Goa Tourism

Famously 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 scenic beauty and the architectural wonders like its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favorite with travelers around the world.

Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It is rich with culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer.

According to Hindu mythology Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is known to be the creator of Goa.

Over the centuries various dynasties have ruled Goa. Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been rulers of Goa.

Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonization on December 19, 1961 and became a Union Territory . On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic.

More than some exotic beaches, Goa is about throwing caution to the wind and soaking in the unconventional. This Ibiza of India is one of the hottest destinations for bohemian raves, which have thrown up some avant garde eateries. With a history as vast as the sea itself, the Portuguese influence can be felt everywhere in Goa , in the churches and chapels, and unbroken sun-soaked beaches. It is the meeting point of religions and cultures of East and West over the centuries; Goa has a combination of distinctive lifestyles quite different from the rest of India . Hindu and Catholic communities make up most of the population. A fun-and-feni kind of place - Goa is the destination for a lazy yet freaky holiday. This is where ocean-lovers can really get their fill - surfing, yachting, swimming or simply reclining on the golden sands with a drink. Goa is just 600 km south of Mumbai, situated on the slopes of the Western Ghats.


By Air - Some airlines fly directly to Dabolim Airport at Goa, but most international flights arrive via Mumbai. Goa has daily flights to and from Bangalore, Delhi , Mumbai and Pune (no flights return to Pune) and has flights twice a week to Chennai and Cochin . There are international flights to Kuwait and Sharjah twice a week and charter flights to London and Germany.

By Train - Goa has train service from Delhi , Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Rajkot , Mangalore, Ernakulam and Thiruvanantapuram. There is a daily express train service from Delhi.

By Road - From Goa you can take a sleeper bus (which allows for a good nights rest in the bus) to Hampi. There are normal buses to Mumbai (sleeper bus also available), Pune, Bangalore , Mangalore and other cities.


Goa is full with tourist round the years, but the September to March is the period when you can get best of Goa . That time so many activities happen like water sports, carnivals and festivals etc.

What to See
North Goa South Goa Around Panaji Where to Eat
North Goa

Panaji - is the capital of Goa. Literally, the word Panaji means 'the land that does not flood'. The main attraction in Panaji is the carnival held here every Sabada Gordo (Fat Saturday). The carnival is basically all about forgetting one's worries and having a fun time. There's a lot of singing and dancing, as well as a procession of heavily decorated floats .

Church of the Lady of Immaculate Conception - The main place of worship in town, this church holds Mass every morning in three different languages - English, Konkani and Portuguese.

Chapel of St Sebastian - Built in the 1880s, the Church of St Sebastian is known for its crucifix of Christ, which shows Christ with his eyes open.

The Secretariat - This was the summer palace of the Muslim ruler of Goa, Adil Shah. It is also the oldest building in this part of Goa . The Portuguese rebuilt it in 1615 and used it as the residence of the Viceroy.

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary - Located near Panaji, on the western tip of the island of Chorao along Mandovi River, this sanctuary is spread over 2 sq km. Local and migratory birds can be seen here in abundance.


Vasco Da Gama - Vasco, as it is called, is 29 km by road from Panjim and just 3 km from the airport at Dabolim. It is one of the key shipping ports in the west coast, with container vessels and iron ore barges in traffic. The town does not offer much of tourist interest.

Bogmalo - Bogmalo is a small fishing village, 8 km southwest of Vasco Da Gama, with a small sandy beach that is relatively clean and comparatively uninhabited. The waters here are safe for swimming. This is one of the places in India where one can do a PADI-approved Open Water Diving Course. Other water sport facilities are also available at the beach.

Margao - Margao (also called Madgaon) is the capital of Salcete province and is the main town in South Goa . It is 30 km from Vasco and one of the few places where one can see the remains of Portuguese rule. The Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1675 by the Portuguese, next to Largo de Igreja Square , is a fine example of Baroque architecture. Monte Hill offers a good view of the area. The De Silva House and the De Joao Figueiredo House are other interesting places to visit in Margoa

Chandor - is an interesting village 20 km east of Margoa. At the Candreswar Temple in Quepem, 15 km from Margao, it is believed that water oozes from the Shivalinga when the moonbeams fall on it on a full moon night (the temple has been designed to ensure that this happens).

Colva & Benaulim - The Beach Bonanza is held here on successive Sundays with live music, dancing and entertainment. Colva Beach is one of the more popular beaches in south Goa. Benaulim is 2 km south of Colva and 10 km west of Margoa. The beach here is tranquil and the sea is safe for swimming.

Varka & Cavelossim - Varka is 5 km south of Benaulim and Cavelossim is a further 7 km. The beach resorts here are a little upmarket and secluded. Further south of Colva (35 km) is an old fort at Cabo De Rama. It is believed that Lord Rama and his wife Sita had spent some time here during their exile, hence the name.


