Goa is all about spending your holidays in the arms of sun, sand and sea. This smallest Indian state oozes biggest charms ever with its string of picturesque beaches, pulsating nightlife, delectable food and an ambience to revitalise. Known as the beach paradise of India, the state holds more than its fair share of beaches known for their tranquillity. Goa is also a haven for shopping enthusiasts looking for some great junk jewellery at knock down prices.
Goa has been invaded by numerous invaders in the past resulting in a mix of cultures here. The locals of Goa lead a simple life. They are welcoming, jovial and make great friends, if approached politely. They have great fervour for music and dance, reflecting in all their festivals and fairs. The cultural diversity of the state can also be seen in their costumes. Goans are known for their colourful attires clubbed with junk jewellery. The official language of Goa is Konkani so don’t forget to greet a local with a ‘Dev Boro Dis Dium’ (Hello) while in Goa.
A gem for the lovers of beach holidays, Goa houses a range of beaches waiting to be explored. The beaches here are known for oozing unworldly charms with swinging palm trees, turquoise waters, soft sands and smiling sun. The party animals can head towards the Baga Beach nestled with numerous nightclubs. The sights of travellers lazing under multicolour shacks while sipping a chilled beer is common at Baga beach. Candolim Beach is popular among those seeking serenity. Adventure enthusiasts head towards the Calangute Beach catering the travellers with some mind-blowing water activities. Apart from this, Anjuna Beach is known for its rock formations and a flea market selling jewellery and colourful marbles.
Goa houses numerous destinations speaking the glorious part of this beautiful state. Most of the forts were raised by the Portuguese to defend their new acquisitions in Goa. Visit the famous Aguada Fort, the largest best-conserved Portuguese bastion or explore the Chapora Fort constructed by the king of Bijapur, Adil Shah. Mormugao Fort is another famous fort of Goa constructed by the Portuguese to save the harbor, territorial waters in and around the Port of Margao. The fort stands elegantly overlooking the sea and preserves some beautiful exhibits including 20 bulwarks, three magazines, five prisons, a chapel and quarters for the guards.
Goa is extremely popular for its churches which take the beauty of this state to another level. Goan churches still hold the memories of the Portuguese and lure travellers from all over the globe. One of the largest Churches Asia, Se Cathedral is the most visited church of Goa. Featuring 14 alters on the inside; it took almost 80 years to raise this church. Bom Jesus Basilica is another popular church in Goa known for its unique baroque architecture. Travellers visiting Panaji can explore the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. This 450 year old church still holds the old-world charms and has been beautifully preserved till date.
Goan markets are different in the sense that they are more relaxed and laid back than any other shopping grounds. Start with the Mapusa Market to buy some unique textiles, antiques and souvenirs to take back home. Anjuna Flea Market, selling local handicrafts, spices, clothes, footwear, beach wear, artificial jewellery and accessories, also remains popular among travellers. Calangute Market Square is the busiest market of Goa being located close to the Calangute beach. The market is nestled with vibrant stores and restaurants serving lip-smacking sea food. Also, do not miss the Saturday Night Bazaar at Arpora presenting a mix of shopping and nightlife. Shopping in Panaji is also brings pleasure to shopaholics looking for traditional artefacts and Goan cashew.
If you are looking for a destination where every day is a celebration, then Goa will top the chart. The state stays drenched with loads of fairs and festivals all year long, luring travellers from all over the world. Goa Carnival, falling in the month of February, is the most popular event in Goa celebrated by every local. This is perhaps the best time to explore the vibrancy of Goa in terms of local dance, music and food. Goa Heritage Festival is another great festival of Goa marked by performances from various artists and exhibitions by local artists. For the lovers of music, Monte Music Festival brings great joy whereas Food buffs can treat their taste buds by partaking in the Sea Food Festival of Goa.
Goa is extremely popular for Christmas and New Year celebrations loaded with excitement and energy. It is the best time to cherish the local cultures and admire the beach parties.
Goa is famous for its seafood cooked in locally found spices. Fish curry cooked in grounded coconut and loaded with spices is the most served dish in every restaurant. Prawn Balchao (fish or prawns cooked in a dark red and tangy sauce) is another famous dish among locals. Sorpotel (sea food cooked with spicy sauce and flavoured with spices) is also a local food of Goa served specially during festivals. Sweet lovers must try Bebinca (coconut pancakes) to treat their taste buds. In addition to this, a trip to Goa can never end without tasting the famous Goan drink, Feni.
The best time to visit Goa is between October and January when the weather stays enjoyable for beach enthusiasts. Monsoon season from June to September adds glittering stars to the beauty of Goa, however, it is not considered best to enjoy beach activities. Summers in Goa are harsh and unbearable to partake in outdoor activities.
The Dabolim Airport, located just 29 kilometres from the state’s capital, Panjim, offers great connectivity from major Indian metropolis and International destinations. Goa also houses two railheads including Madgaon and Thivim, connecting the state with rest of the country. Apart from this, those planning to visit Goa by bus can also find numerous intra-city and inter-city conveyance.
One can find numerous options to get around in Goa. Public transport mostly consists of local buses which make cheap and best travel options. However, as a trend, most of the travellers visiting Goa hire scooty, bike or car on per day rent to explore the vivid beauty of this mesmerising state from a closer perspective.
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