Known as the pearl of the East, Goa is a state situated on the southwestern coast of India,inside the Konkan region. The Goa state is one of the best holiday destinations in India, because of its several beaches and lively surroundings. Spread over an area of 3,700 km2, Goa is India's smallest state by area, and with a 1,458,545 total population ranked as the fourth-smallest state. Goa hasthe highest GDP per capita among all Indian states and is acknowledgedas the best-placed state because of its infrastructure. Goa attracts a large number of touristsincluding both domestic and international every year because of its white and calm sandy beaches, lively nightlife, places of worship, and World Heritage-listed architecture. The state has abundant flora and fauna as it lies very close to the North Western Ghats rainforests, known as one of the rare biodiversity zones of the world.
The culture of Goa is ablend of Indian and Portuguese cultures. The long Portuguese rule has influenced the culture in many ways and many of the Portuguese traditions are echoed in the Goan culture in the current period also. The crafts and arts of Goa resemble Hindu, Muslim, and Christian origins.
Goa is home to one of the rock art engravings that represent the earliest known traces of human life in India. During the 3rd Century In the 3rd century BC,Goa was part of the Maurya Empire, which was ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. Between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD, Goa was ruled by the Bhojas of Goa.
In 1312, Goa came under the control of the Delhi Sultanate. The Place was ruled by the Delhi sultanates but in the year 1370, the kings were defeated by the Ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, Harihara I. The Vijayanagara Empire ruled the area till 1469, later the dynasty started falling apart and the area came under the governance of Adil Shahis of Bijapur.
The Portuguese defeated the ruling Bijapur Sultan Yusuf Adil Shah with the help of a local ally, Timoji, a privateer in 1510. They set up a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (Old Goa), which marked the beginning of Portuguese colonial rule in Goa that lasted for four and a half centuries until its joining by India in 1961.
Goa is a perfect holiday landing place with many old churches and several beautiful beaches with many fun activities. Some interesting places and attractions to visit in Goainclude the following:
- Calangute Beach– Known as the Queen of Beaches, Calangute Beach is the longest beach in North Goa, spreading across Candolim to Baga. Due to its size and popularity, the beach remains always crowded with tourists from all over the world. The beach also offers opportunities for different water sports and Paragliding experiences while capturing the the glimpses of giant Arabian Sea.
- Morjim Beach – Nestled in the far north of the state, the vast expanse of Morjim beach is made up of golden sand and clear blue water that lets you embrace its peaceful surrounding. Amenities such as shacks and food stalls are present here and the famous live ridley sea turtles are what the beach is most famous for.
- Baga Beach – One of the most renowned beaches of Goa, Baga beach is a little distance from Morjim beach and has totally different surroundings of modern infrastructure and a vibrant atmosphere. The shacks with all the luxuries attract many travelers and the aroma of the fresh seafood when mingles with the salty air produces a scintillating charm that is hard to ignore. If you want some more fun, then do indulge in the several water sports organized here.
- Fort Aguada– Fort Aguada is a well-protected17th-century Portuguese fort, accompaniedby a lighthousewhich is the highlight of the fort. The fort is a lone four-story lighthouse is located on Sinquerim Beach.
- Anjuna Beach – Situated at a distance of 21 km near Panjim, Anjuna Beach is one of the most popular beaches in North Goa. A perfect beach for family outings and fun-filled adventures, Anjuna Beach is known for its golden coastline, beach sheds, nightclubs, watersports, and flea markets.
- Chapora Fort – Chapora Fort located is undoubtedly one of the most famous forts in Goa. The fort is also popular for having movie shoots and is often known as the 'Dil Chahta Hai Fort’ because of having shoot of the Bollywood blockbuster movie of 2001 Dil Chahta Hai.
- Dudhsagar Falls – Located inside the Mollem National Park, Dudhsagar Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in India. Situated at a distance of 60 km from the capital of Goa, Panji, the Dudhsagar is a four-storied waterfall with 310 m in height.
- Basilica of Bom Jesus – Known for its admirable decorative architecture, the Basilica of Bom Jesus was built in 1605. It is a Catholic Basilica, whose construction started in 1594 and is coexisting with the beginning of Christianity in India.
- Pork Vindaloo – Spicy and appetizing Pork Vindaloo is one the staple food of Goa, made with boneless pork cubes drenched in vinegar and cooked with Indian spices. Recently many stalls in Goa have started adding potato cubes along with Pork meat. The dish is easily available in stalls and restaurants in Goa.
- Ras Omelette– One of the dishesfrom the list of Goan Cuisine, Ras Omeletteis a famous street food and snack popular in Goa. Spicy Xacuti or curry of Mutton, Chicken, or Chickpeas poured over an egg omelet made with onions, chilies, and herbs is a treat for taste buds.
