Goa is a Kaleidoscope blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. It is a pocket-sized paradise and an amalgam of sun, sand, sea, spirituality, seafood, and susegad. Goa’s biggest draw is its uninterrupted string of golden beaches. It’s a spiritual sanctuary where you can enjoy sunrise yoga sessions on the beach. This beautiful land is a cultural crockpot of Portuguese architecture and heritage. Their indelible mark is evident in the whitewashed churches, baroque architecture, Catholic ceremonies, crumbling forts, cathedrals, and Fado music. Since Goa is my husband’s birthplace, we visit it once a year to meet family and friends. Each time you visit this place, you discover something new and exciting.
Baga is a scenic seaside town in Goa famous for its beach and creek. Baga beach is renowned for water sports such as parasailing, banana rides, and dolphin cruises. Fishing, boating, kite surfing, windsurfing, and shopping at the flea market are other notable attractions. The tourist season kick starts in late October and starts slowing down around March. If you’re a shopaholic, then visit the Tibetan market that runs along the Baga road. Also try the indoor snow park that’s complete with a play area, ice bar, and sledding area.
Basilica of Born Jesus
Basilica of Born Jesus is a world heritage monument and has a rich history. It dates back to 1594 and is more than 408 years old. It houses the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. History says that his body was taken to Portuguese Malacca and was shipped back to Goa two years later. It is believed that the saint’s body is as fresh as the day it was buried. People from all over the world come to view his remains mainly during the public viewing of his body every ten years. It is said that the saint has miraculous healing powers.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Bondla wildlife sanctuary is an ideal jungle resort which is located 3000ft above the Western Ghats. It’s a family-friendly place popular with school kids. Covered with moist deciduous forests and evergreen vegetation patches the sanctuary is home to a wide variety of animal life especially leopards and dancing bears. This beautiful sanctuary entices you with its lush green forest, rose garden, botanical garden, mini zoo, fenced deer park, and elephant rides. You could stay in the tourist cottages and spend a couple of days to relax and be stress-free.
India is a land of spices, and the best way to appreciate them in all their splendor is to view the spices in their natural habitat. Once you enter the spice plantations beautiful women clad in traditional Goan attire would welcome you with a garland of flowers and Jasmine tea. You’ll surely feel like Royalty. Savoi spice plantation, Tropical spice plantation, and Sahakari spice farms practice organic farming. They also organize informative tours where you get an opportunity to see spice plants in their natural habitat. When you visit these farms, you can buy a variety of spices in a beautiful gift box.
Shopping in Goa
Whether your budget is big or small, Goa has something up its sleeve to please you. There’s no shortage for shopping goods: hippie clothing, gothic accessories, junk jewelry, shell, and bamboo work, brass work and terracotta work, Feni (alcoholic drink), Bebinca (layered rice pudding), Goan sausages and cashew nuts- you’ll find it all here. Some of the best places to buy these are the Mapusa market, Anjuna flea market, Calangute market square, Saturday night bazaar at Arpora and Mackie’s night bazaar. Visit Goa and go back home with precious memories of spice gardens, lush green forests, exotic animals, shopping, delicious food, and lively music.