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Goa - Quick Facts

Capital: Panaji
Area:3,702
Population: 1,457,723
Max summer Temp: Above 350C
Min winter Temp: 210C
Altitude: Sea Level to 1,022 meters
Rainfall: 320 cm. From June to Sep
Languages: English, Portuguese, Hindi, Konkani & Marathi


Instead of spending winter in United Kingdom and other part of Eroupe, when few hours away there is a paradise, A stretch of coastline where, from October to April, the skies are unbelievably blue and the days long, warm and sunny. Where dolphins leap out of the Arabian Sea in the morning, and where beyond the long, sandy beaches, lay tropical gardens of flowers and coconut groves caressing hotels of charm where healthy living and good food habits come naturally. Illness and stress is banished with natural therapies like Ayurveda and Naturopathy. Where time stands still and happiness is a state of mind .This paradise is Goa.

What absolutely amazes us about Goa is the friendliness of the people which continues to remain true with every visit. So many people just like to say hello, ask your name and where you’re from? Even the fishermen appreciate a helping hand to push their boats back up the beach, a labour often rewarded with a smile or sometimes even a couple of fish which can easily be traded for pineapple and a coconut.

The sheer beauty of the beaches is unbelievable, with their fine yellow sand and a backdrop of coconut trees. Whether way up north in Tiracol with its fort, in the heart of North Goa from Arpora / Baga through to Calangute / Candolim, or in the quieter south, the beaches are spectacular. There is nothing more relaxing than walking along the sand barefoot early in the morning when the fishermen are bringing in their catch, or in the late afternoon when the wonderful warm light radiates beauty…the sunsets are to die for.

The capital of Goa, panjim, is still very much a working capital with daily hustle and bustle of commercial life. It’s fascinating to walk along the streets just looking at the wares, from bric-a-brac through to international trademarks, particularly sportswear. Clothing, material, cashew nuts, Jewellery, hamacks, and wooden product from either panjim or one of the many markets will fill your suitcase with easel Travel before Christmas and buy the most unusual presents at a fraction of the price you pay in your country. Getting about in Goa too is both cheap and easy. Goa is the ideal winter destination – a place, a way of life and an atmosphere that is addictive. Experience Goa with Recreation.

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By Air

Goa is connected by flights to Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Cochin. Recently, some International flights to Gulf countries have been introduced. International charter flights land in Goa from different countries like UK, Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

By Rail
Goa is connected by Konkan Railway to Mumbai, Mangalore - Kerala. The existing Vasco-Miraj has been converted into broad guage which has facilitated direct rail journey from Goa to New Delhi. Goa is connected through South Central Railway to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, etc.

By Road
Goa is connected by road to all the major towns in India. But services are available to Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Mangalore, Kolhapur and Hyderabad. National Highways NJ4A, NH 17 pass through Goa.


Goa has been ruled by Portugal’s for more than 450 years and thus, naturally acquires much of the Portugal’s influences in the culture, architectures, cuisine and lifestyle. Often knows as “The romance of the east” it is perhaps the most westernized of all the states in Modern India and majority of the Goans are very bohemian in their way of life. With a typical tropical lifestyle, they are easy-going in nature. Indulging in “siesta”, usually from 1 pm, dance and music, food, drama, and ‘feni’ are what Goans are known for.
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Goan cuisine is a blend of different influences the Goans had to endure during the centuries. The staplefood in Goa is fish, both among the Hindus as well as the Catholics. On other fronts however, there is a vast difference in the foods of these two communities, the main reason being that the Christians also eat beef and pork which are taboo in most Hindu households. While Hindu Goan food does not seem to have picked up any Portuguese influence, the Christian food has been influenced not only by the Portuguese, but also by its overseas settlments. However, it has not been a oneway transfer. An example is canjade galinha, which is a type of chicken broth with rice and chicken pieces, and is originally a Goan recipe. Another is arroz doce, which is a Portuguese adaptation of pais or kheer (sweetened rice) found in India.
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Goa is also a land of crafts and craftsmen. Excellence in poetry, music and the fine arts give Goa its distinct identity. The ancient tradition of exquisitely carved rosewood and teak furniture, the unique gold jewellery designs, the terracotta figurines and the classic brass items along with the folk paintings of Goa are some of the most cherished legacy of Goans.
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Beaches

Calangute, Colva, Dona Paula, Miramar, Anjuna, Palolem, Vagator, Arambol, Agonda. 

