One of the most sought-after travel destinations in India and the Honeymoon Capital, Goa is a state on the southwestern coast of India and is a traveler’s delight. It is the smallest state in the country with respect to surface area. With many churches which are considered its landmarks, amazing beaches, breathtaking views lined with palm and coconut trees, temples, and some of the most exotic foods, Goa is a heaven for all kinds of travelers which many people from all over India as well as the world love to visit.
Goa was annexed and became a Portuguese possession formerly but became a part of India in 1962. It became an individual state by attaining statehood in 1987.
Goa’s most occupied city today is Panaji – a city that was built on the left bank of the Mandavi estuary. It was formerly a part of “Old Goa” on the island of Goa, which was once the hub of the region, but was decimated in the 18th century due to wars; and now only its (preserved) ruins remain.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral are among the most popular churches in the city. Both were built in the 16th century, and, along with several other churches of Goa, these were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in the year 1986.
Goa Language and Population
The official language spoken across Goa is Konkani. And the second widely spoken language is English.
Goa state has a population of 17.12 Lakhs (as of 2020). Many people here follow Christianity (more than 30%) and Hinduism (also around 30%). Many of them are also of Portuguese descent and can speak or understand Portuguese language too, besides Konkani, Hindi, and English.
The ‘Sunshine State of India’, Goa is a compulsory name in everyone’s bucket list in India and by far the place has been successful in mesmerizing its visitors and has long provided a haven for those in search of the sunshine, sand, and glittering sea. With 105km of stunning coastline and several beautiful beaches, Goa has always been one of the favorite places of national and international tourists to visit. Among the many idyllic beaches here, here is a list of some of the best beaches in Goa that you must visit.
NORTH GOA :
- Morjim Beach: Nestled in the far north of the state, the vast expanse of Morjim beach 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 is what the beach is most famous for.
- Baga Beach: One of the most well-known beaches of Goa, Baga beach is at a little distance from Morjim beach and has totally different surroundings of modern infrastructure and vibrant atmosphere. The shacks with all the luxuries attract many travelers and the aroma from the fresh sea food 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.
- Candolim and Calangute Beach: Witnessing a hoard of foreign tourists for its long stretch of golden sand, Calangute and Candolim Beaches are haven for all the wanderers in search of a peaceful environment and delicious food with a breathtaking view of the shimmering sea. The best way to relish a crisp windy evening is through indulging on a delectable Goan curry in one of the beautiful shacks.
- Sinquerim Beach: A beach defining solitude, Sinquerim encapsulates the languid and relaxed notion of Goa and is decorated with a few beach shacks along the curve with a background of tall palm trees.
SOUTH GOA :
- Palolem Beach: One of Goa’s finest beaches with a vibrant set of activities to live up to, the breathtaking Palolem beach is dotted with a long stretch of palm trees and is of the safest places for swimming as well. Bask in the warmth of the sunshine or take a stroll along with beach with the waves lashing on to your feet, Palolem beach has a quiet charm to it which is best savored with delicious sea food in the ramshackle beach huts.
- Cola Beach: If you want some quiet time away from the noise of the city, Cola beach offers an idyllic and unprecedented setting surrounded by a dense jungle of palm trees and safari camping opportunity, where you can spend the night on a tent while gazing at the star-studded sky.
- Mobor Beach: The soft white sand under your feet, benches lined under the shade of palm trees, and the blissful laid-back hangout, Mobor beach in the south of Goa is an ideal vacation place to rejuvenate your mind and body by enjoying leisurely in a peaceful setting laid with shacks that will keep you fed and watered.
- Benaulim and Varca Beach: A paradise for the beach lovers, Benaulim and Varca beach offer some of the breathtaking surroundings with soft off-white sand and a curve of palm trees, but it offers a lot more than that. If you are an adventure lover, do try some water sports here or go on the boat to have a glimpse of the beautiful dolphins.
- Colva Beach: Popular for its romantic settings and famous amongst the couples who wish to enjoy candlelight dinner along the beach, Colva has one of the best sea foods when it comes to beaches and along with that, the beach becomes an adventure hub during the day offering several water sports.
Places to Visit in Goa
Most of Goa’s popular tourist destinations include its famous beaches and ancient churches. Apart from these, Goa has cruises, water sports, historical forts, shopping, and many other interesting activities for visitors. Some of the most popular destinations include:
- Basilica Of Bom Jesus – Known for its Greek splendor architecture.
- Fort Chapora – The same fort where the famous shot of Bollywood movie ‘DilChahta Hai’ was shot.
- Fort Aguada – 17th century Portuguese Fort on the Sanquerim Beach with one-of-its-kind lighthouse.
- Anjuna Flea Market – Shop at the legendary flea market alongside Anjuna Beach with numerous accessories.
- Dudhsagar Waterfalls – One of India’s tallest waterfalls and looks like milk falling from the mountains, and thus the name.
- Butterfly Beach – A lesser-known beach known as the honeymoon beach with spectacular views of the surroundings.
- Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary – Goa’s largest wildlife reserve and home to Dudhsagar Falls, Mollem National Park, TambdiSurla Temple, and Devi’s Canyon.
Goa has a deep history, influenced by Portuguese colonial culture. It has many churches, Basilicas, and forts that history lovers and photography enthusiasts will love to explore and can be great hangout spots for other people too –
- Se Cathedral- (One of the largest Churches in Asia)
- Church of St. Francis Of Assisi- (Known to be world’s 2nd largest bell)
- Church of St. Cajetan
- Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception – One of the oldest chapels in Goa which houses the second largest church bells in Goa.
Since Goa is in the west coast alongside the Arabian Sea, Goan food is dominated by sea food with the perfect blend of herbs and spices. The staple food of Goa is Rice and Fish Curry with coconut and local spices such as kokum incorporated in most of the dishes. Some of the best and most famous Goan food are:
- Goan Fish Curry – Also called Xitti Kodi, Goan Fish Curry is the most common and a must-try dish in Goa made with Pomfret or Kingfish, various spices along with coconut, and raw mango for the tanginess and is served with rice.
- Chicken Cafreal – Served usually as a side dish or a salad, Chicken is marinated in green chilies, herbs, and spices paste and then fried to perfection.
- Goan Pork Vindaloo–Consisting of onions, chilies, garlic, along with vinegar and spices which is used to marinated pork overnight and then fried with potatoes and other spices to serve as a main dish.
- Chicken Xacuti – A Portuguese influenced Goan dish made with chicken, potatoes, onions, coconuts, chilies, and spices with an addition of poppy seeds and Kashmiri red chilies to give it an intense flavor and color.
- Shark Ambot Tik – Shark fish is diced and tossed with onions, tomatoes, and masala which consists of Kashmiri red chilies for the spiciness and color and kokum to make it sour.
- Sorpotel – Made with pork and beef or mutton liver, which is parboiled, and the fat is fried. Onions, garlic, and a masala preparation is added to give it the flavor.
A nirvana on earth with some of the jaw dropping views, Goa is the revitalizing medicine that recharges your body, soul, and mind, where culture, tradition, and contemporary romance come together for a blissfuland ecstatic produce of an exotic oasis.