Footloose in Goa
There’s no place like Goa. There’s a sense of revelry, merriment and abandon in the air that is almost sinful. Eating, drinking, singing, and dancing are what Goans love to do, and their conviviality is infectious. The celebrations reach fever pitch at Carnival and Christmas; almost every little hamlet has its own little temple or church with its very own feasting and festivities. In fact, there seems to be a party going on in Goa all through the year. Many pubs and cafes have live bands playing on weeknights and countless shacks on the beaches of Goa resonate with classic international music.
The smallest state in India at 3,702 square kilometers, Goa is located on the West coast between Maharashtra and Karnataka, and is one of the prime destinations on the domestic and foreign tourist circuits. This has something to do with the joie de vivre of the place, but there are more specific reasons.
Goa has all kinds of beaches, from the popular, lively and noisy to the pristine and secluded. It has excellent seafood and the much-loved kaju feni (traditional local liquor made from the cashew fruit). It has some of the most beautiful churches in the country. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its exquisite baroque architecture and history, is one example. Goa also has numerous temples dedicated to deities ranging from Shree Bhagawati to Brahma to Kalikadevi, worshipped with equal gusto.
Then there is the shopping — apart from cashewnuts and feni, the flea markets of Goa are famous for quaint and exotic artefacts as well as hip casual wear, bags and accessories. Coconut palms are everywhere, and few people are aware that Goa has a rich forest cover of teak, sal, bamboo, cashew, mango and jackfruit trees, with several nature reserves like Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.
Adventure sports is another attraction. Parasailing, paragliding, water-skiing, windsurfing, dinghy sailing, water scooters, Banana rides and Ringo rides are available on most beaches. You can also go go-karting and knee-boarding, and car and bike rallies are popular.
There’s a lot to do in Goa. But you may choose to do none of it. You can enjoy the place just sitting by the beach, sipping a drink, reading a book, wading in the waves, listening to music, dancing, or stargazing.
Did you know?
- Goa is a popular setting for a lot of Hindi films. Bobby, Saagar, Dil Chahta Hai, All The Best, Golmaal, and Honey ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd, to name a few were all shot in Goa.
- The body of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa, is preserved in a silver casket in the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The remains are displayed to the public once every ten years. The event draws thousands of devotees from India and abroad seeking the saint’s blessings and healing powers.
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