Goa, the 25th State in the union of India, was liberated from Portuguese rule in 1961. It was a part of Union Territory of Goa, Daman & Diu till 30th may 1987 when it was carved out to form a separate State. Goa covers an area of 3702 square kilometers and comprises two Revenue district viz North Goa and South Goa. Boundaries of Goa State are defined in the North terekhol river which separated it from Maharashtra , in the east and south by Karnataka State and the West by Arabian Sea. Goa lies on Western Coast of India and is 594kms (by road) away from Mumbai city.
Goa being a land of unique scenic beauty is well known for its tourist attractions. It is therefore, no wonder that tourist from all walks of life flock in thousands every year to this tiny but picturesque land.
Panaji : The capital city of the state is located in Tiswadi Taluka on the left bank of the river mandovi. It can boost of having the oldest municipality in Asia. It is a city of fine Gardens and Statues. Enchanting panorama unfolds from atop Altinho (Hill top) posh residential area.
Margao : It is the most important Town in south Goa connected by rail and The National Highway with Karnataka and Maharashtra and is located in Salcete Taluka. An important commercial and cultural center of Goa, Noted for its old mansion influenced by Western architecture, it is the head quarters of South Goa District.
Vasco da Gama : It is the port city across the river Zuari about 30kms. from Panaji. Its roads have a geometric layout with imposing multistoryed buildings. Close by is the Dabolim Airport and the Internationally famous natural port of Marmugao. It is also the railway terminus.
Mapusa : An important commercial Town in North Goa, it is situated in Bardez Taluka on the National Highway 17. It has a beautiful layout with gardens and a church. Weekly Friday bazaar is held at modern streamlined market and attended by large crowds.
Marmugao Harbour : 30kms.from Panaji, 04 kms. from Vasco da Gama, one of the finest natural harbours on the westcoast of India and the hub of intense maritime activity. Passengers and cargo ships call here from all over the World.
Goa’s 105kms. coastline is endowed with lovely beaches some of which like vagator, Anjuna, Calangute, Baga and Harmal in the North of Goa and Colva , Betul and Palolem in the south have already become world famous.
Miramar : A lonely golden beach of soft sands girdled with palm trees facing the Ariabian Sea.
Dona Paula : An idyllic and picturesque picnic spot commands a fine view of Zuari estuary and Marmugao Harbour.
Colva Beach : Colva beach is pride of Salcete and the only rival of calangute in scenic splendor. Here land, sea and sky blend in enchanting natural harmony.
Calangute Beach : The Queen of Goa Beach and the most popular holiday resorts in Goa for its Scenic splendour. Excellent accommodation facility are available, particularly at Tourist resort, vagator.
Vagator : It is a lovely palm fringed beach with chapora fort in back ground situated on the Kalsua along the chapora river basin. The beach is visited by number of tourist in summer.
Bogmalo : About 13kms. from Vasco town, crossing Dabolim airport, the beach of bogmalo is a popular picnic spot for the people in the vicinity.
Agonda : About 37kms. from Margao and 8kms. from Canacona, a small picturesque and secluded beach where a number of nature lovers go for peace of mind.
Palolem : About 37kms. from margao just west of chandi one of the most enchanting beach in Goa and relatively deserted with backdoop of Western ghats situated in Southern most taluka of Canacona.
Old Goa Complex : At old Goa, about 15kms. from Panaji, rises a complex of ancient churches, monasteries and convents renowned for their unique architectural style and loftiness. The most famous are the Bisilica of Bom jesus built in 16th centaury, where the mortal remains of St. francis Xavier are enshrined, the Se Cathedral, which is the most imposing of all churches at Old Goa.
The Church of Reis Mogos at Varem (Bardez) : Situated on the right bank of river mandovi the church was built in 1555 dedicated to three markings. This was once the residence of all dignitaries and also a mission of the Franciscan order.-
The Church of Immaculate Conception at Panaji : This church of our lady of immaculate conception was built before 1541 A.D. Originally a chapel it was elevated to a church in 1600 A.D. and then was renovated in 1691 A.D. The bell at the top of the church which weighs about 2,250 kgs. Is the second largest in Goa.
The Church of Mae Deus at Saligao (Bardez) : This church was built in 1873. It is situated amidst picturesque surroundings. The Shrine of the miraculous statue of mae de Deus (Mother of God) was brought from the ruins of the convent of Mae De Deus at Old Goa. This beautiful church is the finest piece of Gothic style.
The Church of Alex at Curtorim : It is one of the oldest churches in Goa, built in 1597 on the side of hindu Shrine, by name Ravalnath, the remains of which are visible even today.
