India is a land of diversity and Goa has always been a popular and attractive tourist spot for visitors not only across India but throughout the world. The diverse beaches, the parties and even plenty of activities are one of the main reasons for which people visit this place. Apart from that, this smallest state in India is also rich in history. The cultural influence of the Portuguese is still felt strongly here, because they formed colonies in this region once. Here, you will also find plenty of religious places and architectural buildings along with the rich flora and fauna. Often, it is also considered to be a hotspot for biodiversity.
Here is a list of top ten destinations within Goa that you must definitely visit when you are here.
If you are interested in discovering and exploring the Portuguese history of Goa, then you must definitely visit Old Goa. It was once the capital of the Portuguese in India and currently there are few churches and castles left over in the place. These cathedrals and churches are however the largest in the world and they were built mainly by the Portuguese. Currently, they have become an important place for the tourists.
Currently, some of these buildings have also been converted into archeological museums displaying the rich history of Goa to the tourists as well as the local residents here. An interesting and important building that you will find among these buildings is the Convent and Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was built in the year 1521 and it consists of the preserved remains of Saint Frances Xavier’s body. This is also a reserved missionary of the state currently. This body is shown to the public every 10 years and the next exhibition will be held on 2014. If you are at Panaji, the current capital of Goa, you will not have to travel long to reach here.
The Beaches Of Goa:
There are large numbers of beaches in Goa lining the western coasts of the Arabian Sea. Some of these beaches are private, while most of them are open for the public. These beaches comprise of the major tourist attractions here. These long stretches of sandy beaches promote plenty of water activities like surfing and scuba diving. For instance, if you want to enjoy water sports with the hippies, you can head off to the Baga beach. On the other hand, if you are looking for isolation, sea beaches like Agonda or Patnem can be the ideal options for you.
There are, in fact, large numbers of beaches located throughout Goa that not only offers the main seat for the tourists, but at the same time, also offers the opportunity to the tourists to get different experiences at different beaches. Most of the beaches have pristine and crystal clear blue waters and the beach is lined with restaurants, bars, hotels and night clubs for partying and celebrating. Christmas also witnesses carnivals at the beaches, which is also one of the main reasons for the tourists to come here.
Apart from beaches and churches, you will also find plenty of wildlife sanctuaries located here. the mountainous regions of the Western Ghats is a home to large numbers of species of animals and birds. In fact, Goa comprises of almost 20% of the wildlife sanctuaries in the entire state. These sanctuaries remain open to public throughout the year, but the ideal time for you to visit here is from October to March. The two main sanctuaries that you must definitely visit when you are in Goa include the Mollem National Park, locally known as Bhagwan Mahvir and Cotigao.
When you are in these sanctuaries, you will be able to witness the famous Dudhsagar Falls, where water falls from a great height just after the monsoons in the month of September and October. Both the sanctuaries have wonderful facilities of accommodations that are mainly facilitated by the Forest department of Goa. If you want, you can also look for an eco-friendly stay in these sanctuaries by choosing some mud huts. Here, you will be able to view some of the most popular and even some of the rarest species of animals and birds.
Anjuna Flea Market:
There is a famous market is Goa that is not only crowded with the local residents here, but also with the tourists from different corners of the world. This market is generally held on Wednesday right from the morning to the evening. Since it takes place in the southern part of the Anjuna Beach, it is more popular and attractive. With the progression of days, the size of this market is expanding, and there are plenty of stalls in this entire market area. This is one of the most popular shopping destinations for the tourists, and currently the numbers of stalls in the area has also increased to more than 500.
There are wide varieties of goods that you will find in this flea market, and you can also carry out good bargaining here. At the end of the day, if you are tired shopping, you can relax in the beach and can also enjoy an amazing view of the sunset. There are plenty of food stalls and restaurants located here that can offer you the opportunity to try out large numbers of tasty and delicious local cuisines here. Another popular shopping destination that you will find here includes the night market in Arpora that takes place on Saturday.
The Spice Plantations:
If you are on a trip to Goa, another highlight of this place is the spice gardens and plantations. These plantations are located in and around Ponda. Wide varieties of spices are grown and this is mainly because of the tropical climate experienced in Goa. There are plenty of dense forests where these spices grow, and you can take a guided tour to these plantations in Goa because these plantations are open for the tourists. At the same time, you will also love the picturesque scenery of these gardens along with a spicy lunch.
