Area : 3701 sq km
Population : 1.3 million
Capital : Panaji
Languages spoken : Konkani, Marathi, English & Hindi
Best Time to visit : October to May - but April & May are very hot.
The former Portuguese enclave of Goa, is a heady blend of serenity and excitement down a 10 km coastline studded with endless sun drenched crescents of palm-fringed sand. Calangute, Colva, Baga, Vagator, Anjuna, Candolim, Dona Paula, Bogmalo, Miramar - Goa has some of the world's most beautiful beaches and is well established on the travel map of the world's sun-seekers.
However, sun, sea and sand are not all that Goa has to offer. Almost 500 years of Portuguese rule have given it a unique culture, quite distinct from the rest of India. Roman Catholicism remains a major religion, skirts far outnumber saris, and the people display an easy-going tropical indulgence, humour and civility. Markets are lively, colourful affairs, and siesta is widely observed during the hot afternoons. Carnival explodes onto the streets over four riotous days and nights prior to Lent.
Farming, fishing, tourism and iron-ore mining form the basis of the economy.
Goan cuisine has been influenced by its' long coastline and its' Portugese heritage, as well its' main communities: Hindus and Christians. Rice, fish, and coconut are the basic components of the typical Goan food platter. A typical Goan would prefer seafood to all other meats and would use a lot of coconut for cooking. Do try the prawn balchao, chicken xacuti, pork vindaloo, and bibinca, the traditional 40-egg-Goan cake.
Panaji, the capital, is a small and charming city on the bank of the Mandovi river. It has many beautiful, red-roofed houses built in the Latin style, as well as many modern houses with well-laid gardens.
Places to visit
Once the capital of the vast eastern empire of the Portuguese, Old Goa is now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Old Goa has some magnificent Portuguese cathedrals. The most popular and famous of Goa's churches is, of course, The Basilica of Bom Jesus, built in the 16th century, which has the body of St.Francis Xavier enshrined in an ornate silver casket. Se Cathedral is the biggest in Goa. St. Cajetan Church is built in the style of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Other churches worth visiting are Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Church of Lady of Rosary and Nunnery of St. Monica.
The Temple of Shri Mangesh, a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located on a hillock at Priol - in Ponda Taluka. Though small, the temple has an air of distinct elegance and its lofty white tower is a landmark of the countryside. Also visit the Shantadurga Temple and Shri Ramnath Temple.
India.ht. There is delightful Goan cuisine served on board with local entertainment. You will also have the opportunity to see Dolphins in their natural habitat.
Dudhsagar Waterfall lies in the East of Goa. This is a pleasant motorable journey crossing over streams in thick jungle till you reach the place where water falls from the mountain into the lake and you can have a swim. You can also see a lot of monkeys but have to very careful that your belongings, especially food stuff is well out of their sight and reach.
This fort was built by the Portuguese in 1612 and was once one of the main bastions at the entrance into the Mandovi river. It has a church, a lighthouse and barracks (Aguada Jail) along the beachside. Sinquerim is the beach that lies below the fort. There are various water sport facilities at the southern end of the beach.
At Ponda, one can visit the temples of Lord Mangesh, Lord Nagesh, Lord Ganapati, Lord Ramnath and the Goddesses Mahalasa and Shantdurga. There are regular buses from Panjim and Margao to Ponda.
Vasco Da Gama lies on the narrow western tip of the Marmagao peninsula, overlooking the mouth of the Zuari River. Acquired by the Portuguese in 1543, it was formerly among the busiest ports on India's west coast, and it remains a key shipping center, with container vessels and iron-ore barges. The Marmagao Harbor, one of India's few natural harbors is 4 kms from Vasco at one end. And Goa's only airport, Dabolim is also 4 kms from Vasco. There are regular buses from Panjim and Margao to Vasco.
Calangute, Colva, Baga, Vagator, Anjuna, Candolim, Dona Paula, Bogmalo, Miramar, Bambolim, Sinquerim, Palolem, Agonda, Mabor, Cavelossim, Varca, Benaulim,
How To Get There
Air: Almost all airlines like Air India , Indian Airlines , Jet Airways , Air Sahara , Spice Jet , Air Deccan , Kingfisher Airlines connect Dabolim Airport of the state Sometimes even chartered flights are operated directly to and from Goa.
Rail: The main Railway Station is Madgaon. Along with this, other railway stations like Vasco-da-Gama, Tivim and Karmali are well connected by trains with the rest of the country.
Road: National Highways 4A, 17, 17A, and State Highways run through the state. Major cities of Goa are connected to major cities of India.