Located on the western coast of the country is a land full of beaches and churches, Goa. Boasting of architecture that is over 300 years old, Goa is a place that can serve the varied interests of people, leaving none faded. Whether you have a love for architecture, history, sand, and beach or just wish to enjoy the nature, Goa has it all.
Goa is the smallest state in India covering an area of 3702 km2. It was under the rule of Portuguese till 1961 and that Portugal effect is clearly visible even now. The state is divided into north and south district which are in complete contrast with each other. North Goa is more of a culturally richer place with more local markets and traditional food joints while the southern part has a posh aspect with 5-star hotels and mesmerizing private beaches.
Culture and Tradition
The people of Goa are commonly known as Goans. The Goan culture dates back to the ancient ages. Although there was a lot of intervention from the foreign cultures but Goa continued to have a strong hold of its roots. With time, Goa’s cultural heritage was embellished by a slow but constant process of taking up of the more cordial features of the foreign cultures along with keeping its own cultural values intact. Goa owns a rich tradition and has many rituals followed because of its multicultural past. Goan culture is also influenced by its cuisine. Overall, the culture of Goa is a mix of its festivals, people, and cuisine.
The traditions followed in Goa are not too difficult to follow. Goa has seen the rule many empires and rulers because of which it has come across many traditions. With time, these traditions and customs have trickled down and taken the shape in accordance to the people following it. The nature of Goans is very compassionate. Although, Christianity is the most popular religion followed in Goa but they also respect the values of other religions also. The main tradition which is being followed in Goa is the construction of their houses in typical Portugal style. Even the new churches which are being constructed follow the old Portugal architecture.
The most popular festivals of Goa are Christmas (Konkani: Natalam), Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi (Konkani: Chavoth), Goa Carnival (Konkani: Intruz), Easter (Konkani: Paskanchem Fest), Samvatsar Padvo or Sanvsar Padvo, Sao Jao (Feast of John the Baptist), Shigmo, and the biggest celebration, Feast of St. Francis Xavier (Goicho Saib). Goa is also known for its New Year’s festivities. Fairs and feasts at different temples are caroused with glorious delight. The Goan Festival is known to draw a huge amount of visitors.
Goa is home to a variety of seafood dishes. Fish curry with rice is what makes the staple food of Goa. The Goan cuisine has a variety of choice. The food here is an amalgamation of many cultures which includes Konkani, Portuguese, Catholic, and Hindu. Coconut milk, seafood, rice and local spices form the main elements of their food. Prawns, mussels, pomfret fish, clams, lobsters, crabs, ladyfish, and oysters are used for cooking a variety of curries, pickles, and soups. Vegetarians don’t have much to pounce on when it comes to food but Goa has many things for them as well.
Best time to visit Goa
According to the weather, November to February is the best time to visit Goa. These months also experience a huge crowd because a lot of activities happen during these months. All the beaches are full of people and adventure sports like banana boat ride, parasailing, Jet Ski, etc. are also open for tourists. Fests like Sunburn also take place during the month of December. Goa is also very famous for its Christmas and New Year celebrations. So if you like crowded fests, huge: larger than life celebrations, and night-long parties, then you must visit Goa. Goa trip during summers is not quite a good idea because the temperature is not suitable. The off-season vacation can get you cheaper accommodation, no crowd, and food at lower rates.
Places worth seeing
Goa is blessed with many churches, convents, and chapels of unique architectural style. Known as “Rome of the East”, Goa can be a treat for the lovers of architecture. One can visit sites like St. Augustine’s Tower, the Reis Magos Church, Basilica of Bom Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, to name a few. Apart from the famous beaches, Goa has waterfalls, springs, and lakes which include Mayem Lake and Dudhsagar waterfalls. Goa also gives a peak in the history with its many museums. The most popular ones are Wax World Museum, Pilar Museum, Christian Art Museum and India’s one and only Naval Aviation Museum. Other places of interest include Adil Shah’s Palace, Safa Masjid, Arvalem Caves, Aguada Fort, Terekhol Fort, Corjuem Fort, Anant Temple, Mahalasa Temple, Saptakoteshwar Temple, Salvador Costa Mansion, Fernandes House, to name a few.
Beaches in Goa
Formed like a new moon, the beaches in Goa are famous all over the world. Bordered by waving coconut and palm trees with cool and pleasant sheds offering a medley of treats, Goa’s 103 km coastline is honored with the most alluring beaches encompassed by the Arabian Sea. The view is breathtaking with pure sand and blue water in a perfect harmony with the sky. Goa is a treasure house of beaches for all types of people. It has beaches that have no human habitation and on the other hand, it has beaches full of people. The most popular beaches in Goa include Arambol, Colva, Majorda, Sinquerim, Baga, Vagator and Benaulim.