Popularly called the "Tourist Paradise" and "Pearl of the Orient", Goa is frequented by tourists from all over the world more frequently than the rest of India, for here it is fashionable to party all night entranced and sun bask on a beach in a bikini, or even naked, without qualms. Here, tourists can palpably feel the freedom to exercise their personal inclinations without a hiccup. The focus in Goa, as if, is on living life to the fullest and making merry day in day out.
Heritage Places / Sightseeing in Goa
- Located on the western coast of India, Goa is the foremost choice among beach destinations in India. Goa has an impressive 105 kilometers long coastline with an abundant supply of warm sun on vast sprawls of soft white sand from end to end. There are not two or twenty but forty-seven beaches in Goa! Some of these beaches are like live wire – ever buzzing with young hippies partying all night in trance parties and basking in the sun or alternately engaging in jet skiing, parasailing, riding water scooter, wind surfing, scuba diving among various adventure water sports. Other beaches are pristine and extend the desirable privacy to their guests to enjoy a tranquil time by the sea. To name a few, Anjuna, Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Caranzalem, Carmona, Aguada, Chapora, Dona Paula, Hollant, Colva, Miramar, Palolem and Vagator are some important beaches in Goa.
During high season, the happening Goan beaches are dotted with shacks, ideal for having a leisurely time with friends over several servings of chilled drinks. However, there is much more to Goa than an idyllic beach life.
- For those looking for vivacious nightlife, Goa has numerous discotheques, nightclubs, and casinos, including Caravela, which is an offshore casino located on a ship. Tourists also like to watch the sunset from a river cruise along the Mandovi River, feasting on drinks, snacks and performances by Goan folk singers/ dancers displaying Portuguese and Konkani dances.
Notable among the churches includes Bishop's Palace and the Basílica of Bom Jesus. The latter church is a UNESCO world heritage site dating back to the 17th century. Partially in ruins, it is one of the oldest and most revered churches in the world. Besides its architectural splendor, the church is widely noted for housing the sacred remains of St. Francis Xavier entombed in a silver casket.
- There are several pristine palatial mansions belonging to the Portugal era in the rural Goa, as well as, in Borda area of Margoa. Though still inhabited by generations of their original owners, the mansions can be explored from inside by special request/ appointment.
- About 10 kilometers from Margoa, on a hillock in South Goa, a project by the name "Ancestral Goa" welcomes tourists for a peep into the original and authentic Goa, keeping Goan culture alive through a preserved miniature 100 year old Goan village on a nine acre land at Loutulim.
- Another intriguing and lesser known tourist attraction in Goa is watching crocodiles in the wild. Only 20 minutes' drive from Panaji, Cumbarjua canal is home to freshwater crocodiles that can be spotted sunbathing on the muddy banks of the canal by passing tourists on canoes. Interestingly, these crocodiles are known to be harmless to humans that local children swim in the canal without fear despite widespread crocodile presence.
- For bird watching enthusiasts, Goa offers a large and diverse population of birds across its varied terrains, especially in Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (Chorao Island) and wetlands of Carambolim and Shiroda.
- Another destination not to be missed in Goa is the Dudhsagar Falls. One of the top 100 highest waterfalls worldwide, the falls offer breathtaking scenery from the top in the light of dawn, as it takes a steep 2000 feet dive into the tropical forests on the mountains of the Western Ghats.
How to reach Goa
Goa is well connected to the rest of the country by air, rail, and road. The Dabolim airport near Panjim (Goa capital) has daily flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Cochin. Madgaon and Thivim are two important railway stations here connecting the state with the rest of the country. Daily bus services operate to and fro Mumbai and Pune by both Government Undertakings and private bus operators.
What is the best time to visit Goa?
Being a coastal region, Goa has more or less a consistent climate throughout the year. However, the best time to visit here is between October and March during the winter season, as the weather is particularly pleasant throughout the period. Not to mention, December falls in between, which is the month when most popular festivals happen alongside Christmas and New Year celebrations.