Goa is known as a tourist destination for not just people from India, but from across the world. Virgin Beaches and Palm Orchards of Goa have been known to allure many a traveler to this intoxicating land. Adding to its beauty and charm, the culture of Goa is also known for its carefree, happy and merry ways. The Gothic Churches, imposing temples and pristine monuments stand tall and proud as guardians of Goa's past heritage.
The state of Goa sits prettily on the western coast of India, and is bordered by Karnataka, Maharashtra, the Arabian seas and the western ghats. Goa is recognized as a state of the Indian Republic, a status it gained in the year 1987.
Goa has been popularized as a place of merry, beauty and fun. And rightly so! However, Goa also offers a lot of history and culture to absorb, which is reflected in a number of historical and cultural places to explore. All in all, below is a listing of some of the more prominent destinations in the state of Goa.
Goa Carnival : During the month of February, fun, frolic and amusement descend on the state of Goa in the form of the three day Goa Carnival. Though essentially a Christian event, people from all religions and walks of life eagerly await the event and take part in it with a lot of merriment and joy.
Dudhsagar Waterfalls : These waterfalls are located in the Sangeum district of Goa, near the Goa- Karnataka border. It can be reached easily from Mangao, which is hardly 60 kilometers away from Dudhsagar waterfalls.
Goa Spice Plantations : As a testimony of the rural side of Goa, its Spice Plantations are a delight to visit. Truly Spicy!
Anjuna Flea Market : The Anjuna Flea market is one of the most passed on traditions of Goa and a must see place during a trip to the state. The all day market has hundreds of stalls selling the most exotic and interesting fare â€“ from clothes to jewellery to spices to imported items to much, much more. You must visit it, but haggle well before buying anything!
Panaji : The state of capital of Goa, Panaji is a destination you need to explore during your trip to Goa. A very small town, but extremely beautiful, Panaji is a sure delight for the senses.
Idalcao Palace : Built during the 14th century by Sultan Adil Shah of the Bijapur, presently the Palace houses the secretariat of the state.
Goa State Museum : A great and fascinating account of Goaâ€™s history and culture, the Goa state museum has a number of galleries featuring paintings, sculptures and other art forms from all over Goa as well as India.
Santa Monica : Take a trip across the river Mandovi in the famous ferry called Santa Monica. It sure shall be one trip you shall never forget.
Dona Paula Beach : Dona Paula Beach is one of the most famous beaches of Goa, a beautiful place where two rivers of Goa merge into the Arabian Sea. Located seven kilometers from Panjim, the beach offers a fascinating view of the Marmagao Harbour. This is a place to visit if you want to relax and soak in the ambience. And if you are game for a little adventure, water scooters are available at this beach too.
Lovers Paradise : Goa has long been associated with love and romance. This place, aptly known as Lovers Paradise is a place born out of myth. Legend says that the Viceroyâ€™s daughter jumped off a cliff after her family raised objections to her love for a poor fisherman. It is said that the girl still haunts the place and she can be seen on moonlit waves wearing a pearl necklace. Thrilling!
Chapora Fort : Built by Adil Shah on the River Chopara, the fort is also known as â€˜Shahpurâ€™. Mostly ruined now, the fort attracts hordes of visitors because of a commanding view of the Vagator Beach. The fort can be easily accessed from the Anjuna Beach.
Vasco Da Gama : Lying 29 kilometers south west of Panjim, Vasco Da Gama is a part of the Marmagoa Peninsula. The Portuguese acquired this area in the year 1543, and was once counted as the busiest ports on the western coast of India. It still functions as a key shipping area of the region, with huge container vessels and ships still moving in and out of the port regularly.
The Naval Aviation Museum : 1998 saw the inauguration of the first naval museum in Asia and showcases the history of Naval Aviation in India. The museum has a large collection of aircrafts, weapons, safety aircrafts and rare photographs, amongst other exotic fare.
Old Goa : Old Goa, or Velha Goa as it is known, is situated on the outskirts of the Panaji. The region also served as the capital of Goa during the 16th century. However, the city was abandoned after a terrible plague struck the area in 1738. Now Old Goa is more like a Ghost city but also a majestic reminder of a glorious era gone by.
Siridao Beach : Located just 6 kilometers away from Panaji, the clear waters and sun kissed sands of the Siridao Beach are enough to entice you.
Aguada Fort : This fort has a lighthouse which was the first in Asia. Interestingly, it was built in 1612 to control the entry to River Mandovi and hence protect Old Goa. Once a seat of Portuguese power and control, it now serves as the Central Jail. The fort also has an ammunition room, barracks and a church.
You would not experience any difficulty in reaching Goa, or travelling within it, as the state is very strongly linked with the rest of country and even international destinations.
By Air: Dabolim airport is located 30 kilometers away from Panaji, and has services from all the major airline operators. The airport is owned by the Indian Navy.
By Rail: A host of trains make travelling to and within Goa very easy. The Konkan express is one such example which connects Goa to a lot of other important cities.
By Road: A highly structured network of roadways helps one cruise to and across the state of Goa effortlessly. National highways 4A, 17A and 17 are some of the more prominent highways link the state of Goa.
A land where frolic, history, culture and natural beauty come together, Goa is one of the most popular destinations in the country, and the world. Once here, you can visit the imposing churches of this place. You can explore the palaces and forts which stand with strong Portuguese influences. You can soak and relax at any of the beaches Goa offers, or you can let your hair loose at the three days Goa Carnival. And before you leave, do not forget to gorge on the sumptuous food and drinks the state of Goa is brimming with.
The climate of Goa can be described as being tropical and balmy for large parts of the year. Summers, from March to May, are typically warm and humid. Winters, which last from November to March are mild and pleasant. The months of June to September see heavy monsoons coming down on the state of Goa accompanied by strong winds.
Goa was the first part of India to be converted into a colony and also the last one to be liberated. Naturally, this has influenced the culture of Goa very deeply. In the past, the state has also been known as Govapuri, Gomant, or Aprant. In the year 1498, Vasco Da Gama landed at Calicut and in 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque attacked Goa. Finally, only three months later, the possession of Goa was taken by the Portuguese after Ismail Adil Shah surrendered along with his Ottoman allies. With time, Goa became the center of a Portuguese India. Goa became especially important for spice trade, with the Portuguese treating Goa as an increasingly important commercial hub. Pearls, silks, velvets, spices, drugs, porcelain, and much more, found its way into Goa and was sold on its streets. In fact, Goa was considered even better than Lisbon when it came to architectural beauty and there was a Portuguese proverb which literally meant that "he who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon."
After India gained independence in 1947, Goa continued to remain under Portuguese control. However, on December 16, 1961, â€˜Operation Vijayâ€™ liberated Goa from the Portuguese control. Subsequently, in 1987, Goa was recognized as a full fledged state of the Indian Republic.
The state of Goa experiences the seasons of summer, winter and monsoon. Summers extend from March to June end, and the temperatures range from 25 degree Celsius to a maximum of 45 degree Celsius during the season. Winters are experienced between the months of November to February and see temperatures staying between a minimum of 3 degree Celsius and a maximum of 11 degree Celsius. Monsoons hit the state during the months of July and September. The state gets rainfall up to 26 inches during the season.