Goa as a holiday destination needs no introduction. From families, friends, couples to individuals and groups, Goa has something for everyone. With its 'let your hair loose' lifestyle it is a favourite 'Romantic Getaway' for honeymooners, couples and the bohemian. Goa's acclaimed hotel industry with the warmest of Goan hospitality makes it a popular conference venue too.
Its picturesque locales, ancient Portuguese architecture and vibrant nature make it a favourite among Filmmakers. Acclaimed schools and universities have also made Goa a Campus Ground for students. Whatever your reasons for visiting Goa.
Variously known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendours of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favourite with travellers around the world. But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea.
It has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer. Much of the real Goa is in its interiors, both inside its buildings and in the hinterland away from the coastal area. Legends from Hindu mythology credit Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the creation of Goa. Over the centuries various dynasties have ruled Goa.
Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been rulers of Goa. Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonisation on December 19, 1961 and became an Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and Diu. On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic. Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite different from the rest of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost the entire population with minority representation of Muslims and other religions. All the communities have mutual respect towards one another and their secular outlook has given Goa a long and an unbroken tradition of religious harmony.
The warm and tolerant nature of the Goans allows them to celebrate and enjoy the festivals of various religions such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas, Easter and Id with equal enthusiasm. The state of Maharashtra borders Goa on the north, the state of Karnataka on the south and east. The vast expanse of the Arabian Sea on the west forms the magnificent coastline for which Goa is justly famous.
Terekhol (Tiracol), Mandovi, Zuari, Chapora, Sal and Talpona are the main rivers which weave their way throughout the state forming the inland waterways adding beauty and romance to the land besides being used to transport Goa's main export commodity of Iron and Manganese ore to Mormugao Harbour. Along the way to the coast these waterways form estuaries, creeks and bays breaking the sandy, palm-fringed coastline behind which lie the fishing villages among the coconut groves. Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital located on the banks of the Mandovi river and Vasco, Margao, Mapusa and Ponda are the other major towns. Goa is serviced by an international/national airport located at Dabolim near Vasco. An intra-state and inter-state bus network also plays an important role in getting locals and visitors alike in and around Goa. The vast green expanse of the Sahyadri mountain range ensures that Goa has an abundance of water.
The sea and rivers abound in seafood - prawns, mackerels, sardines, crabs and lobsters are the most popular with the locals and the visitors. Along with English which is widely spoken all over Goa, Konkani and Marathi are the state languages. The national language Hindi is also well understood in most areas around the state. Goan cuisine is a blend of different influences the Goans had to endure during the centuries. The staple food in Goa is fish and rice, both among the Hindus and the Catholics. Unlike the Christian food the Hindu Goan food is not strongly influenced by the Portuguese cuisine. Since the arrival of the Hippies in the sixties, Goa has been a major destination on the itinerary of international and domestic tourists. The tourist season in Goa begins in late September and carries on through early March. The weather in these months is usually dry and pleasantly cool.
Then the weather gets fairly hot around May and by end of June, Goa receives the full blast of the Indian monsoon with sudden downpours and tropical thunderstorms. However it is also during the monsoon that Goa is probably at its most beautiful, with greenery sprouting all around. Besides the natural beauty, the fabulous beaches and sunshine, travellers to Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature of the Goan people. After all, more than anywhere else on planet earth, this is a place where people really know how to relax.
The exquisitely carved rosewood and teak furniture, the terracotta figurines, the classic brass items and the unique gold jewellery designs all speak of an age still valuable in this technology obsessed world.
The folk paintings of Goa have been traced to different places from ancient temples, churches and palatial manors to humble households. They mostly depict episodes from the epics - the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and the Puranas and also scenes from the New Testament.
During the Portuguese colonisation, local craftsmen played a major role in the development of the exquisite furnishings and decorations used in residential houses, churches and chapels. This art can still be seen the Christian Art Museum at Old Goa.
Goans have contributed greatly to the world of music. Many famous names on the Indian music scene originate from Goa. Famous singers such as Lata Mangueshkar and Kishori Amonkar in the classical variety and Remo Fernandes in pop music, are from Goa.
Konkani literature has produced many great names such as Bakibab Borkar who have contributed to the development of Konkani as a national language with some superlative writing.
Local craftsmen in Goa produce a wide variety of crafts ranging from terracotta pottery and figures to superb brass lamps and decorative items.
A large number of Goans have also played a major role in drama and Hindi film industry in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.
The people of Goa prefer to call themselves Goans and not Goanese as mentioned in guidebooks and brochures. Goans are very much aware of this unique identity; they are proud of it and guard it fiercely.
The population of Goa is composed of a Hindu majority of around 65% and a Christian minority of around 30%. Muslims and other religions make up the rest. The interesting part in all these percentages is that, as is the case with most statistical figures, they conceal more than they can ever reveal.
The Hindu community is dominant in the talukas (districts) of Ponda, Bicholim, Pernem, Satari, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona. These areas actually form part of the Novas Conquistas, or the New Conquests, made by the Portuguese in the last stage of the expansion of their Goan empire in the eighteenth century.
By this time, the Portuguese military might was on the wane and the religious ardour for forced conversions was at its lowest ebb. Hence the population in these newly conquered areas were pretty much left to practise their religion in peace.
The Old Conquests on the other hand, consisting of Salcete, Mormugao, Tiswadi and Bardez bore the brunt of the Portuguese army and the religious zealots. Together, the two arms of the Portuguese empire, managed to destroy temples and converted hundreds of non-Christians in these areas, which are predominantly Christian today.
Fortunately, these bitter memories of the past have done nothing to change the warm, friendly and loving nature of the Goan people. By and large, the Goan considers himself a Goan first and a Hindu, Christian or Muslim afterwards. The bonds of language and the Goan identity are strong enough to allow for different religious persuasions.
In contrast to other parts of India, Goans have developed a remarkable degree of tolerance towards each other's religious beliefs, and hence religious fundamentalism is completely unknown in the state.
The best evidence of this is seen in quite a few places of worship in Goa, where both Hindus and Christians go together. The Damodar temple at Sanguem, the Church of Our Lady of Miracles in Mapusa, the Shantadurga temple at Fatorpa are excellent examples of this unique religious harmony that exists in Goa. Besides these, a number of other festivals in Goa are celebrated by members of both communities with equal fervour.
In proportion to their numbers, a very high percentage of Goans live abroad than the members of most other regional communities of India. But no matter where they might be on the surface of the planet, Goans love to express the adoration of their homeland in some form or the other.
Goa is a state of mind. And to most Goans, this is best expressed in the lines of the Konkani poem penned by the eminent Goan poet B. B. (Bakibab) Borkar.
GOA - HINDU LEGEND AND MYTHOLOGY
The origin of Goa or Gomantak as it is also known, is lost in the mists of time. In the later Vedic period (c.1000-500 BC), when the Hindu epic Mahabharat was written, Goa has been referred to with the Sanskrit name Gomantak, a word with many meanings, but signifying generally a fertile land.
The most famous legend associated with Goa, is that of the mythical sage Parashuram (the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), who several thousand years ago created the entire stretch of Konkan coast by ordering the seas to recede. The Sea God gave up the lands on the the banks of the two main rivers of Goa viz. Mandovi and Zuari (then called Gomati and Asghanasini) for the settlement of the Aryans accompanying Parashurama.
Another legend, less well known, states that the coastal area of Konkan enchanted Lord Krishna, who was charmed by the beautiful ladies bathing in the area. The ladies in turn, were so taken up by the melodious music coming from his flute, that they kept dancing forgetting their daily chores. Lord Krishna, then named the land Govapuri after the cows (gov) belonging to the locals.
The history of the sacred land of Gomantak, 'land of the Gods' is well described in Sahyadri Khand of Skandha Purana, the ancient text of Hindu religion. According to this story narrated in the Chapter Shantiparva of Mahabharat, a Brahmin from the Saraswat family, Parashuram, annihilated the entire community of the warrior tribe Kshatriyas and gifted the conquered land to a sage named Kashyapmuni.
Unfortunately, the Kshatriya annihilation meant that the land was left unadministered and fell into anarchy and chaos. The worried sage Kashyapmuni, requested Parashuram to leave the area and settle elsewhere. Parashuram came south and reclaimed new land by ordering the sea to recede and give up the coastal land. This land known as "Aparant" or "Shurparak" is spread between the Sahyadri mountains and Sindhusagar.
The first wave of Brahmins to settle in Goa, were called Saraswats because of their origins from the banks of the River Saraswati, an ancient river that existed in Vedic times. The subsequent drying up of the river caused large scale migration of Brahmins to all corners of India.
