About GOA

Goa as a holiday destination needs no introduction. From families, friends, couples to individuals and groups, Goa has something for everyone. With its 'let your hair loose' lifestyle it is a favourite 'Romantic Getaway' for honeymooners, couples and the bohemian. Goa's acclaimed hotel industry with the warmest of Goan hospitality makes it a popular conference venue too.

Its picturesque locales, ancient Portuguese architecture and vibrant nature make it a favourite among Filmmakers. Acclaimed schools and universities have also made Goa a Campus Ground for students. Whatever your reasons for visiting Goa.

Variously known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendours of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favourite with travellers around the world. But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea.

It has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer. Much of the real Goa is in its interiors, both inside its buildings and in the hinterland away from the coastal area. Legends from Hindu mythology credit Lord Parshuram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the creation of Goa. Over the centuries various dynasties have ruled Goa.

Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been rulers of Goa. Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonisation on December 19, 1961 and became an Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and Diu. On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic. Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite different from the rest of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost the entire population with minority representation of Muslims and other religions. All the communities have mutual respect towards one another and their secular outlook has given Goa a long and an unbroken tradition of religious harmony.

The warm and tolerant nature of the Goans allows them to celebrate and enjoy the festivals of various religions such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas, Easter and Id with equal enthusiasm. The state of Maharashtra borders Goa on the north, the state of Karnataka on the south and east. The vast expanse of the Arabian Sea on the west forms the magnificent coastline for which Goa is justly famous.

Terekhol (Tiracol), Mandovi, Zuari, Chapora, Sal and Talpona are the main rivers which weave their way throughout the state forming the inland waterways adding beauty and romance to the land besides being used to transport Goa's main export commodity of Iron and Manganese ore to Mormugao Harbour. Along the way to the coast these waterways form estuaries, creeks and bays breaking the sandy, palm-fringed coastline behind which lie the fishing villages among the coconut groves. Panaji (Panjim) is the state capital located on the banks of the Mandovi river and Vasco, Margao, Mapusa and Ponda are the other major towns. Goa is serviced by an international/national airport located at Dabolim near Vasco. An intra-state and inter-state bus network also plays an important role in getting locals and visitors alike in and around Goa. The vast green expanse of the Sahyadri mountain range ensures that Goa has an abundance of water.

The sea and rivers abound in seafood - prawns, mackerels, sardines, crabs and lobsters are the most popular with the locals and the visitors. Along with English which is widely spoken all over Goa, Konkani and Marathi are the state languages. The national language Hindi is also well understood in most areas around the state. Goan cuisine is a blend of different influences the Goans had to endure during the centuries. The staple food in Goa is fish and rice, both among the Hindus and the Catholics. Unlike the Christian food the Hindu Goan food is not strongly influenced by the Portuguese cuisine. Since the arrival of the Hippies in the sixties, Goa has been a major destination on the itinerary of international and domestic tourists. The tourist season in Goa begins in late September and carries on through early March. The weather in these months is usually dry and pleasantly cool.

Then the weather gets fairly hot around May and by end of June, Goa receives the full blast of the Indian monsoon with sudden downpours and tropical thunderstorms. However it is also during the monsoon that Goa is probably at its most beautiful, with greenery sprouting all around. Besides the natural beauty, the fabulous beaches and sunshine, travellers to Goa love the laid-back, peaceful, warm and friendly nature of the Goan people. After all, more than anywhere else on planet earth, this is a place where people really know how to relax.

Art & Culture
Goa is a land of crafts and craftsmen, where aesthetic quality finds a natural expression. Goa has a rich and magnificent tradition of the classical arts. Over the years, Goans have excelled in poetry, music and the fine arts.

The exquisitely carved rosewood and teak furniture, the terracotta figurines, the classic brass items and the unique gold jewellery designs all speak of an age still valuable in this technology obsessed world.

The folk paintings of Goa have been traced to different places from ancient temples, churches and palatial manors to humble households. They mostly depict episodes from the epics - the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and the Puranas and also scenes from the New Testament.

During the Portuguese colonisation, local craftsmen played a major role in the development of the exquisite furnishings and decorations used in residential houses, churches and chapels. This art can still be seen the Christian Art Museum at Old Goa.

Goans have contributed greatly to the world of music. Many famous names on the Indian music scene originate from Goa. Famous singers such as Lata Mangueshkar and Kishori Amonkar in the classical variety and Remo Fernandes in pop music, are from Goa.

Konkani literature has produced many great names such as Bakibab Borkar who have contributed to the development of Konkani as a national language with some superlative writing.

Local craftsmen in Goa produce a wide variety of crafts ranging from terracotta pottery and figures to superb brass lamps and decorative items.

A large number of Goans have also played a major role in drama and Hindi film industry in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.

GOA People & Life Style
Goa's isolation from the rest of India for more than four centuries under the Portuguese rule, its geographical borders in the form of the Sahyadri ranges and the tidal rivers have managed to give the people of Goa a unique and separate identity.

The people of Goa prefer to call themselves Goans and not Goanese as mentioned in guidebooks and brochures. Goans are very much aware of this unique identity; they are proud of it and guard it fiercely.

