This was the first time I was travelling to GOA, INDIA that too on Christmas eve. As I landed on the Dabolim Airport, I hired a cab to reach my guest house in Porvorim. On the way, I was mesmerized by the scenic beauty of GOA. The clear sky, green hills, coconut trees flowing with wind, smell of fish in the air and BEACHES, churches and water every side. The best landscape I have ever seen. Neatly tucked into the Western coast of India, Goa is the smallest state in India, associated most with BEACHES, churches and a happening nightlife and over 300-year old Portuguese architecture. GOA is different from the rest of the country. It has characteristic colourful houses, lush green fields and a soothing languidness in the atmosphere. On arrival to the guest house, I asked the care taker for the best for of transportation and he told me that you can rent a bike or a car. My next stop was the rental shop and I rented a bike for the next few days. I asked locals for the best places to visit and eat. They were kind enough to tell me the directions as well for those places. As beautiful as GOA is at day, it is more bright and shiny at night. All because of the all night casinos at the river front. No doubt it is called Las Vegas of INDIA. Goa is divided into two parts: North Goa and South Goa. I have summed up the places I liked the most. Do have a look if you are travelling to Goa
Goa is surrounded by water on the west side with a coastline of 131 km. It has plenty of beaches with several water activities. The beaches on the north side experience a lot of crowd, whereas the beaches on the south side a bit serene and slightly secluded and undiscovered. The most famous beaches of North Goa are Anjuna beach, Baga beach, Candolim beach, Calangute beach, Vagator beach, Arambol beach, Morjim beach. South Goa has beaches like Palolem, Bogmalo beach, Colva beach, Mobor beach, Kakolem beach, Agonda beach, Butterfly beach. The beaches provide a lot of water activities to be done under supervision. There are a lot of shacks around the beaches that provide fresh food and drinks, even karaoke and dance floor.
As Goa as a Portuguese territory for nearly 350 years, a lot of Portuguese influence can be seen. Goa is having a number of churches and temples as well. Bascilla of Bom Jesus is UNESCO World Heritage site. It contains the remains of St. Francis Xavier. Then there is beautiful Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception inside the heart of the city. Other churches like The Divar Church, Our Lady of the Mount, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Cajetan, Convent of Santa Monica and Chappel of the weeping cross. You will a great sense of contentment in the churches.
Due to the Portuguese culture, a lot of Portuguese architecture can be seen in Goa. Fort Aguada was built in 1612 as a guard against the enemies. It had a light house and also served as a prison for criminals. The fort has a wide history attached to it. Another famous fort is Fort Chapora, secretly located on the chapora beach. Sinquerim fort can be seen on Sinquerim beach. You can also have a look at St. Augustine’s Tower, Cabo de Rama Fort and Fort Tricol. Although the most of the forts are in a bad condition but it is a delight to see and know Goa’s history from them.
As Goa is situated between the western ghats, you can see a great number of falls and rivers. The most beautiful is Dudhsagar Falls. As the name suggest, the water is as white as milk. You can take a swim, and even a safari in the falls. You can also see Harvellem Falls and Bamanbudo Falls. Goa has a lot of rivers but to main rivers are River Mandovi in North and River Zuari in South. Both the rivers meet at Dona Paula and contributes to the Arabian Sea.
Casinos in Goa can be found on boats anchored in River Mandovi. The casinos are floating in the river and you take a small boat to reach the big ship. The casinos on the river side are Deltin Royal, Casino Pride, Deltin jaqk, etc. A variety of games can be played. They will either make you richer or wiser. Foods and drinks are complimentary and various dance shows are also organized in the Casinos. Not only Goa has casinos on the river, but few of them can be found on land too, like Casino Palms, Grand 7 etc.
Goa has a very rich culture and you can see this in the food. Rice and fish curry is the staple food and feni is the staple drink of goans. Rawa fried fish can be found in each and every food outlet in the state. There are a lot of great places to have delicious sea food like Curlies, Britto’s, Café Bodega, Urban Café, Hotel Venite, Coffee Have etc. When you visit Goa do have Pork Sorpotel with sanna, fried prawns, turkey and the sweet dish of Goa Bebinca. For all the party animals, there are lot of happening clubs in the state like Club Cabana on the hill top, tito’s and LPK.
You can take up a river cruise on the Mandovi river and get acquainted with the culture of Goa. There are a lot of flea markets on Arpore, Anjuna and Mapusa. You can get great products on a very small value. You can get lost in the architecture of Portuguese houses and culture. You can enjoy a trip to spice garden or wild life sanctuary. There is a secret Cumbarjua Backwater Canal also. A trip to bubbling lake of Netravati is must along with jetty ride. All in all Goa gives you all the experiences you want from a serene peaceful place to an outgoing party capital. From noisy beaches in day to calm soothing sand at night. One can truly experience everything in Goa. Bon Voyage!!