Goa – A gilded paradise
Golden, Groovy, Gumptious – Goa. A cocktail of tropical influences. An oasis of white-gold sands, azure waters, and kaleidoscopic skies. A playground for historians, hippies, and spiritualists alike. A backpacker’s haven, and a wealthy man’s fancy. An assemblage of little Portuguese bungalows, and a string of luxury hotels - Goa is a heady blend of the old and the new. If not for every reason mentioned above, make a trip solely for its succulent cuisine.
|Goa: A Quick View of the state|
|Population||3.34952 million (as of 2018)|
|Currency||Indian Rupee (INR)|
|Time Zone||UTC+05:30 (IST)|
|Area||3702 square km|
Highlights of Goa: Glide through the sands.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the finest example of Baroque architecture in India. Located in Old Goa,
this exquisite structure holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. He is preserved in a silver casket and is believed to exude healing powers. The church of Our lady of Immaculate Conception gleams like a tiered wedding cake with pearly white frost. Portuguese sailors would visit this church, as their first port of call, giving thanks for a safe journey. The Se Cathedral, a combination of Tuscan and Corinthian architecture, was built to commemorate the victory of Portuguese general - Afonso de Albuquerque. Amongst its precious ornaments, is a large golden bell that is supposed to be one of the world’s greatest.
A quick ferry from Querim will lead you to Fort Tiracol. Originally built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle, this imposing fort later became a part of the Portuguese maritime defence. Overlooking the Arabian sea, it offers a picturesque view of turquoise and steel grey. Fort Aguada, with its imposing façade, was built in the 17th century as a defence mechanism against the Dutch and the Marathas. Visit Candolim beach and be transported back to an ancient period of warfare.
Morjim beach or ‘Little Russia’ is the perfect nook for a good book, long walk and uninterrupted serenity. Watch your feet as they sink into pockets of ivory warmth. Enclosed by a dense forest of emerald green, is delightful Palolem beach. Boxes of colourful shacks line the mile-long stretch. Anjuna beach, with its flea markets and expressive-bold hippie culture will awaken your bohemian spirit. Arambol beach, a traditional fishermen’s paradise, is equally mesmerizing. Whether you choose to tread, splash, sail or glide, each one of these beaches will provide you with everything and more. And the cold beer, is just the icing on the cake.
Cashew stomping, coconut braking, and sipping delicious fenny cocktails are some of the many exciting things to do at Goa Cashew & Coconut Festival. If you’re craving some good old carnival magic, then Goa Carnival is the place to be! Watch King Momo sail on a grand float, at the helm of an electrifying parade. Goa Food and Cultural Festival celebrates cuisines from around the globe. Taste some of the delicious goodies, while you enjoy cook offs and dance performances. And if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the cool hippie culture, head to Goa Sunsplash - a reggae festival.
Goa is a sweet synthesis of eastern and western influences. From its quirky paintings, to its local handicrafts, traditional performance arts, and classic Konkani cinema - there is a little something for everybody’s taste. The state is synonymous with its flea markets, strong alcoholic beverages, and of course it’s flavoursome cuisine. Goan cuisine is renowned for its variety of sea food dishes, cooked with an assortment of spices, including coconut, coconut oil, kokum and chilly peppers. Catholic Goan food differs from Hindu Goan food, both equally delicious though. We recommend some of these finger licking preparations – Pork sorpotel, Goa sausage curry, Sannas (rice cake), Bebinca (sweet) and Ros omelette.
Interesting facts about Goa: Riveting revelations.
Location: A panoramic view of Goa.
Situated in the western coast of India, within the Konkan region, is the state of Goa. Goa shares its border with Maharashtra in the north, and Karnataka in the east and south. The latter is separated from the state, by the Western Ghats. The Arabian sea hugs its west coast.
Timings: Best time to visit
Goa is a coastal state, hence graced with 40-degree summers and sky-high humidity levels. Although its monsoons paint the state with magical showers, it is not a conducive time to visit the beaches. As such, the best time to holiday in Goa would be in the winters. November to March makes for the perfect trip, as Goa is blessed with cool breezes.
How to get to Goa: Your carriage awaits.
