GOA TRAVEL GUIDE
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Goa Dourada (Golden Goa) Perola do Oriente, (Pearl of the East) Roma do Oriente, (Rome of the East) so has Goa been described over the last 500 years by conquerors, travellers, poets and evangelists.
The gods of the Hindu pantheon and the ancient sages has known Goa for three millennia before the dawn of the Christian era as the heart of Aparanta, a mythical province. Aparanta was what the name says in Sanskrit, a place 'beyond the end', exotic and beautiful , where time stands still.
India is a many-splendoured land but few of its corners are more favored than Goa. With a 105km coastline embracing many of the finest beaches India can offer, a wealth of accommodation from international luxury resorts to budget beach-side guest house, a cultural background (and mouth-watering local cuisine) that draws on an enchanting fusion of Indian and Portuguese traditions, and a warm, relaxed and generous welcome, Goa has got all it takes to entice and enthrall the holiday-maker.
Sun, Sand, Surf and Socegado
Cocooned within its natural boundaries, the azure expanse of the Arabian upon the hand, the leafy foothills of the Western Ghats upon the other. Goa is scarcely to be rivaled as a holiday destination. It is not just a matter of glorious beaches, for beyond the beaches you will find historic cities and picturesque village, wildlife parks and bird sanctuaries, and a cultural heritage (and mouth-watering local cuisine) that takes as its inspiration an enchanting blend of Indian and Portuguese traditions.
Goa has draw travelers for thousand of years although, until recently, they had business not pleasure on their agenda! The earliest were seafarers, possibly Phoenicians. Thought now lost in the mists of time were undoable drawn by the riches of Goa's spices-pepper, ginger, cardamom and saffron- and notable advantage of one the finest harbors on India's western flank.
Goa Rich In Attractions and History
Although the smallest of all Indian's many states, Goa is rich in attractions and history, a sublime combination of nature and terrain, climate and geography. Visitors prefer to travel to Goa by train from Mumbai, most fly in, allowing them a bird's eye view of the forested Western Ghats, followed by contoured terraces, verdant paddy fields,white-washed churches, deeply shaded groves of coconut palms and finally the Arabian Sea, fringed with an idyllic necklace of enticing beaches.
A network of roads thread deep into the countryside and no destination is more that a few hours drive from the capital, Pnaji. More adventurous souls may forsake the road for village tracks, take the meter gauge railway or even board a large motorized canoe fashioned from a mango wood and lashes together with coir, and goes chugging up the rivers into the interior. In Goa, small is truly beautiful.
Beaches In Goa
Goa's beaches are its crowning glory. In reality the coastline is one long, palm-fringed delight - the powdery sands- usually silver, occasionally dusted golden- only interrupted from time to time by inflects, estuaries or headlands. Whether secluded and peaceful or broad and lively, they exist for all to enjoy for none are private.
The most popular stretch of beaches in North Goa is the triumvirate of Sinquerim (Aguada beach) Calangute and Baga forming a graceful arc extending for 7 km. The road that snakes behind the beaches contains hundreds of hotels, restaurants, shops selling souvenirs and travel agencies, making the stretch the best developed infrastructural. North of this side is Anjuna, guarded on either side of its length by a rocky promontory. Further north are the much quitter beaches of Vagator and Chapora.
Seven km from Panaji is the beach of Dona Paula overlooking Marmagoa harbour. This I where water scooters and motor boats are available on hire.
In the south, a 25 km span of beach extends from Velsao through Uttorda, Majorda,Colva, Benaulium, Fartrade to Cavellosim. Much quieter that than the north Goa beaches. Cavellosim has a sprinkling of first class and luxury resorts along it. All the other beaches have private homes which rent out rooms, and simple restaurants. Palolem in the extreme south near Goa's border with Kartanaka is considered to be the best beach with a backdrop of the Western Ghats, their thickly-wooded hills offering trekking trails.
The Exhiliration Of The Sea
If lazing on the beach is not your idea of a good time and you crave the excitement of action, Goa is the perfect place for you. The sea holds out immense promise of stimulating the adventurer in you. Water sports available.
Vary from the passive to the highly active. You can begin your trip with an exhilarating water-scooter ride. For the slightly more adventurous, there is the sheer thrill of windsurfing, a sport known locally as body breaking! There you are, alone on a board with a single sail, in full command of your craft, flying, along in front of a brisk land breeze.
Gliding along in the air, you can look down on the beaches, the sea, and the all the lesser mortals who merely walk on the earth below. If you choose, you can also go diving, snorkeling or even scuba diving with harpoon guns in pursuits of your own fish.
Churches, Chapels, Temples... A Varied Legacy
Perhaps nowhere are the diverse influences of Goa more dramatic than in the place of worship. It is not uncommon to come across at temple in the Maratha style, with a distinctively Christian plan and an Islamic dome! Such contradictions sum up the story of Goa, of the conquistadors and settlers who came and made it their home. They brought with them their languages, their customs, their architectural idioms, and smoothly integrated with the existing traditions. The churches of Old Goa, built in the 16th and 17 th centuries, are basically in the baroque Renaissance style with some Gothic touches. But the insides are all derived from European as well as Indian elements. The Se Cathedral, largest church in Asia, is a grand example of the form. The 80-metre long aisle is a truly imposing sight, with ornamental embellishments culminating in a magnificent gilt altar.
