Goa: Traveling to India’s West Coast
Tourists are attracted to India by two places, Agra with the Taj Mahal and Goa, a tiny state along the west coast of India. Most of the state skirts the Arabian Sea though there are some inland areas too. The state is traversed by two lovely rivers, the Zuari and the Mandovi whose route is fringed by swaying palm trees. There is water wherever you look in Goa.
Goa has a laid back charm about it which is quite its own. What distinguishes it however is the strong Portuguese influence that prevails even forty years after the former Portuguese colony was liberated. There is a large Catholic population and names like Alvarez, Pinto, Fernandes and Almeida are very common.
Goa has visitors all through the year. The best time to visit is the local winter when the temperatures are a little cooler. Though the period between November and March is the most popular, the monsoons from June to September have their own charm. The rain may come down in sheets sometimes but the green paddy fields and the lashing waves on the beaches make a very romantic site.
There are several well known beaches in Goa, Calangute and Colva beaches being especially popular. Many hotels have their own private beaches but there are plenty of public beaches too with shacks that offer cold beer and the freshly cooked fish and shrimp. The weekly local village market at Anjuna is another tourist attraction. It draws hordes of people buying or selling an unimaginable range of goods.
Goa as changed over the years in many ways with large hotel chains and many big names from India’s fashion industry moving here. The quiet friendly people and unhurried pace of life here remain untouched by the progress around it. Dolphin watching, paragliding windsurfing and even bungee jumping are big attractions of Goa.
The churches are mostly from the Portuguese era and the most famous one is perhaps Church of St Francis of Assisi where his relic is embalmed. There several renowned Hindu temples too such as Mangeshi and Shantadurga.