The state of Goa in western India is the country’s tourism capital, and plays host to two groups of tourists each year. One is made up of visitors from across the globe, who head to the sunny state during the winter to escape the cold and rain back home. The other group is made up of Indians, who visit Goa from all over India during the summer months, when the temperature and humidity is perhaps a little too much for European tastes.
The state boasts a rich variety of geographical, culinary, historical and cultural delights for visitors to immerse themselves in, of which those below are but a very small selection. Both Mumbai and Goa are becoming very popular holiday options… take a look at what this region offers and don’t be surprised if you find yourself adding India to your list of ‘must-visit’ places.
Image by Abhisek Sarda
Goa’s carnival is held each year in either February or March, and the three day event brings a wealth of colour and music. Music parades and extravagant floats turn the streets into one big party at carnival time, from the capital Panjim right out to the rural towns and villages.
Image by MiqsPix
Goa is blessed with outstanding beaches along virtually the entirety of its coastline. Agonda beach, in the south of the state, provides a more secluded and quieter option for those looking to avoid the crowds and relaxing. The beach at Arambol is a real hippy haven, and travellers can find a huge range of alternative therapies practiced there. If you prefer to stay with your own kind, Calangute beach is busy and commercial, and usually packed out with European travellers.
Anjuna flea market
Image by antwerpenR
The flea market at Anjuna Beach happens every Wednesday, and is quite an occasion. Once the market is over, the crowds settle into the many beachside cafes, restaurants and bars, to drink and party until the sun goes down, and maybe even until it comes back up again!
Image by $holydevil
The staple diet of the region, fish curry with rice is delicious and available everywhere! Coconut and coconut oil are popular ingredients in many dishes in Goa, along with chillies and spices. Khatkhate is a popular vegetable stew eaten during festivals in the region.
Beach huts – Palolem
Image by jackol
Also known as ‘Paradise Beach’, Palolem Beach in South Goa is not overly developed in terms of tourism, so the best way to experience it is to stay in a traditional beach hut. Fishing and dolphin cruises are available from the beach at reasonable prices, and at the north end of the beach there is a small island that can be reached by swimming across at low tide.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Image by mckaysavage
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Basilica of Bom Jesus houses the remains of one St Francis Xavier. Xavier founded the Society of Jesus with his friend St Ignatius Loyola, and his remains are said to hold healing powers. The church is one of the oldest in India, and features a marble floor inlaid with precious stones, as well as paintings about the life of St Xavier.
Image via wikipedia
The most popular tipple in Goa! Feni is made from either fermented cashew fruits or sap extracted from toddy palms. The powerful liquor can be drunk neat, on the rocks, or with mixers such as cola or tonic water.
Top image by Swami Stream