Old Goa, 10 km east of Panaji, is the prime tourist attraction of the state. It was built by Adil Shah,the Sultan of Bijapur. Basilica of Born Jesus, dedicated to infant Jesus, is the most famous church in Goa. The mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier, kept in a rich casket, are enshrined here.
Se Cathedral is the most imposing church in Goa - its vaulted interior overwhelms the visitors by its sheer grandeur. The Church of St. Francis of Assissi has its interior illustrated with exquisite paintings.
Saint Cajetan church was built in the style of St.peter,s Basilica in Rome. Church of Our Lady of Rosary is one of the earliest built churches in Goa.
There are more temples in Goa than churches. Important among these are Manguese Temple at Mangueshi. Mahalsa Temple at Mardol, Shanta Durga Temple at Kavlem. There are not too many mosques in Goa - the most important is the Jama Masjid at Sanguem. Another notable mosque in Goa is the Safa Masjid at Ponda.
Fort Aguada, Dudhsagar Water Falls, Kesaval Spring, Mayem Lake.
Distance from Panaji
Margo-33m, Vasco-de-Gama-30km, Mapusa-13 km, Calangute- 16km, Dabolim Airport-29 km, Colva Beach - 39 km, Tiracol-42 km.
Festivals In Goa
Goans seems to thrive on festivities. In a year, approximately 9 months are devoted to celebration mostly woven around religious occasion. Some of the most important festival of Goa are the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saints of Goans, on 3rd December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception held at Panjim and Margao, on 11th December, the Feast of the Three Kings, on 6th January, Ganesh Chaturthi and Dasrotsav, and Urs of Shah Abdullah (Feb). The harvest and the victory of the Ranes over the Portuguese are all so important cultural events
Carnivals In Goa
Goa Carnval : February -A time to express happiness at the arrival of spring is a 3- day festival of colour, fun and frolic. Shigme: (March) - Holi in Goa is celebrate as Shigmotsay, which is festival of farewall to winter and welcome spring. Food and Cultural Festival: October -November -A5-day festival is held at Miramar beach close to Panaji in November.
The Monsoon - Magic Months
To invoke an old saying, in Goa it never rains but pours. The majestic onslaught of the monsoon n this coastal region begins in June and continues for three months. If you ask the local, many will tell you that this is the best time to visit Goa, when it is at its loveliest. Most visitors would endorse that, for Goa in the monsoons is a truly impressive sight.
The monsoons clouds sweeping in from the sea make a spectacular of sheer grandeur, one which visitors miss out on. And with this arrival, the ours waft into wonderful, lazy, rain - soaked days. Sit out on a verandah and watch the world at the standstill. Maditate on his simple pleasure of holidays in this unforgettable land. Toss down a feni or two and make plans for the next break in the whether. The sea, angry and active, puts on a grand show for the occasion. Entire slopes of hillsides turn a luxuriant green as the threes greet the storm clouds and the undergrowth grows rapidly. The rivers, swollen with rainwater, flow with a renewed gusto which typifies the mod prevalent at the time. And peace reigns unchallenged in this idyllic land.
The Fish, The Food, The Feasting
Among the mantles that Goa dons, one of the most distinctive is that of a gourmet's paradise. The coastline is a rich trove of seafood. Delectable prawns, oysters, lobster, crabs, squid, mussels, pomfret- the specialties abound. Each imbued with the inimitable flavors of Goan cooking -the inspired use of spices, the snap of chillies, and a truly formidable variety of curries.
These flavors lend themselves to the exotic meat and chicken dishes of the land. The tingling vindaloo, the cutting sorpotel, the unique chicken cafrial and xacuti, and succulent Goan sausages.
For vegetarian, there is the delicious Konkani cuisine, as well as a multitude of South Indian restaurant that dot the towns of Goa.
Shopping In Goa
All beach towns have several shops selling souvenirs and handcrafts from all over the country. Goa's varied handcraft includes decorative items made from sea-shells, palms leaves and earthenware pottery. Goa Handicraft Rural and all the Small-Scale Industries Development Corporation helps in the marketing of the local produce through their emporia. Goa has hundreds of shops selling everything from leather garments to Tibetan jewellery, from gems to fur coasts. Supermarkets sell packets of readymade babinca, as well as pouches of ready to use powdered masalas for reichado, xacuti and cafrial.
Bhagwan Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary: Situated along the northest border of Goa at Molem, the sanctuary is only 60 km from Panji- along the Panji -Belgaum National Highway. Rich in wildlife and birds, it is the biggest in Goa and covers 240 km of thick forest on slopes of the Western Ghats and the Valleys.
Bondla Forest: One of the three major wildlife sanctuaries of Goa, it is 38 kms from Margao.
Cottgao Wild Life Santuary: This Sanctuary is the second largest in Goa covering an area of 105sq.kms.Located some 60 kms, from Panaji Mangalore National Highway, the sanctuary is covered with dense forests.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary: Spread over an area if about 2 sq. kms, the bird sanctuary is located on the Western tip of the island of Chorao along river Mandovi near Panaji. It is fully covered with mangrove species.
Travel Planner - Getting There - How To Go To Goa?
By Air: Goa receive international and domestic flights and also connected with major cities and towns in India.
By Rail: Goa is connected with major railways in the country
By road: Panaji is connected by road in the main national highways crossing through Goa, 4A, 17, and 17A. Chiplun, the mid-point from Mumbai, has several resorts. Within Goa an extensive network of roads links its different centres. Regular bus services connect the towns of Goa with all major centres of the region.
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