History of Goa
Location and Climate of Goa
Nightlife of Goa ] [
Culture of Goa ] [
Cusine of Goa ]
Fairs of Goa ] [
Folklore of Goa ] [
Water Sports in Goa ] [
Churches of Goa ] [
Temples of Goa ] [
Demography of Goa ]
City of Panaji Goa ] [
Wildlife of Goa ] [
Map of Goa ]
emerald land on the west coast of India is situated between the
borders of Maharastra and Karnataka.
Goa was under the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years.
The territory of Goa, Daman & Diu was liberated from the Portuguese
rule in the year 1961.
Goa attained statehood on 30th May, 1987.
A very striking feature of Goa is the harmonious relationship among
various religious communities, who have lived together peacefully
Though a late entrant to the planning process, Goa has emerged as
one of the most developed States in India.
The name conjures up images of sun-baked sands, heady feni, and palm
fronds waving in a cool sea breeze. All that may sound a wee bit
clichéd, but Goa definitely isn’t. One of India’s hottest
destinations for well over two decades now, Goa was- and still is-
where everybody goes to party. A sunkissed land dotted with coconut
trees and rice fields; old Portuguese churches and the prettiest of
beaches- where February means Carnival and every day is an occasion
Goa’s beaches are where much of the action is; some of the
best beaches in India, these are the major reason why Goa attracts
so many thousands of tourists- Indian and foreign- every year. The
state’s beaches stretch all along the coastline, from the northern
border with Maharashtra right down to the south, where peaceful
stretches like Palolem are a godsend for anybody looking for an
escape from the crowds.
The three main areas where Goa’s best beaches are concentrated
include Mapusa, Panaji and Margao. Along most of the major beaches
are resorts, hotels, cottages, restaurants and souvenir shops by the
dozen, and usually an interesting flea market as well. All of which
means that you can get a fairly complete vacation- with
accommodation, dining, entertainment and shopping- all on one beach.
What more could one ask for?
Best time to visit
Goa is a year-round destination, but the best time to go is in
winter, between late October and early April. The winter weather is
balmy, the days are sunny and the nights cool, especially on the
beach. The summers are very hot and humid and it rains heavily from
June to August, making it unsafe to swim.
The carnival period in the month of February through to early March
is another peak time, attracting a lot of tourists to Goa. It is a
great season with parades, pageants and merrymaking late into the
Goa is well connected to Mumbai and other major cities by air, rail,
road and a limited catamaran service, the latter only from Mumbai.
Dabolim Airport, 30 km from Panaji, is the only airport in the
state, but it’s got plenty of flights coming from the rest of the
Goa is also well connected by train, with Margao being the main
station for the Konkan Railway plying between Maharashtra and
Karnataka. Trains come in from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Trivandrum
and other major cities of the country. National Highways link Goa
with other cities and there are regular overnight coaches and buses.
Driving down from Mumbai is also a good idea, since its useful to
have a vehicle in Goa.
The best way to get around Goa is to hire a vehicle, as public
transport systems can be a bit unreliable: there are no metered
taxis and the bus service is erratic. Riding pillion on motorcycle
taxis is extremely popular and inexpensive. You can also rent cars
or two-wheelers for the day.
Options for accommodation are virtually unlimited in Goa and you can
find a room to fit any budget. There are luxury hotels in prime
locations near the beach, holiday resorts, tourist bungalows, beach
shacks, dormitories and paying guest accommodation with local
families. Also available are hostel and dormitory style
accommodation that is perfect for students and backpackers on tight
budgets. All three areas- Margao, Mapusa and Panaji- have
low-priced, state-run GTDC tourist hotels. Most tourists prefer to
stay around the beaches in north or south Goa.
Book in advance during peak season, as accommodation can get very
scarce at this time.
Mapusa, in the northernmost part of Goa, is the state’s main market
town. The administrative capital of Bardez Taluka, Mapusa is 13 km
south of Panaji.. The town's name, pronounced `Map-sa’, after the
Konkani words for `measure’ and `fill’, is an indication of its
commercial nature. Besides being a busy market town, Mapusa is
conveniently close to some of Goa’s most popular beaches.
Calangute: About 8 km south from Mapusa, Calangute is Goa's most
popular beach, a highly commercialised but sizzling beach that
offers good sunbathing, passable swimming and the most delicious
food along the coast. Though the beach itself is not spectacular,
and the coarse golden sand drops steeply creating an undertow, there
is something about Calangute that attracts the Indian tourist and
Western sun-worshipper alike.
Baga: A happening beach 10 km west of Mapusa, crescent-shaped Baga
is less crowded than Calangute, but comparatively safer for
swimming. Baga has soft white sand and a green backdrop of paddy
fields. Baga is popular for water sports - parasailing, jet skiing,
body boarding and surfing, though the waves aren't good enough for
the professional surfers. Another hit with tourists are the dolphin
cruises on a boat out at sea, bringing you within touching distance
of these smiling creatures. Baga's nightlife is more sophisticated
than Calangute's, with music, dance and wine.
Anjuna: The "hip" beach that has lived up to its swinging reputation
since the 70s, Anjuna has traditionally been a rave centre and
attracts partygoers and backpackers to its famous beach parties,
especially around the Christmas-New Year season. Anjuna's golden
sands and tall coconut palms make the beachfront a pretty hangout
place and the sea is safe for swimming.
Small Vagator and Big Vagator: A little ahead of Anjuna lie the two
Vagators - the big and the small Vagators. Both are secluded, palm
fringed, quiet places tucked away in the northernmost tip of Mapusa.