A group of ninety-six families, known today as Gaud Saraswats, settled along the Konkan coast around 1000 BC. Of these, sixty-six families took up residence in the southern half in today's Salcete taluka which derives its name from the Sanskrit word "Sassast" meaning the number 66.
The other thirty families settled in the northern area in today's Tiswadi taluka which derives its name from the Sanskrit word for the number 30. The Saraswat Brahmins worked in partnership with the local indigenous people, the Kunbi tribals who still exist today. Around the year 740 AD, the Brahmins established their first Matha (religious centre of learning) at Kushasthali (present day Cortalim) .
An interesting sidelight in this legendary origin of Goa is that Lord Parashuram is supposed to have shot an arrow from the top of the western ghats into the sea to command the Sea God to withdraw till the place where the arrow fell and claimed that land to be his kingdom. The place where the arrow landed was called Bannali (in Sanskrit for 'where the arrow landed'; Bann: arrow, ali: village), or today's Benaulim.
Parashuram arrived in the new abode with other Saraswat Brahmins and sages in order to perform the Yadnya and other rituals. These Brahmin families of Dashgotras from Panchgoudas of Trihotrapura in northern India came along with their family deities and settled themselves in this land of Gomantak or the land of the Gods as it came to be known thereafter.
They initially settled at Mathagram (Margao), Kushasthal (Cortalim) and Kardalinagar (Keloshi). The main deities which also came along with them were Mangirish, Mahadeo, Mahalaxmi, Mahalsa, Shantadurga, Nagesh, Saptakoteshwar besides many others. According to local legend, the ash found at Harmal beach in Pernem Taluka is cited as the ash of the Yadnya or holy ritual performed in Goa.
Today a temple of Parashuram exists in Painguinim village of Canacona Taluka in South Goa. There is no concrete proof to determine the exact date of the arrival of Saraswats or Parashurama in the area, nor is it conclusively proved that Saraswats or other Aryans were the first to arrive in Konkan.
Even if the legends are considered as only myths, the residence of Saraswat Brahmins in Goa since ancient times along with their family deities is an undeniable fact. And most probably they arrived in Goa under the leadership of a towering personality named Parashuram.
The temples of Goa are in essence like most Hindu temples in India, based around a deity which is worshipped. The architecture of Goan temples is a little different mostly because of historical reasons.
The fundamental design of any Hindu temple is organized around the central shrine or the "Garbagriha" or the "sanctum sanctorum" that houses the main deity. A tower or "Shikara" arises from the main shrine and is traditionally pyramidal shaped. There are usually two or more smaller shrines housing other deities known as "Parivar Devatas" around the entrance to the Garbagriha.
SHRI BHAGVATI TEMPLE
The Temple, situated by the side of the main road, is said to be more than 500 years old. Two life size images of elephants in standing postition, made of black stone on either side at the entrance welcome the visitors.The Goddess Bhagvati Asthbhuja in a standing position on a high pedestal, is very imposing. Dussehra is celebrated with gaiety from Ashwin Shuddha Pratipada to Poomima, when over 25 thousand devotees assemble at the temple.
Located in Bicholim Taluka at a distance of 45 kms from Panaji Harvalem where the ancient linga of Rudreshwar is venerated. The idyllic Harvalem water fall is close by. The image of Rudreshwar is facing the water fall. The festival of Mahashivaratri draws big crowd. However, the temple assumes importance as Hindus perform rites for the dead here .
SHRI MAHADEO BHUMIKA AT SAL, BICHOLIM
Situated at a distance of 25 kms from Mapusa.Temple complex has beautiful natural surroundings. The three-day festival of 'Gades' which begins on Phalgun Pumima draws big crowd. The devotees believe that people can have the darshan of 'Devchars' during Gade festival.
MORJAEE TEMPLE AT MORJIM
Situated at Morjim in Pemem taluka this ancient historical temple complex is situated amidst natural surroundings. The main festival is "Kalas Utsav" which is celebrated once in every three, five, seven, or nine years. The duration of the festival is nearly a month beginning from Phalgun Shuddha Panchami.The concluding seven days is a big religious and cultural affair when people not only from Goa but from Sindhudurg to Karwar assemble in large number. Other festivals are Gudi Padwa, Dussehra, annual Zatra, "divzam" and ghodemodni.
SHRI BHAGVATI TEMPLE AT PARSHEM
Situated at a distance of 7 km. from Pemem in Pemem Taluka.The complex has five temples, main temple being of Shri Bhagavati, other temples are of Shri Sateri, Shri Dev Ravalnath, Shri Dev Bhivangi Panchakshari & Brahma (Shri Vishnu, Shri Ganapath, Shri Shankar).Devi Bhagavati temple has two Deepstambhas unique of its kind. Main festivals are Dassehra and annual Zatra.
7 kms. from Valpoi, in the village of Brahma Carambolim. This shrine belongs to the 5th century A. D. It is one of the few temples dedicated to Lord Brahma found in India.
SHRI CHANDRANATH TEMPLE
It is situated on the top of 350 metres high hill of Chandranath,Paroda, Quepem. Chandreshwar was the titular deity of Bhoja kings who ruled South Goa before the Christian till the middle of 8th century. They had named their capital Chandrapur alter the deity. Shivalinga is carved out from the rock which oozes whenever rays of full moon fall on it. The temple is so designed that Linga receives moonlight on every full moon. The temple commands a panoramic view and its surroundings are enchanting. The temple's ancient chariot is well known for its wood carvings.
SHRI DAMODAR TEMPLE
22 kms from Margao at Zambaulim-Sanguem.Situated in picturesque surroundings on the banks of river Kushavati, popularly known as Panti. Near the temple, the river is regarded particulary holy and is said to have medicinal properties. The deity is worshipped by the Hindus and Christians alike.A week long celebration of Shigmo is packed with programs which include a colourful fair, exchange of gulal, collective meals and presentation of shows on popular legends and folk culture. The deity was originally in Margao.
SHRI DATTA MANDIR
37 kms at Dattawadi, Sanquelim, and 40 kms. from Margao The century old temple of trimurthy (Hindu) has a back drop of a beautiful hillock covered with dense groves of areca palms. The most important festival, which is attended by devotees from all over Goa, is Datta Jayanti which falls in the month of December. The deity is believed to have cured many people of unsound mind. The entire interior consist of white marble.
SHRI DEVIKIKRISHNA - RAVALNATH
17 km at Marcela, Ponda. Popularly known as Pisso Ravalnath. The most important festival is "Maini Paumima" in the month of Pausa.
SHRI GOMANTESHWAR DEVASTAHN BRAHMAPUR
It is situated near Ela farm at Old Goa. Mahadev was worshipped during the days of Kadamba kingdom in Goa. Madan Tirtha Goraksha Math etc. still remind the glory of the place.
SHRI GOPAL GANAPATI TEMPLE
26 kms from Panaji At Farmagudi, Ponda, amidst beautiful natural surroundings,near Bandora. The Portuguese Viceroy attacked the fort of Ponda in October, 1683 but had to beat a hasty retreat at the sudden appearance of the Maratha King Sambhaji with a large army. Farmagudi commemorates this event. The stone image of Gopal Ganapati was discovered by herdsmen while grazing cattle near the hill and later installed in a small shrine with a thatched roof. The temple built by late Shri Dayanand Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of Goa has the idol, made of metal alloy, consecrated on april 24,1966. It is a good specimen of Indian temple architecture synthesizing both ancient and modern.
SHRI KALIKA DEVI TEMPLE
14 kms. from Mapusa at Kansarpal. It is said to be about hundred years old. Divided into two outer halls, supported with seven rows of four pillars, has a stage to perform dramas on festive occasion.The inner shrine contains the revered image of the Goddes 'Kali' a fierce form of Devi. Agrashalas (rest House) surrounding the temple provide facilities for lodging to the devotees.
SHRI KAMAKSHI SAUNSTHAN SHIRODA TEMPLE
40 kms from Panaji. According to mythology, Shri Kamakshi, was brought from kaurang (Kanchi). Temple of Shri Mahadev at Tambdi Suria. 66kms. from Panaji in Sanguem Taluka. At the foot of the Ghats, is the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture (14th century) in basalt stone preserved and available in Goa. A motorable road connects Sancordem to this temple complex.
SHRI MAHALAXMI TEMPLE
4 kms. from Ponda. Situated in the village of Bandode. It is considered the abode of the original Goddess of the Shakti cult. The Sabhamandap has a gallery of 18 images, out of 24 images of emanatory aspects of Bhagvata sect, which is considered one of the few galleries of wooden images of Vishnu in India. The image of Mahalakshmi has a close resemblance to that of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, the main centre of worship. Her special feature is that she wears a linga on her head and is considered a peaceful or Satvik form of the Devi. The Goddess Mahalakshmi was worshipped by the Shilahara rulers (750-1030 A. D.) and the early Kadamba Kings of Goa.