By Road – A road trip to Goa is never a bad idea, should you choose to drive down or hire a private vehicle or taxi. You also have a wide selection of bus services that offer intra-city and inter-city conveyance. Government operated services include – KSRTC, MSRTC and KTC, while private services include – Neeta Tour and Travels, Paulo Travels and Naik Tours and Travels.
By Rail – Madgaon, Thivim and Vasco da Gama are well connected by rail to other parts of the country. Choose from the following, depending on your point of origin - The daily Goa Express, Mandovi Express, Konkan Kanya Express, Trivandrum Rajdhani, and Goa Sampark Kranti.
By Air – Dabolim Airport is a mere 29 km from Panjim. It has direct flights to and from all the major cities in India, including – Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin and Hyderabad. As an international airport, it has connections to Europe and the UAE.
History: Memoirs of a state.
Rock engravings discovered by archaeologists point towards the existence of prehistoric human life in Goa. Evidence indicates that it was the Acheulean occupation and the Palaeolithic period, that flourished. Early history witnessed the battle and settlements of the following powerful clans – Mauryan Empire, Bhojas, Chutus, Satavahanas, Kshatrapas, Abhiras, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Silharas, Kadambas, Delhi Sultanate, Vijayanagaras, Bahmani sultans, and Adil Shahis. This was followed by the Portuguese rule, which lasted for four and a half centuries. Post-independence, the Indian government requested Portugal to relinquish rights to all the Portuguese territories in the Indian continent. In 1961, through Operation Vijay, Goa and Daman and Diu islands were incorporated into the Indian Union. On the 30th of May 1987, Goa was declared India’s 25th state.
Goa’s history provides you with a backstory. Let these stories color your experiences, and help you connect with the local people, as you travel through the state.
Indian National Rupee (INR)
GOA! Just the name is enough to send you on a high! Beaches, rave parties, dreamcatchers and of course the spirits! Goa has it all and much more.
Beautiful beaches will make your morning’s magical, afternoons blissful and your nights tipsy. The streets filled with colourful houses, lush green fields, and a breezy environ, Goa is an idyllic place to have a morning stroll or a casual walk in the evening, with the sound of waves crashing against the shoreline filling the air. It is a calming experience, like none other.
While in Goa, you will feel as though you are walking through a beautiful Portuguese colony with glimpses of churches everywhere. Goa is undoubtedly the heaven for adventurers, vacationers, thrillseekers, and backpackers; or so to say, for any and everyone. Goa unfolds itself as a different experience no matter how many times you have visited it before. The coasts, hills, churches, islands and the 300-year old Portuguese architecture are genuinely enchanting and will captivate you with their magnificence. Let's go, go, GOA!
Adjacent to the eastern boundary of the Arabian Sea and beautifully nestled on the western coast of India, lies the heavenly state of Goa! This ancient land is a former colony of the Portuguese that stores a rich history. Spread in an expanse of 3,700 kilometres this beautiful destination accommodates a population of around 1.8 million friendly and hospitable residents. Although Goa is a small place, it is a perfect blend of Indian and Portuguese culture and architecture. This has attracted millions of visitors from all across the globe.
Goa is a primary tourist attraction site. The state has witnessed a spurt in tourists with every passing year. Goa is utterly unique and distinguished from the rest of India, owing to the Portugal rule that it witnessed for as long as 451 years. The Goan population has Hindus, Roman Catholics, and Muslims. Accommodating varying cultures, this beautiful state of India is tagged as a blissful, heavenly state, making you fall in love with it.
Goa tour is all about beautifully stretched beaches dotted with lush green palms, lively pubs with electrifying music, adventurous water sports, and friendly people. Goa is that rare gem of India that remains far away from the influence of the ancient British colonization influence. It possesses a peaceful as well as a distinct culture where people consort in harmony, making Goa Tourism one of the most in-demand, be it any time of the year. Year after year, visitors flock to this mesmerizing destination with expectations of exploring the abundant biodiversity, the ancient Portuguese architecture as well as the numerous world heritage sites.