The Church of St.Ana at Talaulim (Ilhas) : The church dedicated to St. Ana, The grandmother of Jesus Christ is a remarkable piece of ancient Christian architecture in the country. It was built in 1695 on the right bank of Siridao river and has picturesque surrounding. The Unique feature of this church is this that it has hollow walls through which people could walk in secrecy for the purpose of confession.
Shree Manguesh Temple : 20 kms. from panaji, at mangueshim in Ponda Taluka.It is located on a hillock surrounded by rolling green hills. Though small it has an air of distinctive elegance. Its lofty white tower at the entrance is a landmark in the countryside. This is a temple dedicated to lord shiva
Shree Shantadurga : 33 kms. from Panaji sumptuously built at kavlem dedicated to santadurga the Goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. It has a rich Garbhakuda where the deity is kept.
Shree Gopal Ganapati : 24 kms. from Panaji at Farmagudi, Ponda, the temple built by late Shri Dayanand Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of Goa in 1966 is situated on the slope of the hillock known farmagudi amidst beautiful natural surroundings near Bandora. The stone image of Gopal Ganapati was discovered by herdsmen while grazing cattle near the hill and was later installed in a small shrine.
Shree Nagesh : The temple dedicated to God Shiva is situated in the Village of Bandora about 4 kms. to the east of Ponda. The temple sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains exquisite specimens of intricate wood carvings of the events of ramayan on one side and the wooden images of Astadikapal and Gandharva on the other.
Shree Mahalakshimi : Also situated in the village of bandora, the temple is considered the abode of the original Goddess of the shakti cult. The sabhamandap has a gallery of 18 images out of emanatory aspects of Bhagvata sect and this gallery is considered one of the rare galleries of wooden images of Vishnu in India. The images of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, the main center worship. Her special feature is that she wears a linga on her head. She is considered a peaceful Satvika form of Devi. The Goddess Mahalakshmi was worshiped by the Shilahara rulers (750-1030 A.D.) and the early king of Goa.
Shree Ramnath : The Temple is 33 kms. away from Panaji in Ponda Taluka. Beside the main temple of Ramnath, the Complex has four small temples dedicated to Shree Laxminarayan, Shree Santadurga, Shree Sateri, Shree Betal and Shree Sidhanath. The five together constitute Shree Ramnath Panchayatan. The legend is mythology saya that Rameshwar is the original abode of the Lord Ramnath.
Shree Kamkshi at Shiroda : This deity hails from village Raia in Salcete Taluka. She was shifted to Shiroda between 1564 and 1668 A.D. to save destruction. Navaratra and Dussehra are the main festivals of the deity.
Shree Datta Mandir : 37 kms. from Panaji the century old temple of Trimurti (hindu triad) at the Sankhali has backdrop of a beautiful hillock covered with dense groves of areca palms. The most important festival which is attended by devotees from all over Goa is Datta Jayanti which falls in December. The deity is believed to have cured many people of unsound mind.
Shree Saptakoteshwar : Situated at Narva Bicholim 37 kms. from Panaji, it was a favored deity of the Kadamba kings. Its original temple was situated on the island of Divar. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and the idols was shifted to its present site at Norva Bicholim. Many years after 1668 A.D. Chhatrapati Shivaji ordered renovation of this temple at the present site, during one of the campaigns to oust the Portuguese. The linga worshipped in the temple has facetes and is known as Dharlinga.
Shree Mallikarjun : Situated at Cancona 40 kms. from Margao, the temple is believed to have been constructed during the middle of the 16th century by Kshtriyas. It was renovated in the year 1778. The temple has massive wooden pillars with intricate carvings. There are 60 deities around the temple. Rathasaptami in February and Shigmoutsava in April are the festivals which include a colorful fair, exchange of Gulal, Mahaprasad and presentations of shows on popular legends and Folk culture.
Shree Shantadurga : Is originally from the village Cuncolim in Salcete Taluka. The Goddess was shifted to fatorpa in 16th century during religious persecution. The annual Zatra of the Goddess which falls on Pausha Shuddha Navami is very famous and attracts thousands of devotees.
Shree Damodar : 22 kms. from Margao at Zambaulim – Sanguem. Shree Damodar temple is situated in the picturesque surroundings on the bank of the Kushavati river, popularly known as Panti near the temple, the river is regarded particularly holy and is said to have medicinal properties. The deity is worshipped by the Hindus and Christians alike. A week long celebration of Shigmo is packed with programmes which include a colorful fair, exchange of Gulal, Mahaprasad and presentation of shows on popular legends and folk culture.
