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Wednesday 4 May 2011

The Coolest Place In India

Goa has a rich and varied history. It was part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3 rd century BC, followed by the rule of the Satvahanas of Kolhapur and the Bhojas who made Chandor their capital. From 580 - 750 AD the Chalukyas of Badami held sway over Goa until the Silharas took control in 1086 AD.

Gulhalla Deva of the Kadambas, originally from Mysore, consolidated his hold over Chandor in the 11th century AD until the 13th century AD. As their kingdom prospered, the Kadamba rulers built a navy that was unbeatable in its time. Chandor their capital was now too small. They then moved to Goa Velha, where only the massive tank of the temple of Goddess Chamunda remains today. The Fr Agnel monastery on the hill at Pilar houses a museum that has notable collections of this period.

The State Museum at Panaji has an extensive collection of artefacts from different periods of Goa’s history. A smaller museum in Old Goa on Christian Art also displays a distinctive selection.

Jayakeshi-I 1052-1080 AD proclaimed himself Lord of the Konkan and Emperor of the Western Seas. On his death Goa fell to the Chalukyas of Kalyani and later to the Yadavas of Devgiri.

Muslims held sway from 1312-1370 AD over the Konkan region. However, with the breakup of the Tughlaq Kingdom, it was the Bhamani Sultans who then controlled Goa.

Madhav Mantri, who headed the army of Harihara of Vijaynagar, reclaimed and ruled Goa as its Viceroy. In 1469 the Bahamani Vizier Khwaja Mohammed Gawan of Gulbarga laid a two-year siege of Goa's seaside forts and ended Vijayanagar's rule.

Yusuf Adil Shah, the adopted son of Gawan, moved his capital to Ela in Old Goa in 1498. He later built himself a palace in Panaji which until recently housed the State Secretariat. His rule lasted 12 years.

On 25 November 1510 he lost Goa for good to Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese who had taken the city earlier in March that year. The Portuguese ruled for 450 years.

On 19 December 1961, the Indian Army liberated Goa from Portuguese rule, the culmination of the efforts of scores of freedom fighters, both Hindu and Christian. Thereafter Goa remained a Union Territory administered from New Delhi till it attained Statehood on May 30, 1987. In August 1992, Konkani, the mother tongue of most Goans was granted official language status under the Indian Constitution.

Goa is a land of fairs and festivals.

The reason for widespread interfaith participation in festival, festas and zatras, in Shigmo and Ganesh Chaturthi and the Carnival, in Christmas, Dussehra and Diwali is because the people of Goa follow the religion of being Goan first. Everything else springs from that fountainhead.

Many Goan festivals are actually zatras (feasts) of the local or family deity celebrated at the temple of the god or goddess. Other festivals like Dussehra, Diwali and Holi are the same as those celebrated around India but with a characterstic Goan flavour. The Goan Hindu community mainly celebrates Ganesh Chathurti, Gudi Padwa, Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Ramnavmi and Krishna Janmashtami.

Festivals are an integral part of Goan life. Every little hamlet has a tiny temple or a church with a special annual zatra or a festa. An outstanding aspect of life in Goa is its harmony and there is always a reason to celebrate. The confluence of cultures is reflected vividly in the music of the church and the hymns of the temple.

Revelry, music and dance, flow through the blood of the Goan community. As a result of 450 years of colonization by the Portuguese, Goan music has evolved to a form that is quite different from traditional Indian music. This historic amalgamation from the East and West has produced some of India’s best artistes, both in Indian classical and Western music. The most popular forms of post Portuguese music were the mando and the dulpod, whilst dekhni is one of the most well-known forms of dance.

1. Shigmo
This is Goa’s answer to Holi, which is a festival of colour. Huge dance troupes perform intricate movements of folk dances on the road all through the length of the parade. Many troupes number more than 100 and they dance tirelessly, as they have been doing for centuries.

2. Carnival
Carnival is the annual four-day celebration which begins on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, heralding a 40-day Lent period of penance and abstinence before Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus. The four-day Carnival has become world famous in Rio, Brazil. The Goa Carnival, led by King Momo, has its own pulsating rhythms of guitars, folk songs and drumbeats accompanying a colourful parade of floats and dancing troupes in all the major towns.

3. Feast Of St. Francis Xavier
The major Feast of St Francis Xavier is held on the 3 rd of December at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa. St Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary, is the patron saint of Goa and attracts devotees from all over the world. His body has been preserved for centuries and lies in an exquisite silver casket at the Basilica and is displayed every ten years during the Exposition.. However, the feast is celebrated every year, drawing thousands of devotees from across India in quest of the saint’s blessings and healing powers.

