Goa is a much-featured destination on the World Tourism map. This tiny emerald covering 3702 sq km has a 105 km long coast line lapped by the Arabian Sea. The state is bordered by Maharashtra and Karnataka. Temperate climate, diverse landscapes, wide, sandy, palm-fringed beaches, clean waters and an aura of serenity attract many tourists from all over the world.
Goa is pleasant throughout the year and it rains between June and September. Goa is reachable from Bangalore, Mumbai, Mangalore or Pune by road or rail. Convenient railway stations are Madgaon, Thivim and Vasco. It is linked by air to most major Indian cities.
Goa is best known for its beaches and most tourist attractions are centred around 4 towns namely Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Ponda
Average temperature in Goa in Celsius.
Area: 3702 sq km
Rainfall: 320 cm
Tourist Season: Throughout the year
(November to February pleasant; June to September rainy)
HISTORY OF GOA
Located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt called Konkan, Goa has been a melting pot of cultures, religion and races over the years.
In the Pre 20 th Century, Goa was a part of the Mauryan Empire. The reign then passed on to the Satavahanas of Kolhapur in the beginning of the Christian era. The Chalukyans of Badami, Silharas, Kadambas and the Chalukyans of Kalyani soon followed.
The Muslims took control of Goa for the first time in the early 14 th century but were soon ousted by the rulers of the Vijaynagara Empire. They held the kingdom for over 100 years.
The most famous of Goa's rulers, the Portuguese arrived in 1510. They defeated the then rulers, the Adil Shahis of Bijapur to gain control. The conquest of this enclave was important in their control of the spice route.
Portuguese influence can be seen in every aspect of Goan life. The spread of Christianity came with them and the way the Portuguese soldiers intermingled with the locals, gave rise to a new culture that is distinct to Goa.
The Indian Army liberated Goa from Portuguese occupation in the year 1961 under the directive of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It was in the same year that it became a Union Territory. Goa was eventually conferred statehood in 1987.
Places To See in Goa
Take in the sites and sounds of Goa . There is a lot to enjoy for all age groups from beaches, to churches and to adventure sports Goa has it all.
Centuries of Portuguese rule and of the other dynasties have given Goa a very unique blend of the East and the West. This is reflected in its buildings, their architecture etc. For the adventure enthusiasts, Goa has abundant beaches to enjoy.
The sun, the sand and the surf are probably the first things, which come to mind when we think about Goa . In its true tradition Goa has a lot of beaches which welcome tourists round the year.
Goa is dotted with beaches and resorts along the 105 kms stretch of the Konkan coast.
The prominent beaches that one can visit in North Goa include the Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and Arambol.
The south side of the beaches begins from Margao, the second most important city in Goa . Some of the breathtaking beaches on this side of Goa include Velsao, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor and Betul. All these beaches are interconnected.
With a network of rivers flowing through the state and the sea on its west, forts in Goa assumed a great significance. A symbol of military prowess in the Portuguese time, today they are a mute testimony to the bygone era.
Ruins of the St. Augustine 's Tower:
Located on Holy Hill in Old Goa, today, the only surviving remnant of this once impressive Church is a 46-metre tower. The Church when intact was one of the biggest in Goa.
This is one of the largest and the best-preserved citadel in Goa . Located 18-km from Panaji in Old Goa, the fort acted as a bastion to control entry into the river Mandovi and to protect Old Goa from enemy attacks. Several springs within the fort provided water supply to the ships that were harbored there and hence its name from Agua or water in Portuguese. One of the distinct features of this monument is a 13-metre high lighthouse. Today, the fort houses the Central Jail.
The Gate of the Palace of Adil Shah:
The Palace of Adil Shah was one of the most prominent features of Old Goa with lofty staircases. Later, the Portuguese Governors used the palace as their residence. Today, the gate is the only imposing structure that remains of this monument.
This red-laterite bastion built by the Portuguese is in ruins today. The heads of two tunnels that was used a supply route for providing besieged defenders and Muslim tombstones on the southern side are probably the only remnants of this once impressive fort.
