The wondrous land of Goa has enchanted aplenty of tourists in its past and in future too, there is an assurity that tourists will find this place as beautiful and magnetic as ever. This is mainly because Goa has something or the other for every kind of tourist. For a tourist visiting Goa for the first time, it is heartening to find that Goa is extremely charming destination – providing both tranquillity and action simultaneously.
Goa is situated in the southwestern part of India, and was under the Portuguese rule for a long period of time. The Goans (as the inhabitants prefer to call themselves) are majorly Hindus constituting around 65% of the population. The rest of the population is composed of Christians (30%), Muslims and people of other religions.
Location: Goa lies by the Arabian Sea on the Konkan region, between Maharashtra & Karnataka (two other states of the Indian Union).
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Goa is between the period of October to May.
Tourist Attractions in Goa
The capital of Goa, Panaji, is one of the most important cities in Goa situated on the banks of river Mandovi. Besides being the getaway for the rest of the places in Goa, Panaji also houses a few attractions like the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Dona Paula Beach, the Idalcao or Adil Shahi Palace and Mahalaxmi Temple. The houses of Panaji with red roofs are hugely attractive. However, what is most attractive in Panaji is its inherent simplicity which makes itself visible to the tourists almost immediately.
The second most important city of Goa is Vasco – da- Gama which is situated 29 kms southwest of Panjim. Though this city has not much to in terms of tourist attractions, it is nevertheless important because it is a key shipping centre, and as such, has a bearing on the economy of the state. The few attractions of the city includes the Bogmalo beach and the Naval Aviation Museum.
Mapusa is yet another important city of Goa, which is important in the sense that it houses the most popular beach of the region – the Anjuna Beach. There are other beaches as well in this small place that have gained acceptance and love of the tourists like the Baga and the Vagator beach. The place is also famous for the weekly Friday market it hosts, from where tourists can pick up a variety of items like souvenirs.
Goa has gained international recognition mainly because of its beaches. This is the reason which explains why Goa and beaches are thought and spoken about almost in the same breath by the people all over the world. The beaches of Goa are both extremely calm and peaceful as well as amazingly happening. For those tourists, who seek solace amidst natural beauty, the beaches of Goa are a wonderful option because there are many beaches in Goa that are isolated, and as such, not visited by tourists frequently. Here, on these beaches, tourists can release the tensions of their life and fill himself with new invigorating energy.
For those tourists, who wish to enjoy their vacations to the maximum, adventure sports is an exciting option to be enjoyed on these beaches. Though, not all the beaches of Goa are considered safe for adventure sports, there are plenty of them to keep the tourists in high spirits throughout. The adventure sports that can be enjoyed in Goa include swimming, snorkelling, parasailing, water skiing and windsurfing. Moreover, there are parties being organised on these beaches as well. Many of these beaches have a resort built on them which not only solves the accommodation problems of tourists, but also provide them an opportunity to avail of the facilities provided by these resorts.
The beaches of Goa are, therefore a prime tourist attractions for visiting Goa who find relief as well as fun on these beaches. The important beaches of Goa includes the Anjuna beach, Calangute beach, Colva beach, Baga beach, Bogmalo beach, Benaulim beach and the Dona Paula beach.
Religious places in Goa includes mainly temples and churches (obviously, this is because of the predominance of Hindus and Christians), however, there are mosques as well in this tiny state of India. The temples of Goa, in their basic structure are like any other temple of the country with a ‘garbhagriha’ containing the presiding deity in the centre, and a pyramid-like structure rising from the main shrine. However, there are few perceptible difference, which tourists can enjoy uncovering on their visit.
The important temples of Goa include Brahma temple, Shri Bhagvati Temple, Vitthal temple, Shri Datta Mandir, Mahalasa temple, Shri Manguesh Temple, Shri Shantadurga Temple, Shri Mahalaxmi Temple, and Shri Chandreshwar Temple.
Goan churches are not only visited by tourists from all over the world looking to gain some spiritual perspective but these places are also visited by people looking to gaze at some mesmerizingly beautiful architecture and designs, and almost all the churches of Goa were built during that era. As far as the architecture of these churches are concerned, they reflect the old Gothic style that was highly popular in Portugal at that point of time.
The important churches of Goa include, Se Cathedral Church, Church of St Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Born Jesus, Reis Magos Church, Church of St Paul and Church of Immaculate Conception.
There are also a few mosques in Goa which include, the Jama Masjid and the Safa Masjid.
How to Reach in Goa
By Air: The Dabolim airport which is situated at a distance of 30 kms from the Panjim receives both domestic as well as international flights.
By Rail: Margao is the most important railway station in Goa that is connected to major places in the region like Mumbai and Mangalore.
By Road: Roads link Goa to Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune.