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Home » Goa  

Tourism in Goa

Carnival Goa Tour Packages IndiaVariously 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.

History of Goa
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.

Beaches in Goa

» Calangute & Baga Beach
Calangute was the beach all self-respecting hippies headed for, especially around Christmas when psychedelic hell broke loose. If you enjoyed taking part in those mass pujas, with their endless half-baked discussions about `when the revolution comes' and `the vibes, maaan', then this was just the ticket. You could frolic around without a stitch on, be ever so cool and liberated, get totally out of your head on every conceivable variety of ganja from Timor to Tenochtitlan and completely disregard the feelings of the local inhabitants. Naturally, John Lennon or The Who were always about to turn up and give a free concert. Calangute's heyday as the Mecca of all expatriate hippies has passed.

» Anjuna Beach
Anjuna Beach Goa Tour Operator IndiaAnjuna beach attracts a weird and wonderful collection of overlanders, monks, defiant ex-hippies, gentle lunatics, artists, artisans, seers, searchers, sybarites and itinerant expatriates who normally wouldn't be seen out of the organic confines of their health-food emporia in San Francisco or London. It's famous throughout Goa for its Wednesday flea market, and has retained an undeniable, if somewhat shabby, charm. This is a good place to stick around for a while, make some friends and engage in mellow contemplation while the sun goes down. Full moon, when the infamous parties take place, is a particularly good time to be here if you want to indulge in bacchanalian delights.

» Bogmalo Beach
Immediately south of the airport, the Mormugoa peninsula's sun-parched central plateau tumbles to a flat-bottomed valley lined with coconut trees and red-brick huts. The sandy beach at the end of the cove is even more picturesque. Pricey café-bars have crept up the beach, while the clearing below the hotel is prowled by assiduous Kashmiri handicraft vendors. The beach is clean and not too crowded, the water reasonably safe for swimming, and there are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop at Bogmalo.

» Benaulim Beach
According to Hindu mythology, Goa was created when the sage Shri Parasurama, Vishnu's sixth incarnation, fired an arrow into the sea from the top of the Western Ghats and ordered the waters to recede. The spot where the shaft fell to earth, known in Sanskrit as Banali and later corrupted by the Portuguese to Benaulim, lies in the centre of Colva Beach, 7km west of Margao. Only a decade ago, this fishing and rice farming village, scattered around the coconut groves and paddy fields between the main Colva-Mobor road and the dunes, had barely made it onto the backpackers'.

» Arambol Beach
Arambol, north of Chapora, was one of those which they choose. Initially, only those willing to put up with very primitive conditions came here. Things are a little more comfortable these days, but development has, so far, been minimal. The village remains tranquil and friendly - just a few hundred locals, mostly fishing people, and a couple of hundred Western residents in the November to February high season. The coastline lacks the palm-fringed exotic clichés of the southern Goa beaches but it has plenty of character and is pretty in its own kind of way. The main beach has adequate bodysurfing and there are several attractive bays a short walk to the north.

» Chapora & Vagator Beach
This is one of the most interesting parts of Goa's coastline, and a good deal more attractive than Anjuna for either a short or a long stay. Much of the inhabited area nestles under a canopy of dense coconut palms, and Chapora village is more reminiscent of a charmingly unruly farmyard than a fishing community doubling as a beach resort. The village is dominated by a rocky hill topped by the remains of a fairly well-preserved Portuguese fort and the estuary of the Chapora River. There are sandy coves, pleasant beaches and rocky cliffs at nearby Vagator. Be prepared for Indian coach tourists coming to ogle sunbathing Westerners, and expect any police you encounter to regard you with some suspicion and shake you down for drugs if you mistakenly tell them you're staying at Chapora.

Fairs & Festivals of Goa

» Goa Carnival : 4th - 7th. March
Signifying everything pagan in rituals, color forms and the abandon, Carnival, in Goa is one very vibrant festival that heralds the time of lent for the Goan Christian community. Celebrated as a three day period of merrymaking and revelry where the Monarch of the festival, King Momo and his consort the queen are chosen, and they open the festivities, Carnival is one of the most awaited summer fiestas. Adapted from the Portuguese during their tenure in Goa, Carnival highlights grand parades of floats and decorated traditional and cultural troupes performing on the roads as part of the programs organized and feted by the Government and the tourism industry.

» Shigmo [Holi] : 19th - to 26th March
Generally known as Holi, the month of Phalgun signifies the onset of what in Goa is known as Shigmo. Celebrated mostly by the masses in the close religious association of religious rites, the festival of Shigmo is accompanied by the fanfare of drum beats and the epic enactions of Mythology. Colour in vivid vibrancy hues the festivities that bedeck every area that is celebrating Shigmo.

"Gulal" and "Neel" are abundantly used to colour the very atmosphere in celebration of what is heralding the onset of the most colourful season, Spring.

Today, the Shigmotsav has highlighted its festivities with the performance of troupes in the form of parades and cultural dances. The streets in the townships, at dusk resound with the music of the Dholl, the drums and conches as huge effigies of wondrous colour and light effects parade their way to prize winning combinations.

Shopping in Goa
You can buy gifts, sourenir and handicrafts from all over the country in Goa. Be it Tibetan Jewellery, gems, fur coats, ready to use powdered masalas, home made taddy vinegar (Kokum) or port wine, you can get them throughout the length and breadth of the state.

Shopping Goa Tour Agents IndiaComelot : near Ribandar, for stylish interiors Luisa : in cavellosim, South Goa Wendell Rodricks : a famous boutique Mapuca Friday Market : for touristy knick knacks, kokum, taddy vinegar, black jaggery, dried fish, prawns. Goan chilies (must buy), coarse sea salt etc etc.

River Cruises in Goa
Sunset Cruise : one hour - Fare RS 80 (approx)
Sundown Cruise : one hour - Fare RS 90 (approx)
Exciting Evening Cruise : one hour cruise including fold dances and live music - Fare RS 100 (approx)
Delightful Dolphon Cruise : Half day cruise - Fare RS 1000-1300 (approx)
Breathtaking Backwater Crocodile Cruise : Full day cruise - RS 1000 (approx)

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