Ask any fun loving person, his favorite holiday destination and it is Goa!
Goa attracts all genre of people. Some want to just have fun – eat, drink, dance and be merry. Others to visit the world heritage sites, few to visit the 4 wild life sanctuaries along with visiting the protected bird island to bird watch, few more it’s a gastronomical feast of seafood and Goan cuisine, a few to try their charm on the lady luck at casinos, a few to relax in solitude and reminiscence life. And for me Goa is a photographers’ delight trip – any number of days of sunrises and sunsets are never enough. Visiting spice plantations, waterfalls are optional, visiting naval museum – Aia’s biggest one is an option to navy and military buffs.
Goa has according to my list – 47 beaches, each beach having its own personality. Over a period of my visits I have been to almost all. Goa being in the west I have come across some amazing sunsets, each awesome and different in every season throughout each month of the year. Goa the season to visit is best and comfortable from November to February, the rest of the months you bear the scorching sun or the rains. Visit during the season are dear to your pocket and un-season visit costs you half. The choice is yours!
History of Goa – 9000 years ago Goa was inhabited by hunters and gathers, nomadic tribes. The first mention of Goa is in the great Hindu epic Mahabharata – this place was known as Gomantak (a fertile land in Sanskrit language) in the later Vedic period 1000 BC to 500 BC.
The later years of Goa was inhabited by the Rashtrikas, Bhojas as mentioned in the stone edicts of Ashoka. Konkani the language, a derivation of Prakrit in the Mauryan empire(3rd century BC) was the language spoken. For the next 700 years Goa was ruled by a succession of Hindu dynasties such as the Shillaharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyas. Until 1312, Goa was controlled by the Muslim rulers and it began to rise as the important landing place for the ships carrying horses to Hampi.
By the late 15th century upon the discovery of new routes to India by Portuguese adventurous, including Vasco da Gamma Goa became an ideal alternative spice route. Portuguese here took to the spread of Christanity and their culture with the wealth earned from the trade. Here Goa came to its Golden Age. Goa was Portuguese’s largest city calling itself – the Vice Imperial City of Portuguese Empire of the East. They were at war with the British, French and the Dutch. The Portuguese ruled India almost till the 20th century. After a series of failed efforts of talks the Indian Government’s, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 17th December 1961 ordered a military invasion. Without a single gunshot being fired the then Governor General of Goa, Vassalo de Silva surrendered to the Indian Government.
Even to this day Goa, the south Indian city has a distinctive southern flavor of its own native culture. The people here are laidback warm and friendly. It’s their easy going life their politeness which attracts tourist from all over India. But today Goa is invaded by businessmen from all over India and the local laws protect the local population to protect their way of life. Goa has its own culture which is protected.
World Goa Day
23rd August is World Goa Day. Rich in culture are Goa’s 7 vareities of dances Bhandap, Corredinho, Dhangar, Hanpet-sword dance, Lamp dance, Moruleum and Taranga Mel. Their Cuisine is simple and tasty. Simple Prawn or Fish Curry, their Pork Vindalos, their Sorpotei their beef chilly or pork fries are delicacies one would always relish their starter dishes of prawns, mussels, squids amazing. Their favourite drink is Feni – distilled from Cashewnuts or Coconut. Their folk songs with drinking nites are enchanting. The women folk are hard-working and run their families. Football is their favourite sport and past time. Goa is filled with temples and hundreds of churches. Their markets are a delight with the catch from the sea. Their weekly markets are a shoppers’ delight, they are filled with music dance and fun. Goan Trance music which later evolved to psychedelic trance was born here. Each restaurant has music and a dance floor. Water-sports, dolpin sightings are exciting. Casinos are the in attraction – le Las Vegas. Their boat rides to the view sunset from Panaji – the capital city along the Mandovi river to the point where the rivers meet the sea are a sight to be in. The boat rides are filled with acts, songs, dances, drinking, eating and merry making with people on top deck watching the sunset, The boats can be hired exclusively for parties and celebrations. Romantic quiet candle light dinner by the sea or noisy parties at night clubs at Baga – Calangute areas are fun for the boisterous are fun. Today Goa caters to all kinds of cuisine be it the local Goan or Jain cuisine, Spanish, Greek, Dutch, etc. You got lots of south Indian cuisine places, fast foods, ice creams etc. Liqour is less expensive and the eating joints are open late into the night. Goa suits every budget traveler. You have all the high-end five stars to rent a room by the night properties. All are neat clean and well maintained. Transportation depending on taxies are expensive but one can hire a scooter a motorbike a car or a jeep for the day, these are reasonable with simple formalities like producing a valid driving licence and an Id proof. All you got to do is fill gas and drive away. Goan carnival in the month of February at the Capital city Panjim is an annual fun event and is colourful with floats and singing and dancing, it falls 4 days before Ash Wednesday. There are more than 500 churches, chapels in Goa – Bom Jesus Basilica is the world heritage shrine. Every street corner and a circle has a shrine. Francis Xaviers body in good shape even to this day, it’s a miracle.
To enjoy Goa a 3 nights 4 days trip is not possible. I really don’t know how many days one needs for I am a travelling photographer not a tourist and a writer. Each time I visit, I see new sights, discover new things which keeps me coming back to this place. But as a tourist I suggest that you see the heritage of the city by visiting old Goa first and then stay and visit either north or south goa and the other sector for your next visit. Sitting it out and roughly calculating with a tour operator I arrived at a deduction that Goan can be seen as a tourist in 30 days, as a traveler maybe a year.
Beaches of Goa (alphabetically):
Agonda Aguada Anjuna Arambol Ashwen Baga Baina Benaulium Betalbatim Betul Butterfly Bogmalo Calangute Canaguinim Candolim Cansaulim Caranzalem Caramona Cavelossim Chapora Coco Cola Colam Colva DonaPaula Galgibag Hamsa Hollant Keri Majorda Mandren Mobor Morjim Palolem Patnem Polem Quegdevelim Rajbagh Sinquerim Siridao Talpona Uttorda Vagator Vainguinim Varca Velsao
*please ascertain which part of Goa, these beaches fall. They are classified as North Goa and South Goa beaches, with Panjim the city’s capital in the centre. Also ask whether it is a swimming allowed beach. Rocky beaches are visual delights but not people friendly, the beaches are well guarded by lifeguards and police. Bad behavior, nudity, drunken stupor is not tolerated in Goa. Drugs are not tolerated in Goa.
Goa is heaven on earth for people’s pleasure, lets keep it that way.
-Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography