A tiny emerald land of 3,702 Sq. Km. on the west
coast of India, with its natural scenic beauty, attractive beaches,
churches and temples, famous for it's architecture, feasts and
festivals and above all hospitable people with a rich cultural milieu,
has an ideal tourist profile. Econced on the slopes of the Western
ghats (Sahyadri ranges), Goa is bounded on the North by Sindhudurg
district of Maharashtra, on the East by Belgaum, on the South by
Karwar Districts of Karnataka, and on the west by Arabian Sea.
To the south of Maharashtra lies Goa. The 100km- (60 mile-) long
coastline offers some of the finest beaches in the subcontinent. Goa
was under Portuguese rule until 1961, and there is also a charming
blend of Latin and Indian cultures. Panaji, the state capital,
is one of the most relaxed and elegant of India's cities. The town is
dominated by the huge Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, but the
shops, bars and pleasant streets are its main attraction. ‘Old Goa',
only a bus ride away from Panaji, displays a bewildering variety of
architectural styles. Buildings of note include the Basilica and the
Convent and Church of St Francis of Assisi. In nearby Ponda is
the 400-year-old Temple of Shri Mangesh, which is said to be the
oldest Hindu shrine.
Goa's infamous hippies are being replaced by
backpackers, Indian visitors and package tourists. Full moon parties
still take place in Anjuna but are smaller and less authentic
than in the heady days of the 1960s. Anjuna is also famous throughout
Goa for its Wednesday flea market. If you are looking for beautiful,
quiet beaches head for the South between Benaulim and Palolem.
Accommodation in the region includes the luxury
resort of Aguada, the Taj holiday village and the Aguada hermitage.
There are also good, simple hotels and cottages for rent in villages
along the coastline, notably Calangute, Baga and Colva.
Goa also has several wildlife sanctuaries,
including Bondla in the hills of western Ghats, where wild boar
and sambar can be seen in their natural habitat. The region is famous
for its food - an array of dishes, both Indian and Portuguese - as
well as for its colorful festivals, including the spectacular Carnival
held on the three days leading up to Ash Wednesday.