Slice of West
Goa, one of Indias smallest states with a territory of 3,702
sq-km is cradled in the Sahayadri range in the Western Ghats. It is bound by
the Arabian Sea on the west, Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the
east and south.
Those who know Goa already must have found this introduction queer. Not
because the information is unauthentic, but because, when it comes to Goa
hardly a soul cares about geography, topography, any-graphy!
What matters most it one has just one life to live and it should be BEST
LIVED! Warm-hearted, uncomplicated, down-to-earth, fun-loving, humble humans
people the landscape and lend their very warmth and humility to the nature
the aquamarine sea, the golden beaches, the cashew and teak plantations,
The Best of Goa
Goa's best cities:
Panjim, Mapusa, Margao, Vasco-da-Gama,
Old Goa, Ponda, Canacona
Shop till you are high
Goas best buys are brassware, terracotta, shell work,
crochet, carved furniture, bamboo work, papier-mache?
The Wednesday Flea Market at Anjuna are quite a hot tourist spots in Goa, started by and for foreigners, is a
swarm of shopaholics, vendors and lip-smacking options like home-made toddy,
carvings, beachware, T-shirts, sarongs, chillium, spices and Port wine (a
must buy). The Friday Market at Mapusa has everything from curios and old
coins to dried fish and spices. For a different flavor go to the markets at
Baga and Calagute known for their Kashmiri carpets, Rajasthani and Tibetan
handicraft items. Most deluxe hotels and resorts have their in-house shops
for tourists, but the price ranges are usually higher due to the extra
taxes. Goas presence in the designer map owes to the Wendell Rodriques
boutique at Panaji. Camelot at Ribandar with its stylish home furnishing and
Luisa by the Sea, a grand shopping mall, at Cavelossim (South Goa) are
Good news is that, those who love bargaining can apply their skill to their
hearts content and walk away with the best buys.
A Goan dining table has four prime items - fish curry, feni and
rice. The unmistakable Portuguese flavor is spiced up with influences of the
erstwhile Mauryan and the Turk dynasties making Goa a gourmets
favorite. Being a beach city, coconut products in the recipe comes naturally
along with chilli pepper, spices and vinegar. Pork delicacies like vindaloo,
xacuti and sorpotel, the egg-based sweet-dish bebinca (a Christmas darling)
- are all as exotic as the sound of their names. And when they are cooked in
the clay pots, as done in the rural areas, you will be left bowled-
is the word.
Scrumptious seafood delights at Goa like crabs, prawns, pomfrets, lobsters,
ladyfish, mussels, and oysters. More to the list are fresh seafood, dried
and salted fish dishes - new flavors to the tourist tongue.
Incase you don't know what Feni is, thank god you are reading this, because
it is near to blasphemy. Cashew feni (the popular one) and coconut feni
(made from sap of toddy palms) are fermented alcoholic beverages so popular
that you begin to correlate its aroma with the very land.
Goas real Wilds
A replenishing change from the beach-culture is the wildlife
reserves of Goa. It is one of the most important thing that you can do in Goa. Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, home to a legion of local and
migratory birds, is at binocular-view distance from Panaji, on the western
tip of the island of Chorao along Mandovi River. Bondala Wildlife Sanctuary
at 50 km south-east of Panaji in the foothills of the Western Ghats, has a
botanical garden, a fenced Deer Park and a zoo. Molem & Cotigao Wildlife
Sanctuaries are larger than Bondla, but you will need your own transport to
Reaching Goa India:
All flights to and from Goa operate from the
International-cum-domestic Airport at Dabolim near the port town of
Vasco-da-Gama. They have regular train connections to Belgaum, Bangalore,
Hubli and Hyderabad and via Miraj to Bombay, Delhi and Agra. Kadamba
Transport Corporation. MSRTC and KSRTC operate frequent bus services between
Panaji, Vasco da Gama and Margao. Ship services between Bombay and Goa
organized by Damania.
Goa's Off the Beaten Track Secrets
- The Indian sub-continents most ancient rocks (3600 million old) are
discovered here in Goa. These rocks are found between Molem and Anmod on
Goa's border with Karnataka, along the NH-4A, linking Panaji to Belgaum
city in Karnataka.
- Some sights not-to-miss are the majestic rock arch at Keri beach at
Pernem, the wind blown cliff of Canaguinim Betul, the deep trench known
as "choramchim Baim" at Baga (opposite the jesuit retreat
home), the tunnel like cavern at Verna, the Limestone caves of
Bhimgarh-Krishnapur in Sattari on Karnataka border, the Thumb-shaped
rock at Padi Canacona, the meteorite well at Partagal-Canacona, the
ancient rock pools of Palolem carved by nature (wind, rain, salt and
waves) from 2600 million years old Granite.
- Goa is a land of islands, but what is lesser heard of is that it has
more than 40 estuarine, 8 marine and about 90 riverine islands some that
dont even find a mention in any record book.
- The Portuguese had recorded and classified more than 100 medicinal
springs in Goa. The remaining ones are Pomburpa, Kesarval, Salmona etc.
So take your time to explore Goa bit by bit, for every bit will have a
surprise you least expected.
When to go
Goa has visitors all the year round. 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.