Goa Tourism is chiefly attributed to the wealth of the mesmerizing beaches beautifully lining the shores, each one owning its unique appeal. If vacationing on alluring beaches is what drives you crazy then Goa is the place to be in. You get an opportunity of picking from a long list of around 30 pleasing beaches while looking for visiting Goa. Additionally, this is one of the most liberal tourism spots in India where sunbathing, wearing a swim and beach-wear on the beach is both common and acceptable unlike other beaches of India. Baga, as well as Calangute beach, are the prime tourist avenues. Goa caters to the many cultures and flaunts the most luxurious resorts and hotels.
With a stretch of over 100km of glorified gold coastline, ancient Portugal heritage, festivals as Sunburn as well as exquisite cuisine, Goa is a must-visit place. Tourism in Goa has led to making the state one of the richest in the Country, thanks to the long alluring list of attractions that it flaunts. You are bound to have a spectacular, unforgettable experience while exploring this jewel of India. This paradise of India's West Coast is without a doubt a mix of all that a relaxed and 'cool' vacation asks for. From resplendent sands of the various beaches to the electrifying nightlife of the famous Tito's Road, Goa houses numerous well-received tourist places that are renowned amidst visitors. Goa has so much to offer that one can be in a dilemma as to where to start from.
Palolem Beach is the fashionable hangout pace for Goans and the tourists pouring in. You will locate many tourists leisurely spending the day under the gorgeous sunset with a drink in hand. Tourists who have a thing for nature must visit Paolem to admire the natural beauty of Goa. For a further rendezvous with nature, you should head to Ashvem as well as Morjim beach. These destinations are no less than a breath-taking paradise in itself. They are just a quick drive from North Goa's tourist places. These beaches are home to the beautiful Olive Ridley turtles. Hence, be all set to meet these amazing creatures on the Goan beaches.
Situated around 18 kms from Panaji, Goa's capital, Anjuna Beach is the original as well as an unconventional partying location of Goa. It hosts the famous Flea Market of Goa on Wednesdays, Various beach facing luxurious resorts as well as some authentic cuisine serving outlets. You can visit the ancient Albuquerque Mansion as well as the Chapora Fort located just a walk away from Anjuna. These marvels will add on to your sightseeing tour in Goa. The southern portion of the Anjuna Beach water is a lot calmer and perfect for swimming. On the other hand, if you are looking for more of a thrill, then head to the Northern end of this fabulous beach, which offers adventure activities like bungee jumping, paragliding, and jet skiing.
Goa's nightlife has been one of the major attractions for holidaymakers. The place accommodates various bars, pubs as well as retreats for tourists to enjoy. Just post-sunset Goa lightens up with foot-tapping music, neon lights, and delectable gastronomical delights. All this sets up the perfect ambiance that you can ever crave for. Be it partying all through the night watching the sunrise, or trying out your luck at the various casinos or enjoying a barbeque night at the white sand beaches; Goa has it all.
Goa flaunts various festivals including Goa Carnival where one can witness vibrant parades, mouth-watering seafood delicacies, and lively music. It lasts over three to four days and falls towards the end of February. The most celebrated parts of Goa include Margao, Panjim as well as Vasco da Gama. Among attractions of the carnival are dancers, clowns, and entertaining acts. The finale dance also popularly known as The Red and Black Dance of the carnival is renowned and worth witnessing at least once. The best part of this finale dance is that you can participate in this vibrant performance too.
Christmas and New Year is the ideal most time to visit Goa. A large number of tourists flock in here to party through the night and welcome the new year with all festive fervour. Goa stays at its best during this time when you can just lose yourself in the crowds and attain bliss. You can forget all the worries of your daily routine and unwind in the moment; such is the ambiance of Goa at year's end. The sparkling decorations, jam-packed pubs, and festive colours all over Goa make the experience an unforgettable one.
Last but not the least comes, it is unfair not to mention the well-celebrated Sunburn Festival of Goa. This electrifying event of Goa, primarily an arts, music, and dance festival, used to be held in Vagator, every December. Celebrated over a span of three days, the festival flaunts an array of exciting activities and offerings including rock climbing, fire juggling, musical events, relaxing spas and massages. The venue shifted from Goa this year.
