Goa is a verdant natural paradise bounded on the one side by the foothills of the Sahyadri range and on the other by the Arabian Sea.
The old adage is true: Living in Goa is a 365-day vacation. Beaches, scenic sunsets, historical forts and an easygoing life make Goa one of the best beach destinations in India. Whether you want to witness the majestic 600-m-high Dudhsagar Falls or try your luck in Casino Royale, Goa serves travelers of varied tastes. From the famed Fort Aguada to the blue waters of Dona Paula and Sinquerim beaches, there's no dearth of points of interest in Goa.
Aguada Fort stands tall as one of the most known representatives of the Goan history. The fort was constructed in 1612 by the Portuguese who were fearing an attack from the Marathas and the Dutch. The fort had a fresh water spring that provided for the water requirements of all those who used to pass through the place. The giant fort served as a crucial point for all the important operations of the Portuguese.
Calangute Beach, which is seven-km long and located about 15 kms from Panaji, is one of the busiest beaches in Goa. Some believe that it getS its name from the Konkani Word-'Koli-gutti'(Land of Fisherman), some say that it is derived from the native word-'Kalyangutti'(Village of Art) while others connect it with Konvallo-ghott (Strong pit of the coconut tree). It is also known as Queen of Beaches.
Baga Beach is located about 15 km from Panaji and gets its name from the Baga river at the north end of the beach that flows into the Arabian Sea. Situated at about 8 kms from Mapusa in the westward direction, it adjoins the Calangute Beach in the south and the Anjuna Beach in the north. It is one of the most happening beaches on the coast. It figures in the list of most crowded and busy beaches of Goa. The whole of the beach is covered with beach umbrellas and beach beds where foreign tourists can relax and enjoy sun bathing. One can also relish feasting on the everlasting supply of cocktails, mocktails and food. The rare view of the joining of the river and sea at Baga Beach is also astounding.
The Chapora fort, 10 K.M from Mapusa was built by the Adil Shah of Bijapur on the southern headland of the Chapora River. The red-laterite bastion, crowning the rock bluff, was rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1617 on the same site. The Chapora Fort has another name - Shahpura, ('town of Shah'), was intended as a border watch post to see various Hindu raiders during the 17th century. It was finally deserted by the Portuguese in 1892, after the territory's frontiers had been forced further north and the Novas Conquistas region. The Chapora Fort has a commanding view of the Vagator beach and is near to Anjuna beach.
springing from from a lofty height of 600m is located on the Goa-Karnataka border. It lies at a distance of 60 km from Panaji and 10 km from Colem Railway Station.
The name of this waterfall evolves from the Konkani name for the falls, Dudhsagar meaning 'sea of milk'. This is because froth is formed due to the speedy surge of water from the majestic heights.
Located about 18kms from Panaji and situated in Bardez taluka, the Anjuna Beach is the part of a 30 km extended beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian sea.
The Village of Anjuna, a five square mile area is nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Hill overlooking the beach. The beach is famous for its stunning natural beauty with swaying palms trees and soft powered white sands. The beach is marked by an unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of white sand and black rock that juts out into the Sea. This area was known as the Jewel of Anjuna and called "Ozran".
The Arambol Beach located 50 kms from Panaji is a pristine and secluded beach in the North Goa and can be approached by a winding road through the groove of cashew trees.
It is a rocky as well as sandy beach and has a fresh water lagoon which extends along the bottom of the valley into a thick jungle The lake is fed by boiling hot springs and is lined with sulphurous mud which people love applying on their body to do wonders to their skin.
Benaulim Beach is situated about 2 kilometers from Colva. It is fishing beach, which is known for its calm and peaceful environment. The Benaulim Beach in Goa seems to be the perfect location for the tourists longing for tranquility and serenity.
Benaulim Beach is one of the fairly undiscovered beaches of Goa. Despite of its being a fishing beach, the domestic tourists are unaware of it. However, the beach gets crowded on certain occasions. Benaulim Beach of Goa gets crowded in the evenings, when the travelers come to the site for a walk. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the beach enables the tourists to relax and rejuvenate their spirits. The beach also witnesses a huge crowd during the weekends.
Located 14 kms north of Panaji in the state of Goa, the Candolim Beach is a part of a long extension of beach coastline along the Arabian Sea that begins at Fort Aguada and ends at Chapora Beach.
