which towers above the harbour. Part of the wall and a small chapel have survived. The fort is worth a visit if only for the magnificent view it commands.
One of the finest anchorages on the West Coast of India, the harbour is the principal centre of economic activity in Goa. While Goa's other former anchorage, Aguada, was virtually closed to navigation during the monsoons, Mormugao is accessible at all times. Sheltered by the laterite plateau abutting it, it has been further protected by a breakwater wall.
The principal exports are of iron ore, especially to Japan, and it is for this that most of the foreign vessels come in. There is plenty of coastal trade with other parts of the country, especially Mumbai, and there are usually several steamers and vessels anchored in stream.
The illuminated ships and bright harbour lights reflecting in the waters of the bay make a fine sight at night.
One place for a fine sea view is the head office of the mining concern Chowgule and Company, which is at the far end of the harbour, at the edge of the Sada headland.
Another place is three km long Baina beach, which lies directly across the waters from the outer anchorage of the harbour and commands a perfect view of the ships anchored in mid-stream. Unfortunately, Baina has acquired notoriety as Goa's red-light district.
It is also a naval station with restricted areas. Keep a lookout for warning notices.
Carnival in Goa is now what it was meant to be: a people feast and not a spectacle to lure tourists and consumers. The Carnival in Goa is essentially a spring festival celebrated with joy and revelry on the beautiful beaches of Goa. The erstwhile Portuguese settlement of Goa sings, dances and makes merry through the days and nights of the Carnival. The most famous celebration of Goa appeals to a wide range of tourists from around the world. Get going to the Goa Carnival and make merry.
Shigmotsavor or Shigmo: All over Goa, Special celebrations at Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco Da Gama and Margoa. A Spring festival celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Phalgun in March.It is a grand five day festival of colour, celebrated distinctively in the villages, corresponding with Holi or Spring Festivals. Shigmo is universally celebrated in Goa, but specially in Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco Da Gama and Margoa.
Ghodemodni or Parade of the horse riders, is part of Shigmo and is found in Fatorpa and Bicholim. Hypnotic and rhythmic music of drums and Whistles accompany the martial dance, which Parades down the main street, imitating horses and their riders.
Rombat takes place on the second and third day of Shigmo. It is a Procession of men in traditional dress carrying banners and umbrellas dancing to the music of drums. Young boys wave green twigs, signifying the arrival of spring
Drama Festivals form an important part of Shigmo with most villages staging plays during the week.
Holi is celebrated as Gulal or Rangapanchami at Sri Damodar Temple in Zambaulin.
Ganesh Chaturthi birthday of Lord Ganesh, the most important deity in the Konkan, and is celebrated all over Goa. Thousand return to Goa for this festival, which is associated with good Harvest.
Novidade In each village, the first offering is is made to the church and the paddy specially blessed. No farmer, will harvest his rice crop before it is offered in a ceremony called 'Novidade' in which the parish priest himself harvests sheaf of rice and returns with it to the Church, Local people accompany him with music, fire works and Jubilation . It is a true feast day for all. Women folk of Goa's earliest tribal settlers perform a dance called Bhandup in half second half of the month.
Malni Purnima is the festivals at Sri Devaki Krishna Temple at Marcel. The Zatra of Shri Shantadugra is held at Dhargal in Pernem. The deity is taken out of the temple in a colourful procession for the day. The annual Zatra of Shri Shantadurga at Kunkoliemkarin at Fatorpa in Quepem also falls in this month. Thousands flock to attend the festival from afar. Zatra in all Temples, of special importance being at Mangueshi, Nagueshi, Ramnathi, Kavlem, Madki, Kundai, Shiroda, Khandepar, Borim, Kapileshwari, Mulgaon, Fatorpa, Amona, Mashel, Mala-Panaji, Mapusam, Velinga, Karmali, and Calangute.
The Datta Jayanti is celebrated as the annual festival at Shri Datta Temple at Dattawadi, Sanquelim.