The population of Goa is composed of a Hindu majority of around 65% and a Christian minority of around 30%. Muslims and other religions make up the rest. The interesting part in all these percentages is that, as is the case with most statistical figures, they conceal more than they can ever reveal.

The Hindu community is dominant in the talukas (districts) of Ponda, Bicholim, Pernem, Satari, Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona. These areas actually form part of the Novas Conquistas, or the New Conquests, made by the Portuguese in the last stage of the expansion of their Goan empire in the eighteenth century.

By this time, the Portuguese military might was on the wane and the religious ardour for forced conversions was at its lowest ebb. Hence the population in these newly conquered areas were pretty much left to practise their religion in peace.

The Old Conquests on the other hand, consisting of Salcete, Mormugao, Tiswadi and Bardez bore the brunt of the Portuguese army and the religious zealots. Together, the two arms of the Portuguese empire, managed to destroy temples and converted hundreds of non-Christians in these areas, which are predominantly Christian today.

Fortunately, these bitter memories of the past have done nothing to change the warm, friendly and loving nature of the Goan people. By and large, the Goan considers himself a Goan first and a Hindu, Christian or Muslim afterwards. The bonds of language and the Goan identity are strong enough to allow for different religious persuasions.

In contrast to other parts of India, Goans have developed a remarkable degree of tolerance towards each other's religious beliefs, and hence religious fundamentalism is completely unknown in the state.

The best evidence of this is seen in quite a few places of worship in Goa, where both Hindus and Christians go together. The Damodar temple at Sanguem, the Church of Our Lady of Miracles in Mapusa, the Shantadurga temple at Fatorpa are excellent examples of this unique religious harmony that exists in Goa. Besides these, a number of other festivals in Goa are celebrated by members of both communities with equal fervour.

In proportion to their numbers, a very high percentage of Goans live abroad than the members of most other regional communities of India. But no matter where they might be on the surface of the planet, Goans love to express the adoration of their homeland in some form or the other.

Goa is a state of mind. And to most Goans, this is best expressed in the lines of the Konkani poem penned by the eminent Goan poet B. B. (Bakibab) Borkar.

GOA - Hindu Legend And Mythology
The origin of Goa or Gomantak as it is also known, is lost in the mists of time. In the later Vedic period (c.1000-500 BC), when the Hindu epic Mahabharat was written, Goa has been referred to with the Sanskrit name Gomantak, a word with many meanings, but signifying generally a fertile land.

The most famous legend associated with Goa, is that of the mythical sage Parashuram (the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), who several thousand years ago created the entire stretch of Konkan coast by ordering the seas to recede. The Sea God gave up the lands on the the banks of the two main rivers of Goa viz. Mandovi and Zuari (then called Gomati and Asghanasini) for the settlement of the Aryans accompanying Parashurama.

Another legend, less well known, states that the coastal area of Konkan enchanted Lord Krishna, who was charmed by the beautiful ladies bathing in the area. The ladies in turn, were so taken up by the melodious music coming from his flute, that they kept dancing forgetting their daily chores. Lord Krishna, then named the land Govapuri after the cows (gov) belonging to the locals.

The history of the sacred land of Gomantak, 'land of the Gods' is well described in Sahyadri Khand of Skandha Purana, the ancient text of Hindu religion. According to this story narrated in the Chapter Shantiparva of Mahabharat, a Brahmin from the Saraswat family, Parashuram, annihilated the entire community of the warrior tribe Kshatriyas and gifted the conquered land to a sage named Kashyapmuni.

Unfortunately, the Kshatriya annihilation meant that the land was left unadministered and fell into anarchy and chaos. The worried sage Kashyapmuni, requested Parashuram to leave the area and settle elsewhere. Parashuram came south and reclaimed new land by ordering the sea to recede and give up the coastal land. This land known as "Aparant" or "Shurparak" is spread between the Sahyadri mountains and Sindhusagar.

The first wave of Brahmins to settle in Goa, were called Saraswats because of their origins from the banks of the River Saraswati, an ancient river that existed in Vedic times. The subsequent drying up of the river caused large scale migration of Brahmins to all corners of India.

A group of ninety-six families, known today as Gaud Saraswats, settled along the Konkan coast around 1000 BC. Of these, sixty-six families took up residence in the southern half in today's Salcete taluka which derives its name from the Sanskrit word "Sassast" meaning the number 66.

The other thirty families settled in the northern area in today's Tiswadi taluka which derives its name from the Sanskrit word for the number 30. The Saraswat Brahmins worked in partnership with the local indigenous people, the Kunbi tribals who still exist today. Around the year 740 AD, the Brahmins established their first Matha (religious centre of learning) at Kushasthali (present day Cortalim) .

An interesting sidelight in this legendary origin of Goa is that Lord Parashuram is supposed to have shot an arrow from the top of the western ghats into the sea to command the Sea God to withdraw till the place where the arrow fell and claimed that land to be his kingdom. The place where the arrow landed was called Bannali (in Sanskrit for 'where the arrow landed'; Bann: arrow, ali: village), or today's Benaulim.