One of the most renowned and popular plantations of spice in Goa is the Savoi Plantation that attracts large numbers of tourists here. You can easily reach the dense jungles by making an enchanting drive through the Ponda Hills. Apart from this famous plantation of spice, you can also visit the Sahakari Spiec Farm, Abyss, Pascol Spice Village and even the Tropical plantations of spice. Accommodations are also available in these plantation areas, and therefore, if you want, you can easily stay here and enjoy the picturesque views of the garden and jungles.
Sri Mangueshi Temple:
Your trip to Goa will be incomplete if you do not visit the religious places. The churches and cathedrals and abundantly found here, but you should not miss out the temples, as well. Sri Mangueshi Temple is a notable temple in Goa. The temple itself tells a story of history of the victory march of the armies and also the invasion by the colonialists here. This temple is originally located in Kushasthali originally, but due to the fear of the destruction of the temple by the Portuguese, it was shifted to Pirolim.
The external architecture of the temple is worth noticing and reflects the cultural values of the Mughals, Hindus as well as the Portuguese. The temple underwent repairs and destruction for many times, and currently, it attracts large numbers of tourists from different parts of the world. The sanctum of the temple also comprises of the idol of lord Manguesh. He is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva, and the local residents of Goa worship the Lord here. It is not difficult to reach this temple by road from the main city of Goa.
The Se Cathedral:
The Se Cathedral is an imposing old building of Goa and is also the seat of attraction for many tourists to Goa. The entire cathedral took almost about 62 years to get completed and the building of the church is mainly dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria. The church was actually built with the history that Alfonso, a Portuguese sailor believed that he could defeat the Muslim Armies. Therefore, in order to get the blessings of the Saint, he built this church by demolishing a mosque, which stood in the same grounds.
Both the interior and the exterior of the cathedral are beautiful and reflect a wonderful style of the ancient days. The style of the cathedral is mainly represented in half Doric and half Tuscan and this is the main highlight of the building that attracts many tourists here. The architecture of the interior is based on the Mosaic-Corinthian style. Since this building is very old, the northwestern part of the church already collapsed in the year 1776 due to lightning, but it was reconstructed later. The southern tower of the church also comprises of a golden bell which is also another major highlight of this church in Goa.
The Grand Fort of Aguada is also another attractive feature of the top tourist destinations of Goa. This forty was constructed in the year 1612 with a purpose. At the time, the fort was built the main purpose of it was to prevent the entry of the ships into the Mandovi River. This was done in order to prevent the attacks of the enemy in old Goa. This fort is located at a distance of about 12 km from Panaji, and the first ever lighthouse in Asia was built in this fort. The fort is equipped with large numbers of rooms, and these rooms are open to public views currently.
The fort rooms are equipped with ammunition and barracks, which offered the first line of defense for bringing about the control of Portugal right over Goa. Currently, this first serves the central jail of Goa. Plenty of historical battles were witnessed by this fort and some of the battles also had a direct impact on these battles. The tower is also surviving for centuries. However, now the tower is installed into the Church of Lady of Immaculate Conception, and it tells a story of the adventures that took place in the fort.
Your visit to Goa will be incomplete if you do not visit the discotheques in Goa. There are plenty of beaches located here, and these beaches comprise of some of the most famous discotheques here. However, one of the best discotheques is located in the Baga Beach known as Tito. This is a very old discotheque which was established almost in 1971 and since then it has been attracting large numbers of tourists and the local residents here. This bar is definitely the most modern, as well as the most aesthetic bars in Goa.
Tito’s is well equipped with large numbers of modern equipments and amenities that are generally looked for the visitors to the bars and night clubs. The entire discotheque is designed in such a say, so that it ensures that the customers are satisfied to the highest and it is open for the tourists throughout the year. It offers non-stop service throughout the night, and the view from this discotheque is amazing. Celebrities also prefer to visit this discotheque when they are in Goa, and therefore, you must also feel the essence of this bar. Located rightly on the Baga Beach, it will not at all be difficult for you to reach the destination.
Though there are plenty of beach destinations rightly at Goa, yet one of the most important beaches that you must not afford to miss visiting at any cost is the Calangute Beach. This beach is famous for the Hippie culture, and therefore, nowhere else you will find this culture except this beach. In fact, it is also the first beach that inculcated the culture of the hippies. It is true that the long and sandy stretches of the beach line along with the blue waters is one of the major attractions of the beach.
At the same time, if you want to spend a relaxing day, you can definitely find a place for yourself in the midst of the beach. There are plenty of regular beach activities that take place here, and if you want, you can always participate in these beach activities. Moreover, the beach is also quite famous for the rave parties that are carried out here throughout the night, and sometimes even during the days. Thus, you must always ensure that you visit this beach in the midst of all the beaches in Goa.
Originally posted 2012-12-26 14:54:53.