Religious Places - Churches:
An indelible impression of Portuguese influence can be seen in Goa 's famous churches. Spread of Christianity and controlling the spice route were the main reasons for Vasco da Gama's mission to India . Some of the world famous churches of Goa include:
The Basilica of Bom Jesus:
A fine example of Jesuit architecture, this church has emerged as one of the landmarks in the history of Christianity. It is located in Old Goa, 10 kms east of Panaji. The church opens everyday from 9 am- 12:30 pm and then again from 3 pm - 6:30 pm. Entombed within this world famous church is the body of St. Francis Xavier. The remains of the saint are brought out every few years for public display.
Immaculate Conception Church:
Located South of the Secretariat, this was one of the first churches to be built in Goa . The Portuguese Baroque style of architecture is reflected in its tall twin towers. The backdrop of the main altar inside the church is impressive.
Built between 1562-1619, it is one of the largest churches in Old Goa and the largest in Asia with a barrel vaulted ceiling. One of the features of this church is a tower, which houses a huge bell called the Golden Bell.
One of the interesting features of Goan temples is the lamp tower or the Deepa Stambha. This is regarded as a Maratha influence. On festive days these towers are illuminated. Another distinctive feature of a traditional Goan temple is the Dome that covers the main shrine instead of the traditional Shikara. This is the influence of Mughal architecture.
Sri Mahadev Tambdi Surla Temple:
This sacred shrine in West Goa is the state's only reminder of the pre-Portuguese temple architecture. This 12th century temple boasts of some fine relief's on the 'Shikhara' (spire) depicting a number of Gods and Goddesses.
Sri Mangesh Temple:
Located at Mardol, this is a revered shrine of Lord Shiva. It has the most famous lamp tower in Goa .
Located at Ponda, this is among the biggest and the oldest mosque in Goa . It is the last remaining one of the 26 mosques that were built by Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur in Ponda Taluka.
State Archaeology Museum:
Located at the outskirts of Panaji, the museum has seven galleries, a collection of 8000 objects and 645 objects including stone sculptures, wooden objects, paintings, manuscripts, numismatic collections etc.
Naval Aviation Museum:
Located just 6 kms from the port city of Vasco-da-Gama is India 's only Naval Aviation Museum . The museum is open all days from 10 am - 5 pm.
The rugged terrains of the Western Ghats have some varied flora and fauna. The widest belt of forests is in Goa and Karnataka. The coastal terrains on the other side provide a tropical climate backdrop, ideal for plantations. Goa boasts of four Wildlife Sanctuaries.
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary:
Named after India 's noted ornithologist, this sanctuary is located on the island of Chorao . Mangrove swamps dot the sanctuary. A huge variety of coastal birds visit the sanctuary every year, Apart from the birds one can also spot Flying Foxes, Jackals and Crocodiles.
For Adventure enthusiasts you can go bungee jumping at Anjuna or go clam hunting at Betul. If you are in a mood for angling, then Agonda is a great place. For a quieter trip you can go crocodile watching or else dolphin watching. Windsurfing, Water skiing is great options if you are a water sports enthusiast. To be one with nature opt for trekking. There are various picturesque trekking paths that start from Molem.
How To Reach Goa
One reach Goa very easily as it is linked via flights to all major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Trivandrum, Pune, etc. as well as some international destinations in UK and Gulf countries. The Dabolim Airport located near the town of Vasco Da Gama is Goa's exclusive airport and can be reached from any place in Goa by hiring local transport.
Goa has a well planned system of railways and commendable railway tracks. India's all important and major metro cities are connected to Goa through railways. The Konkan railway line has considerably reduced the traveling time to Goa and connects Goa to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Trivandrum, etc.
Goa has a well planned road system that helps people reach Goa from nearby states. One can reach Goa via roads from places like Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai. Goa also has three national highways that pass through which include NH - 4A, NH -17 and NH -17A. One can hire interstate buses that are run by Government owned tourist corporations or private cabs from nearby places to reach Goa.
Goa is situated on the west coast of India and has the vast sea flanking its border. You can choose from the various cruises that are available from Mumbai and take tourists to Goa. During the monsoons however, the service is withdrawn temporarily due to the erratic behavior of the sea.