- Kingfish – known as vison or visvan, kingfish is elegance in Goa. Kingfish is prepared with different recipes, one of the popular ones is Kingfish Rawa fry made with fish coated in semolina andlightly fried to give a crispy texture and juicy interior. Another recipe is Kingfish curry made with grated coconut and spices.
- Poee – Out of all the Portuguese-inspired bread, Poee is the most famous in Goa.Poee is the first Goan Pao, made with local toddy as a source of natural yeast. Nowadays most bakers make it by adding commercial yeast, which gives the same fluffy interior which tastes delicious accompanied withcurries.
Things to do
Spread across a total area of 3,700 km2, Goa is filled with exciting places and fun activities.One can never get enough of this energetic and welcoming place. Apart from the beauty of beaches and sacred churches, there are many other things that one can enjoy during the stay in Goa.
- Cruise in Goa– A cruise in Goa allows one to explore the glamourous scenery, and clear waters and stareat the splendid and impressive view of the sunset. There are different types of cruises in Goa ranging from simple evening cruises, elaborate and romantic dinner cruises, backwater cruises, and casino cruises mostly originating from Miramar Beach in Panjim. It also offers anexceptional experience of having dinner with your loved one ona stargazing night while enjoying the cheerful and lively surroundings.
- Water sports– Goa enjoys the pleasure of having several calm and undisturbed shores, which host different kinds of water sports. Apart from enjoying the artistry of the beaches and their surroundings, one can get ample opportunities to enjoy water sports like Scuba Diving, Jet Ski, Paragliding, Ringo Ride, Water Ski, Speed boating, and many more.
- Thalassa: The Greek Taverna – One of the most popular restaurants in Goa, Thalassa: The Greek Taverna is known for cocktails enjoyed while watching the mesmerizing sunsets. Rebounding with the cultural flavor of Greece, the restaurant serves authentic Greek Mediterranean cuisine.
- Deltin Royale – Asia’s largest entertainment and gaming destination, Deltin Royale Cruise offers abundant opportunities for eating options, entertainment activities, and various games.Being here, one can also enjoy an evening with club shows, international performances, and musical shows. The cruise also has a posh restaurant, Vegas that offers delicious and tempting buffets in different cuisines.
- The Postcard Moira – Situated in the pleasant town of Moira, of North Goa,The Postcard Moira offers rooms with other facilities of free WiFi, an outside pool, and open-airspaces.
- The Postcard Velha - Situated on Nossa Senhora de Monte Hill surrounded by coconut forest, The Postcard Velha is an impressive dual-storied hotel. It has wood-lined rooms with pure white themes and balconies offering an outdoor pool view. The Postcard Velha serves local artisanal meals in its restaurant. It also has the accommodation of bike rental for travel at their tour desk.
- La Paulo's B2B, Morjim – Set in the Morjim town of Goa, La Paulo's B2Bofferscomfortable rooms with patio areas andsome of the rooms also have pool views. Serving its customers with a continental, Irish, or American breakfast every morning, La Paulo's B2B is an ideal hotel for a stay in Morjim.
- Taj Resort & Convention Centre Goa – An abstract of grand architecture and generous hospitality, Taj Resort & Convention Centre Goais a 5-star rated hotel in North Goa. The hoteloffers a lavish seafood restaurant and lounge bar, afancy lobby with landscaped gardens to the north of the beach, and an elevated deck providing the infinity pool view.
- HALF Hotel – HALF Hotel is a stylish hotel set within the pleasantenvironment of Calangute, away from the crowd of the busy streets. If you are looking for a calm and peaceful staycation, Half Hotel is an ideal place.
- Seashell Suites and Villas – Situated at a distance of 350 m from the enchanting Candolim Beach, Seashell Suites and Villasresort in North Goa offers studio and apartment-style villas with stylish decor and two outdoor pools. Thehotel provides the Al Fresco restaurant services that offerdelicious Italian dishes and multi-cuisine fusions.
- Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort – Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resortis a 5-star rated resort,set amidst 20 acres of South Goan tropical greenery. The resort providesits guests with suites havingfancydécor, furnished balconies, and kitchenettes. Offeringaccommodation for pool and spa therapies, the Novotel Resort also has a rain dance floor, a themed bar, and a restaurant.
- Spice Goa – Spice Goa is a casual spot serving distinctively spiced Goan dishes with the preparation of fish caught each morning. Apart from offering anelegant dine-in option, the restaurant also provides takeaways.
- Viva Goa Restaurant– One of the best places serving seafood at an affordable rate, Viva Goa Restaurant is a garden-style restaurant. Apart from seafood, the restaurant serves its customers North Indian, Mughlai, Goan, and Chinesedishes.
- Goa ark restaurant – Goa Ark is a scenic beachside restaurant servingmulti-cuisine dishes and an easygoing vibe in the middle of simple surroundings.