This place is also famous as it is the birth place of Abba Faria, considered to be one of Goan freedom fighters and the Father of Hypnotism.
Arched in the silhouette of an 18th century Portuguese fort, Chapora Beach in North Goa is a perfect destination to spend some good time in fun, entertainment and pure leisure over the weekend. The beach is adorned by green hills, black lava rocks and palm trees bending over a pristine white sandy coastline. The atmosphere around the beach is imbued with a calmness and serenity that touches a chord in the heart of each and every tourist.
The Colva Beach lies about 6 Kms to the west of Margao and is the oldest, largest and the most spectacular beaches of South Goa. The beach consists of about 25kms of the fine powdered white sand and is bounded along its coast by coconut palms that stretch from Bogmalo in the north to Cabo de Rama in the south along south Goa's coastline.
Dona Paula Beach is situated just 7 km away from Panjim. It is also the meeting point of the Zuari and Mandovi rivers. It got its name from Dona Paula De Menezes, the daughter of the then viceroy, who committed suicide after not being allowed to marry Gaspar Dias, a local fisherman whom she loved. Cabo Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the Governor of Goa, is also situated in Dona Paula along the western tip.
Majorda Beach is situated in the southern part of Bogmola. It is one of the marvelous beaches in Goa that is located about 18 kilometers from Dabolim Airport. Marjorda Beach in Goa is connected to Margao with an excellent network of roadways, including buses, auto rickshaws and taxis. It is one of the most popular beaches of Goa.
Located in South Goa, about 43 kms from Margao and 76 kms from Panaji, Palolem Beach is one of the state's most beautiful beaches. Commonly known as Paradise Beach of India, it is an ideal beach for adventure seekers and honeymooners as well. It is one of the most visited beaches of Goa that is gaining popularity with every passing year.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa: Goa's most famous Jesuit church, the Basilica of Bom Jesus, situated in Old Goa, is the first minor basilica in India. The church is dedicated to Bom Jesus, meaning infant or good Jesus. This model of elegance and simplicity, now in ruins, is the most revered church in the Christian community worldwide. Jesuit architecture is quite apparent from its design and structure. The consecration of the church was done by the then Archbishop of Goa, Fr. Alexia de Menezes upon its completion on 15 May 1605. The facade of the church has the letters 'HIS' inscribed on it, that are the first three letters of Lord Jesus Christ in Greek. The figure of infant Jesus is placed on the main altar that is richly glided. A large statue of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, is above the altar. The chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is placed in the transept that is on the northern side. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept intact in a decorated casket in the basilica.
Se Cathedral, considered the biggest Roman Catholic Church in Asia, is one of the ancient and most popular churches in Old Goa. According to history, Alfonso Albuquerque in 1510 defeated the Muslim army on the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria and took possession of Goa. Statistics available say that this 16th-century monument took 80 long years to complete. Also called St. Catherine's Cathedral, devoted to Catherine of Alexandria, this church with excellent tradition holds a high place of sacredness and respect among the Christians across the world.
Miramar Beach is situated 1 kilometer ahead of the confluence of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. It is situated on the way towards Dona Paula, about 3 kilometers from Panjim, the capital city of Goa. Miramar Beach of Goa is also known as 'Gasper Dias'.
The Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary at Mollem covers an area of 240 square kilometers and is the largest wildlife preserve in Goa. This sanctuary lies on the eastern border of the state, close to the village of Mollem at the foot of the Western Ghats. The Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is 53 kilometres away from the state capital, Panaji. The sanctuary primarily consists of evergreen forests and deciduous trees.
The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary lies 10 kms northeast of the Usgao Tisk village in north Goa and is 52 kms from Panaji, and 38 kms from Margao. Away from the coast, the landscape breaks into the dramatic and green foothills of the Western Ghats. These foothills shelter the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary; which is the smallest wildlife reserve in Goa. The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 80 sq kms. The sanctuary is home to the sambar, gaur (Indian bison), the black-faced langur, jackal and wild boar, amongst others animals. Elephants have also been spotted here at times. The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary houses several species of deer as well.
The sanctuary is named after one of India's most prominent ornithologists, Dr. Salim Ali - the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is spread over an area of 1.78 sq kms. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located at the western tip of the Chorao Island along river Mandovi near Panaji. It is fully covered with mangrove species. A variety of local and migratory birds can be found on this island.