SHRI MAHALSA TEMPLE
At Mardol, I km from Shri Manguesh temple. The deity worshipped is an attribute of Vishnu (Mohini during the fight between Devas and Asuras.
SHRI MALLIKARJUN TEMPLE
40 kms. from Margao. At Canacona, the southernmost Taluka of Goa, is believed to have been constructed during the middle of 16th century by ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj. It was renovated in the year 1778. The temple has massive wooden pillars with intricate carvings. There are 60 deities around the temple, Rathasaptami in Febmary and' Shigmotsav in April are the festivals of note, which draw large crowd.
SHRI MANGUESH TEMPLE
22 kms. from Panaji. At Priol-Ponda Taluka. It is located on a hillock surrounded by lush green hills. Though small it has an air of distinctive elegance. Its lofty white tower at the entrance is a landmark of the countryside. This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
SHRI NAGUESH TEMPLE
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated in the village of Bandode, about 4 kms. to the east of Ponda. The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains exquisite specimen of intricate wood carvings of the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other.
SHRI NAVDURGA SAUNSTHAN
34 kms. from Panaji at Borim and 12 kms. from Margao. The deity of Goddess Navdurga was originally brought by Brahmins of Karad to Goa. The deity was later transferred from Benaulim in Salcette to its present site at Borim.
SHRI NAVDURGA AT MADKAI
28 kms. from Panaji. The annual zatra is in November. The deity of Goddess Navdurga was originally brought by Brahmins of Karad to Goa.
SHRI RAMNATH TEMPLE
33 kms from Panaji in Ponda Taluka. Besides the shrine of the main Ramnath deity it has four small temples of Shri Laxminarayan, Shri Shantadurga (Sateri), Shri Betal and Shri Sidhanath.
The five together, constitute Shri Ramnath Panchayatan. The legend in mythology says that Rameshwar is the original abode of Lord Ramnath.
SHRI SAPTAKOTESHWAR TEMPLE
37 kms. from Panaji at Narve-Bicholim. Was a favoured deity of Kadamba Kings. Its orginal temple was situated in the island of Diwar. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and the idol was shifted to its present site at Narve (Bichoh'm). Many years afterwards in 1668 A. D. Chhatrapati Shivaji ordered renovation of this temple at the present site during one of his campaigns to oust the Portuguese. The linga worshipped in this temple is faceted and is known as 'Dharalinga'.
SAPTESHWAR - BHAGVATI TEMPLE
Was a favoured deity of Kadamba Kings. Its orginal temple was situated in the island of Diwar. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and the idol was shifted to its present site at Narve.
SHRI SHANTADURGA (KAVLEM)
33 kms from Panaji. Sumptuously built at Kavlem, is dedicated to Shantadurga, the Goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. Has a rich and beautiful Garbhakuda or the holy of holies where the deity is kept. The deity was shifted from Kelsi. Agrashalas provide lodging facilities to the devotees.
SHRI SHANTADURGA (PEMEM)
14 kms from Mapusa at Dhargal, Pemem. When all the temples in Barde; were destroyed by the Portuguese, this Goddess was removed at Sanquelim. It was at the time of the notorious Portuguese inquisition in Goa. Therefore, in 1550 A.D this Goddess was taken to Dhargal in Pemem Taluka which also formed part of Sewantwadi principality. The 'Zatra' of this Goddess is held in the month of December. The temple has beautiful natural surroundings.
SHRI SHANTADURGA (KUNKOLIENKARIN)
18 kms. from Margao, at Fatorpa (Quepem). Originally from Cuncolim village in Salcete Taluka, the Goddess was removed to Fatorpa in 16th Century during religious persecution by the Portuguese. The annual zatra, which falls in the month of Pausha Shuddha Navami, attracts thousands of devotees from all over Goa.
SHRI VITTHAL MANDIR
41 kms. from Panaji. Situated at Vithalwadi, Sanquelim. Shri Vitthal is the ancestral God of 'Ranes' who had put up prolonged memorable resistance to Portuguese rule. The main festival is Chaitri (April). Its celebration is a lavish affair for the people miles around.
SHRI DEVI SHARVANI
Vithal Maharudra Panchayatan the complex comprise of temples of jagrut Swayambhu Goddess Sharvani, Mahadev and Vetal with his life size image of stone and other deities. It is situated in scenic surroundings at Advolpal in North Goa, 2.5 kms. from Assonora on Pirna main road. Goddess is known for fulfilling the vows of her devotees through Kaul Prasad who also perform Tulbhar to propitiate her. Thousands of devotees throng on vardhapan day, Divja zatra day am annual zatra day in November/December when procession of Goddess is taken out ii decorated chariot.
SHRI SAUNSTHAN GOKARN PARTAGALI JEEVOLAM MATH
Born under the divine inspiration of his Holiness Haturii Mathadhish Shrinad Brahmanand Swamiji, the Tapobhoomi Complex at Kundai has no/v become a cnitre_ of pilgrimage to the students of Hindu culture and religion, spread over an are of 10,000 sq. mts. This centre of Param Pujya Padmanabh Shishya Sampradaya harbaurs a number of projects, a unique Datta mandir, Sanskrit pathshala, Dhyaan Gumfa (Chamber for meditation), Ayurveda Centre, Yoga Anusandhan Kendra, Bhajani Vidyalayi Bhaktoddhar Library, etc.
His Holiness Brahmanand Swamiji, who is the head of Haturii Muth has rendered yeomen service to uplift poor, downtrodden people in the last two decades. While propagating the Bhakti movement in this holy land, he has salvaged poor and middle class from falling into the clutches of vices such as drinking, gambling, drug-abuse etc. It is solely because of Swamiji's guidance that thousands of young people have been able to-walk in the right direction.
Tapobhoomi has been set up to educate mankind about its duties and responsibilities. Tapobhoomi has been set up to spread the message of divine love and compassion. Tapobhoomi is indeed a temple of humanity, standing firm on the foundation of devotion i.e. Bhakti.
SHRI SAUNSTHAN GONDPADDCHIYA KAVIE MATH
Goddess is known for fulfilling the vows of her devotees through Kaul Prasad who also perform Tulbhar to propitiate her. Thousands of devotees throng on vardhapan day, Divja zatra day am annual zatra day in November/December when procession of Goddess is taken out ii decorated chariot. Vithal Maharudra Panchayatan the complex comprise of temples of jagrut Swayambhu Goddess Sharvani, Mahadev and Vetal with his life size image of stone and other deities. It is situated in scenic surroundings at Advolpal in North Goa, 2.5 kms. from Assonora on Pirna main road.
Shaped like the new moon, Goa’s beaches are known the world over. Fringed by swaying palm and coconut trees with cool and comfortable shacks offering a variety of refreshments, Goa’s 103 km coastline is blessed with the most enchanting beaches lapped by the Arabian Sea.. And almost all of them are swimmer friendly with the assured presence of lifeguards on all the popular beaches. When it comes to beaches, the visitor is spoilt for choice.
Calangute is the most popular beach with thousands thronging it in both the peak and off-season. The waves rise high above as you wash away your city blues, though swimmer need to be a trifle cautious because of the sudden drop and the rising waves. Experienced swimmers will, however, revel in the seas here.. The beach is fringed with popular restaurants and hotels, including the Calangute Residency operated by GTDC. This long, seven-km sweep of sand located 15 kms from Panaji, is called the 'Queen of Beaches'. All the travel agencies and tour operators have a base here from where bookings are done for most of the other beaches.
Parasailing at calangute beach. Years of tourism has brought in a tremendous change in the scenario. Hotels and guesthouses stretch uninterrupted from Calangute to Baga. The village of Calangute has all basic facilities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, resort companies, all kind of bars and restaurants, besides medical facilities. The number of internet cafes in Calangute might even exceed that of the entire city of Panaji. Huge showrooms filled with exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Tibet, Indonesia, Rajasthan and other exotic places, line up the main road running towards Anjuna.
A few kms down the beach is another—Baga.-- part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa which begins at Fort Aguada, continues as Sinquerim Beach, moves on to Candolim which merges into Calangute Beach and then stretches on to Baga, Anjuna and on to Vagator, finally ending at Chapora beach. Truly a veritable feast of beaches. Compared to Calangute, Baga is quieter and also more isolated. Its scenic beauty, with the creek, the Retreat House perched on the hill and the fewer tourist buses all have contributed to its unique beauty. It is more popular with western tourists who love to use it as a base for water sports and fishing in the area.