  For the devout, the celebrations begin on Christmas Eve and before. Carols are sung and various churches organize Midnight Mas. The service on Christmas Day is widely attended and people assemble in their homes for family get-togethers. In Goa, Christmas is celebrated in the European way with the celebrations revolving around the family. But it has strands woven in that go to make it a Goan one. A week or 10 days before Christmas, a family or village group with one among them dressed as Santa go carol singing with a box to raise funds for the poor. Beautiful stars symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem decorate Christian homes all over the State.

5. Sao Joao

The feast of St John the Baptist on June 24th is celebrated by young men all over Goa by jumping into wells to retrieve gifts thrown in by villagers.The festival takes place at the beginning of the monsoon season in Goa with people of all ages jumping into wells, streams and ponds. This generally after getting into the spirit of things by imbibing Goa’s famous liquor feni. San Joao, like any other Goan feast, has that captivating spirit of merriment, colour and tradition..

More Attractions

Goa Heritage Festival At Fontainhas

This festival is a combined effort of the Goa Heritage Action Group, the Corporation of the City of Panaji and the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa. The festival aims to preserve and promote the Fontainhas area of Goa. Fontainhas is the Latin quarter of Panjim city with pretty Indo-Portuguese homes lovingly cared for over the last hundred years or more. The roads are neatly laid out and the area is dominated by the St Sebastian Chapel. The festival is marked by performances by various artists on stages set up in open areas, as well as displays of work of art by local artisans who use the pavements and heritage homes as their galleries. The festival in short is not only meant to celebrate the cultural heritage of the state, it inculcates awareness and appreciation of their unique culture in the hearts of Goans and impresses the need to conserve it for the benefit of future generations.

Monte Music Festival

This music festival, started just few years ago, celebrates the coming together of western and Indian classical music. The venue for the festival is the centuries old newly renovated chapel on the hill at Old Goa, the Capela da Nossa Senhora do Monte (Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount). This chapel perched at the very top of a hill in Old Goa is a must-see place during the festival, where one can enjoy a truly spectacular panoramic view of large areas of North Goa. Sread over four days, this festival provides a platform to a number of artists--local, national and international to display their talents before an appreciative audience. There are buses that take you up the steep slope to the venue from the Mahatma Gandhi circle at Old Goa.

Beaches In Goa

Candolim Beach

Candolim is the birth place of Abbe Faria, a Goan Freedom Fighter and the Father of Hypnotism. When we stay at Candolim, we usually book one of the rent-back apartments a stone's throw away from the beach.

There is little or no shelter close to the beach, but you can hire out a beach umbrella, sample the good food available at the beach shacks that dot the beach, and sun yourself in solitude. This Goa beach is very popular with package tourists, but is still not too crowded.
Baga Beach

Baga is a small fishing beach with a grove of shady palms close to the water’s edge. There are few buses that come all the way to the beach's edge, but none after dark. Its a long walk to the Calangute taxi stand from the beach, so if you plan to stay after sundown, make sure you have your own transport.
Baga is really an extension of Calangute beach. But unlike Calangute, which is crowded, steep and marred by dangerous undercurrents, the beach at Baga is flat, safe for swimming, and has clean, white sand.
A little creek joins the sea between the beach sands and a hill that is home to the Retreat House.
Although not among the famous "nude" beaches of Goa, Baga is very popular with topless sunbathers who strip off to catch some sun, while the locals gawk. You can catch some action of a different kind if you like water sports and fishing. After dark, night-time revellers frequent Tito's - one of the more lively watering holes of Goa's nightlife.
Baga has a Saturday night flea market and you can shop for colourful Kashmiri handlooms and other artifacts all along the road leading to the beach...
Bambolim Beach
Bambolim beach is a small, clean, largely undiscovered beach, in a shaded spot before the mouth of the river Zuari. The entrance to the beach is easily missed and lies along the hill between Goa Medical College and the Goa University.
The road goes all the way down to the Bambolim beach resort from where you can make your way to the beach. The beach is carpeted with broken mother-of-pearl and other shells, which makes it a haven for shell-collectors. Thick coconut groves line the beach and provide shade and privacy. Its a beautiful beach for a quiet, cosy picnic.
You can enjoy lunch at the Bambolim Beach Resort restaurant, serenaded by one of the local singers or bands. When you decide to head back home, take the road that goes to the beautiful Goa University all the way up to Dona Paula.
A little off the road before Dona Paula just before the National Institute of Oceanography, is a restaurant called White House. It serves excellent seafood and has a view of the bay to die for.
Its also one of the few pet-friendly restaurants in Goa, so if you have a well-behaved pooch along, you won't have to tie it outside till you finish your dinner.
Vagator Beach
Vagator is one of the more beautiful white sand Goa beaches. To reach the beach, you have to walk down a steep cliff. The sea here is not safe for swimming, but during the tourist season, it has an active nightlife.
The south beach is fairly spread out and more secluded. A little further south of the main beach you'll find the quiter Little Vagator or Ozran beach with a fresh water pool. You can also visit the nearby Chapora Fort. Accomodation is not always easy to find because there are few hotels here.
Palolem Beach
Palolem beach, situated in the Canacona distrct, is also known as "Paradise Beach". Until a few years back, it was among the virgin beaches of Goa. It is a fishing beach popular for its dolphin cruises and fishing trips.
Book a goa hotel  At the northern end of the beach is a tiny, island in the middle of a fresh water stream that can be reached by swimming across at low tide.
The Gaitonde's tent resort is one of the more popular places to stay, but be sure to book well in advance. You can laze in a hammock and sip your beer while enjoying the delicious fresh catch brought in by the fishermen.
There are a lot of little resorts along the beach with bamboo huts on stilts. The accomodation is nothing fancy, spartan even, but at less than $10 per day you can't really expect more.