Churches

Basillica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Church of St. Francis of Assissi, St. Cajetan Church, Nunnery of Santa Monica, St. Augustine Tower, Viceroy's Arc (All at Old Goa), Church of St. Alex Curtorim, Reis Magos Church, The Church of Mae de Deus at Saligao (Bardez), the Church of St. Ana at Talaulim Ilhas, Rachol Seminary, Church of Our Lady of Rosary.

Temples
Shri Shantadurga (at Kavlem, Kunkoliemkarin and Dhargal), Shri Mangueshi, Shri Bhagavati (Pernem), Rudreshwar Temple at Harvalem, Shri Mahadeo Bhumika at Sal, Bicholim, Morjaee temple at Morjim, Shri Bhagavati Temple at Parshem, Brahma Temple, Shri Chandranath, Shri Damodar, Shri Datta Mandir, Shri Devkikrishna - Ravalnath, Shri Gomanteshwar Devasthan at Brahmapuri, Shri Gopal Ganapati, Shri Kalikadevi, Shri Kamakshi Sausthan at Shiroda, Temple of Shri Mahadeva at Tambdi Surla, Shri Mahalaxmi, Shri Mahalsa, Shri Mallikarjuna, Shri Naguesh, Shri Navdurga Sausthan, Shri Navdurga at Madkai, Shri Ramnath, Shri Saptakoteshwar, Sapteshwar - Bhagvati Temple at Mandrem, Shri Vithal Mandir, Shri Sharvani, Shri Saunsthan Gokarn Partagali Jeevotam Math, Shri Saunsthan Goudpadachrya Kavle Math


South Goa is very special predominantly virgin countryside with some of the best beautiful beaches of GOA. Apart from Bogmalo which is a bay at the top South Goa. It’s basically one long beach (about 15 miles), with the beaches named after the nearest fishing village. This area is has commercial and is dominated by about 15 large hotels spread out at several mile intervals. You can walk far miles without seeing anybody, try it at sunrise and it will remain in your mind forever. It offers wonderful food and hospitality of the locals.

South Goa Beaches - Bogmalo to Verca

Bogmalo Beach is much closed to airport. At only 300 meters long and dotted with a few beach shocks. It was ideal to keep everybody happy. Here it is easier to swim in the sea, more protected from the currents and tides by the natural bay. The more adventurous can fry their hand at any number of water sports at the ‘splash’ water sport centre. As the day fades into twig light, what better way to end it then by sipping a local cocktail at a ‘hut’ like ‘Joets’ while watching the sun setting on the distant horizon

Velsoa Beach
with the Bogmalo Beach on the north and the Majorda and the Colva Beach on the south the Velsoa Beach is by for the quietest beach with several small hamlets inland. Beach shacks are rare and it is very beautiful and unspoilt. The Velsoa area is ideal for a very quiet, relaxing holiday.

Arossim Beach and Uttorda Beach is just south of Velsoa, are also very quiet and signify the start of the beautiful continuous beach that finishes 15 miles away by the River Sal. The beach here us wide, beautifully white sandy and extremely picturesque. The new Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa is located on this stretch, followed a little further down by the Kenilworth Hotel with about six shads on the beach, well worth a visit.

Majorda Beach
is one of the most famous of the southern beaches. This is due to the Majorda Beach Resort which is a very well established and popular hotel. There are many beach shacks and even the hotel’s own is competitively priced. There is nice breeze in the afternoon and 15-20 minutes walk south take you to the brochured Nanu Resort.

Betalbatim Beach
is ideal for independent Traveller. You will find yourself in a pleasantly congestion free, traditional beach belt, which will appeal greatly to anyone seeking peace and total relaxation. This beach is directly north of Colva; an approximately 15 minutes walk and dominated by the Nanu Resort.

Colva Beach is quite a busy beach; midway along the stretch of a beach that bears its name is about eight km west of Margao. It has grown into the biggest village on the southern coast and is the hub of a string of hotels and restaurants. Margao’s elite once used the beach as a summer retreat just before the monsoons. Beautiful sands, swaying palms and blue waters, it’s worth visiting early mornings when its is tranquil all around. Probably best to go a week day if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle. ‘Rohit’s Punjabi Rasoi’ servers consistently good food although it doesn’t look much from the outside.

Sernabatin Beach is a continuous of Colva beach heading south towards Benaulim. The sand dunes are much higher here and the waves seem to break further out, making swimming easier. This beach is walking distance from Colva and Benaulim. It’s a quieter section of beach and the sunset is spectacular. There is nothing nicer than sitting in a beach shacks on the dunes downing a bear (or two), or new on the menus is an arrange, lime or cranberry Bacardi Breeze!

Benaulim Beach can be identified when you spot ‘Johncy’s’ and a car park signifies the end of the beach road leading from the “Royal Palms”. Benaulim village, immediately south of Colva, is land marked by the hilltop church of st john Baptist, which stands above the village about one km inland from the beach. According to the myth of Parasurama on the creation of Goa, this is where the arrow fell.

Cavelossim Beach has become very popular for the last few years. The only hotel in this area is “The Leela Palace”. Now the “holiday Inn”, “The Old Anchor” and “Don Sylvia”. Today many accommodation have been built and the area has developed into a village with lots of shops, bars and restaurants.

Mobor Beach is the last section of the beach, separated from the next stretch by the River Sal as it meets the Arabian Sea. The beach is wide, the yellow, and there are beach shacks for sustenance. A group of 4 hotels are located here including the ‘Holiday Inn’, And it is a walk able distance (Quicker by beach) from Mobor into Cavelossim. This area attracts lots of dolphins and most of the trips taking holidymakers to spot then set off from here. This area is stunningly beautiful and should be high on your agenda of places to visit

Verca Beach One of the most luxurious and exotic beaches of Goa, Verca is 2 km south of Benaulim. The cushion soft white sands and the black lava rocks are much cleaner and offer much more solitude and peace than most of the renowned beaches of Goa. Explore a little to find places which offer you dolphin-watching and boat trips on the River Sal, with an ample opportunity to see dolphins swimming in the seawater.

The Deep Hidden Beaches of South Goa

Canacona’s Beaches – a series of crescent – shopped sweeps of sand separated by headlands and backed by hills one heavenly, superb, untouched beaches and tiny fishing villages attracts only the most determined Traveller. The hills, given to the catigao wildlife Sanctuary are one of Goa’s great escapes and dramatically different from the pastoral scenes of the central provinces. If you are looking for the ultimate beach experience Canacona will live up to your expectations of complete peace, relaxations and exotic beauty

Agonda Beach is another relaxing find of great beauty. A lovely, sandy stretch of beach with a number of places to stay and eat but facilities on the beach is few. A worthwhile day trip for beach lovers.

Palolem Beach is also known as “paradise Beach” and is very picturesque. About a mile long, the beach curves to an island-like promontory with coconut palms bordering the sand. Palolem just a few years ago was very quiet but it has changed. There are now hundreds of shacks, shops bars and small accommodation and although this beach used to be known as idyllic and peaceful, it is livelier than we have ever seen it before. The party scene has definitely found Palolem, it is popular, full of life, people and music.
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Walking the Beaches

Goa has incredible variety of beaches for such a small state, and each area has its particular character. From the wild and empty beaches of the very north, through to the more popular and busy tourist destinations, left down to the beautiful, quite beaches of the south. There’s a beach in Goa that is just left for you. Read on, Goa’s beaches are to be explored……

The Wild North
- Tiracol to Morgim

Tiracol Beach
is at the very north of Goa, reached by crossing the Tiracol River. You can crossed on an ancient Goan ferry with trucks, motorbikes, 3-wheeler.The Tiracol fort was captured by the Portuguese in 1776 and from the battlements you can look across to Querim Beach. Tiracol is unspoilt, stunningly beautiful and ideal for bird watchers or anyone looking for a totally secluded beach.