This most photographed beach of Goa forms a bay that curves from the headland to the hillock crowned by the Chapora Fort. This beautiful arc of sand is located about 22 kms from Panaji and is part of the 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa. Adjoining Anjuna, Vagator is secluded, crescent shaped and situated on the Caisua bay along the Chapora river basin in the shadow of Chapora Fort. During the tourist season, it is a favorite venue for midnight parties. There are a number of buses that run from Mapusa and Calangute beach to Vagator. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa.
Anjuna was made famous by the ‘flower power and peace’ generation of the sixties and early seventies. And later by the ‘trance’ parties. Located about 18 kms from Panaji, the beach is known for its breeze-catching palms, soft sand, and the unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of whitish sand.and black rock that juts into the sea. It is now famous for its weekly Flea Market, which draws legions of visitors every Wednesday and bargains can be had on apparel, footwear, jewellery, footwear, chess sets—and yak cheese. The village of Anjuna is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the Hill overlooking the beach.
With its magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison, Sinquerim is one of the finest beaches in Goa, offering international class facilities for water-skiing, parasailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing. Home to the Taj Hotel Group, which dominates the headland around the historic Fort Aguada, Sinquerim is located some 13 kms from Panaji. The uninterrupted stretch of firm sand stretches all the way north to Baga, offering visitors a temptingly long walk along the beach.
Candolim is the first beach that can be approached from the city of Panaji and is like a gateway to the other more famous beaches. Though individual accommodation is available here, there are only a few hotels with restaurants attached. One highlight of Candolim is the parasailing and water skiing facility, besides other water sports.
Aguada beach is almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex, a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you can walk along Aguada beach, for in India private beaches do not exist. Drawn by the clientele of the hotel, Aguada beach has cafes, itinerant vendors of everything from Kashmiri carpets to massages, and a good range of water sports.
The VIPs on this beach are the Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest here helped by a group of volunteers who guard the nests and help the hatchlings get into the sea. A favourite of Russian tourists, along with Ashwem beach close by, visitors will find signboards and menu cards in Russian!
ARAMBOL or HARMAL BEACH
This is also a foreigners’ haunt with a large number of Tai Chi, non-permanent mehendi or henna, tattoo, yoga and meditation centres. Harmal Beach is the one place you cannot drive on to, but there are narrow lanes that lead to the higher reaches of the coast. You have to walk down a slope to the beach itself. The black rocks on the silvery beach make for some pretty dramatic scenery at sunset. Further up near the hill is a pool with soft yellow clay, which is said to have healing properties. Beauticians buy the clay as do the innumerable massage parlours in the area.
This beautiful ‘urban’ beach, akin to Chowpatty in Mumbai, is located just 3 kms from Panaji. It lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian Sea. It was originally known as ‘Gasper Dias Beach’, named after Gaspar Dias, a prosperous landlord and where a Portuguese fort once stood at the fag end of the 16th century. From the beach across the river is an excellent view of Fort Aguada. With its proximity to Panaji, and located near educational institutions, Miramar is very much both a family beach and a meeting point for young people. It is also a hot spot for fitness fiends and walkers. Tourists love the familiar atmosphere. Numerous hotels, including the spacious and well laid out Miramar Residency run by GTDC, dot the area. The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days. A memorial to Goa's first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar is located here.
Palolem is a cosy beach of white sand facing a blue bay between two headlands. The little wooded islands on the northern headland look alluring and you could try and persuade one of the fishermen — this is also a fishing beach — to ferry you across. They also offer to take you out to spot dolphins. Tourists have of late discovered Palolem and so there are quite a few shacks selling seafood snacks, souvenirs and clothes of the bright, informal kind. Panaji, the capital, is more than 70 kms away. In recent times, Palolem has become famous for its ‘Silent Noise’ parties, a unique concept which does away with loud blaring live music after the 10 pm ban. With your own set of earphones, you can dance away to different genres of music played by versatile DJs. Palolem is just 3 kms away from Canacona Railway station, now on the Konkan Railway route. You can hire taxis and auto-rickshaws to reach Palolem beach from Margao, 40 kms away. There are regular buses from Margao to Palolem that drop you off at Canacona village. There are now beautiful beach huts and family rooms to choose from in Palolem. Further south is the cove of Colomb where you can enjoy peace and quiet. Two kilometres away from Palolem is Rajbag Beach which is isolated and stretches all the way to the mouth of the Talpona River. And then on to Galgibaga Beach which is the second nesting site in Goa for turtles. Further south is Agonda Beach
If you continue driving towards Panaji from Palolem, the next beach is Agonda. It’s long and lonely, fringed with palms and casuarinas and dominated by a large hill to the south. It’s not safe to swim out too far on this beach. There are very few facilities available here and you are needed to carry all the essentials. Agonda is a 3 km long beautiful cove of white sand, safely secluded in the palms. There are no tourists, no souvenir stalls, no restaurants—just peace and tranquility. Just the trees, the beach, the big beautiful ocean and you. It also makes for a great day trip from Colva and Covelossim. For a real adventure, hire a tent and camp for the night, listening to the crashing of the sea waves. Not far from Agonda beach is Cabo de Rama, untouched by most of the visitors in this region. The atmosphere of the fort creates a sense of history and drama that very few would fail to appreciate. The fort is named after Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to local legend, Rama stayed here with his wife Sita during the period of his 12-year exile. The best way to reach this beach is by a scooter or motors bike.
VARCA, CAVELOSSIM, MOBOR BEACH
Varca, Cavelossim and Mabor are a trio of the most alluring beaches south of Benaulim. These beaches are much cleaner and quieter than most of the other more famous beaches of Goa. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices. There are several food joints around the grand ‘Dona Sylvia’ resort offering a splendid repast at reasonable rates. There are also facilities for Dolphin watching up the River Sal. The beaches here are home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in Goa. Accommodation is also available for budget and economy class travelers, though not on the beach itself. There is plenty of transport for these beaches from Margao. From Cavelossim village, Margao is 18 kms away and buses and autos are available easily. You can also hire taxis from Dabolim Airport (41 – 48 kms) to reach the beach resorts here. To move locally, use cycles and scooters that are available on hire.
North of Colva is Betalbatim Beach which begins a long string of beaches with Majorda, Utorda, Arossim and Velsao at the north. It is a ten kilometre stretch of white sand which is not very crowded
This is the most important beach in the South circuit, equipped with all modern amenities like air-conditioned resort complexes, tourist cottages, discos, besides several stalls, eateries and guest houses—all of which have expanded the village enormously. With 20 kms of virgin white sands, palm fringed, sun drenched beaches, Colva is the most loved beach in Goan. Unlike Anjuna or Calangute, Colva has gained popularity only lately. Located just 39 kms from the capital Panaji, it was relatively little disturbed and life moved on quietly. The Church of Our Lady Of Mercy in Colva is famous for its miracle statue of Menino Jesus. The busy road leading from the Church to the beach is where all the facilities are located. While taking a stroll on Colva Beach, silver carpets of mackerels can be seen shimmering and drying on the golden sands. Fishermen’s motor trawlers huddle in a line offshore. Tourists and locals frequent the beach for a dip or a walk for a change of air or to sunbathe on the golden sands. The trinket stalls and drink stands on the sands under the moonlight add to the aura of Colva Beach.
This small stretch, about 5 kms north of Colva Beach, is as pretty as a picture, studded with several hotels, the most prominent being the starred Majorda Beach Resort. Majorda is the village where the Jesuits, fond as they were of the good things of life, discovered the best Goan toddy (sap from the coconut palm), which they used to leaven the bread. Naturally, then, Majorda is the place where the Goans were first trained in the delicate art of baking European breads. The Majordans are still Goa's best bakers. The delights of the beach, however, were discovered much earlier, in mythical times. Legend has it that in the Goan version of the Ramayana, Lord Rama was kidnapped as a child and brought up at Majorda. Later, in pursuit of Sita, he camped at Cabo de Rama - a headland further south - where the stretch of developed beaches ends.
This beach, dominated by a 5-star hotel located right on its edge, is cut apart from both the North and South beach circuit. Just 4 kms from the airport at Dabolim, it is a favourite among the elite classes and has an air of exclusivity. Although the resort hotel towers above the village, there are still a few smaller and appealing places to stay in. Windsurfing and water skiing facilities are available.
Less than 2 kms south of Colva is the more tranquil beach of Benaulim, is one of the few places in Goa where one can glimpse handicrafts typical to this area. The best of the traditional rosewood furniture is made here. Also, mythically Benaulim is famous as the place where the legendary Parashuram's arrow landed by which Goa was created. Among the more attractive aspects of Benaulim is that it is still rather undiscovered by domestic tourists even though it is a fishing beach. It gets fairly crowded in the evenings and on weekends with local visitors who get off buses about a kilometre away and pour onto the beach. The Church of St John the Baptist is situated on a hill beyond the village and worth a visit. On the arrival of the monsoon, the Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao) is celebrated as thanksgiving. Young men wearing crowns of leaves and fruits tour the area singing for gifts. To commemorate the movement of St John in his mother’s womb and Mary’s visit, the young men of this village jump into the locals wells in celebration.