Agonda Beach
Agonda is a virgin stretch of beach twelve kilometres from Palolem and, until recently, was undiscovered by tourists. It is sometimes frequented by day picnickers. The waters are crystal clear and its easy to see the bottom of the shore while swimming. Watch out for the sharp barnacles if you decide to climb any of the rocks there.
Until recently there was just a solitary shack on the beach, however that may not be the case any longer. If you find it difficult to get accomodation here, you can stay at Palolem, and drive down to Agonda for the day. The more adventurous can rent a bicycle in the village and cycle cross country to the beach.

Cuisine Of Goa
Goa is popular all over India and all over the world for numerous things, starting for its several beautiful beaches, plethora of tourist places of interests, variety of accommodation options and cuisine. The cuisine of Goa is considered one of the best in India. Goa cuisine has significant influence of Portuguese and Hindu and Muslim. In the present day Goa cuisine is often considered to be very spicy and flavorsome. Thouh over the years, both the techniques and recipes of Goa cuisine have changed the primary ingredients is still the same.
The principal stable food of Goa includes fish, rice and coconut. Cocnut milk is a very important ingredient of Goan dishes and so is “Kokum’ which is a kind of fruit. The other important ingredients are red chilies of Goa, tamarind, a special kind of vinegar and chutneys. The cuisine of Goa is mainly dominated by non vegetarian dishes. From beef to chicken, sausages to prawns, the Goa cuisine is known for its variety. Seafood forms an important part of the cuisine of Goa, the variety of restaurants dotting this state serves numerous delicious dishes of seafood.

The cuisine of Goa can mainly be divided into two categories; Goan Hindu Cuisine and Goan Catholic Cuisine.

Nightlife Of Goa

Dubbed as the beach capital of India, Goa, is very famous among the tourists for its vibrant nightlife. The lively nightlife of Goa is in fact one of the most important attractions of the state, it attracts people from all over the world. Though nightlife is not popular in India, Goa owes its nightlife to the hippies, who started this nightlife trend during the 1960s. In the present day nightlife has become an essential part of the life of the people of Goa. The beaches, pubs, hotels, casinos and bars of Goa come to life at night.

With the setting of the sun, the night in Goa comes to life with rave and vibrant parties. For all the party animals, the best place for partying is definitely Goa. Parties which became a part of Goa from 1960s, attract tourists all through the year. Also known as Trance Parties, performance of live bands, boozing and dancing are common in the parties of Goa. 

The various beaches of Goa transform themselves into an altogether different world at night. Anjuna Beach, which is often known as the ‘freak capital of the world’ is famous for its trance parties. Tourists mainly during Christmas and New Year flock to this beach to become a part of the bustling parties. In addition to Anjuna Beach, the other happening beaches of Goa known for its parties are Dona Paula Beach, Baga Beach, Calangute Beach and Colva Beach. 

For Further Queries Contact:

Mr. Karant Agrawal, AsiaGuide Tours,108 Ambika Puri Extension, Airport Road, Indore- 452005

For Further Queries Contact:

Ms Sonia Malhotra,  Satguru Tours,  E-32, 1st Floor, Patparganj,  Mayur Vihar Ph-1, Delhi-110091 
T:-  +91-11-43038646  M:- +91-9818316876/9718570707

Mr Rajesh Tiwari Shripad,  India Tours & Travels, B-110, Dindayal Complex,Near Ved Nagar, Nanakheda, Ujjain, India,
T : 456010, 9406841345, 9893264726, 07344041397, E :,    

Mr Ronak Agrawal,  AsiaGuide Tours & Travels,  B-19, Upper Ground Floor, Stadium Complex, Jalgaon 425001 MS India, Tel: 91 257-2239636 Mobile :- 91- 9960222656

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