Shree Chandranath : It is situated on the top of 350 meters high a hill of chandranath at Paroda, Quepem, 45 kms. from Panaji. Chandreshwar was the titular deity of Bhoja kings who ruled south Goa before the Christian era till the middle of 8th century. They had named their capital Chandrapur after their deity. Later on Kadambas came to power in the tenth century. “Shivaling” in the carved out from the rock oozes water whenever rays of moon falls on it. The temple is so designed that the linga receives moonlight on every full moon day.
Tamdi Surla : 70 kms. from panaji Mahadev temple is the only specimen of Kadamba Yadav architecture (13th century) in Goa. This is the only completely preserved basalt stone temple in Goa of the Kadamba period. Shree Siddeshwar situated on Siddhanath Hill Borim at a Height of 1250ft.(410mts) commands panoramic view of more that half of Goa. There are perennial springs, coconuts and arecanut gardens, green forest and the climate is cool all the year round.
Shree Navdurga : 4 kms. fom Ponda in Borim village is beautiful temple of Mahishasurmardini Navdurga. There is unique features of spacious Sabhamandap joining two temples face to face, Kamleshwar of Kadamba Times and Navdurga. Two festivals on Kartik Pournima are celebrated here.
Jama Masjid : 26 kms. from Margao, at Sanguem built in the last century, the Jama Masjid was completely renovated in 1959. The new structure is remarkable for its harmonious proportions and elegant simplicity. It has four minarets whilst the entrance façade is flanked by two elegant turrets surmounted by pillared kiosks. A domeshapped kiosk rises in the center of the four minarets.
Safa Masjid : The Safa Shahouri Masjid, the biggest and most famous of the 27 mosques in Ponda Taluka was built in 1560 by Ibrahim Adilshah of Bijapur. Adjacent of the mosque is a well constructed masonry tank with small chambers with ‘meharab’ designs. The mosque and the tank were formerly surrounded by an extensive garden with many fountains. They were all destroyed during the Portuguese rule. The two major festivals, id-ul-fitr and id-ul-zuha are celebrated at this mosque with great pomp and gacity are attended by large number of people.
WILD LIFE SANCTUARIES
Bondla: 55 kms. from Panaji it is one of the four Wild Life Sanctuary of Goa. More than a sanctuary is an ideal jungle resort and a major attraction for school going children and nature lovers. Its mini zoo, sprawling deer park in natural habitat, its botanical and rose garden attract people throughout the year.
Mollem : Situated along with north-east border of Goa, about one and half hour journey from Panaji along Panaji-Belgaum National highway, the Bhagwan Mahavir wild Life Sanctuary covers about 240 sq.kms. of thick forest clad slopes of Western ghats and its valleys and is the biggest of the 4th century of Goa. The sanctuary is rich in wild life. It is the paradise for bird watchers. Beside flora and fauna there are many important natural geological and historical features in this century. “Devils Canyon” is on of the most beautiful geological spots.
Cotigao : The second largest of the four wild life sanctuaries in Goa. Admeasures 105 sq.kms. and is located about 60kms. from Panaji, in Canacona Taluka, South Goa District, nearly 3kms. Off from the national Panaji-Manglore, its wildlife comprises mainly bison (gaur) sambur, cheetal, wild-boars, porcupines, langurs and bonnet monkeys, panthers prowl at night. The flora and fauna is varied and there are also plenty of snakes and other reptiles. The ancient Jeevottam Partagal Muth noted for vedic studies lies in the vicinity of the sanctuary. Not far off, a forest cottage caters to visitors and lovers of nature. The famous parashurama temple faces the guest house.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary : Situated on chorao island near Panaji along Mangroves. Varieties of local as well as migratory birds frequently visit the area. It is an ideal picnic spot for nature lovers.
Goan cuisine consists of regional foods popular in Goa, located along India’s west coast along the Arabian Sea. Seafood, coconut milk, rice, and local spices are main ingredients of Goan cuisine. The area is located in a tropical climate, which means that spices and flavors are intense. Use of Kokum is another distinct feature. Goan food is considered incomplete without fish. It is similar to Malvani cuisine or Konkani cuisine.
Goa is a perfect place for sightseeing tour. Every corner of this tropical paradise displays a fine blend of traditional and modern aspects of life. On one hand you have the most alluring natural charms where as on the other hand you have an excellent array of architectural masterpieces, which are dotted in various towns of the state. Hence, a sightseeing trip to Goa is very important to behold various treasures of the state.
- Hinal Shah