Parashuram arrived in the new abode with other Saraswat Brahmins and sages in order to perform the Yadnya and other rituals. These Brahmin families of Dashgotras from Panchgoudas of Trihotrapura in northern India came along with their family deities and settled themselves in this land of Gomantak or the land of the Gods as it came to be known thereafter.

They initially settled at Mathagram (Margao), Kushasthal (Cortalim) and Kardalinagar (Keloshi). The main deities which also came along with them were Mangirish, Mahadeo, Mahalaxmi, Mahalsa, Shantadurga, Nagesh, Saptakoteshwar besides many others. According to local legend, the ash found at Harmal beach in Pernem Taluka is cited as the ash of the Yadnya or holy ritual performed in Goa.

Today a temple of Parashuram exists in Painguinim village of Canacona Taluka in South Goa. There is no concrete proof to determine the exact date of the arrival of Saraswats or Parashurama in the area, nor is it conclusively proved that Saraswats or other Aryans were the first to arrive in Konkan.

Even if the legends are considered as only myths, the residence of Saraswat Brahmins in Goa since ancient times along with their family deities is an undeniable fact. And most probably they arrived in Goa under the leadership of a towering personality named Parashuram.

Goa Temples
The temples of Goa are in essence like most Hindu temples in India, based around a deity which is worshipped. The architecture of Goan temples is a little different mostly because of historical reasons.

The fundamental design of any Hindu temple is organized around the central shrine or the "Garbagriha" or the "sanctum sanctorum" that houses the main deity. A tower or "Shikara" arises from the main shrine and is traditionally pyramidal shaped. There are usually two or more smaller shrines housing other deities known as "Parivar Devatas" around the entrance to the Garbagriha.

The Temple, situated by the side of the main road, is said to be more than 500 years old. Two life size images of elephants in standing postition, made of black stone on either side at the entrance welcome the visitors.The Goddess Bhagvati Asthbhuja in a standing position on a high pedestal, is very imposing. Dussehra is celebrated with gaiety from Ashwin Shuddha Pratipada to Poomima, when over 25 thousand devotees assemble at the temple.

Located in Bicholim Taluka at a distance of 45 kms from Panaji Harvalem where the ancient linga of Rudreshwar is venerated. The idyllic Harvalem water fall is close by. The image of Rudreshwar is facing the water fall. The festival of Mahashivaratri draws big crowd. However, the temple assumes importance as Hindus perform rites for the dead here .

Situated at a distance of 25 kms from Mapusa.Temple complex has beautiful natural surroundings. The three-day festival of 'Gades' which begins on Phalgun Pumima draws big crowd. The devotees believe that people can have the darshan of 'Devchars' during Gade festival.

Situated at Morjim in Pemem taluka this ancient historical temple complex is situated amidst natural surroundings. The main festival is "Kalas Utsav" which is celebrated once in every three, five, seven, or nine years. The duration of the festival is nearly a month beginning from Phalgun Shuddha Panchami.The concluding seven days is a big religious and cultural affair when people not only from Goa but from Sindhudurg to Karwar assemble in large number. Other festivals are Gudi Padwa, Dussehra, annual Zatra, "divzam" and ghodemodni.

Situated at a distance of 7 km. from Pemem in Pemem Taluka.The complex has five temples, main temple being of Shri Bhagavati, other temples are of Shri Sateri, Shri Dev Ravalnath, Shri Dev Bhivangi Panchakshari & Brahma (Shri Vishnu, Shri Ganapath, Shri Shankar).Devi Bhagavati temple has two Deepstambhas unique of its kind. Main festivals are Dassehra and annual Zatra.

7 kms. from Valpoi, in the village of Brahma Carambolim. This shrine belongs to the 5th century A. D. It is one of the few temples dedicated to Lord Brahma found in India.

It is situated on the top of 350 metres high hill of Chandranath,Paroda, Quepem. Chandreshwar was the titular deity of Bhoja kings who ruled South Goa before the Christian till the middle of 8th century. They had named their capital Chandrapur alter the deity. Shivalinga is carved out from the rock which oozes whenever rays of full moon fall on it. The temple is so designed that Linga receives moonlight on every full moon. The temple commands a panoramic view and its surroundings are enchanting. The temple's ancient chariot is well known for its wood carvings.

22 kms from Margao at Zambaulim-Sanguem.Situated in picturesque surroundings on the banks of river Kushavati, popularly known as Panti. Near the temple, the river is regarded particulary 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 programs which include a colourful fair, exchange of gulal, collective meals and presentation of shows on popular legends and folk culture. The deity was originally in Margao.

37 kms at Dattawadi, Sanquelim, and 40 kms. from Margao The century old temple of trimurthy (Hindu) has a back drop 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 the month of December. The deity is believed to have cured many people of unsound mind. The entire interior consist of white marble.

17 km at Marcela, Ponda. Popularly known as Pisso Ravalnath. The most important festival is "Maini Paumima" in the month of Pausa.

It is situated near Ela farm at Old Goa. Mahadev was worshipped during the days of Kadamba kingdom in Goa. Madan Tirtha Goraksha Math etc. still remind the glory of the place.

