The tiny triangular land of Goa in India, nestled on the
west coast of India is synonymous with its pristine beaches, Portuguese
influence and architecture and rich cultural milieu. With its coastline
spanning 125 kms, it is little wonder that Goa holidays have come to mean
lazing around the scenic beaches at Colva, Calangute, Palolem, Anjuna,
Baga and Miramar. The important cities of Goa, India are Marmagoa, Margao
and Panjim (Panaji). A flight to Goa or a train journey through the
picturesque Western Ghats will take you to this small state. Read on to
find interesting information on Goa, its tourist spots, resorts and
Trip to Goa
You can take a flight to Goa from Bombay, Bangalore,
Cochin, Delhi, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. If you take a flight to Goa,
the Dabolim airport is about 30 kms away from the capital. You can take a
coach service that is provided for inbound and outbound flights. There is
no dearth of private cars and taxis. If you are planning a trip to Goa,
you can take the new Konkan Railways, which is well connected with Mumbai,
Bangalore, Delhi, Mysore, Pune and Hyderabad. You can alight at Vasco or
Margao stations. The Konkan Railways has made it easier to travel to Goa.
Another alternative is to enjoy a catamaran ride from Mumbai. A road trip
to Goa is also possible. Comfortable buses ply to Goa from Bangalore,
Mangalore and Pune.
Since it is located in the coastal Konkan region of
western India, the weather of Goa is generally warm and sunny. The average
Goan temperatures range between 25 and 30 degree C. The monsoons lash Goa
between June and September. Goa receives nearly 325 cms of rainfall
annually. Goa weather is generally sunny, with clear skies. Ideal weather
in Goa is from October to February. A trip to Goa should be planned around
this period, so that you can escape the torrential rains as well as the
Tourism is vital to Goa's economy. Every year, millions
of tourists throng the beaches of Goa from the rest of the India and
across the world. But Goa is not just about beaches. The churches and
temples of Goa dating back many centuries are part of Goa's old-world
charm. Portuguese architecture can be seen in the famous Church of Bom
Jesus, which is a laterite structure with a three storeyed façade. The
Church is dedicated to Bom Jesus, which means Infant Jesus. This Church
was consecrated on 15 May 1594 by Fr. Alexia de Menezes.
The Bom Jesus Basilica preserves the embalmed body of St. Francis Xavier. The Cathedral
at Old Goa is perhaps the largest church in Asia. This 16th century
monument has 14 side chapels and boasts of the huge Golden bell, which is
the biggest in the world. The Se cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine and was the location where the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier were displayed to the public. This church is built in the Tuscan style. The Cross of Miracles is believed to be growing in size and is said to have healing properties. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi stands next to the Se Cathedral. This laterite structure is now part of the archaeological museum. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Old Goa
is adorned with exquisite paintings and carvings.
The architecture of the
Saraswat temples in Goa is different from many other Hindu temples due to
historical reasons. The presence of a Lamp Tower or 'Deep Stambha' is
characteristic of these temples. The Mangeshi temple in Ponda is a small
temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shantadurga temple in Kavlem has the
tranquil image of Goddess Durga. The Devaki Krishna temple in Marchel has the beautiful statue of baby Krishna on his mother's hip. This idol is made of black stone and is unusual in its representation of Krishna as a baby. People worship Lord Vishnu in a female form at the Mahalasa Narayani temple in Mardol. This temple has exquisitely carved pillars and a lamp tower that is probably one of the biggest in Goa.
Another popular Goa tourism attraction is the famous
carnival. The annual carnival of Goa is a Latin inspired extravaganza,
reminiscent of ancient Roman and Grecian ritual feasts. The streets of Goa
are agog with colorful parades, floats, balls and bands during the three
days and nights of February. Tourists on a Goan holiday can enjoy
themselves at the Dudhsagar and Aravalem waterfalls. Dona Paula, which
overlooks Marmagoa offers a wonderful view of the Goan rivers meeting the
This place has now become a commercialized resort offering
facilities for water scootering and water sports on account of its lake-like conditions that make it the perfect setting for beginners and learners alike. You can also indulge in windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing, snorkeling, harpoon fishing and yachting here. The annual water sports festival is hosted every November at Dona Paula. The Marine Biology Museum and Taxonomy Reference center of the institute is yet another tourist haunt at Dona Paula.
If you want to take back a souvenir of this serene land,
you have a lot to choose from. You can find brassware and terracotta work
aplenty. Bamboo work and papier mache are also very popular here. Don't
leave Goa without carrying a packet of cashew nuts, be it the plain or
A Goa holiday is ideal for swimmers, beach buffs,
sunbathers, water sports enthusiasts and tourists alike. Take a cruise on
the Mandovi river ferry. The beaches of Goa beckon all those who want all
the sand and surf on their Goan vacation. The Calangute beach, about 16
kms from Panjim is the popular holiday resort. The Anjuna Beach and its
flea market are popular with many tourists. If you are seeking a
relatively pristine beach that offers seclusion, then the beach at Betul
is just what you need. The beach at Colva tucked ways in the Salcete area
is yet another of Goa's treasured spots. The Palolem Beach or Paradise
Beach at South Goa is calm and idyllic.
Goa has a thriving economy, fuelled in no small way by
expatriate Goans who are working in Europe, the U.S and the Gulf states.
The population of Goa is about 13,43,998, according to the Census of 2001.
Though the official language is Konkani, English, Hindi and Portuguese are
You can try out typical Goan delicacies at a Goa hotel.
Seafood such as prawns, lobsters, crabs and jumbo pomfrets are used in
plenty in soups, salads and pickles. Fish curry and rice is the staple diet of Goans. If you are a lover of seafood, you can gorge on the king fish, mackerels, sardines, squid and mussels and oysters. Some Goan delicacies are Chicken Xacutti, Pork Vindaloo, Sarpatel, Reichado and Balchao. A layered sweet
with eggs and coconut milk, Bebinca is yet another Goan delicacy.
Coconuts, chillies and tamarind are essential in most Goan dishes. An
alternative to tamarind is 'kokum' - a sour deep red colored fruit that
lends a sharp and sour taste. Goans also use a toddy-based vinegar to
their dishes. A Goa holiday is not complete without sampling the Chourico
red sausages at a local Goa hotel. The local drink is 'Feni' - made from
the cashew fruit or coconut. Cashew feni is drunk after the first
distillation. But you can also find its double-distilled version, flavored
with ginger, cumin or sasparilla.
When staying in Goa, you can opt for budget or economy
hotels or top of the line beach resorts. Sylvan settings, well appointed
rooms and cottages, health centers and spas - luxury resorts in Goa are
made of these. The luxury resorts in Goa at the Sinquerim Beach offer
guests a totally relaxed holiday in Goa. The stretch from Bogmalo in South
Goa has a string of luxury resorts that boast of swimming pools, golf
courses, ayurveda treatments and sports activities. The Majorda beach is
yet another spot for a luxurious beach resort in Goa. The Portuguese influence can be seen in various facets of Goan life, be it the architecture or the cuisine. It is little wonder that Goa is referred to as the 'Rome of the East' or 'Pearl of the Orient'.