Sun, sea and surf, that’s the image of Goa which attracts millions of tourists from around the world. They enjoy a perfect holiday and carry back a healthy tan to show off to friends.
Although Goa is most famous for its soft golden beaches, there is much more to do here than lie spread-eagled like a starfishunder and enjoy the comfort of the sun-light filled sky. Here, we bring to you the most charming tourist destinations in Goa.
The churches and temples that dot the Goa countryside are silent witnesses to the art and architectural marvels of the bygone area. The way these religious edifices are maintained by the local populace speaks volumes of the devotion they have to their divine master.
Unspoilt tracts of forests in Mollem and Cotigao constantly spring surprises with a serene lake or shy wildlife playing hide and seek. The towering Sahyadri mountain range along the eastern border of Goa is one of the hot spots of biodiversity in the world.
Watch silently as the marsh crocodiles lazily bask along the banks of the canal of Cumbharjua. Ancient rock-cut caves at Arvalem and pre-historic Mesolithic carvings at Pansaimol interest historians from around the world. The Khandepar river originating in Karnataka thunders down from great heights of the lush Sahyadris forming the spectacular cascading Dudhsagar waterfalls that leaves the onlookers speechless and spellbound.
To get here, you’ll have to get off from the train at Collem station and then board a jeep or trek your way through lush evergreen forests. The Cotigao wildlife sanctuary, the Salim Ali bird sanctuary, the Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary and the Bondla wildlife sanctuary offer a plethora of opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to get personal with nature. The dense canopies of deciduous trees and meandering rivulets seduce the nature lovers.
Watch towers strategically located near water holes afford an excellent view of the wild life. You will come across a vast variety of bird life in the mangrove forests that line the banks of the river Mandovi and the river Zuari. Idyllic organic farms and spice orchards dot the slopes of small hillocks across the state. Let an elephant give you a shower at the Sahakari Spice Farm in Curti, Ponda.
The beautiful Arabian sea hugging the coastline of Goa beckons anybody on its shores to take a plunge in its cool waters. Olive Ridley sea turtles visit the shores of the Morjim beach during the months of October to March. Due to their strong home instinct, these turtles travel across vast distances and arrive back to their site of birth to nest during the winters.
Witness some of the best specimens of the Kadambaeraen-route the ancient trade route between Chandrapur, Anilpur, and Halasi.
Strategically located forts built by the erstwhile Portuguese and local rulers give an insight into the civil engineering skills of the earlier generations. The forts of Aguada, the Reis Magos, Cabo de Rama, and the Corjuem Fort showcase the ancient rulers ability to protect their land from intruders.
The bubbling lake or budbudyanchitali at Netravali appears to be a still and serene temple tank from afar until you come to its edge and see the mysterious bubbles erupting from the bottom of the lake to the surface of the water.
The most popular church of all is the pristine white church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception perched on a hillock dominating the heart of the Panjim city, the capital city of Goa. You need to climb up the 100 artistic steps to get to the top. The huge bell is the second largest in Asia.
The majestic 5 storeyed church of St. Anne at Talaulim is one of the largest churches in Goa. Every year on 26th July, newlyweds and childless couples flock to invoke the blessings of St. Anne seeking a child. The church of NossaSenhora, Mae de Deus (Our Lady, Mother of God) at Saligao houses the miraculous statue of the Mother of God. It is artistically lit at night to provide a spectacular view. Se Cathedral in Old Goa is the most imposing of all churches. The ‘Golden Bell’ in its tower is the largest in Asia.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus, opposite the Se Cathedral has a two tier mausoleum dedicated to St. Franco Xavier, fondly known as the GoenchoSaib. His relics are placed in a crystal urn and brought out to the public every ten years.
The transplanted temple of Shiva at Shelpen was discovered at Curti. It was dismantled stone by stone and rearranged to its present location near the Salaulim Dam. The TambdiSurla temple is the only temple in Goa built from basalt rock and the only standing temple specimen of the Kadamba era. The Shiva linga at the Shree Manguesh temple in Ponda was saved from desecration by the Portuguese rulers and brought here.