26 kms from Panaji At Farmagudi, Ponda, amidst beautiful natural surroundings,near Bandora. The Portuguese Viceroy attacked the fort of Ponda in October, 1683 but had to beat a hasty retreat at the sudden appearance of the Maratha King Sambhaji with a large army. Farmagudi commemorates this event. The stone image of Gopal Ganapati was discovered by herdsmen while grazing cattle near the hill and later installed in a small shrine with a thatched roof. The temple built by late Shri Dayanand Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of Goa has the idol, made of metal alloy, consecrated on april 24,1966. It is a good specimen of Indian temple architecture synthesizing both ancient and modern.

14 kms. from Mapusa at Kansarpal. It is said to be about hundred years old. Divided into two outer halls, supported with seven rows of four pillars, has a stage to perform dramas on festive occasion.The inner shrine contains the revered image of the Goddes 'Kali' a fierce form of Devi. Agrashalas (rest House) surrounding the temple provide facilities for lodging to the devotees.

40 kms from Panaji. According to mythology, Shri Kamakshi, was brought from kaurang (Kanchi). Temple of Shri Mahadev at Tambdi Suria. 66kms. from Panaji in Sanguem Taluka. At the foot of the Ghats, is the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture (14th century) in basalt stone preserved and available in Goa. A motorable road connects Sancordem to this temple complex.

4 kms. from Ponda. Situated in the village of Bandode. It is considered the abode of the original Goddess of the Shakti cult. The Sabhamandap has a gallery of 18 images, out of 24 images of emanatory aspects of Bhagvata sect, which is considered one of the few galleries of wooden images of Vishnu in India. The image of Mahalakshmi has a close resemblance to that of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, the main centre of worship. Her special feature is that she wears a linga on her head and is considered a peaceful or Satvik form of the Devi. The Goddess Mahalakshmi was worshipped by the Shilahara rulers (750-1030 A. D.) and the early Kadamba Kings of Goa.

At Mardol, I km from Shri Manguesh temple. The deity worshipped is an attribute of Vishnu (Mohini during the fight between Devas and Asuras.

40 kms. from Margao. At Canacona, the southernmost Taluka of Goa, is believed to have been constructed during the middle of 16th century by ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj. 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 Febmary and' Shigmotsav in April are the festivals of note, which draw large crowd.

22 kms. from Panaji. At Priol-Ponda Taluka. It is located on a hillock surrounded by lush green hills. Though small it has an air of distinctive elegance. Its lofty white tower at the entrance is a landmark of the countryside. This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated in the village of Bandode, about 4 kms. to the east of Ponda. The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains exquisite specimen of intricate wood carvings of the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other.

34 kms. from Panaji at Borim and 12 kms. from Margao. The deity of Goddess Navdurga was originally brought by Brahmins of Karad to Goa. The deity was later transferred from Benaulim in Salcette to its present site at Borim.

28 kms. from Panaji. The annual zatra is in November. The deity of Goddess Navdurga was originally brought by Brahmins of Karad to Goa.

33 kms from Panaji in Ponda Taluka. Besides the shrine of the main Ramnath deity it has four small temples of Shri Laxminarayan, Shri Shantadurga (Sateri), Shri Betal and Shri Sidhanath.

The five together, constitute Shri Ramnath Panchayatan. The legend in mythology says that Rameshwar is the original abode of Lord Ramnath.

37 kms. from Panaji at Narve-Bicholim. Was a favoured deity of Kadamba Kings. Its orginal temple was situated in the island of Diwar. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and the idol was shifted to its present site at Narve (Bichoh'm). Many years afterwards in 1668 A. D. Chhatrapati Shivaji ordered renovation of this temple at the present site during one of his campaigns to oust the Portuguese. The linga worshipped in this temple is faceted and is known as 'Dharalinga'.

Was a favoured deity of Kadamba Kings. Its orginal temple was situated in the island of Diwar. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and the idol was shifted to its present site at Narve.

33 kms from Panaji. Sumptuously built at Kavlem, is dedicated to Shantadurga, the Goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. Has a rich and beautiful Garbhakuda or the holy of holies where the deity is kept. The deity was shifted from Kelsi. Agrashalas provide lodging facilities to the devotees.

14 kms from Mapusa at Dhargal, Pemem. When all the temples in Barde; were destroyed by the Portuguese, this Goddess was removed at Sanquelim. It was at the time of the notorious Portuguese inquisition in Goa. Therefore, in 1550 A.D this Goddess was taken to Dhargal in Pemem Taluka which also formed part of Sewantwadi principality. The 'Zatra' of this Goddess is held in the month of December. The temple has beautiful natural surroundings.

18 kms. from Margao, at Fatorpa (Quepem). Originally from Cuncolim village in Salcete Taluka, the Goddess was removed to Fatorpa in 16th Century during religious persecution by the Portuguese. The annual zatra, which falls in the month of Pausha Shuddha Navami, attracts thousands of devotees from all over Goa.

41 kms. from Panaji. Situated at Vithalwadi, Sanquelim. Shri Vitthal is the ancestral God of 'Ranes' who had put up prolonged memorable resistance to Portuguese rule. The main festival is Chaitri (April). Its celebration is a lavish affair for the people miles around.