Quarim Beach is at least three miles long. From the Tiracol Fort you can see paraglide circling the clouds at the for end of the beach which added to the magical feeling. At 4pm one can fascinated to see the fishermen in the estuary in their canoes. The canoes are dug out of jackfruit trees or teak and are handed down through the generations. The estuary is a haven for bird-life; you can see three birds of kingfisher, brown eagles and an endless list of wading birds. Quarim is remote and beautiful and an ornithologist’s paradise.

Arambol Beach
is a popular retreat for foreigners and many stay in basic accommodation here for months on end. Arambol has a very busy little community and pathway down to the sandy beach is lined by many stalls with ethnic clothing, bedspreads and jewellery in bold and beautiful colors. The beach itself is split in two, one larger bay which you stop onto initially with approx. 25 eating places, huts to sleep in , and a few sun beds and umbrellas. If you venture round to the left, a makeshift pathway has been created through the rocks. It’s well worth the walk to find many more eating places and a more secluded beach which hosts the landing of Para glider and is backed by the “sweet” freshwater lake.

Mandrem Beach
is discovered as the road from Arambol emerges through the cashew trees to run parallel with the beach for a short amount of time. Mandrem beach is most beautiful and unspoilt of the northern beaches. It’s at least three miles long and as wide as two football pitches in places. Walk down the beach and have a look of the Goan fishing canoes, beautifully pointed with names like Gracey. There beauties come alive at around 4pm to take their master for another night’s fishing. Try and visit Mandrem….the sand stretches for as far as the eye can see…it’s beautiful and unspoilt.

Avsem Beach is reached as you turn off the main road, through the winding village lanes bordered by beautiful Hindu temples. We passed the villagers with their water buffaloes, some had red painted horns that must have had some significance but we regret we don’t know what it is? It’s sheltered by the hillside and shaded by coconut trees, the usual collection of shocks lines this long, sandy beach and we noticed an unusual hotel: it consisted of 16 beach huts on bamboo stills with coconut palm roofs. This is the sort of place that travelers visit and spend the whole winter. One can see many happy holidaymakers who were escaping Western Europe’s cold and grey climates for the guaranteed sunshine and blue skies.

Morgim Beach
is special in that it provides the breeding ground for turtles. Signposts show it as a Government protected habitat and eco tourism area. On arrival, the names of the shacks as you approach the beach strike as somewhat familiar. With names like ‘Harry Ramsden’s’, ‘Hard Rock café’ and ‘Planet Hollywood’, it is quite amusing and is difficult to decide which one to go into, especially as they are left next door to each other! This beach is very long and once away from the shacks, is the perfect beach for a long walk with almost guaranteed solitude.

North Goa Beaches - Vagator to Coco

Vagator Beach
is overlooked by Chapara Fort. From the Cliffside car park, which has become a bit of a bazaar, you get a spectacular view of the sandy beaches which lay between the rocky headlands and shady palms on either side below. It’s a steep climb down and on the left-hand beach there are lots of huts to choose from and a very relaxed lifestyle. At the end of this section is where the face caved in the rock can be found. Many travelers come down from Europe and spend the whole winter just living on Vagator Beach. It can get very busy at the weekend.

Anjuna Beach
is one of the most colorful beaches in Goa. This beach continuation of Vagator around the rocky headland and on interesting place for meeting people or just watching the world go by. There are two sections to this beach; one is very small and rocky below a cliff top with small restaurants and stalls selling curios. The other is a sandy, walk able boy and this is where the famous Wednesday flea market is held. This is not to be missed Anjuna, in a sense, is where East meet West You get hippies selling their wares, Indian ladies selling their colorful sarongs and bedspreads, alongside fruit and puppet sellers. This is probably the most interesting market in Goa. Also worth a visit is the splendid Albuquerque Mansion which was built in the 1920’s a large Portuguese villa still partly inhabited.

Baga Beach
originally was a fishing village at the northern end of Calangute is now one of the most popular party destinations in the world. It is bordered in by a hill on one side and has a quaint creek running alongside, giving it delightful ambience. Crystal blue waters attract a large number of swimmers however its uncertain currents must be taken into account. Water sports in almost every form are popular here. In the night the beach transforms itself and its most famous landmark, club Tito’s is the place to be Café Mambo’s on the other side is a favorite’s haunt of all the party regulars too.

