Located on the Konkan region of Western India, Goa is the smallest Indian state in terms of the area and the fourth smallest in terms of population. Physically, the state is surrounded by Maharashtra in the North, Karnataka in the East and the South while the Arabian Sea infringes the Western coast. Famous worldwide for its beaches, architecture and places of worship, Goa is one of the top tourist destinations in India. Tourists, both domestic and international, throng in this beach state throughout the year. Goa is also rich on biodiversity owing to its location on the Western Ghats.
Goa has a rich history and heritage that dates back to thousands of years. Rock incised engravings and many prehistoric tools of importance have been discovered indicating earliest signs of human civilization. Goa has been an eyewitness to many civilizations sprawling across its land. As a part of the Mauryan Empire, Buddhism was introduced in the state by the Buddhist monks. Goa then came under the reigns of the Bijapur kings, whom the Portuguese defeated to gain control of this coastal land. The state was then named as Velha Goa. Right after Independence of India, the Portuguese refused to hand over sovereignty of Goa to the Indian Government. Finally in 1961 the state was annexed as a part of the country by military efforts.
How to reach Goa
There are a lot of convenient connections in and out of Goa via air, rail or roads. The state’s international airport, the Dabolim Airport is the main center for all domestic and international flights landing in Goa. Plentiful domestic airlines operate from here and connect Goa to all major metropolitan cities in the country. Apart from the domestic airlines, chartered flights from UK, Kuwait and Germany also connect to the Dabolim Airport. International flights from Mumbai and Bangalore are also available round the year. Cabs at the airport are easily available for reaching anywhere in Goa.
Goa is well linked by means of railways. The Konkan Railways forms the main network connecting Goa while there are some trains plying in the South Central Railways as well. Trains to Delhi, Mumbai, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmadabad are available. There are two main railway stations in the state and both of them are located in Southern Goa. Margao is the terminus belonging to the Southern railway while The Vasco da Gama is the Konkan Railway Terminus. The state is also well connected by roads. The National Highway 17 connects to the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala while the National Highway 4A connects the state capital, Panaji to Belgaum. For local travel, state buses, auto rickshaws and taxi services are easily available. Motorcycles can also be rented for short durations.
Best places to visit in Goa : Goa Beaches
Goa is the proud possessor of some of the most stunning beaches around the world. The speciality lies in the fact that these sun kissed beaches are an amalgamation of charm, tranquillity, exotic cuisine, diverse flea markets and the swaying palms. The coastline stretches to a distance of about 125 kms., within which, 83 kms. are covered by these beautiful beaches. The northern beaches are a bit commercialized and these shores are always teeming with thousands of tourists and accessories. On the other hand, the southern part of the state has many calm and tranquil beaches that make them ideal destinations for honeymooners and tourists that are seeking a serene atmosphere.
The Arjuna Beach, situated at a distance of approx. 18 kms from Panaji, is renowned for its rave beach parties. North Goan beach, which captures the beauty of the golden sands is also very popular among tourists for its all night merriment.
The Calangute, Baga beach used to be a fishing community as well as a popular spot for hippies in the eighties. Dubbed as the ‘Queen of Beaches’, this beach is also a popular hangout zone in North Goa.
The Dona Paula beach is a secluded pocket situated on the Arabian Sea. The beach is named after the daughter of one of the Viceroys in India at that time. It is said that his daughter committed suicide by jumping off a cliff around the beach since she was not permitted to marry her love, a local fisherman. The beach is shrouded with mysticism and beauty.
Agonda Beach in the south is a secluded and serene beach that is located 37 kms. from Margao. Perfect atmosphere prevails over the beach for resting in the lap of nature. Enclosed by mountains to the south, this beach is 3 kms. long and is isolated from the cities.
Colva beach in the south attracts many tourists for its secluded nature. This 25 kms. beach is located at a distance of 17 kms. from Panaji. This huge beach has some areas that are still unexplored.
Things to do and other attractions in Goa
Goa, in spite of being a small state, has lots to offer in terms of tourism. Majority of Goa is steeped in the Portuguese culture with its old houses, churches, convents, monasteries, cathedrals and cobbled streets, especially in Old Goa. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Church of the Lady of the Rosary on the Holy Hill and the Convent of Santa Monica are some of the sites worth visiting.
Exciting outdoor activities in these regions would include fishing in the sea with the help of a local guide. Most of the beaches offer many adventure sports in the form of jet skiing, paragliding, para-sailing, kayaking and surfing. Many tourists flock around the beaches to try their hands at these adventures. There are trekking facilities also available around many parts of the state. There are a number of exciting trails that the trekkers can venture into. Wind surfing on the beaches is also an exciting activity.
Shopping in the state involves engaging in buying some of the local handicrafts from the abundant fleas markets. The Arjuna Flea Market is the largest and the most popular. Many festivals and events are a part of the annual calendar of Goa.
Goa offers a lot of places to stay, right from budget hotels to 3*/4* properties. For people looking for luxury, the Goa has many 5* properties, which offer world class services and amenities. Beach side hotels in Goa are what tourists look forward to spending their time in the lap of luxury.
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