Betul is an important fishing port where all the mechanized boats and deep sea trawlers bring in their catch. Here headlands from the slopes of the Western Ghats protrude into the shore, imparting an imposing backdrop. Beyond this secluded beach is the hill of Cabo De Rama where the Portuguese built a fort. From the fort, a great view of the sunset on the beach can be viewed. However, there are very few places to stay in Betul.
Goa abounds in festivals and fairs around temples and churches which also commemorate eaily legends. They are the occasions when a Goan peasant manifests joy and happiness.
A traditional folk dance performed by the womenfolk of the scheduled tribe community who were the earliest settlers of Goa, in the second half of the Hindu month Bhadrapada.
CORREDINHO-PORTGUESE FOLK DANCE
A peasant dance which is popular among Goan elite youth.
DEKHM- BEAUTY DANCE
Performed only by women, displays a rare blend of Indian & Western rhythms.
In Navratra days. a vigouious session of worship dance. Fugdi & Dhalo: Folk dance performed by women. The most common folk dance forms of Goa.
It is 111 commemoration of the return of the Ranes after victories over the Portuguese in Bicholim and Satari Taluka.
It manifests joy and happiness of Goa peasants after the harvest, dining Shigmo Festival in Phalgun month. Nanpet-Sword Dance: A traditional warrior dance performed during the Shigmo Festival. Kala & Dashatlai: Folk dance forms representing the subsequent development of jagar as tiatr. Some of the other popular folk drama forms are Ranmale, Ratkala and Tiatr.
KUNBI DANCE TRIBAL FOLK DANCE
A group dance-cum-song thoroughly rustic. Lamp Dance: Performed during Shigmo festival by women Holding lamps on their heads.
A love song. It represents the mingling of Indian and Western tradition. Monilem: A traditional folk dance presented by the backward community during Shigmo festival.
A dance-cum-song in praise of valiant Kings. It also projects incidents in the village life of the times, Romat, Tonya Mel and Dhendio are some other folk dance forms.
The earliest form of drama.
SUVARI FOLK MUSIC
It is a traditional tone setter to ail Hindu religious and festival performances.
Folk dance performed by men-a social sophisticated, outdoor group dance for men.
Banners mela of Farmers.
TONYAMEL FOLK DANCE WITH
A very vigorous and muscular group dance which is connected with the farm-folk celebrating the joys of good harvest.
It is a typical Indian style dance performed in Ponda, Sanguem and Bicholim Talukas.
ZAGOR FOLK PLAY
A cultural activity presented in different villages of Goa in different styles by the Gauda community.
With the majority of the population being Hindu, Goa has scores of festivals celebrated all around the year. All these festivals do not occur on fixed dates of the caldendar year, since they are based on the Hindu calendar.
Despite the long period of Portuguese colonisation, the Hindu festivals have retained their unique Goan character and are celebrated with deep fervour.
In Hindu mythology, Goa is called the land of the Gods and with good reasons. There are hundreds of Gods and Goddesses with differing names, tastes, rituals and traditions. Most of these have remained unchaged over the centuries while others have adapted to the changing times and circumstances.
Quite a lot of the Goan festivals are actually Jatras (feasts) of the local or family deity celebrated at the temple of the God or Goddess called Devasthan. It is a festive and colourfull occassion in the temple complex with thousands of devotees taking part in the celebrations and the palakhi (palanquin) procession.
Other festivals like Dussehra, Diwali and Holi are the same as those celebrated around India but with the characterstic Goan flavour. The Goan Hindu community mainly celebrates Ganesh Chathurti, Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Dassra (Dussehra), Holi, Rakshabandhan, Ramnavmi and Krishnajanmashtami.
Ganesh Chaturth i, undoubtedly, is the ‘numero uno' festival of Goa. Celebrated around August or September, it sees the return of most Goans to their native place of birth or their ancestral houses to join the entire family. Most towns and cities in Goa wear a deserted look as Goans return to their native places in the hinterland.
Diwali , the festival of lights is celebrated all over India. Its roots go back to the time when Lord Ram killed the demon king Ravan. Ram was welcomed in his hometown Ayodhya by a celebration of crackers and lights. In northern India, the festival ends when an effigy of Ravan is burnt with an arrow of Ram.
But the same occasion is celebrated a day before Diwali in Goa – and not on the last day of Dussehra – with the burning of the effigies of Narkasur as the demon King Ravan is called locally. All around Goa, huge effigies of Narkasur - dressed in colourful paper clothes and armed with swords and other armaments - are erected in the days preceding Diwali. They are then burnt just before sunrise.
Although introduced by the Portuguese who ruled this territory for over 50 years, from 1510 to 1961, the three-day festival primarily celebrated by Christians, has absorbed Hindu tradition-bound revelry and western dance forms, and stimulated by the artistry of the Goan genius turned into a pageantry of singular effervescence.
Among the various colourful feasts and festivals feasts and festivals that Goa celebrates -with great eclat, Carnaval and Shigmo are the most rumbustious, awaited by the population with intense enthusiasm. Unlike 'Shigmo' which is also celebrated in some oilier parts of India, although under different appellations, 'Carnaval Goa's own, unique, and the Union Territorys contribution to India's other expressions at untrammelled revelry.
If down the centuries Carnaval was enjoyed only by the local population, today its fame has crossed the frontiers attracting thousands of people from all over India to whom this type of extravaganza is at once riotous and different.
The participation of the Goa Government and the Municipal Councils in it and the post-liberation introduction of the King Memo and his colourful procession have endowed Carnaval with a new dimenion and it is bound to attract more people every year to this territory whose scenic beauty and white-sanded benches have already earned Goa high praise.
It was in the fitness of things that the Goa Government, through its Department of Tourism, should have given a boost to the celebration of the three-day Carnival festival as a major tourist attraction. Distinctly Latin in character, a legacy of Portuguese cultural tradition, the Carnival is not celebrated elsewhere in hidhi, and it wan in decline even in Goa in the last years of Portuguese rule. Its revival and celebration with an added zest was, therefore, on the cards as, after Goa's Liberation, tourism was being developed as a regular industry. This festival of three days of gay abandon, riotous revelry and merry-making now attracts to Goa thousands of tourists from all over India.
The word Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) is supposed to be derived from flu- Latin Carnelevarium or rarnem levarem, meaning "to take away meat", which actually happens at the commencement of the 40-day penitential period of fasting in commemoration of Jesus Christ's fasting in the wilderness, known among the Christians as Lent, during which abstinence from meat is a rule. The Konknni world venture, by which it is known among the illiterate masses, comes from the Portuguese intrude, in turn coming from the Latin Latin Introitum, meaning entry into the Lenten period.
Celebrated particularly in the Latin Catholic countries of Southern Europe, it appears to have originated in Italy as a substitute for the Roman pagan festival known as Saturnalia in honour of Saturn, the god of Agriculture, observed in the month of December as a period of unrestrained merry-making, as it signaled the rebirth of Mother-Nature and the beginning of a New Year. From Italy, in which country it was celebrated with éclat mainly in Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples and Turin, it spread out to other Latin countries such as France, Spain and Portugal and also to Germany and Austria. The Portuguese brought it to Goa as they also took it to Brazil. Where it is celebrated with undiminished gusto even to this day, as it is in Argentina and other Latin-American countries, where it was imported by the Spaniards, while it almost died away in Europe, except for a few places, like Nice, among others.
Brutal and city in days gone by, in Goa as in Portugal, with real street battles fought by groups of masked people armed with baskets of rotten eggs and saw-dust or wheat flour packets known as cartuchos and cocotex and syringes filled with coloured water, so much so that that there were from time to time ediets in order to curb its excesses, the Carnival festival gradually became more moderate, being of late confined to the halls of clubs and other recreation centres with balls, fancy dress parades and such other innocent passtimes.
Bicholim Bazaar Wednesday is a market day in this town which falls in one of the major mining regions of Goa. After a 20-min drive from Mapusa town via Tivim village lies the town of Bicholim. It falls in a major mining region of Goa. Wednesday is a weekly bazaar day and besides the innumerable shops, vendors from the surrounding villages bring their local produce such as chillies, coconuts, onions, etc. for sale.
Calangute Bazaar Every Saturday morning this village bazaar is held in Calangute. Every Saturday morning villagers and hawkers gather to sell their local produce and other wares behind the church. This bazaar attracts a large crowd from the surrounding areas too, who go there to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, beef, chicken, fowls, piglings, Goan sweets, pork sausages and other household things.