Calangute Beach has become nearly as popular and busy with holidaymakers as Baga, with miles and miles of sandy beach but with fewer coconut trees. Walking along with from Baga Beach, the stretch of sand continues to both is very long and alternates between busier sections can be identified by some big, wide steps which lead t the souvenir shops and iced Beer stands near the Calangute roundabout. As you continue past the steps in the direction of Candolim, it become quiet again and more relaxing. The beach is rock-free though swimming in the waters is not advised as the currents can be tricky.

Candolim Beach
is the longest and quietest part of this northern stretch. At this point the beach is as deep as a football pitch, and the beach bars and shacks are set back on the sand dunes. The fishing community with their huts on the beach, still fish as they have always done, most locals eating fish curry and rice on a daily basis. The only difference from their Grandfather’s day is the fact that they have an outboard motor on the back of their ancient craft!

Sinquerim Beach
13 km from panjim is the largest established and more ‘sophisticated’ end where the Fort Aguada Resort, Taj Holiday village and Aguada Heritage are all situated. Some of the beach peddlers here wear Nike trainers! It’s little more expensive and a little more international. The view from above the Hermitage up the coast is really quite spectacular. Sometimes water sports are available here, one of the few beaches where you can enjoy water activities. Unfortunately the ‘River Princess’ still remains, a large bulk carrier that had managed turn ground, it’s become quite a tourist attraction. Thanks to its multitude of cultures and religions the Goan people celebrate a number of festivals all through the year. The pride of Goa’s legacies is her tradition of solidarity and harmony. The festivals are celebrated by everybody regardless of religion or background Festivals like Christmas, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid are community festivals.

Coco Beach is at the estuary of the Mandovi River just over the headland from Candolim and Sinquerim beaches. It’s the most southerly of the northern beaches and a hidden jewel. Most of the visitors to Coco Beach have been there on numerous occasions and love it. The water is shallow and although the sand is grayish, the swimming is superb. At the far end of the beach is a Goan fishing village that has been there for generations. The dugout canoes with their painted bleft colours of green and yellow are like beached whales on the shore.


The reason why there is so much interfaith participation in festivals and festas and zatras, in Shigmo and Ganesh Chaturthi and the Carnival, in Christmas, Dussehra and Diwali is because the people of Goa follow the religion of being Goan first. Everything else springs from that fountainhead.

Many Goan festivals are actually zatras (feasts) of the local or family deity celebrated at the temple of the god or goddess. It is a festive and colourful occasion in the temple complex with thousands of devotees taking part in the celebrations and the palakhi (palanquin) procession.

Other festivals like Dussehra, Diwali and Holi are the same as those celebrated around India but with the characterstic Goan flavour. The Goan Hindu community mainly celebrates Ganesh Chathurti, Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Ramnavmi and Krishnajanmashtami.

Goa, a land of feasts, fairs and festivals. Festivals are an integral part of Goan life. Every little hamlet has a tiny temple or a church having a special annual Zatra or a festa. An outstanding aspect of life in Goa is its harmony and there is always a reason to celebrate. The confluence of cultures is reflected vividly in the music of the church and the hymns of the temple.

Revelry, music and dance, flow through the blood of the Goan community. As a result of 450 years of colonization by the Portuguese, Goan music has evolved to a form that is quite different from traditional Indian music. This historic amalgamation from the East and West has produced some of India’s best artistes such as Lata Mangueshkar and Remo Fernandes. While Lata Mangueskar has brought classical Indian music to the world, Remo has succeeded in bringing a unique blend of Indo-Western pop. The most popular forms of post Portuguese music were the mando and the dulpod, whilst dekhni is one of the most well-known forms of dance.
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The excellent and unique local handicrafts of Goa are the most popular souvenir items and include brassware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, etc. These are readily available in the Government Emporia and also at shops and stalls near the popular tourist spots. Another item which every traveler would love to take home is a packet of salted, plain or masala cashew nuts, available at every market shops.

Many old Goan houses have been renovated and transformed into lifestyle fashion shops where variety types of dresses are available at reasonable prices. The dresses are colorful vibrant and boast latest cuts and designs.
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Mapusa | Panaji | Ponda | Mormugao Harbour | Vasco- da-Gama | Margao.
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