If you ask an Indian where the perfect spot for chilling out and letting off some steam is, he or she is most likely to recommend Goa. And why not? With its vast shoreline, gorgeous beaches and numerous festivities, Goa is known as the “Western” state of India – a spitting image of Portugal, if you will, says Jeevan Blesson.
Then again, Goa is one Indian state that can trace its roots back to the Portuguese. After all, the Portuguese did rule over it for four-and-a-half centuries after having conquered it in the early 16th century.
Goa was only returned to Indian rule in the 1960s. It reflects a Portuguese influence in everything, from architectural relics to the names of businesses. And that is what sets this state apart from others.
Goa is India’s smallest state, and makes up for its tiny size through the multiplicity of its population and the array of activities and experiences to be enjoyed. Here, tourism is the main source of revenue and its 120 kilometres of coastline is one of its major attractions. Goa has a culture all of its own and offers a different feel from the traditional Indian experience.
Getting there couldn’t be easier. Oman Air offers four flights a week to Goa direct from Muscat.
My favourite place- Dona Paula Beach is one of the beaches that all tourists should visit when in Goa. On Dona Paula Beach, tourists have a lot of options for water sports, and its sheer scenic beauty is pretty hard to beat. When you are here, don’t forget to sample the lemon drink that the locals sell.
Highlights- Goa’s charm lies in its beautiful beaches. Pick your destination from about 30 strung out along the coastline. Swimming and other water sports are generally safe in designated areas, but exercise caution during the months of October and November as the seabed is still settling after the monsoon season. The best time to be in Goa is after the monsoon season, which lasts from June until late September. The tourist season begins in November and lasts until March. During the cooler season, the temperature might be hover as high as 31 degrees Celsius and as low as 23 degrees. One of the best hangouts in Goa is Anjuna Beach, which has an array of delights on offer. Even though it has changed a great deal from its early days, it retains an element of the unconventional. On market days, people can find hawkers selling jewellery, fabrics and trinkets from all over the India. On the northern side of Goa, you can find the peaceful beaches of Mandrem, Ashvem, and Arambol with their wide range of palm trees and pines, which are backed by brown sands. Palolem, one of the state’s most southerly beaches, has perfect, picturesque views. It oozes a lazy pace of life and a chilled out nightlife. If you want a quieter life, head south to Patnem, the next beach along.
Lowlights- The only thing more brutal than the climate in Goa is the stay. There’s a multitude of hotels around but there are also huge numbers of tourists. Book your hotel before you travel.
Souvenirs- You can find various souvenirs that are mostly made of easily available materials like coconut, seashells, paper, beads and brass. The uniqueness of the crafts lies in Goa’s multicultural history.
Where to stay- Goa has lot of options available but book your hotel before your journey as it is considered one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.
1. Go on a romantic Mandovi River Sunset cruise
2. Go dolphin watching
3. Visit the many churches
4. Kayak in the Goan backwaters
5. Shop at Anjuna market