Colva Night Market It is conveniently located behind the Colva football ground with ample space for parking. The night market will have food stalls, well-stocked bar, live music, fireworks, cultural shows such as Bharata Natyam, Dekhnni (Goan folk songs), fire-eaters, handicraft stalls, etc. The last market of the season will be on 26th March.
Flea Market, Anjuna The Flea Market at the famous Anjuna beach is a meeting place for every race, with a variety of items on sale Anjuna Flea Market is very popular with tourists. It is an ideal place to spend a day looking at various items on display. Chartered buses bring tourists from South Goa to spend a day at the market. One can while away time on the nearby beach. Various types of items are put on display for sale. There are places to have lunch or a snack.
Friday Bazaar The main town and centre of North Goa, this is the major marketplace for village produce. Mapusa is a major marketplace for village produce as well as items from outside Goa for people living in North Goa. Villagers from surrounding areas come to buy their weekly requirements. The major feasts in the taluka, Our Lady of Milagres for Christians and Bodgeshwar Zatra for Hindus, attract huge crowds. It is from the Mapusa bazaar that foreigners residing in private houses in the coastal belt procure their requirements.
Mackie's Saturday Nite Bazaar This bazaar is located along the palmfringed bank of the beautiful Baga creek and the saltpans in Arpora. Every Saturday the place comes alive to the sound of music and bright lights. Quite a picturesque place, you will find the vendors squatting on the ground with their colourful wares, which include all sorts of souvenirs Western tourists like to buy. A variety of cuisine is found here with people of different nationalities producing a rich spread of delicious food. Amidst all this one can hear lively music produced by musicians from several parts of the world
Pernem Bazaar North Goa's second largest and most colourful bazaar gathers in Pernem every Thursday. One of North Goa's largest and most colourful bazaars gathers in Pernem. Probably the bulk of the commodities include fresh vegetable, with the vendors spreading their wares at the hill slope road. Other merchandise consists of chillies, onions, coir ropes, several varieties of dry fish, etc. The bazaar is also crowded with upcountry hawkers. In the swirling crowd, Western tourists jostle with locals to buy and also to capture the kaleidoscopic view for displaying the rare Goan scenes to people back home.
Siolim Market The Siolim village bazaar is being held every Wednesday morning near St Anthony's Chapel. The Siolim bazaar is a typical rural happening as the rustic folk, specially women, bring their village produce for sale. You may also find typical Goan sweets including the famed jawbreaking 'khottkhottem'. With their limited wares they sit along the narrow road leading to St Anthony Chapel and to Arambol and Keri.
Goa's equitable climate and rich vegetation support an abundance of birds. This large and diverse population can survive because of its varied habitat that ranges from open forests to shrubs, tracks and dense forests which are ideal for breeding.
Visitors will probably notice a few about town and in temple grounds. On the other hand, a keen bird-watcher will find much to get excited about and a trip to one of the nearby sanctuaries or along a river early in the morning will be particularly rewarding.
Goa is a bird watcher's paradise and keen bird-watchers will be in seventh heaven, and even those who have previously had little interest in birds will wonder at the richness of the birdlife.
Common varieties of birds to be seen in Goa include four different species of eagles, as well as other birds of prey such as kites, buzzards, kestrels and ospreys. There are five types of pigeons, six types of doves, five varieties of cuckoos, six of kingfishers and another six of woodpeckers.
There is enough here to keep even the most ardent enthusiast busy for months. What's more, you don't even have to go very far to see most of these birds. An early morning or evening spent beside one of the rivers, or better still in the boat of a local ramponkar, drifting along the waterways will reveal amazing numbers of unusual species.
For those who are interested in seeing more, a trip to the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on Chorao Island is recommended. Other sites of interest are the wetlands at Carambolim (12km east of Panaj and at Shiroda (40km south-east of Panaji, in Ponda taluka).
A wonderful variety of birds can also be seen readily in Bondla and the other wildlife sanctuaries near the Western Ghats. For seabirds, Morjim beach is recommended.
For travellers to Goa, the visit is not complete unless they take back a souvenir of their memorable sojourn in this magnificent paradise. Naturally, shopping should be a priority on the itinerary of every tourist, along with the sightseeing attractions.
The excellent local handicrafts of Goa are easily the most popular souvenir items and include brassware, terracotta, shell work, crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, papier-mache, etc. These are available in the Government Emporia and also at shops and stalls near the popular tourist spots.
Another item which is on the list of every traveller to Goa is a pack of the famed cashew nuts. These are available practically everywhere. There are shops specialising in selling only cashewnuts. The nuts are available in a wide variety of tastes ranging from plain, salted and masala. The prices vary based on the quality and flavour.
There are also many fascinating options in the lifestyle and fashion shops which have come up in recent times. Some of these are located in fabulous old Goan houses which have been painstakingly restored. These shops make the best selections in home styling and fashion available to the tourists at quite reasonable prices.
It is also a fascinating experience to go around and shop in the traditional markets of the Goan towns and villages. These markets are a mirror of Goa's ethnic culture and provide a glimpse of the typical Goan way of doing business.
Two of the most famous such market areas are Mapusa and Anjuna. The Friday Market at Mapusa, where stalls sell everything from curios and old coins to dried fish and spices.
The Wednesday Market at Anjuna Beach started by and for foreigners is an extremely lively spot where souvenirs, beachwear, trinkets and handicrafts are sold at bargain prices.
Most deluxe hotels and resorts also have good in-house shops, but the price ranges are usually higher.
The charm of shopping in Goa lies in bargaining to your heart's content in markets and shops until you finally bring down the price and make the purchase a worthwhile experience.
Visitors to Goa tend to think that food and drink in Goa means the famous fish, curry, rice and feni package. And for most Goans these are indeed the three basic necessities of life -- fish, curry and rice. They combine to make a heavenly daily meal for the average Goan. But Goan cuisine, like the land itself, has many flavours and tastes with its vast treasure trove of culinary delicacies. The long period of Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, has left an indelible influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine. Most people who sample Goan cuisine, enjoy this different and unique style of food which has a distinct and unique combination of spicy flavours. A Goan values his food as much as he does his daily siesta (break). And in his daily meal, seafood always has a pride of place is some form or the other. From fried fish to exotic concoctions like ambot-tik, sea food is usually a must on the menu, except for the occasional break for some religious observance. Goans take pleasure not only in what they eat, but also how they cook it. Although modern conveniences have almost completely taken over in urban areas, the traditional way of cooking in clay pots on firewood continues in most rural areas of Goa. This style of cooking adds an additional smoky flavour to the food, highly valued by Goans.
Despite the two schools of cuisine traditions influenced by the respective religions of Hinduism and Christianity; there are some meeting points that present an interesting harmony. This blend of various cooking styles and influences is what makes Goan food so unique among the cuisines of India.
With a wide variety ranging from prawns to sausages, chicken to beef, and numerous vegetarian dishes, Goan cuisine is able to satisfy even the most finicky gourmet appetites. Goa has some magnificent culinary delicacies like the prawn balchão and sorpotel which have become famous around the world.
While Hindu Goan food does not seem to have picked up any major Portuguese influence, the Christian food has been influenced not only by the Portuguese, but also by its overseas colonies. Traditional Goan cooking calls for plenty of muscle and time. Grinding is always part of the recipe and the nicer the dish the longer it takes to make.
Goan food is simple but most, though not all, of it is chili hot, spicy, and pungent. Items made from rice, fish, and coconut abound in nearly every Goan meal.
Seafood such as prawns, lobsters, crabs, pomfrets, clams, ladyfish, mussels, and oysters are used to make a variety of curries, fries, soups and pickles. Besides fresh seafood, dried and salted fish dishes are also highly prized by Goans.
In this section we provide a selection of Goa's famous dishes with detailed descriptions of ingredients and cooking methods so you can reproduce the exotic flavor of the dishes in your very own kitchen.
So here is a taste of Goa and if you are travelling to Goa don't forget to pack a healthy appetite
BEST EATING PLACES IN GOA
MARTNS CORNER @ BETALBATIM
The most exciting Goan Food in the most exciting setting. The goan sausage pulao is excellent as are each of the sea food dishes. The tongue is a steal at 40 a plate. They also serve jumping chicken if u know what I mean.
SOUZA LOBO'S IN CALANGUTE BEACH
Set in an authentic goan house right on the beach. One can even dance to the live music on the portico or eat at the tables on the beach. Excellent sea food. A shack ambience with the warmth of a home
VENICE GARDENS IN MADGAON
This is where a lot of the locals eat. Sea food is the freshest I could find. The tongue is great. Set in an open backyard garden, its a slice of different.
