Goa, known as the “Pearl of India”, is a Tourist Paradise and a Pearl of the Orient. The state of Goa is located in the western coast of India in the coastal belt of Konkan.
The oldest archaeological evidence of ancient Goa dates back to the Aryan conquest times. The Crinar Rock-edict of Mauryan king Ashoka mentions the people of Goa as Peitinikas, Rashtrikas and Bhojas. During the time of the Mauryan Empire, between 321 to 184 B.C, Goa was an administrative region named Kutala. During this period, Buddhism is thought to have reached Goa. Jainism was also spread in this time, this knowledge available from the discovery of ruins of Jain Temples at Kudnem. After the death of Ashoka the Great in 232 B.C, the Mauryan Empire declined fast and Goa was conquered by other powers. The Marathas took control of Goa after the Mauryas, followed by the Anand Chuttus and the Satavahanas. The latter were already controlling the large area of western coast of India at this time. Under their rule, Goa flourished and became an International business centre used to trade with Africa, Middle East and Roman Empire.
450 years of colonial Portuguese rule have imparted a distinct Latin ambience to the State of Goa, which is very much reflected in the old architectural style.
OLD GOA – THINGS TO SEE
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Refer to as spiritual heart of Portuguese Goa, it owes much of its prominence to Afonso de Albuquerque and to St. Francis Xavier, who were here during the mid- 16th century. Construction of this renowned Church started in 1594 and completed in 1605. This is considered to be famous throughout the Roman Catholic world because it contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier, who came to Goa in 1542. This is kept in a silver casket and used to be covered with jewels earlier.
The Chapel of St. Catherine
This Church was built in 1510 A.D by Afonso DE Albuquerque to commemorate his entry into the city on St. Catherine’s Day and was further enlarged in 1550 by George Cabral the Governor. It was rebuilt again in 1952.
St. Francis of Assisi
This Church was built in 1661. Inside, there is a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi & Jesus. One can see the beautiful painted panels depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi and on the top, frescoes showing floral designs.
Immaculate Conception Church
Among the other famous Churches & temples in old Goa are:
– Se Cathedral
– The Chapel of our Lady of the Rosary (1526)
– Tower of St. Augustine
– Convent of St. Monica
– Church of St. Cajatan
– Shri Gomenteshwar Brahmapur
Beaches of Goa
There are numerous beaches in Goa that offers a diverse experience of culture, crowd and nature’s bounty. These beaches include Agonda, Anjuna, Arambol, Baga, Benaulim, Bogmalo, Calangute, Candolim, Cavelossim, Colva, Dona Paula, Ashvem, Mandrem.
If you are looking for Water Sports then Majorda, Miramar, Palolem, Vagator and Varca are the beaches for you.
Wildlife in Goa
Mesmerized by their sheer diversity of plant and animal life Goan forests are nothing short of a paradise be it a regular Goa loving tourist or an intrepid traveler seeking to explore the wilds!
Take a walk on any of these forest trails that dot the Chorla Ghats in the Mhadei region and the call of the sambar or the sight of the Gaur welcomes one.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary (Near Ponda)
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuaries (Canacona)
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary (Molem)
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary (Chorao)
A haven for photography for those who wish to go birding in the monsoons and be mesmerized by other natural wonders for a day trip, there is Bondla-our smallest sanctuary.
“Fish curry rice” is one of the most delicious staple food of Goa. In fact, this is a very simple dish and liked by people coming from all over. The most important ingredient of Goan food are rice / coconut or cashew. Being closed to the sea, the people of Goa like sea food.
Goa celebrates its own special Festivals, in addition to Hindu, Christian and Muslim festivals.
|6th January||Feast of the three kings|
|February (12 – 15)||The Carnival all over Goa|
|Feb-Mar||Mahasivaratri or Sivaratri|
|April||Feast of Our Lady of Miracles, 16th day after Easter|
|May 30th||Goa Statehood Day|
|June||Feast of Saint Anthony|
|August||Janmashtami (Birth of Lord Krishna)|
|December 3rd||Feast of St. Francis Xavier (Old Goa)|
|December 17th||Liberation Day|
|December 25th||Christmas Day|