GOA TRAVEL GUIDE
Beautiful views of golden sand on the beaches, blue waters of the sea, the sylvan forests, Palm-swathed hills, islands, and riverine waters are some of visual wonder which Goa generously and continuously keeps unfolding. Add to this the tang of fish-curry rice, the pleasure of discovering a crab under a stone, the moistened sips of cocum, and walking on a beach full of crisp seashells. This is where the mind stops thinking and the heart begins to talk! In monsoon this hundred-kilometre coastline becomes a fantasyland. On one side stands the palm trees swaying in the wind, and on the other is the vast Indian Ocean greeting you. This and much more is the attraction of Goa. Situated on the western coast of India, Goa is split into North Goa with Panaji the capital city and South Goa with Vasco da Gama and Margao in it. Historically, a part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC, it has been under the influence of Satavahanas, Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur, Chalukyans, Vijaynagar, and finally under Alfonso de Albuquerque the Portuguese who invaded Goa in 1510. They ruled till 1961, when the Indian forces liberated it amd made it a part of the Republic of India.
The Dona Paula Beach with its aura of romance and myth is crowded with tourist's indulging in water sports on the clear waters. Named after Dona Paula de Menezes, the daughter of a viceroy who jumped off the cliff after being refused permission to marry Gaspar Dias a local fisherman. The Dona Paula Sports Club offers facilities for cycling, windsurfing, toboggan, motorboat rides, water-scooter, ski-biscuit, toboggan, snorkelling, harpoon fishing, water-skiing, parasailing, skibob, sports fishing, yachting, and kayaking on the beach.
Old City & Churches
Old Goa, nine kms east of Panaji, was founded in 1510 by Alfonso de Albuquerque as the capital, is replete with churches like Se Cathedral the Convent, Professed House and Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St. Francis of Assisi (largest church in Asia), the Church of St. Cajetan, the Church and Convent of St. Monica and the ruins of Church of St. Augustine.
Small and mellow for a state capital, Panaji is located on the south bank of the Mandovi River. It became capital of Goa in 1843. The city is charming with an evident colonial effect to its landscape. In Panaji, the church devoted to our Lady of Immaculate Conception, and the Chapel of St. Sebastian are worth visiting. The Goa State Museum, the Secretariat, the statue of Abbe Faria are popular amon artlovers. Visit a Goan market to discover the essence of the land. Fish, woven baskets, earthen pots, tender coconuts and bananas, pickles and preserves, and, even blue china and bronzed candelabras!
Mapusa, the main market town in north Goa, could be the ancient site of the oldest weekly fair on the Konkan coast. It witnesses on Fridays happy conclave of buyers and sellers. The weekly fair is the logical sequence of ancient festivals in tribute of Kanakeshwar Baba, acclaimed at the Bodgeshwar temple.
Antruz, the inspired name of Ponda subdivision, is where the Hindus, barricaded themselves between rivers and hills against the Portuguese to hold their sway. Here they conserved their culture and further enriched it. From this area comes some of India's greatest singers including Kesarbai Kerkar, Dinanath Mangeshkar (father of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle) Jitendra Abisheki, Mogubai Kurdikar, Kishori Amonkar. The area has several important Hindu temples like Sri Ganapati Temple and Mahalaxmi Temple.
Shri Mangesh Temple
Most temples in Goa have deities from Mithila region in Bihar, home to the Saraswat Brahmins of this region. The ancient Mangesh Temple on the banks of the river Gomati or Zuari, has Lord Mangesh being worshipped as Shiva linga. The linga believed to have been sanctified by Lord Brahma himself on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) next to Bhagirathi river . The linga was carried on to Gomantaka and settled at Mathagrama, the present-day Madgoa.
Shri Shanta Durga Temple
Shanta Durga or Shanteri, the Goddess of peace, resides in her holy residence at Kapilpura or Kavele in Antruz. This deity was carried by Loma Sharma on its way to Goa from Tiruhut in Bihar.
Shri Ramnath Temple
The temple of Shri Ramnath, situated at Ponda 33 km from Panaji, has four other temples, namely of Shri Shantadurga (Shanteri), Shri Betal, Shri Laxminarayan, and Shri Sidhanath. All these together constitute Shri Ramnath Panchayatan.
Calangute Beach, situated 15 km north of Panaji, is a 7-km-long beach. The scenic natural beauty of this peaceful coastal countryside has has made it one of the most trendy destinations in the world. The beach was discovered by the Hippies. Tourists tramp down the dusty, weather-beaten roads searching the idyllic coastal Goa.
Anjuna beach is the right place for lazing holidaymakers. The place with its full-moon parties and the Wednesday flea market to takes one on to a trance trip. The beach is most popular among locals who love its 20-km-long fringed and sun drenched virgin white sands.
Miramar or Gaspar Dias, beach close to Panaji, is among the ignored ones by tourists. So thecrowd here is lesser than other popular beaches. But this small beach offers only sunbathing, as the undercurrents and flow are dangerous.
Overlooked by the Portuguese fort, the Vagator beach with its soft white sands, the coconut palms, the black lava rocks, and the lush green landscape leaves each visitor mesmerized. The beach is located north of Anjuna and despite the hustle and bustle of tourists, life here goes on peacefully in the background.