JACKRIS BAKERY IN MADGAON
Located in the madgaon market. Its almost a hole in the wall. You have to try their meat puffs & prawn cakes. Then u will keep returning for more.
CHORIZO FROM MAPUSA MARKET
If u r looking for fresh chorizon (goan version of portuguese sausage) the best place to pick it up is stall no. 4 in Mapusa market. Its fresh & tasty.
WINES TO CARRY HOME
Pedro Vincent Vaz in Mapusa market is this comfy shop scatterred with antiques. You can get every brand of goan port wine & other alcohol here. Carry home one of the old monk rum bottles shaped as a monk (only available in Goa) as a souvenier
INFANTARIA IN CALANGUTE BEACH
One of the better places to have breakfast while in Goa. They have a buffet system for breakfast too. Its been in place for longer than the 15 years I've been holidaying in Goa
FLORENTINE NEAR ANJUNA BEACH
Their Chicken Cafreal is exported to Bombay during wedding season. Its that famous. Don't go expecting a fancy restaurant. Its a kitchen with some tables attached. Just have the Chicken Cafreal & the Goa bread. Hearty soul food.
LONGHINOS AT MADAON
The food isnt all that great but the setting is excellent. If u want to get a feel of what kind of life the portuguese lived & how they ate, then this is a good place to halt for a bite & peruse your guide book while you are there.
A GOAN HOME
There's nothing to beat being invited to a Goan home to bask in the hospitality of the locals. They will buy the freshest fish & vegetables and put together a meal that just goes so well together. It will leave you feeling totally sosegad.
GOAN FOOD - NORTH GOA
SOUZA'S LOBO - CALANGUTE BEACH
In existence for the past 65 years, this restaurant has earned its reputation on good food, good service & location. However, lately its been reported to have lost its quality of food. Still it's worth visiting at least once during your stay.
MIRABAI'S GOAN VILLAGE - CALANGUTE/BAGA ROAD
Opened just about four months ago, this restaurant claims to offer only genuine goan food. Located on the main road, it has a simple ambience and is known to be quite popular. Food is supposed to be reasonably good but the service lacks in quality.
SPARROWS NEST - CALANGUTE MAIN ROAD
Located right besides the only Petrol Station in Calangute, this simple restaurant serves a mean Goan fish curry and rice dish, very popular with the locals and the tourists. Its prices are also very reasonable compared to others in the vicinity.
ST. ANTHONY'S BAR & RESTAURANT - BAGA BEACH
One of the oldest restaurants, it has a simple shack like ambience and some good food with friendly staff. Quite popular with tourists and well worth a visit.
FLORENTINE - SALIGAO
Located in Saligao, a 10-minute drive from Calangute, this restaurant has been in existence for quite some time. Earlier known for its great food, its service has deteriorated, but still serves some good Goan dishes and chicken cafreal.
PAGODA CHINESE RESTAURANT
Situated on Baga Road, this is a neat place. Good Food and good service, but a bit steep on the prices.
KIM FA CHINESE RESTAURANT
On the Baga Road, next to Ronnil?s Resort, this is quite a popular Chinese joint with good food at the right price. Quite popular with a lot of tourists and the owner Michael is a charmer.
On the Calangute/Panaji Highway, this so called restaurant is situated in the fields and serves decent Chinese food at the right price. If you like outdoors, this is the place for you.
MULTICUISINE & SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS
Right in Calangute Market Place, Oceanic is a multicuisine restaurant. Good food, good ambience its clientele is mostly regulars who visit them time and again.
Located on the junction of Calangute/Baga Road, this restaurant is quite popular with tourists because of its location.? A good place to sit out and while away your time looking around.
POPULAR FOR BREAKFAST
In Calangute near the football field, this is a popular fast food restaurant for quick eat outs and breakfasts. It is however known to serve good snacks, and meals too.
This popular restaurant is located right near the beach in Baga. Good Food and reasonable prices makes it quite popular with the locals as well as the tourists.
A great ambience with beautiful settings, this restaurant situated opposite Tito?s Night Club in Baga, serves good Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.
Fighting for the same name, are two restaurants situated at different locations. Both claim to good genuine Italian food and both worth visiting. One is on the Calangute/Candolim road and the other one is in Little Baga opposite the river.
Situated in the market place at Calangute this is a sprawling Vegetarian Restaurant, serving all kinds of Udipi style and now North Indian dishes. Reasonable food but sloppy service.
Just opposite the temple in Calangute, near Bank of Baroda, is this Indian vegetarian restaurant. Serves good udipi style south Indian food, but being small it is too crowded for some.
PALMS N SANDS
This restaurant is in Candolim, right on the beach with a 3 tier sit out. Serves good seafood and has great outdoor view of the sea.
Unmatched ambience, quality food and personalized service is the trade mark of this restaurant situated in Siquerim. Serves multicuisine food.
If you feel like Mexican food, visit this place in Porvorim, which serves reasonable Mexican cuisine.
GOAN FOOD - PANJIM
Situated on the road to Miramar in Panaji, this restaurant is quite famous with the local residents and tourists alike for its good Goan food.
Located near the ?Junta House? just off the 18th June road. The food is decent and is reasonably priced. Service during lunchtime is lousy because the management and staff are busy watching the TV.
Located on the church square in Panaji, this popular restaurant serves vegetarian food in Udipi style.
Situated on 18th June Road in Panaji, this is another Udipi style restaurant serving the standard South Indian dishes.
MULTICUISINE & NORTH INDIAN RESTAURANTS
Ask anybody and they will guide you to this most popular restaurant. Nice ambience, good Tandoori and North Indian food. The prices are a bit steep for Indian Standards.
SHER E PUNJAB
Another popular name in the North Indian food scene, they have two restaurants with the same name in Panaji and serves decent North Indian cuisine.
WHITE HOUSE - DONNA PAULA
Situated on the Donna Paula hillock overlooking the Governor's Palace, it has an excellent view of both Panaji and Marmugoa harbour. The place is more for relaxing for an evening drink and some snacks, but as far as the food is concerned it is nothing special.
MARTINS NEST - BETALBATIM
Located close to the Betalbatim beach, this restaurant is known for its genuine goan food. A family run business, its service is good by goan standards. Best to visit during weekdays, as Saturdays & Sundays are awfully crowded.
LOUNGINOHS - MARGAON
Situated in the heart of Margao city near to the Municipal Buildings, this restaurant has the ambience of a pub and serves excellent Goan, Chinese and continental dishes. Their cocktails are well recommended.
At Agassaim, on the way between Panaji and Margao, this restaurant is situated in the midst of shady palm groove. Good for seafood and Goan food
On the Colva Beach in South Goa. This restaurant serves good seafood and also has a multicuisine menu. Open till late night, its sea front location is ideal for a night out with good food.
Right on Utorda Beach, opposite Kenilworth Beach Resort. This outdoor restaurant has a great setting. While you wait for you food, you can relax on one of the cane chairs or a hammock sipping a cool drink. Serves exotic goan food.
Located in Margao, this restaurant takes pride to call itself the finest Indian restaurant in Goa. Worth one visit if you are in Margao.
On Benaulim beach, this restaurant is a one-stop hot spot serving multicuisine meals. They also conduct a lot of theme parties and Buffet Dinner.
Genuine Pubs or Bars are few, where one can go relax, have a drink, and just while away the time. Below are some such Pubs.
Goa is known for its music crazy people and late night parties. Although the Government has been trying to implement the 11.00 p.m. deadline for loud music and nightclubs, it has in reality not been implemented. This has been a sort of boon to the tourists who love to go out in the evenings and dance away the night.
Below are some of the more popular hotspots in Goa.
The most famous, talked about, written about place in Goa. Located on the Baga Beach, this place is more like a hangout for everyone and anybody in Goa. Besides a reasonable discotheque, it has speciality restaurants stretching upto the beach. Plays mostly funky, trance music and although famous has a shady reputation.
This is another trendy discotheque situated on the Miramar Road in Panaji. Open everyday of the week, it plays good disco music.
Great location on top of the Arpora Hills. Charges entrance fees of Rs. 299/- for ladies and Rs. 399/- for men, but then gives unlimited drinks. Good music but sometimes the DJ?s do not have the pulse of the dancing clientele and tends to play the wrong kind of music.
Newly opened up on the Calangute Beach, next to Goan Heritage Hotel. It has great ambience with a large pub and dance floor. The DJ?s however, are known to lack in playing the right kind of music.
BAMBOO FOREST/PARADISIO/ HILL TOP
All the above are situated in the hotspot at Anjuna and Vagator area. All of them are known to have non-stop all night music, but is more famous for its drug scene and trance music.
