Places To Visit In Goa
Goa is a state in India within the coastal region known as the Konkan in India. It has Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its Western coast. It is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Panaji is the state’s capital, while Vasco da Gama is its largest city. The state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Goa’s major cities include Vasco da Gama, Margão, Panaji, Mapusa and Ponda.
Goa is a state with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 17th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is also known for its beaches, ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to those in laid-back fishing villages such as Agonda. It was ranked the best placed state by the “Eleventh Finance Commission” for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.
Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, a biodiversity hotspot. Goa is also known for its coconut cultivation. Goan cuisine is famous for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil are widely used in Goan cooking along with chili peppers, spices, and vinegar is used in the Catholic cuisine, giving the food a unique flavour. Pork dishes such as Vindalho, Xacuti, chouriço, and Sorpotel with the very delectable bebenca (egg based dessert) are cooked for major occasions among the Goan Catholics. Goa also stands 6th in the Top 10 Nightlife cities in the world in a National Geographic Book. One of the biggest tourist attractions in Goa is water sports. Beaches like Baga and Calangute offer jet-skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, water scooter rides and more.
Climate in Goa :
Goa features a tropical monsoon climate. Being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, Goa has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is usually the hottest, seeing daytime temperatures of over 35 °C coupled with high humidity. The state’s three seasons are: Southwest monsoon period (June – September), post monsoon period (October – January) and fair weather period (February – May).
The winters are the best time to visit Goa but it is also when Goa is the most crowded. Summers in Goa are more popular with families with kids. Goa looks beautiful in monsoon as well and it is now touted as one of the best monsoon destinations.
How To Reach Goa :
Goa is easily accessible from all metros and major cities by flight, train and by road as well. The international airport is at Dabolim, at a distance of 29 kms from Panaji and the 2 railway stations in Goa are at Madgaon and Vasco da Gama.
Abhibus offers you bus services to Goa from Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Chennai etc.!
Places to visit in Goa :
1 – Fort Aguada :
A well-preserved 17 century Portuguese fort, Fort Aguada is located on the Sinquerim Beach in North Goa. It was constructed by the Portuguese in order to defend their land from the Marathas and the British. A freshwater spring within the fortification provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. This is how the fort got its name Aguada, meaning Water. Crews of passing ships would often visit to replenish their fresh water stores. Offering breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea, a walk through the fort to the lighthouse located on top is a must while touring Goa.
2 – Beaches :
Goa is all about beaches and has well over 25 amazing beaches ranging from the thriving party destinations to the secluded and serene ones. The beaches of North Goa are considered to be more fun and lively than those of South Goa which are less crowded, quieter and more peaceful. North Goa is dotted with happening beaches like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna and Colva, that stretch across the northern coastline with tons of shacks buzzing with life, serving lip-smacking delicacies from the Konkan cuisine with cocktails and mocktails to go along; some offering live band music. They are also known for their water sports activities like parasailing, water surfing, banana ride and jet-skiing. Goa’s beaches make your holiday experience complete.
South Goa is relatively calm and peaceful, with serene beaches like Arambol, Palolem and Galgibaga (famous as a nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles) which are cut off from the world, but really worth paying a visit if you are looking for some peace and tranquility.
3 – Basilica Of Bom Jesus :
One of the most famous of all tourist places in Goa as well as a central landmark for Catholics, the Bom Jesus Basilica is the place in which the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier is preserved and hence revered by many. The Church was built in 1605 and the body of the Saint was brought to it in 1622 where it has laid since in its glass mausoleum. The body is perhaps the greatest attraction of the Basilica. Even after 400 years, the remains are in a good condition and are taken out once every decade. A gallery of Modern Art is also part of the Basilica. The floor of this church is made of marble mosaic with precious stones. The interior of the church is simple and quiet. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is over 408 years old and is open to the public every day. It is also an UNESCO World Heritage site.
4 – Pandava Caves and Arvalem Waterfall :
About 9 kms to the south of Bicholim town in North Goa is located the 6th century Pandava cave complex and Arvalem waterfalls. The cave complex is divided into 5 compartments and the ‘linga’ enshrined in the middle compartment is held in great reverence by devotees here. Another attraction close to the Pandava or Arvalem caves is the Arvalem waterfalls. The Arvalem Waterfalls are one of the places to visit in Goa especially if you have children in tow. They are not as huge as the Dudhsagar Waterfalls since they are only about 50 meters high and 7 meters wide. But reaching them is far easier than reaching Dudhsagar. Their location is also perfect since they are not located far from the popular North Goa beaches and have other sight-seeing places nearby. The water cascading down from a height of 50 mts makes for an awesome view, and there is a park nearby from where you can view the waterfall as well as the lake at the bottom.
5 – Dudhsagar Falls :
Literally meaning a sea of milk, the Dudhsagar Waterfalls are situated on the Goa-Karnataka border and are one of India’s must-see sights. The four-tiered waterfall structure is one of the tallest in India and is located on the Mandovi River. The falls appear spectacular during monsoons after been fed by the rains. The white water cascades down from a height of nearly 1017 feet off a very steep mountain face . They form a part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, so the best way to reach them is by entering the national park and taking a van allocated by the park to the falls.
6 – Mangeshi Temple :
Goa may have a long Portuguese history and quite a few famous churches, yet it is also home to beautiful temples and ornate mosques as well. A major tourist attraction in the state, the Mangeshi Temple is a great place for those who want a taste of authentic Goan life away from the Westernised beaches. Ponda region in Goa is famous for the 450-year-old Shri Mangesh temple dedicated to Shiva. The highlights of the temple are the seven-story lamp tower (deepstambha), a magnificent water tank, believed to be the oldest part of the temple and there is a prominent Nandi Bull as well inside the temple. Located on a small hillock, it is also one of the largest temples in Goa. The location is especially alluring as the Mangeshi Temple is set among lush green forests and glorious paddy fields with mango and jackfruit grooves nearby hand in hand with tall palm trees.
7 – Navel Aviation Museum :
The Naval Aviation Museum in Goa is one of the two military museums in India and overall one of the best museums you can visit in India. If you are on a trip with the kids, do not give this museum a miss. Both parents and children will love a visit to the Naval Aviation Museum. It has two sections- the indoor area and the court outside. You can roam around the park outside and look at the various out-of-commission aircrafts that served in the navy. The children will love the simulation room inside the museum where visitors can experience being inside the cockpit. The Naval Aviation Museum is a great educational experience combined with fun. Everything about the museum makes it a perfect sight-seeing place in Goa, including the magnificent ocean view.
8 – Spice plantations :
Besides the numerous beaches and pubs that Goa is famous for, it is also the hub of many types of Spice Plantations. A huge variety of the common spices that we use at home, as well as the more exotic and expensive varieties reserved for special occasions, are grown here. By making a visit to these plantations, you get right into the natural habitat of the ingredients so loved in Indian kitchens. Apart from the actual spice farming, you will also find yourself having a good time drinking the special teas offered on the plantations, eating the delicious home-made food delicately tinged with homegrown spices, and enjoying the general ambiance of the space. Spice Plantations are one of the most delightful places to visit in Goa, especially during the rains, so don’t miss out on them. Savoi Spice Plantation, Sahakari Spice Farms, Tropical Spice Plantation are some plantations to look into. Most are located roughly 30km from Panaji and easily accessible via cabs.
Besides these attractions, Goa has plenty more on offer. It has a buzzing and most enjoyable night-life with great clubs, pubs and live music shows. You can have fun at the flea markets, night markets and plenty other places of sight-seeing.
PICTURE CREDIT : Pic 1 india.com, Featured Image – Bed & Chai Blog