Small Vagator is a small cove - its fine silver sands and rocky sea
shore surrounded by black laterite cliffs.The main Vagator beach
(Big Vagator) is overshadowed by the 500 year old Portuguese
fortress of Chapora that sits atop a rocky outcrop.
Arambol: Way off to the north, near the border with Maharashtra,
lies Arambol (also called Harmal), pretty but not overcrowded.
Arambol’s stretches of soft white sand would be just what the doctor
ordered for your peace of mind. It is also the paradise for the
hippies, as there are regular "trance" parties and even "full moon"
Also near the Maharashtra border is Querim beach (pronounced ‘Keri’)
an idyllic beach but with barely any facilities or supplies
available. Equally peaceful and bereft of logistics are Mandrem
(just south of Arambol) and Morgim (Morji), on the Chapora estuary.
Mandrem, a lonely stretch of white sandy beach with a couple of
beach shacks, is frequented mostly by tourists who want to get a
full body tan, away from prying eyes of interested locals.
At the foot of Fort Aguada lies the pretty palm-fringed Sinquerim
beach, and near it Candolim beach, both popular with tourists.
Panaji, the capital of Goa, is a tiny city that packs in a large
punch. The church on the main square, the Baroque architecture,
pretty villas, cobbled streets and interesting buildings give Panaji
a distinctly Portuguese ambience. The city lies along the left bank
of the Mandovi River, and close at hand are a bunch of good beaches,
perfect for lolling around and soaking up the sun.
Dona Paula: Dona Paula is a pretty and peaceful beach shaded by
palms and casuarinas, 9 km southwest of Panaji. Dona Paula is quite
a hotspot, not only for its beauty but also because of a romantic
legend that gave the beach its name. Dona Paula de Menezes was a
viceroy’s daughter who jumped off a cliff when refused permission to
marry a local fisherman. The hapless maiden is said to be entombed
at the nearby Raj Bhawan’s Cabo Chapel.
Dona Paula beach offers water sports facilities, especially water
Miramar: The beach closest to the capital Panaji (3 km), Miramar is
conveniently located in the heart of the state capital which is also
why it is rather crowded and often dirty, though you can watch some
spectacular sunsets, as the sun goes down at the confluence of the
River Mandovi and the Arabian Sea
Bambolim: 7 km from
Panaji along the Panaji-Vasco road to the airport, Bambolim is a
minor beach frequented more by the local populace rather than by
tourists. Is an excellent destination for swimming, considered as
the safest beach in Goa for swimming, no under currents at all on
this beach. The beach is truly a paradise on earth.
Caranzalem: Though not very pretty, Caranzalem (between Miramar and
Dona Paula) is quiet and safe for swimming. It has water scooters
and other water sports facilities as there is no undercurrent.
Vaniguinim: The Vaniguinim beach overlooks the Mormugao Bay but is
accessible only from the Cidade de Goa Hotel.
Bogmalo: Just 4 km from the airport is the small cove at Bogmalo,
not easily accessible, and, therefore fairly empty. Bogmalo lies
between Panaji and the port town of Vasco da Gama; it’s good for
swimming, and not too crowded.
Margao, the capital of Salcete taluka and the chief town of
South Goa, has a
decidedly Portuguese flavour and an old world charm. It’s a vibrant
cosmopolis with a migrant populace from Maharashtra and Karnataka,
peppering the existing Konkanese and Portuguese cultures; and this
is also where some of Goa’s top beaches are.
Colva: Colva beach, 6 km from Margao, has a throbbing nightlife but
a somewhat downmarket ambience by day. Colva’s highly commercialised
with resort complexes, large holiday crowds, trinket stalls, discos
and restaurants, but a walk of a few hundred metres along the beach
in either direction takes visitors to the quieter, more private
spots. If one can get away from the crowded main beach, Colva is a
great place to shack up. There’s good accommodation, great
restaurants, the waterfront is clean and the water’s safe for
Benaulim: Benaulim lies right in the centre of Colva, 7 km west of
Margao. Benaulim remained a sleepy hamlet for centuries, then woke
up with quite a bang- and is today a popular tourist hotspot with a
crop of luxury resorts, time-share apartments, guesthouses and
moderately priced hotels. Dozens of restaurants and beach shacks dot
the seafront, serving authentic Goan seafood besides a variety of
other cuisines. Despite its popularity, Benaulim still has an air of
tranquility: the beachfront is beautiful, with silver sands, shady
palm trees and safe waters.
Varca is famous for
its silver sands, one of the best beach in the south is today a
popular tourist hotspot with a crop of luxury resorts, time-share
apartments, guesthouses and moderately priced hotels. Dozens of
restaurants and beach shacks dot the seafront, serving authentic
Goan seafood besides a variety of other cuisines. Despite its
popularity, Varca still has an air of tranquility: the beachfront is
beautiful, with silver sands, shady palm trees and safe waters.
Mobor: Mobor is the spot where Colva ends and the River Assolna
meets the sea, and the site of an exclusive luxury resort. The beach
at Mobor lies in a sheltered cove overlooked by cliffs on one side -
it makes for a picture perfect setting.
Majorda: Majorda lies 2 km north of Colva, and is a pretty beach
dominated by a luxury resort, hotels, restaurants, shops, boutiques
and the best European bakeries in Goa.
South of Margao lie a host of quieter, more isolated beaches;
venture beyond Cape Rama to the peace and beauty of the beaches at
Palolem and Galgibaga- perfect for a day away from the crowds of
bathers flocking around the more touristy beaches.
Nearby Agonda and Rajbag beaches lack shelter from the sun, making
them rather isolated and inconvenient.
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