CASINO GOA - THE CARAVELA
A state of art entertainment cruise ship. The Caravela is home to India's first ever high-limit live gaming casino 'Casino Goa'.Designed to meet international gaming standards.
DISCO'S ADDRESS & TELEPHONE NUMBER
It has one of the best ambience, lighting and sound systems. So visit and dance away your blues with different entertainment every night. Address:- La Calypso, Sauntavaddo, Baga;Telephone Number:- (0832) 2275777
Today at Club Cubana will feature Models Night from 9:00pm onwards. Models walk in for free open bar. Address:- Arpora Hill, Bardez;Telephone Number:- 9823232910, 9823539000
It can scare you to screem . There is music with DJ Cyntiya (Hip Hop craze) DJ Ryan Nogar (House & Electro tunes) and DJ Spike (The King of Retro). Address:- Next to Ambotik Multicuisine, Colva;Telephone Number:- 2789745
Enjoy Friday Nite in session with Raj Sound Samachar and Amol, the resident DJ, on November 17 from 9:00pm onwards at Club Venom. Address:- Goodman's Restaurant, Colva;Telephone Number:- 9823644444
CLUB WEST END
DJ Nikhil (in-house),with DJ Milind and DJ Gabby will play for you. Address:- Chogm Road, Mollem Bhat, Saligao;Telephone Number:- 3256727
CLUBE DE GOA
Clube de Goa has a two-day music programme. 11 Productions presents DJ Ryan and DJ Yuri Address:- Clube de Goa, Behind Sai Service, Porvorim;Telephone Number:- 3290310
Join forces with their very own caped crusaders, Emmanuel, DJ Yuri and DJ Joel on only at Mambo's.The best costume will win a prize. Address:- Sauntavaddo, Baga;Telephone Number:- (0832) 2279895
ON THE ROCKS
Experience gourmet dining at On The Rocks with cocktails and clubbing. On the Rocks brings to you the high energy intoxicated music experience with Rohit Barker live (of Channel V, Dubai FM & Radio Indigo fame) Address:- Baga Beach;Telephone Number:- 9860099650, 2277878
Get footloose this weekend at the most happening place in town. DJ Ryan Pinto (Plug n Play) will make you dance to his tunes. Couples enter complimentary and ladies get a drink on the house. Address:- Goa Marriott Resort, Miramar; Telephone Number:- (0832) 2463333
ADVICES FOR TOURIST
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Usually the climatic conditions are temperate, except during the monsoons, which last from June to September. Thanks to the coastal Konkan region, and the backdrop of the Western Ghats, the weather inoa is pleasant and sunny.
There are no extremes of temperature and no clear demarcation from one season to the other, except for the monsoons.
The average temperature varies between 23 degrees Celsius and 32 degrees Celsius. The average rainfall is approximately 250 cm and the average daily hours of sunshine are 9 to 10 hours in summer and 3 to 5 hours in the monsoons.
The organization of Police Services in Goa is very similar to that in the rest of India. The management cadre at the higher level is provided by the elite Indian Police Service (IPS). The total strength of Goa Police is 2990. Goa's police to population ratio is 1:391.
The headquarters of the Goa Police is in Panaji opposite the Azad Maidan. It is the site of the Old Military Barracks. The Chief of Police is the Inspector General of Police (I.G.P).
The criminal justice system in India is different and resembles the British system to a large extent with some amendments. Please refer to a local law professional for exact and up to date information. For those new to the system here is a quick introduction.
Offences or crimes against the law are categorized into- Cognizable and Non-Cognizable offences.
A Cognizable Offence includes murders, rape, kidnapping, abductions, robberies ,Drug related crimes etc. In every case of a Cognizable offence, the police are required to register
it in the First Information Register (F. I. R.) and investigate the offence. In its investigation, the Police are empowered to arrest a person without a warrant. Cognizable Offences are again categorized into Bailable and Non-Bailable offences.
In a Bailable offence, the accused is normally entitled to bail, provided sureties and or the bail amount document is made available to the authorities concerned.
In a Non-Bailable offence, it is only the court which is empowered to grant bail to the accused. Any arrested person shall be produced by the Police before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. The complainant/accused person is entitled to avail legal advice during the process. If arrested, one is entitled to get information about the reasons of the arrest and the search of one's premises. This information is obtainable from the Investigating Officer.
A Non-Cognizable offence includes include petty offences such as committing public nuisance, abusing, slapping, quarrels within the family or with neighbors, etc. In a case of a Non-Cognizable offences, police have no authority to either investigate the matter or to arrest the persons concerned without the prior permission of the local Magistrate.
Drug related offences are are a special category of Cognizable and Non-Bailable offences and and are prosecuted vigorously under a special act known as "The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985". The punishment under this Act. ranges from 6 months to maximum of 30 yrs. depending upon the nature of the offences. There is also a provision for death penalty for certain offences after previous convictions, under this Act. There is also a provision for preventive detention and also a provision for forfeiture of property. The cases under this Act. are registered and investigated by officers of the rank of a Police-Sub Inspector and above. There is also a special Narcotics Cell to aid its investigation.
For those unable to afford Legal Aid, there is a provision for Free Legal Aid. To prevent gender discrimination, only a female Police Woman can arrest a woman suspect. There is a new Women's Police Station that is based in Old Goa that deals with crimes against women and the victims of such crimes in the whole state.
If you have been a witness or a victim of a crime, you have an obligation to report it to the Police Control Room or dial 100. If necessary, please proceed with your information or complaint to the nearest Police Station or Outpost. Your complaint will be registered. If it is a Cognizable Offence it will be called as the FIR (First Information Report). The investigation then begins. In case it is a Non-Cognizable Offence , you will be given a receipt of your complaint.
If you encounter any difficulty or resistance while registering your complaint at the local Police Station, please contact the Police Inspector in Charge of that Police Station. You can also proceed up the hierarchy and contact the Sub Divisional Police Officer (Dy.SP) or the District Superintendent of Police or the Deputy Inspector General of Police. Their telephone numbers are displayed at each and every Police Station and are also listed below for your convenience...
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
Goa Police Headquarters,
Panaji, Goa 403 001 Tel:- 225360
Deputy Inspector General of Police
Goa Police Headquarters
Panaji Goa 403 001. Tel:- 224738
GETTING TO GOA
Major hotels have coach services to and from Dabolim Airport, 30 kms from the state capital Panaji for picking up and dropping off their guests. The airport has a pre-paid taxi counter. All the major airline services have daily flights to Goa from Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune and twice a week from Chennai and Kochi. International service airlines also connect Goa with Kuwait and Sharjah twice a week. .
Most of the local airlines have a contact phone number in the city as well as at the airport where the latest information about flight status is always available. The list of phone numbers is available in the travel services section of the website.
It is advisable to book your tickets well in advance, especially during the high peak tourist season of October to January when most flights run full. It is also essential to re-confirm your flight timings at least 24 hours before departure.
Most major international airlines usually have agreements with one or more of their domestic counterparts in India, so if you are arriving from abroad it is possible to book your onward domestic flight at the same time as you pay for your international ticket.
The Konkan Railway makes Goa easily accessible by rail from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mangalore, Ernakulam, Thiruvanthapuram. Goa is also linked to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune via Londa.
LOCAL TRANSPORT TAXIS
For tourists, taxis serve as the main means of traveling between resorts. One will find them lined up outside most charter hotels, where a board invariably lists the destinations in and around the region. The fixed rate fares only apply to peak season and at other times one should be able to negotiate a hefty reduction from the demanded fare.
Goa's unique pillion-passenger motorcycle taxis known locally as "pilots" are ideal for nipping between beaches or into towns from the resorts. Bona fide operators ride black bikes with yellow mudguards and yellow number plates. Fares which should be settled in advance are almost half the auto-rickshaw rates.
Renting motorcycles in Goa offer a lot of freedom to tourists. Officially one needs an international driver's licence to rent or ride anything more powerful than a 25 cc moped. Rates vary according to the season, the vehicle and how long one wants to rent it. Most owners also insist on a deposit and passport as security. The range is pretty standard and the reasonable choice is a 100cc motorbike. These are fine for buzzing to the beach and back, but to travel further the stalwart Enfield Bullet 350 cc is popular for its pose value and its British origins. The smaller Kinetic Honda 100cc which has automatic transmission is a good choice for the novice as well as the all-rounder.
If autorickshaws are the quaint, essentially Indian mode of transport, flat-bottomed ferries are their Goan equivalent. Crammed with cars, buses, commuters and scooters, fisherwomen and clumps of bewildered tourists, these blue painted hulks provide an essential service, crossing the coastal backwaters where bridges have not been built. They are also incredibly reasonable and run from dawn till late in the evening