Goa, a tiny emerald land on the west coast of India, was liberated from the Portuguese rule in 1961. It was a part of Union Territory of Goa, Daman & Diu till 30th May 1987 when it was carved out of form a separate state. Goa covers a total area of 3702 square kilometres and comprises of two revenue districts which are-North Goa and South Goa. The boundaries of the state are defined by the North Terekhol river which separates it from Maharashtra. In the East and South Goa is surrounded by the state of Karnataka and in the West by the Arabian Sea. Goa lies on the Western Coast of India and is 594 Kilometres (by road) from Mumbai city.
Referred to as the city of churches, the culture of Goa has the lingering effect of being a Portugal colony. Visibly different from the rest of the country, Goa has characteristic colourful houses, lush green fields and a soothing peace in the atmosphere. The charming villages of Goa are ideal for a laidback morning walk or an aimless evening stroll. North and South regions of the place are strikingly different – the former is a cultural hub with traditional eateries and markets, while the latter makes for an idyllic vacation with its 5-star hotels, private beaches and a mix of white sand and clean blue water. Under the star-laden skies, each festivity becomes more alive for the tourists. The Party Capital of India, Goa is for anyone who wishes to take a break from their routine life and relax by the beach. From youngsters, spinsters, bachelors, honeymooners to working adults – everyone gets their share of fun at Goa.
There are many beautiful churches such as Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St. Frances of Assisi and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church. The bell in the Immaculate Conception Church is the World’s Second Largest bell and this building served as a lighthouse for sailors in the past. Apart from these, there are also magnificent forts such as the Regis Magos Fort and Aguda Fort in the vicinity.
Best Time to Visit Goa
November to February is generally considered to be the best time to visit Goa. The weather is perfect, not very cold, and not very hot. It’s also a good time as almost all the beach shacks are open during these months. Water sports, like banana boat ride, jet skiing, parasailing, etc. are also open to the tourists during these months on most of the popular beaches. If you like being in the crowd and are looking for a party, this is the time to go to Goa. Goa is considered to be one of the best places in India to enjoy Christmas as well as the New Year season as the entire state is full of festivity.
Summer (March – June): Summers are not the ideal time to visit Goa. There are various advantages of visiting Goa in the summer time as the place is not too crowded and cheaper accommodation, food rates, travel and beverages is available. Lesser crowds ensure more time at the beach to laze around and enjoy the clear waters.
Monsoon (July – September): Goa in monsoons could be quite the dampener. However, the flip side to being here this time is that all prices take a dip. You can also enjoy the trek to Dudhsagar Falls and see it in its best form.
Winter (November – February): It is in the month of October that the monsoon starts to fade away and there is a slight chill in the atmosphere. The winter starts setting in from November. Due to proximity to the Arabian Sea, the winters are not harsh. The temperature in winter is around 20-22 degrees Celsius.
How to reach Goa?
With over 2 million tourists coming in every year, Goa is well connected and accessible. Goa is easily accessible by road, rail and air. A popular holiday destination, Goa, has various alternative options for commuting:
A road trip to Goa is also a great option. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune are some popular places from where people drive down to Goa. There are three national highways which pass through the state – NH 4A, NH 17, NH 17A. The roads are good and the view is amazing, making the drive worth it. You can also hire a cab or if you are going in a group with multiple experienced drivers, you can take your own car. Apart from the fuel/cab charges, you will have to pay the toll tax.
Goa International airport is located at Dabolim, which is 30 kilometres away from Panjim. Multiple domestic airlines provide daily flights from major cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad. Most international flights to Goa arrive via Mumbai. In case your hotel offers free pickups, you don’t need to worry about commuting from the airport. Otherwise, pre-paid taxi is generally a good option.
Several luxury and budget buses run from major cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and New Delhi to Goa. State run bus service, Kadamba Transport, is also a good option. Other state bus services – Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh – also have daily buses going to Goa. Various private players also run buses connecting many cities to Goa. For comfortable rides, super deluxe AC and Volvo buses would be the better option. These would generally cost between Rs 1500 – Rs 2500 depending upon the distance and type of bus.
Goa has six railway stations. Most people usually get down at Madgaon or Vasco-da-Gama in South Goa and Thivim in North Goa. The train ride to Goa is worth the journey just for the view. The picturesque scenery of the Konkan region makes for an amazing sight. Train is also the cheapest option apart from being fast and comfortable.
Commuting Within Goa
Beaches in Goa are quite far apart and commuting from north to south Goa can be quite a pain. Bus connectivity is a option for visiting the popular areas of Goa as the fares are low and you still get a great view of the city. But buses are not a great option if you are looking for beach hopping. You could rent a motorcycle or a scooter if you have a valid license. The rent starts from 250 per day per bike like Honda Activa or around 400 per day for Royal Enfield bikes. Riding on bikes is the most popular way of commuting in Goa for young tourists, including foreigners. You can also hire a cab, with or without a chauffeur to roam around. It starts from Rs.1000 per day for a simple hatchback. However, finding parking spots close to all beaches could be a problem whereas bikes give you the flexibility of going pretty close to the beach to park.
Places to visit in Goa-
Folded up by azure water of Arabian Sea and with hills in the background, Anjuna Beach in Goa is a perfect paradise for beach lovers. Situated just 8 km away in the west of Mapusa town, this beach is blessed with a bizarre array of red laterite rocks. It is beautifully embellished with picturesque sceneries and so the place is reckoned among the hottest tourist destination of India.
Dona Paula is a former village, and tourist destination, in the suburbs of Panaji, Goa. It is home to the National Institute of Oceanography, and just alongside it lies the Goa University.Dona Paula beach was named after the Portuguese Viceroy’s daughter Dona Paula de Menezes.
Encircled by coconut and palm trees, the beach is spread four miles along the Arabian Sea and nine miles from Panaji. Accompanied by Candolim village that wings it towards south and crossroads of Baga towards north, Calangute Beach forges the real attraction of Goa tourism.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church
This church houses the ancient bell that was removed from the Augustinian ruins of the Church of Our Lady of Grace. This bell is considered to be the second largest of its kind in Goa, surpassed only by the Golden Bell which resides in the Se Cathedral.
Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort standing in Goa, India, on Sinquerim Beach, overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Borea Jezuchi Bajilika is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier ,the so-called Apostle of the Indies. It is counted among one of themost important pilgrimage destinations for Christians in India.
The majestic cascade of white water, gushing over the steep, nearly vertical face of the mountain from a spectacular height of 1017ft; is both breath taking and awe inspiring, making one aware that there are many forces in nature much more powerful that the human mind and body.