Vithal Maharudra Panchayatan the complex comprise of temples of jagrut Swayambhu Goddess Sharvani, Mahadev and Vetal with his life size image of stone and other deities. It is situated in scenic surroundings at Advolpal in North Goa, 2.5 kms. from Assonora on Pirna main road. Goddess is known for fulfilling the vows of her devotees through Kaul Prasad who also perform Tulbhar to propitiate her. Thousands of devotees throng on vardhapan day, Divja zatra day am annual zatra day in November/December when procession of Goddess is taken out ii decorated chariot.

Born under the divine inspiration of his Holiness Haturii Mathadhish Shrinad Brahmanand Swamiji, the Tapobhoomi Complex at Kundai has no/v become a cnitre_ of pilgrimage to the students of Hindu culture and religion, spread over an are of 10,000 sq. mts. This centre of Param Pujya Padmanabh Shishya Sampradaya harbaurs a number of projects, a unique Datta mandir, Sanskrit pathshala, Dhyaan Gumfa (Chamber for meditation), Ayurveda Centre, Yoga Anusandhan Kendra, Bhajani Vidyalayi Bhaktoddhar Library, etc.

His Holiness Brahmanand Swamiji, who is the head of Haturii Muth has rendered yeomen service to uplift poor, downtrodden people in the last two decades. While propagating the Bhakti movement in this holy land, he has salvaged poor and middle class from falling into the clutches of vices such as drinking, gambling, drug-abuse etc. It is solely because of Swamiji's guidance that thousands of young people have been able to-walk in the right direction.

Tapobhoomi has been set up to educate mankind about its duties and responsibilities. Tapobhoomi has been set up to spread the message of divine love and compassion. Tapobhoomi is indeed a temple of humanity, standing firm on the foundation of devotion i.e. Bhakti.

Goddess is known for fulfilling the vows of her devotees through Kaul Prasad who also perform Tulbhar to propitiate her. Thousands of devotees throng on vardhapan day, Divja zatra day am annual zatra day in November/December when procession of Goddess is taken out ii decorated chariot. Vithal Maharudra Panchayatan the complex comprise of temples of jagrut Swayambhu Goddess Sharvani, Mahadev and Vetal with his life size image of stone and other deities. It is situated in scenic surroundings at Advolpal in North Goa, 2.5 kms. from Assonora on Pirna main road.

Goa Beaches
Shaped like the new moon, Goa’s beaches are known the world over. Fringed by swaying palm and coconut trees with cool and comfortable shacks offering a variety of refreshments, Goa’s 103 km coastline is blessed with the most enchanting beaches lapped by the Arabian Sea.. And almost all of them are swimmer friendly with the assured presence of lifeguards on all the popular beaches. When it comes to beaches, the visitor is spoilt for choice.

North Goa

Calangute is the most popular beach with thousands thronging it in both the peak and off-season. The waves rise high above as you wash away your city blues, though swimmer need to be a trifle cautious because of the sudden drop and the rising waves. Experienced swimmers will, however, revel in the seas here.. The beach is fringed with popular restaurants and hotels, including the Calangute Residency operated by GTDC. This long, seven-km sweep of sand located 15 kms from Panaji, is called the 'Queen of Beaches'. All the travel agencies and tour operators have a base here from where bookings are done for most of the other beaches.

Parasailing at calangute beach. Years of tourism has brought in a tremendous change in the scenario. Hotels and guesthouses stretch uninterrupted from Calangute to Baga. The village of Calangute has all basic facilities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, resort companies, all kind of bars and restaurants, besides medical facilities. The number of internet cafes in Calangute might even exceed that of the entire city of Panaji. Huge showrooms filled with exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Tibet, Indonesia, Rajasthan and other exotic places, line up the main road running towards Anjuna.

A few kms down the beach is another—Baga.-- part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa which begins at Fort Aguada, continues as Sinquerim Beach, moves on to Candolim which merges into Calangute Beach and then stretches on to Baga, Anjuna and on to Vagator, finally ending at Chapora beach. Truly a veritable feast of beaches. Compared to Calangute, Baga is quieter and also more isolated. Its scenic beauty, with the creek, the Retreat House perched on the hill and the fewer tourist buses all have contributed to its unique beauty. It is more popular with western tourists who love to use it as a base for water sports and fishing in the area.

This most photographed beach of Goa forms a bay that curves from the headland to the hillock crowned by the Chapora Fort. This beautiful arc of sand is located about 22 kms from Panaji and is part of the 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa. Adjoining Anjuna, Vagator is secluded, crescent shaped and situated on the Caisua bay along the Chapora river basin in the shadow of Chapora Fort. During the tourist season, it is a favorite venue for midnight parties. There are a number of buses that run from Mapusa and Calangute beach to Vagator. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa.

Anjuna was made famous by the ‘flower power and peace’ generation of the sixties and early seventies. And later by the ‘trance’ parties. Located about 18 kms from Panaji, the beach is known for its breeze-catching palms, soft sand, and the unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of whitish sand.and black rock that juts into the sea. It is now famous for its weekly Flea Market, which draws legions of visitors every Wednesday and bargains can be had on apparel, footwear, jewellery, footwear, chess sets—and yak cheese. The village of Anjuna is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the Hill overlooking the beach.

With its magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison, Sinquerim is one of the finest beaches in Goa, offering international class facilities for water-skiing, parasailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing. Home to the Taj Hotel Group, which dominates the headland around the historic Fort Aguada, Sinquerim is located some 13 kms from Panaji. The uninterrupted stretch of firm sand stretches all the way north to Baga, offering visitors a temptingly long walk along the beach.

Candolim is the first beach that can be approached from the city of Panaji and is like a gateway to the other more famous beaches. Though individual accommodation is available here, there are only a few hotels with restaurants attached. One highlight of Candolim is the parasailing and water skiing facility, besides other water sports.

Aguada beach is almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex, a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you can walk along Aguada beach, for in India private beaches do not exist. Drawn by the clientele of the hotel, Aguada beach has cafes, itinerant vendors of everything from Kashmiri carpets to massages, and a good range of water sports.

The VIPs on this beach are the Olive Ridley turtles that come to nest here helped by a group of volunteers who guard the nests and help the hatchlings get into the sea. A favourite of Russian tourists, along with Ashwem beach close by, visitors will find signboards and menu cards in Russian!

This is also a foreigners’ haunt with a large number of Tai Chi, non-permanent mehendi or henna, tattoo, yoga and meditation centres. Harmal Beach is the one place you cannot drive on to, but there are narrow lanes that lead to the higher reaches of the coast. You have to walk down a slope to the beach itself. The black rocks on the silvery beach make for some pretty dramatic scenery at sunset. Further up near the hill is a pool with soft yellow clay, which is said to have healing properties. Beauticians buy the clay as do the innumerable massage parlours in the area.

This beautiful ‘urban’ beach, akin to Chowpatty in Mumbai, is located just 3 kms from Panaji. It lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian Sea. It was originally known as ‘Gasper Dias Beach’, named after Gaspar Dias, a prosperous landlord and where a Portuguese fort once stood at the fag end of the 16th century. From the beach across the river is an excellent view of Fort Aguada. With its proximity to Panaji, and located near educational institutions, Miramar is very much both a family beach and a meeting point for young people. It is also a hot spot for fitness fiends and walkers. Tourists love the familiar atmosphere. Numerous hotels, including the spacious and well laid out Miramar Residency run by GTDC, dot the area. The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days. A memorial to Goa's first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar is located here.

South Goa

Palolem is a cosy beach of white sand facing a blue bay between two headlands. The little wooded islands on the northern headland look alluring and you could try and persuade one of the fishermen — this is also a fishing beach — to ferry you across. They also offer to take you out to spot dolphins. Tourists have of late discovered Palolem and so there are quite a few shacks selling seafood snacks, souvenirs and clothes of the bright, informal kind. Panaji, the capital, is more than 70 kms away. In recent times, Palolem has become famous for its ‘Silent Noise’ parties, a unique concept which does away with loud blaring live music after the 10 pm ban. With your own set of earphones, you can dance away to different genres of music played by versatile DJs. Palolem is just 3 kms away from Canacona Railway station, now on the Konkan Railway route. You can hire taxis and auto-rickshaws to reach Palolem beach from Margao, 40 kms away. There are regular buses from Margao to Palolem that drop you off at Canacona village. There are now beautiful beach huts and family rooms to choose from in Palolem. Further south is the cove of Colomb where you can enjoy peace and quiet. Two kilometres away from Palolem is Rajbag Beach which is isolated and stretches all the way to the mouth of the Talpona River. And then on to Galgibaga Beach which is the second nesting site in Goa for turtles. Further south is Agonda Beach

If you continue driving towards Panaji from Palolem, the next beach is Agonda. It’s long and lonely, fringed with palms and casuarinas and dominated by a large hill to the south. It’s not safe to swim out too far on this beach. There are very few facilities available here and you are needed to carry all the essentials. Agonda is a 3 km long beautiful cove of white sand, safely secluded in the palms. There are no tourists, no souvenir stalls, no restaurants—just peace and tranquility. Just the trees, the beach, the big beautiful ocean and you. It also makes for a great day trip from Colva and Covelossim. For a real adventure, hire a tent and camp for the night, listening to the crashing of the sea waves. Not far from Agonda beach is Cabo de Rama, untouched by most of the visitors in this region. The atmosphere of the fort creates a sense of history and drama that very few would fail to appreciate. The fort is named after Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to local legend, Rama stayed here with his wife Sita during the period of his 12-year exile. The best way to reach this beach is by a scooter or motors bike.

Varca, Cavelossim and Mabor are a trio of the most alluring beaches south of Benaulim. These beaches are much cleaner and quieter than most of the other more famous beaches of Goa. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices. There are several food joints around the grand ‘Dona Sylvia’ resort offering a splendid repast at reasonable rates. There are also facilities for Dolphin watching up the River Sal. The beaches here are home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in Goa. Accommodation is also available for budget and economy class travelers, though not on the beach itself. There is plenty of transport for these beaches from Margao. From Cavelossim village, Margao is 18 kms away and buses and autos are available easily. You can also hire taxis from Dabolim Airport (41 – 48 kms) to reach the beach resorts here. To move locally, use cycles and scooters that are available on hire.