Geographically, Goa is divided into three parts, with the Sahyadri ranges forming the mountainous region in the east, a central plateau region, and the coastal plains and river basins. Spread over an area of 600 sq. km, the Sahyadris is the origin for almost every river in Goan region, including Zuari and Mandovi. Some prominent peaks of the range include Sonsagar, Catlanchimauli, Vaguerim etc. The shallow basins of Kushawati, Sal and Chapora form rich agricultural lands near coastal regions.
The History in Goa has seen much from being a under the reign of Mauryan empire in the 3rd Century B.C. to getting overthrown by Chalukya kingdom in 580 A.D. Moving on too, Goa saw many important turns in history, including falling to the Muslims in 1312 to becoming the ideal trade base for the Portuguese in 1510. The year 1542 that saw the arrival of St. Francis Xavier, strengthened and expanded the reach of Portuguese from just Old Goa to the Bardez and Salcete as well. In the 18th Century, though the Marathas landed a heavy blow on the colonisers, it wasn’t until 1961 that their trade finally came to an end. However, Goa received its status as the 25th Indian state in the year 1987.
Goa has a population of 2.89 Million (as of 2016). The people of Goa who are usually collectively called as Goans, are friendly, warm and hospitable people. With mixed religious beliefs, Goans are tolerant of other faiths and celebrate various festivals and events belonging to others sects too with much joy. Goans are predominantly fisher folk, being the residents of a huge coastal state and since Goa is also a popular tourist destination, they are also engaged in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Hinduism (66%) is the primary religion of Goa’s population with Christianity falling second at 26.5%. The Christian population is majorly Roman Catholic with the Goan Catholics forming an important ethnoreligious group. Other religions followed in the region include Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
Featuring the exclusive insight of the various tourist places and attractions of Goa, this Goa Tourism Guide is all set to offer you all that you need to know before planning a visit. To conclude, Goa is a traveller friendly destination that suited varying tastes and budgets, from adventurous backpackers to luxurious family retreats. What is promises is a fun-filled vacation incorporating even the tiniest thrill imparting activity.
Konkani which is an Indo-Aryan language, is the official language of Goa. However, being a popular tourist destination, English is also widely spoken and understood here. Some elderly population educated by the people from the colonial era, also speak Portuguese. Marathi, Hindi, Urdu and Kannada are other languages that can be heard in Goa.
Some common phrases in Konkani:
Hello:Deuboro dis dium
Can you tell me? :Makasaangshi?
What is your name? : Tuchemnaumkitay?
Can you help me? : Mhojemmodotkorshi?
Indian Rupee is the only currency accepted in Goa.
Budget: Goa can be explored on a daily budget of around Rs.500-800 by opting for backpacker friendly beach shacks for staying, commuting via buses, eating at small local joints and buying liquor from supermarkets.
Mid-Range: A daily budget of about Rs.800-1500 is enough for a stay at good beach huts or guesthouses, eating at decent beach restaurants, drinking at bars and travelling by renting a scooter, or hiring a taxi or an auto rickshaw for short distances.
Luxury: Approximately Rs.1500 or more per day is required for a comfortable stay at a high end hotel or resort, renting a car, dining and drinking opulently and getting a relaxing ayurvedic massage.
ATMs are available almost everywhere in Goa but can be scarce at the extremities, hence when travelling far off, it is necessary that you carry some cash with you.
Cards are only accepted in hotels, resorts, expensive restaurants and bigger shops, necessitating you to carry cash at all times for smooth transactions and purchases.
We spent our honeymoon in Goa and just because of Thomas Cook our trip became memorable. Their assistance throughout the trip is something that makes them better than other companies. During the initial phase of our trip planning, they handpicked 5 resorts for our stay. The one we selected had the best location and amazing views. Our jeep ride to Dudhsagar Falls was also amazing.
We had planned our second wedding anniversaries celebration in Goa. Normally, travel companies don’t really emphasis on personalized travel experience and focus more on making travel experience better. That is where Thomas Cook stands above its competitors. They arranged a beautiful beachside candlelight dinner and cake for us and it was such a pleasant surprises. Thanks for making our vacation memorable.
A travel plan for a group of 12 people is not easy to formulate, but Thomas Cook made it look like a piece of cake. Travel experience with Thomas Cook is so amazing. We had a huge private resort, private pool and taxies available on demand without any extra payment. The food was simply delicious and selected from best of Goa.