Old Goa (Velha Goa) - Old Goa, the second capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty, could rival Lisbon with its magnificence in olden days. At that time, it was a fortress surrounded by a moat and had temples, mosques and a large palace for Adil Shah. Wracked by epidemics of cholera and malaria and the Inquisition, Old Goa has deteriorated from a vibrant city to a dying one with a handful of architectural relics.

Basilica of Bom Jesus - This contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier who was given the task of spreading Christianity by the Portuguese in the east in 1541. The remains of the body are housed in a silver casket, which at one time was covered with jewels. On the walls surrounding the casket are murals depicting the saint's journey. There is an art gallery next to the Basilica.

Convent & Church of St Francis of Assisi - Contains gilded and carved woodwork and murals depicting scenes from the saint's life along with a floor partly made of carved gravestones. The original building was built in 1517, and the new structure dates back to 1661. A convent behind this church is now an archaeological museum. Open Saturday to Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, the entry is free.

Se Cathedral - The largest church in Goa , its construction started in 1562 during the reign of King Dom Sebastiao (1557-1558). The style of the building is Portuguese-Gothic with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. The tower houses the 'Golden Bell', the resonant rings of which can be heard thrice daily

Church of St Cajetan - Built in 1655, this church has been modelled on St Peter's Church in Rome. It was built by Italian friars of the order of Theatine, sent by Pope Urban III to preach Christianity in the Kingdom of Golconda .

Beaches Fort Aguada & Candolim - The beaches of North Goa extend from Fort Aguada in an uninterrupted 30 km stretch right upto the border with Maharashtra . Fort Aguada was built in 1612 on the mouth of the Mandovi River to protect the shores from the Maratha and Dutch raiders. One can find many natural springs at the fort. A lighthouse nearby can be visited from 4 pm to 5.30 pm everyday. Sinquerim beach, which is just below the fort, has facilities for para-sail and jet skiing at the Taj holiday resort.

Mapusa - Just 13 km north of Panjim is the small town of Mapusa (pronounced Mapsa). It is a collection of modern buildings and has little to offer other than its marketplace, where one find strings of spicy Goan sausages (chorizo), toddy (fermented palm sap), spices and exotic fruits. Friday is the best time to see the local market in all its glory.

Calangute & Baga - Calangute is a 45-minute bus ride from Panaji and was once famous for its hippies and cheap accommodation. The road between the town and the beach is lined with stalls selling Kashmiri handicrafts, Tibetan textiles and jewellery. The Kerkar Art Gallery at Gaura Vaddo in the south end of the town has shows of classical music and dance on Tuesday and Saturday from 6.30 pm to 8 pm. Baga is a small village 10 km west of Mapusa. The beach here is better than that at Calangute.

Anjuna - Anjuna is famous for its Wednesday flea market. The coconut palm-strewn beach is quite clean, making it one of the few good beaches in Goa .

Chapora & Vagator - Coconut groves cover most of this rocky hill that holds the ruins of a Portuguese fort. The other major landmark is the estuary of the Chapora River . The Big Vagator Beach is also here. The Orzan Vagator Beach further down south is somewhat isolated from the area. There are lots of secluded beaches, sandy coves and rocky cliffs to explore and enjoy.

Arambol - Located 32 km from Mapusa, the village of Arambol is a tranquil and friendly place with just a few hundred locals, mostly fishing folk. Only the very basic amenities are available here but the two beaches here offer a quiet and calm atmosphere - very different from most other Goan beaches.

Bondala Wildlife Sanctuary - This small wildlife sanctuary, located 50 km south-east of Panaji in the foothills of the Western Ghats, is a good place to escape to from the beaches of coastal Goa . A botanical garden, a fenced Deer Park and a zoo are things one can check out here. The sanctuary has accommodation in chalets and dorms.

Terekhol Fort - An interesting small fort on the banks of the river Terekhol built by the Portuguese. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel. The Querim beach is close to the fort.


When in Goa , you must try its local cuisine that includes pork vindaloo, chicken xacuti, fish/prawn/chicken caldine, sorpotel, bebinca and balchao. The seafood is, of course, the freshest fare in the town. Megson's on June Road (alongside Moti Mahal) for some Goan food. Venite is a local favourite for its laid-back ambience, good music and superb seafood. The lobster and crab are recommended Nandan is for those who either are vegetarians or prefer something other than typical Goan cuisine. On the ground floor of the Rajdhani Hotel, it offers pure vegetarian food from all parts of India as well as some Chinese dishes. Miramar Restaurant at the Cidade de Goa Beach Resort is one of those posh, up-market restaurants where you get your food with a special helping of romance and entertainment. Dine on some delicious Indian, French or Portuguese cuisine in the candle light while listening to live Portuguese guitarists

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