Goa - BEACHES AND MUCH MORE
I guess there is no better place to be lazy than on one of Goa’s spectacular beaches. Best combination of Sun, Sea, Sand and Parties… all in all a very good package to do nothing, just enjoyyyyy.
Goa, situated on the west coast of India, is one of the most delightful states. Formerly a Portuguese colony, it is endowed with variety of attractions, like palm pronged beaches, lush green country-side, an incredible mosaic of cultural heritage, magnificent churches, temples, forts and monuments and a unique cultural synthesis of the east and west.
PLACES TO VISIT
Goa’s beaches vary dramatically in character, so if you are looking for backpacker-filled beach huts, silent sands or party people, you’ll find what you’re after…as long as you know where you’re headed.
Counted among the most scenic beaches, Agonda is a serene and clean beach. If you want to spend time meditating, catch up on your reading or simply, enjoying the sun this is ideal place for you. Agonda is relatively less crowded and if you crave for some activity, jump on a country boat and go dolphin spotting.
Baga and Calangute Beach
Baga and Calangute are among the most popular tourist spots in Goa. These beaches are known for its beach parties, nightlife and amazing seafood served at its beach shacks and restaurants. It is famous for its water sports and dolphin cruises. If interested in wind surfing Baga beach also offers an opportunity to enjoy Wind Surfing between January and March. National Wind Surfing Championship is also conducted every year around September – November at the Baga beach.
Arambol has become the new hippie haven as it is now full of long term travelers. The nightlife here is relaxed, with live music and jam sessions. You'll find plenty of alternative therapies such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and reiki. Water sports and dolphin sightseeing trips are also available. Just north of Arambol are the deserted Keri beach and Tiracol Fort, it's worth the walk.
Mandrem, Morjim, & Ashwem
These tranquil and secluded beaches are counted among the most beautiful beaches and also provide much needed privacy for honeymooners. Laze around on the beach or take a swim in the clear waters or visit the eateries to enjoy local food, ideal for do-nothing vacation.
Anjuna Beach has become one of the most sought after getaways in the state of Goa.
Vagator and Chapora
Vagator Beach, north of Anjuna, is the center of Goa's trance party scene. The beach itself is located at the bottom of a steep cliff, and is divided into three sections -- Big Vagtor (the main stretch of beach, overrun by Indian tourists), Little Vagator (past the rocks, known as Tel Aviv Beach due to the number of Israelis there) and Ozran (Spagetthi Beach in the far south, dominated by Italians). Disco Valley is nearby. Accommodations at Vagator are inland instead of on the beach, with many people staying there long-term.
Benaulim is never too crowded and hurried and also provides great alternative to vacationers who wish to stay away from crowd.
Palolem Beach is a semi-circle shaped beach with shady palm trees and soft sand. Since it was discovered, it's become backpacker heaven, and is getting busier and more crowded with each passing season. You can stay in one of the the simple, temporary, coco huts that are erected there each year. Anyone looking for additional comforts can find at the nearby hotels and resorts. Looking for nightlife? Move to the southern end of the beach.
Patnem Beach is no longer a well kept secret, but it's still much quieter than nearby Palolem Beach, which is only 10 minutes away. This small beach, nestled between two cliffs, is a wonderful place to stay if you want to chill out but not be too far away from some decent nightlife in Palolem. You'll find a range of gorgeous huts, with private bathrooms, to stay in right on the beach.
With a magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison. 13 km from Panaji, it is one of the best beaches in Goa with international class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.
Candolim is a very lively, clean and peaceful beach with plenty of tasty restaurants and happening nightspots. It is a very good alternatively to overcrowded Calangute and Baga beaches.
Varca, Cavelossim & Morbor
These beaches are territory of a luxury resorts and hence you will find very few shacks, water sports and other local vendors but beaches remain clean. Nightlife in resorts are happening with live performances, parties and casinos.
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
Built in 1541, Church of the Immaculate Conception is a fine specimen of the Portuguese baroque style. Located in the town center of Panaji, Goa’s state capital, this imposing Church is one of the main attractions of the town.
Reis Magos Church
Lying on banks of the Mandovi river , the small hamlet of Reis Magos is home to two famous landmarks of Goa - the Reis Magos fort and the Reis Magos Church. It is also one of only three places in Goa, where the unique Feast of the Three Wise Men is held.
Basilica of Bom Jesus-
Situated in Old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus was built in 1605 AD. The basilica is home to the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, who came to Goa with a view to spread Christianity.
The largest church in Goa the Se Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine. Built in the Portuguese-Gothic style, Se Cathedral has a Corinthian interior and Tuscan exterior. The main highlight of the cathedral is the Cross of Miracles that attracts a large number of visitors. The bell of Se Cathedral is one of the oldest in the state and is known as the Golden Bell.