North of Colva is Betalbatim Beach which begins a long string of beaches with Majorda, Utorda, Arossim and Velsao at the north. It is a ten kilometre stretch of white sand which is not very crowded

This is the most important beach in the South circuit, equipped with all modern amenities like air-conditioned resort complexes, tourist cottages, discos, besides several stalls, eateries and guest houses—all of which have expanded the village enormously. With 20 kms of virgin white sands, palm fringed, sun drenched beaches, Colva is the most loved beach in Goan. Unlike Anjuna or Calangute, Colva has gained popularity only lately. Located just 39 kms from the capital Panaji, it was relatively little disturbed and life moved on quietly. The Church of Our Lady Of Mercy in Colva is famous for its miracle statue of Menino Jesus. The busy road leading from the Church to the beach is where all the facilities are located. While taking a stroll on Colva Beach, silver carpets of mackerels can be seen shimmering and drying on the golden sands. Fishermen’s motor trawlers huddle in a line offshore. Tourists and locals frequent the beach for a dip or a walk for a change of air or to sunbathe on the golden sands. The trinket stalls and drink stands on the sands under the moonlight add to the aura of Colva Beach.

This small stretch, about 5 kms north of Colva Beach, is as pretty as a picture, studded with several hotels, the most prominent being the starred Majorda Beach Resort. Majorda is the village where the Jesuits, fond as they were of the good things of life, discovered the best Goan toddy (sap from the coconut palm), which they used to leaven the bread. Naturally, then, Majorda is the place where the Goans were first trained in the delicate art of baking European breads. The Majordans are still Goa's best bakers. The delights of the beach, however, were discovered much earlier, in mythical times. Legend has it that in the Goan version of the Ramayana, Lord Rama was kidnapped as a child and brought up at Majorda. Later, in pursuit of Sita, he camped at Cabo de Rama - a headland further south - where the stretch of developed beaches ends.

This beach, dominated by a 5-star hotel located right on its edge, is cut apart from both the North and South beach circuit. Just 4 kms from the airport at Dabolim, it is a favourite among the elite classes and has an air of exclusivity. Although the resort hotel towers above the village, there are still a few smaller and appealing places to stay in. Windsurfing and water skiing facilities are available.

Less than 2 kms south of Colva is the more tranquil beach of Benaulim, is one of the few places in Goa where one can glimpse handicrafts typical to this area. The best of the traditional rosewood furniture is made here. Also, mythically Benaulim is famous as the place where the legendary Parashuram's arrow landed by which Goa was created. Among the more attractive aspects of Benaulim is that it is still rather undiscovered by domestic tourists even though it is a fishing beach. It gets fairly crowded in the evenings and on weekends with local visitors who get off buses about a kilometre away and pour onto the beach. The Church of St John the Baptist is situated on a hill beyond the village and worth a visit. On the arrival of the monsoon, the Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao) is celebrated as thanksgiving. Young men wearing crowns of leaves and fruits tour the area singing for gifts. To commemorate the movement of St John in his mother’s womb and Mary’s visit, the young men of this village jump into the locals wells in celebration.

Betul is an important fishing port where all the mechanized boats and deep sea trawlers bring in their catch. Here headlands from the slopes of the Western Ghats protrude into the shore, imparting an imposing backdrop. Beyond this secluded beach is the hill of Cabo De Rama where the Portuguese built a fort. From the fort, a great view of the sunset on the beach can be viewed. However, there are very few places to stay in Betul.

