Goa is known for its virgin beaches, Gothic churches, whitewashed chapels, crumbling forts.Palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves, ferry rides, and bubbly folk music are some of the things that make Goa the paradise for tourists.
Goa is split into two districts - North Goa and South Goa. North Goa includes the capital city of Panjim, the former capital of Old Goa, Fort Aguada and Candolim,Chapora, Vagator, and the beaches Calangute,Anjuna, and Baga. South Goa includes Vasco da Gama, Bogmalo, Margao,Colva and Benolem. Being near to the sea, Goa enjoys a maritime climate, with April and May being very hot. The beaches such as Dona Paula, Calangute, Anjuna, Colva, Miramar, and Vagator can be compared with the best beaches around the world.
It is the Portuguese who gave Goa its name. Today, Goa is one of India's most popular holiday destination. Its other attractions include the Hindu temples built between the 15th and 18th centuries. Goa's friendly, easy-going people who go out of their way to make visitors feel at home.
Goa Quick facts
Goa Geography and Climate
Area: 3,702 sq km
Altitude: Sea level to 1022 m
Coast line: 104 km
Latitudes: 15o 48' 00" N - 14o 53'54" N
Longitudes: 74o 20' 13" E - 73o 40' 33" E
Summer: 26 °C - 33 °C (Peak Summer Months - Mid March to End of June)
Winter: 20 °C - 31 °C (Peak Winter Months - Late November to Mid February)
Monsoon: 350 cm (from June to Late September)
Best time to visit Goa
Tourist season is from October to December and from May to June.
Goa Near Getaways
The two major gateway cities to Goa are Mumbai and Chennai. Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, is the first of the chief gateway cities to Goa. Lacking a major International airport, Goa is largely dependent on Mumbai to help its tourism industry to thrive. Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the entry point for most foreign tourists. The rail services from Mumbai too are frequent and efficient. The Konkan Railway (the chief train to Goa) leaves from Mumbai. Chennai too is a big contributor to the transportation of tourists to Goa.
This tiny state, along the Konkan Coast, covers 3,702 sq km (1,429 sq miles) and consists of just two districts, North Goa and South Goa.
The most popular celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Easter Sunday, Ganesh Chaturthi (Chavoth-Konkani), Diwali, New Year's Day, Shigmo and the Carnival.
The most important festival, which is attended by devotees from all over Goa, is Datta Jayanti that falls in the month of December. Shri Datta Mandir is located at a distance of 37 km from Panaji at Dattawadi.
However, since the 1960s, the celebrations of the Shigmo and carnival have shifted to the urban centres, and in recent times these festivals are seen more as a means of attracting tourists.
The two major festivals Id-Ul-Fitr and Id-Ul-Zuha are celebrated at SafaMasjid at Ponda, with great pomp and are attended by a large number of people.
Goa's distinct culture is a legacy of its colonial past. Though Goa became a part of the Indian Union in 1961, evidence of the 400 odd years of Portuguese rule is still apparent in the people's dress, language, religion and cuisine, and music. A fusion of the plaintive fado with the lilting rhythms of local Konkani folk songs. Western English songs have a large following in most parts of Goa. Manddo, the traditional Goan music which originated in the 19th century, is sung and danced on special occasions.
Languages spoken are Konkani, Marathi, English & Hindi.
Goa Religious Places
Goa is well known for its gorgeous churches and intricate temples. Goa's famous and magnificent churches are largely a legacy of Portuguese colonization.
Immaculate Conception Church - This church is one of Panjim's best attractions located in the heart of Panjim city. It is said that this church was the first one to be established in Goa in the year 1540.
Safa Masjid at Ponda - The Shahouri masjid, the biggest and most famous of the 27 mosques in Ponda taluka was built in 1560 by IbrahimAdilshan of Bijapur. Adjacent to the Mosque is a well-constructed masonry tank with small chambers with 'meharab' designs.
Sri Mahalakshmi Temple - It is located at the Altinho foothill of Panaji and was built on contributions made by devotees in 1817. The deity is Goddess Mahalakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Wealth, made of black stone, with four hands and is placed in a silver canopy.
Aguada Fort: The Aguada fort is situated 18 km from Panjim, Goa. Aguada fort is small in size. The fort derived its name from Portuguese word 'Aguada' meaning'Water'. The fort was built by Portuguese in 1612 AD near Mandovi River. The idea behind the fort was to protect Goa against any enemy attack from the sea. Inside the fort, there is a spring, which was earlier used to provide water supply to the ships. Though the fort is not the best preserved monument in Goa, it exhibits the splendour of Portuguese rule in Goa. Currently at one end of the fort, the central jail of Goa has been made. The base of fort has wonderful beaches of Sinquerem and Candolim. These beaches are a perfect idea for a relaxed holiday.
Se Cathedral in Old Goa,Shri Mahalsa Temple at Mardol, Shantadurga Temple, The Viceroy Arc,Buddhist Caves of Remona, Caves at Aquem, Caves atKhandepa,caves at Mangueshi, Statue of Abbe Faria etc,. are some more attractions.
Watersports Adventure: Location is at Beaches of Goa. Famous Sports are WaterScootering,Para Sailing, Wind Surfing, Water Skiing Championships.
Goa is the best place in India to visit, if you love fun & frolic throughout the day and night. Nightlife in Goa is exciting and there are many ways to spark up the evening.
Paradiso Disco Goa, one of the eminent spots situated in the hotspot at Anjuna and Vagator Area. It attracts those crowd who enjoy quite a lot of boozing and dancing all night long. It is a swinging trance bar that opens till wee hours. One can enjoy the nightlife here especially the New Year and Christmas eves.
Shore bar which is in the middle of the Anjuna beach is also treated as the best place to enjoy. The sound system here is pounding and music really funky. All you need to do is just swing into the party mood.
The atmosphere of the beach whether during the day or night, is extremely delightful. A walk in the the evening during sunset is something that can be enjoyed by the tourists.
A candlelit dinner at the beachside is also a wonderful option for the tourists.
Kidding around Goa
The waters of the Anjuna beach are considered much safer than other beaches for swimming. Various types of water sports are offered in many of the beaches in Goa. Some of the eminent water sports are sailing, para sailing, boat rides, wind surfing, diving, river cruises, water-skiing, water scooters and fishing.
Mapusa and Anjuna are the two most famous market areas in Goa. The Friday Market at Mapusa and Wednesday Market at AnjunaBeach offer some best buys. In Mapusa market, stalls sell everything from curios and old coins to dried fish and spices, whereas the Anjuna Beach market, set by and for foreigners, is an extremely lively spot to shop for souvenirs, beachwear, trinkets and handicrafts. While shopping in Goa, always remember to bargain to your hearts content as mot products are sold at bargain prices.
A trip to Goa is not complete unless you take back a souvenir of your memorable sojourn to this magnificent state of India. The local handicrafts of Goa are the most popular souvenir items sought by tourists. These handicrafts include items such as brassware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, and so on. These are available in the Government Emporia and other shops near most of the popular tourist spots.
Another item that is high on the list of every traveller to Goa is a pack of the famous cashew nuts, available almost everywhere in variety of flavors like plain, salted and masala. The prices of these nuts vary on the basis of quality and flavour. Goa also offers some best selections in home styling and fashion at reasonable prices for the tourists. The experience of going around the shops in the traditional markets of Goa's towns and villages is enthralling and portrays Goa's ethnic culture and a peek at the typical Goan way of doing business.
Famous To Eat at Goa
Here one can taste rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Pork dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for major occasions among the Catholics. Apart from this there are restaurants which provide vegetarian food also. Fresh fruit juices and coconut drinks are available near the beaches.
Goa Museum and Hill Stations
Museum of Goa Daman & Diu: This Museum concentrates on archaeological and archival material. Consequently the sculpture collection displays antiquities from the various Hindu dynasties that once ruled Goa. Also on view are important inscriptions and manuscripts, coins and textiles. The furniture, art objects, especially ivory statues, pertain to Christian-Portuguese influences.
Museum of Goa,
Daman and Diu Directorate of Archives, Archaeology and Museum,
Ashirvad Building, St. Inez, Panaji, Goa 403 001. Timings:
10.00 am to 1.00 pm 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm (Closed on Sundays and public holidays)
Gardens and Parks at Goa
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: This is Goa's only bird sanctuary, situated on the western tip of the island of Chorao along river Mandovi near Panaji. It is 1.8 sq km in area. A variety of local and migratory birds can be found on this island. The sanctuary is named after one of India's most prominent ornithologists, Dr. SalimAli.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary: It is a mini zoo. The sprawling deer park in natural habitat, botanical and rose gardens attract people throughout the year. It is an ideal jungle resort, a major attraction for school going children and nature lovers. Birds: Bondla is home to over a hundred bird species.
Botanic Gardens: The large collection of plants is of interest to students. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary It is closed on Thursdays. The Bondla wildlife sanctuary is about 50 km from Panaji and 38 km from Margao and 20 km east of Ponda. There are tourist buses that make a stop over at Bondla from Margao and Panaji. It is connected to Ponda as well as Molem by a good tar-road.