To the west of the Se Cathedral is the former palace of the Archbishop that connects the Se Cathedral to the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The structure is built of laterite blocks and is lime-plastered.
Saint Cajetan Church
Lying about half a kilometer away to the north east of the Se Cathedral and quite near the ruins of the Viceregal Palace, the large and beautiful Church of St. Cajetan is said to have been modelled on the original design of the Basilica of St.Peter in Rome. Although the church altar is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence, the church is named after the founder of the Theatine order, St. Cajetan, a contemporary of St Francis Xavier Church of Our Lady of Rosary
Saint Augustine Tower
One of the most spectacular of all monuments in Goa, reproduced on innumerable travel brochures and advertisements is the St Augustine tower in Old Goa. This highly visible landmark, a 46m-high tower served as a belfry and formed part of the facade of a magnificent Church.
One of the most famous attractions in Panaji is the Mahalaxmi Temple, located on the Dada Vaidya road.
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple at Narve
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Saptakoteshwar temple is an old shrine located at Narve 35 km from Panaji and can be reached via an interesting route which requires a ferryboat from the island of Divar. The most important festival celebrated at the temple, attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India, is Gokulashtami.
Shri Mahalsa at Mardoli
The temple of Mahalsa Narayani is located at the small village of Mardol. Located in peaceful environs , the temple has huge wooden pillars and a silver framed doorway. In the courtyard, there is a magnificent brass samai (ornamental lamp pillar) which is 40 feet in height and has 21 rings of a hundred fifty small lamps. When it is lit up with oil wicks on the annual festival day or Jatra, it is a sight to behold.
Shri Mahalaxmi at Bandode
The village of Bandode or Bandivade is the location of a number of temples among which is the large and beautiful temple of Goddess Mahalaxmi. The temple has been in existence since at least the year 1413, when information about the rituals of the temple is found on stone plaques carved during the reign of Nanjan Gosavi Pratihast over Goa. The temple of Lord Naguesh is another shrine . The temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, another incarnation of Lord Shiva. Worth noting at the temple, are the colourful images of gods and goddesses around the base of the deepstambha (lamp tower).
Shri Manguesh Temple at Pirol, Ponda
The Mangueshi temple or the Manguesh Devasthan is perhaps the most famous of all Goan temples. It is located at Priol in Ponda taluka, about 21 km from the capital city of Panaji. The surrounding area is known as Mangueshi
Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla
The most ancient temple in the whole of Goa is located at a place called Tambi Surla. Built in the twelfth century the beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighbouring Karnataka. The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with all pomp and gaiety at the temple by the local people residing in surrounding villages.
Shri Shantadurga Temple
33 km from Panaji, Shri Shantadurga Temple is dedicated to the goddess of peace and is known for its annual carnival. Resembling a pagoda, this temple attracts people during the carnival which is a rare mix of Hindu and Christian cultures.
The largest and the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa was built in 1609-12, to control the entry into the river Mandovi and to protect Old Goa against invasions from the Dutch and the Marathas
One of the most famous forts of Goa, Tiracol Fort is home to the Hotel Tiracol Fort Heritage. This wonderful Old Portuguese fort at Tiracol is also home to a beautiful small church and offers a panoramic view of the beaches, the river Tiracol and the blue waters of the sea.
Located 60 km from Panaji and 10 km from Colem, the magnificent Dudhsagar Waterfall is perched in the high peaks of the Western Ghats and is a sight to behold especially in the monsoons when it is in full and furious flow. From a distance, the waterfall appears like streams of milk rushing down the mountainside. The exuberant and spectacular waterfall is located in the Sanguem taluka. Measuring a mighty 600m from head to foot, this waterfall on the Goa-Karnataka border, attracts a steady stream of visitors from the coast into the rugged Western Ghats.
Located in Bicholim taluka in north Goa, east of the market town of Mapusa, it is the most famous lake in Goa and is also one of the most popular tourist destinations on the itinerary of all the conducted sight-seeing tours.
Harvalem (Arvalem) Waterfall
A short distance from the regional town of Bicholim, along the road from Mayem Lake, is the village of Sanquelim. Of interest near Sanquelim are the Arvalem Caves, about a mile from the south-eastern end of Sanquelim. A short 10-minute drive from the caves, the Harvalem Waterfalls are worth visiting after the monsoon (in October) when they cascade noisily through the surrounding trees.
Located 22 km away from Panaji, near the Verna plateau, the spring at Kesarval can be reached after crossing the bridge on the Zuari River and passing through the village of Cortalim.