I have a childhood connection with Goa. I had my first Goa trip at the age of 4. Technically, Goa happens to be my first-holiday destination. Though I do not have many memories of it, my parents often get nostalgic about it. They never forget to talk about the smiles that I had on my face when I had seen the beach for the first time. There also happens to be a not-to-be-forgotten story where my Mom tells me that I had cried a lot over my favorite red cap. In all my excitement to play with the waves, I had dropped it somewhere on the beach and the waves had taken it away into the ocean. So if you are planning your Goan trip, read to know more about its interesting places that must be on your itinerary.
After twenty years when I was 25, I finally went back to Goa to explore it my way. It was one happy trip. In the last three years, I have visited Goa every year. Rather, in the year 2015, different blogging assignments took me to Goa thrice and I lived in different parts of it. Despite getting the privilege to return to its different fragrances and delights, I repeated my ways of exploring it. There was nothing wrong with it too, but my most recent trip to Goa has made me realize that I was not doing it right either.
Goa is beyond Sun, Sand, Seafood, and Sensuousness
There is something sensuous about Goa. This little piece of paradise in India is known for its positive vibes, palpable energy, and liveliness. I love it when the sea breeze serenades me and its gorgeous sandy seashores spoil the kid in me. I have always loved and admired Goa for its beaches, partying, bumming, nightlife,e and endless frenzy that clocks on all year round. But this time when I visited Goa, I did not indulge in any of the above rather I was guided through it uniquely. I was made to read about it, interact with the right people and walk down its old and famous lanes only to discover it differently. And since then I have not stopped….
Goa should be done beyond the beaches. Here, I have also shared some of the unique facets of Goa.
- On the banks of River Mandovi, the capital city Panaji or Panchim has a charming confluence of art and history. It is fun to lose yourself in its Portuguese ambiance and culture. I loved exploring the 18th June Road, Miramar Beach, and Kala Academy which hosts the International Film Festival of India every year. Hanuman Mandir at Malā on the hill top (Altinho) is also quite an attraction in the little city.
- Walk down the Latin Quarter of Panjim, Fontainhas to explore the old and colonial-styled houses, charming-colorful streets, and pretty gardens which fondly take us back to the 16th Century. These alleys are a treat for lovers of architecture, heritage, history, and culture. The distinct Portuguese architectural styles are very eye-catching and give us a peep into Goa’s beautiful past. Tourists love to stay in the heritage hotels and homestays in this area. The street also leads to St Sebastian chapel. If you are still planning your Goan trip, don’t miss this. Also, you must find your way to the tunnels of this area.
- When I got a chance to attend the celebrations of Tripurari Poornima in November, I was really curious to find out more about the local festivals of the state. There is a long list of popular fairs and festivals celebrated in Goa. Three Kings Feast, Shigmo (Shigmotsav), Sao Joao Festival, Carnival, and Bonderam are as interesting as their names.
- Like all cities, Goa has a cultural past too. Big Foot Museum is a beautiful concept to learn about the Goan ways of living. There is a mini-Goa inside it and the statues are super attractive. The information provided at every step helps us to peek into Goa’s past. The light and sound keep us thoroughly entertained and children love this place. It is also home to the largest laterite sculpture of Mirabai.
- Buckle up to take the helicopter ride. Pawan Hans pilot takes you for a 10-minute joy ride over the southern coastline of Goa. Fly and take a birds-eye view over the beaches of Arossim, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim, and Varca. I am yet to take this experience in Goa but I thoroughly loved my first helicopter ride in Jammu.
- Miramar beach is one of the many beaches located in Panjim. It is quiet and peaceful. If you choose to stay at Miramar Residency, this beach is only 3 mins walk from the residency. 5 kilometers away from Miramar Beach, there is another not very famous Vainguinim Beach.
- The Spice Trail at Sahakari Spice Farm is a great way to learn about the importance of spices. We often ignore the benefits of spices in food but this place helps us to see through their importance. I thoroughly enjoyed the organic food which is made from their garden vegetables and species.
- Not many of us know that Goa has old structures from the 12th century as well. It has a Brahma temple too. One must explore Ponda taluka to discover some of the most popular temples. The Mangueshi temple was built in 1744. Naguesh Temple is dedicated to Shiva and Shree Shantadurga temple at Kavlem has lovely red sloping roofs.
- 420 species of birds maximize the chances of having an amazing bird-watching experience in Goa. The state hosted its first bird festival from 11 to 13 November. Southern Goa is home to some of the rarest bird species. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao, and Dr. Salim Ali Sanctuary are some of the must-do places for the love of avifauna.
The scenery is gorgeous in Goa but one must go beyond the usual and explore the variety.