- Copperleaf Porvorim – Copperleaf Porvorimis a fine dining restaurant known for fish meals. An excellentrestaurantwith tasty food, generous service, an attractive ambiance, and a soothing atmosphere, Copperleaf Porvorim offers Goan, North Indian, Mughlai, Chinese, Kebab, Seafood, Biryani, and Desserts.
- Barbeque Bay– Barbeque Bay by Club Mahindra Resorts, serves a cluster of delicious kebab platters for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. The ambianceof the restaurant is fun, welcoming, and alluring with the aroma of the grill. Apart from the kebabs the restaurant servesa variety of Indian bread, salads, desserts,and drinks.
Shopping at Goa
- Anjuna Flea – Weekly market of Goa, Anjuna Flea Market, is a perfect place where you can find a variety of products and accessories that you can buy for your loved ones. One can find a variety of range of goods fromlocal handicrafts, faux jewelry, wall hangings, footwear, spices, and hammocks. Legend says that this market was set up by a bunch of hippies back in the 60s as a source to barter and survive.You can get things here at a very cheappriceif only you are good at bargaining.
- Panjim Market - Panjim Market is the perfect mixture of old and new shops as the two are connected through malls and street stalls. Considered the largest market in Goa, one can spend hours here. The place offers many things to buy like local spices, nuts, wine, and handicrafts.
- Saturday Night bazaar – The Saturday Night bazaar at Arpora is often known as Ingo's Night Bazaar and is a great night Bazaar. The Bazaar is divided into three sections, every sectionsells a certain variety of items. You can find fruits, vegetables,spices, home decor items,jewelry, wines, as well as regionally designed clothes and bags. A paradise for foodies as there arecasual restaurants with a variety of cuisines on the menu.
Goa city is home to many famous and big malls where one can get branded and latest fashion clothes and accessories. Some of the popular ones are listed below:
- Mall De Goa, Alto Porvorim
- Caculo Mall, Santa Inez, Panaji
- 1930 Vasco, Vaddem, Vasco da Gama
- Big G, Pajifond, Margao
- Tito's Bar and Club– One of the most popular nightclubs in Goa, Tito's is situated in North Goa, in the Baga Beach area. Being one of the oldest nightclubs in Goa, Tito’s is a lanethatcomprises a variety of clubs and restaurants. The Club is popular for havinga large dance floor and an open-air restaurant thatprovides access to Baga Beach.
- Club Cubana – Located on top of Arpora Hill, Club Cubana is one of the happening nightclubs in Goa. Mostly preferred by people for its neon-lit and multi-level dance floors and the open-air bar. It has an impressive outdoor area with a big pool in the center and a reserved area for only ladies. Accompanied by great music and a poolside party area, the Club Cubana offers a spacious area to enjoy.
- SinQ Night Club – SinQ is a recently opened bar having a nightcluband poolside lounge. Located near the Taj Holiday Village, it hosts some good DJs who play the latest hits which has made it a popular place in the nightlife in Goa. It has a hospitable staff accompaniedby a fully stocked bar and a poolside deck that offers delicious Goan dishes.
- Goa Carnival – One of the most famous of all Goan festivals, the Goa Carnival is a grandtriumph in Goa. Three days and three nights of celebration and preceded by the month of February, the most fun-filled festival,introduced by the Portuguese colonial rule in the 18th century.The days are filledwithcolorful and musical parades starting from the capital Panaji and traveling throughout the state. The evenings are devotedto gala balls, and people engage in partying on the streets throughout the nights.
- Christmas – Apart frombeing famous forscenic beaches and legendary nightlife, Goa is also knownbest for the celebrationof Christmas. Following its Portuguese legacy and Catholic community, Christmas in Goa is celebrated with anengrossingenthusiasm. Decorated with beautiful lights and poinsettia flowers, the churches and homes look beautiful on this eve. Children sing Christmas carols late at night and people of all ages came together at the churches to take part in a midnight mass.
- New Year’s Eve in Goa– Goa is known for its popularlyposh New Year's celebrations. The best part of New Year in Goa is during the night when the whole party animals stop their thumping Bass and Trance-filled music only to count down with the clock to strike midnight 12. And when the time stops at exactly 12 the sky starts decorating with beautiful fireworks.
- Three Kings Feast – One of the most popular festivals of Goa,the Three Kings Feast is organized and enjoyed by both Christians and non-Christians. TheThree Kings feast is devoted to The Lady of Mount- Virgin Mother Mary with infant Jesus in her lap, who is believed to be the protector of people and is worshipped as the Goddess of fertility.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Goa is during the winter season between mid-November to mid-February. During this time the environment will be cool and comfortable and will be a preferred time to relax on the beautiful scenic beaches.
One of the best, most preferred tourist spots in India because of its beaches, and also for its pleasant weather, happening and lively nightlife, enticing seafood, thrilling and exciting water activities, and more. Goa is always crowded with tourists throughout the year and yet gives a calm and soothing vibe. A place that has a generous amount of fun-filled activities and attractive places, Goa is indeed the Pearl of East.