# Resorts Location Rating Validity
1 Mayfair Resorts & Spa  Betul / Mobor,South Goa       COMING SOON
2 The O Hotel  Candolim,North Goa       01/04/2015 to 30/09/2015
3 Hard Rock  Calangute Beach,North Goa       15/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
4 The Lalit  RAJ BAGA BEACH , South Goa       01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
5 Bogmallo Beach Resort  Bogmallo,South Goa       01/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
6 VIivanta By Taj Fort Aguada  Singuerium, North Goa       06/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
7 Taj Exotica  Benaulim, South Goa       01/04/2015 to 30/09/2015
8 Holiday Inn Beach Resort  Mobor, South Goa       16/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
9 Royal Orchid  Uttorda,South Goa       01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
10 Rio Resort  Baga Arpora, North Goa       01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
11 Majorda Beach Resort  Majorda,South Goa       01/04/2015 to 30/06/2015
12 Taj Holiday Village  Singuerium,North Goa       06/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
13 Novotel Goa Shrem Resort  Candolim,North Goa       01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
14 The Zuri White Sands Resort & Casino  Varca, South Goa       01/04/2015 to 15/10/2015
15 Alila Diwa  Majorda,South Goa       01/04/2015 to 30/09/2015
16 Kenilworth Beach Resort  Uttorda,South Goa       01/04/2015 Onwards Coming Soon
17 Cidade De Goa  Vainguinim, Central Goa       01/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
18 Chances Casino Resort  Vainguinim, Central Goa       03/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
19 Radisson Blu Resort  Cavelossim, South Goa       01/04/2015 to 31/10/2015
20 Lemon Tree Amantre Beach Resort  Candolim,North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
21 Citrus Retreat  Calangute Beach, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
22 CLUB ESTADIA  CALANGUTE , North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
23 La Sunila  Arpora Beach, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
24 Baga Marina Resort  Baga, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
25 THE GOLDEN CROWN  COLVA , South Goa      28-Dec-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
26 Nagoa Grande  Baga Beach, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
27 THE RIVER PALACE  ANJUNA , North Goa      01-Sep-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
28 Terra Paraiso  Calangute Beach, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
29 Double Tree By Hilton  Baga Beach, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
30 DELTIN SUITES  CANDOLIM BEACH, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
31 LIVING ROOM  VAGATOR BEACH , North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
32 Fortune Select Regina  Candolim, South Goa      16/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
33 Dona Sylvia Resort  Cavelossim, South Goa      01/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
34 Lazy Lagoon Sarovar Portico  Arpora Beach, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
35 Ocean Palms  Calangute Beach, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
36 Golden Tulip  Candolim Beach, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
37 Silver Sand Beach Resort  Colva, South Goa      05/01/2015 to 31/03/2016
38 Sandalwood Resort  Vainguinim, North Goa      03/01/2016 to 15/04/2016
39 Whispering Palm Beach Resorts  Singuerium, North Goa      01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
40 Coconut Grove  Betalbatim, South Goa      01/10/2014 to 30/04/2015
41 RESORT DE ALTURAS  CANDOLIM, North Goa      16-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
42 La Caylpso  Baga Beach, North Goa      22nd December 2015 & 3rd January 2016 to 31st March 2016
43 19 Belo Cabana  Calangute Beach, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
44 Joecons Beach Resort  BENAULIM BEACH , South Goa      16-Oct-2015 - 15-Apr-2016
45 Neelam The Glitz  Calangute Beach, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 30/05/2015
46 Soul Vacation Resort  Colva Beach, South Goa      01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
47 De Alturas Resort  Candolim Beach, North Goa      15/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
48 Baywatch Beach Resort  Sernabathim, South Goa      03-Jan-2016 - 29-Feb-2016
49 Neelam The Grand  Calangute, North Goa      01/10/2014 to 30/05/2015
50 The Sea Horse  Baga - Arpora Beach, North Goa      01/10/2015 to 31/03/2016
51 Nazri Resort  Baga Beach, North Goa     04/01/2016 to 31/03/2016
52 Calangute Grande Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 03/01/2015
53 THE GOLDEN SUITES  CALANGUTE , North Goa     22-Dec-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
54 Hotel Calangute Tower  Calangute Beach, North Goa     16-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
55 Colva Kinara Resort  Colva Beach, South Goa     16/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
56 La Oasis By Verda  Baga & Anjuna Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
57 Goan Heritage  Calangute Beach, North Goa     1st October 2015 to 30th September 2016
58 Peninsula Beach Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
59 Bambolim Beach Resort  Bambolim Beach, North Goa     3rd Jan to 31st Mar 2016
60 WHISPERING WOODS  ANJUNA , North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
61 Marquis Beach Resort  Candolim Beach, North Goa     04/01/2016 to 31/05/2016
62 RAHI RESORT DE CROSSROAD  CALANGUTE BEACH , North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
63 De Coracao Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
64 Santana Resort  Candolim Beach, North Goa     01/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
65 Nitya Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
66 Rahi Coral  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
67 Varca Le Palm Beach Resort  Varca Beach,South Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
68 LA OASIS BY MERADEN  ANJUNA BEAACH , North Goa     01-Sep-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
69 Goveia Holiday Homes  Candolim Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
70 SUKHMANTRA RESORT & SPA  CANDOLIM , North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
71 Nirvana Hermitage  Anjuna , North Goa     01/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
72 Phoenix Park Inn  Candolim Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 30/04/2015
73 Casa De Goa  Calangute Beach, North Goa     22/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
74 The Byke Old Anchor  Cavelossim Beach, South Goa     01/11/2015 to 29/02/2016
75 Paradise Village Beach Resorts  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
76 Banyan Tree Courtyard  Candolim Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
77 WHISPERING WOODS  ANJUNA , North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
78 Alor Holiday Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
79 Maizons Lake View  Baga - Arpora Beach, North Goa     01/10/2015 to 31/03/2016
80 La Gulls Courts  Vagator Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
81 La Goa Azul Resort  Arpora Little Baga, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 31/03/2015
82 Tangerine Boutique Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01/10/2014 to 01/03/2015
83 Alor The Grande Holiday  Candolim Beach, North Goa     01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
84 THE BELMONTE  ANJUNA BEACH , North Goa     01-Nov-2015 - 31-Mar-2016
85 Victor Exotica Beach Resort  Candolim Beach, North Goa     14/11/2014 to 31/03/2015
86 GOAN VILLAGE  CANDOLIM , North Goa     06-Jan-2016 - 31-Mar-2016
87 Hotel Godwin  01-Oct-2015 - 31-Mar-2016     Candolim Beach, North Goa
88 Estrela Do Mar Resort  Calangute Beach, North Goa     01/11/2014 to 31/05/2015
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