PVS Travels (Mumbai) takes you to the Goa is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located on India's west coast in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.
Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory existed for about 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of Goa, with decreased tourist activity inland. In 2004, there were more than two million tourists reported to have visited Goa, about 360,000 of whom were from abroad.
Goa has two main tourist seasons winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Goa to enjoy the splendid climate. In the summertime (which, in Goa, is the rainy season), tourists from across India come to spend the holidays.
With the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years and the consequential influence of Portuguese culture, Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than other parts of the country. The state of Goa is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and temples. The Bom Jesus Cathedral, Fort Aguada and a new wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in Old Goa are other tourism destinations.
1) Vagator Beach.
Historic sites and neighbourhoods in Goa
Goa has two World Heritage Sites the Bom Jesus Basilica and a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is actually the Blessed Joseph Vaz). Once every twelve years, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing. The last such event was conducted in 2004. The Velhas Conquistas regions are also known for its Goa-Portuguese style architecture. There are many forts in Goa such as Tiracol, Chapora, Corjuem, Aguada, Gaspar Dias and Cabo de Rama.
In many parts of Goa, mansions constructed in the Indo-Portuguese style architecture still stand, though in some villages, most of them are in a dilapidated condition. Fontainhas in Panaji has been declared a cultural quarter, showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. Some influences from the Portuguese era are visible in some of Goa's temples, notably the Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalasa Temple, although after 1961, many of these were demolished and reconstructed in the indigenous Indian style.
Museums and Science Centre.
Goa also has a few museums, the two important ones being Goa State Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum. The Aviation museum is the only one of its kind in the whole of India. Also, a place not well known to tourists is the Goa Science Center, which is located in Panjim. The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is also located in Goa at Dona Paula.
The Coolest Place in India’ is Goa.
Now our road takes us to the magnificent kingdom of Goa…The people of this kingdom are strong, prudent and very hardworking… The kingdom of Goa is the most important in India…It is civilized, having famous orchards and water. It is the coolest place in India and it is the most plentiful in foodstuffs.
‘The white people make a practice of going to the kingdom of Goa to enjoy the shade and the groves of trees and to savour the sweet betel.’These revealing remarks on Goa come not from the hippies or ‘flower power’ generation of the sixties and early seventies who thronged the beaches of Anjuna, Vagator and Arambol in search of salvation and ‘peace’. These remarks were made over five centuries ago by the Portuguese Ambassador to China who visited Goa around the year 1511. They serve as a vivid precursor to the generations that followed in our times to the fabled land of Goa.In those tumultuous and rebellious times in the sixties, it was then not the ‘sweet betel’ that was the prime attraction but a different kind of ‘weed’. But Goa, since those days of the angry generation, has moved on to attract a multitudinous, peaceful and cosmopolitan school of visitors from all around the globe. Down the corridors of time Goa has been different things to different people. To the Portuguese conquerors it was ‘Golden Goa’, the El Dorado, the ‘Rome of the East’Such was its beauty and grandeur, that a traveller was moved to remark ‘Whoever has seen Goa, need not visit Lisboa’—Lisbon, which was then the grand epicenter of the Portuguese dominions. Some decades later, the early 17th century French traveller Francois Pyrard wrote ‘Whoever has been in Goa may say that he has seen the choicest rarities of India, for it is the most famous and celebrated city, on account of its commercial intercourse with people of all nationalities of the East who bring there the products of their respective countries,articles of merchandize, necessaries of life and other commodities in great abundance because every year more than a thousand ships touch there laden with cargo.’Pyrard continued with near prophetic veracity ‘…as for the multitude of people, it is a marvel to see the number which come and go every day by sea and land on business of every kind…One would say that a fair was being held every day for the sale of all sorts of merchandise.’While the contemporary traveller may not come to modern, thriving Goa ‘for the sale of all sorts of merchandise’, the ‘fair’ is still very much on. The traveller is here to find something different a balm on the busy mind, to enjoy days of freedom on Goa’s magnificent beaches, to parasail or swim with the tide of fellow visitors from all around the globe, to savour its unique cuisine and imbibe its spirits, to take a long and invigorating trek in its unexplored interiors, to marvel at its majestic temples and churches, in short, to be at one with the most friendly people in the country.