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GOA

Colva Beach GoaGoa is a tiny emerald land of 3,702 Sq. km with its natural scenic beauty, attractive beaches, churches and temples, famous for its architecture, feasts and festivals and above all hospitable people with a rich cultural milieu. Variously known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. The state of Maharashtra borders Goa on the north, the state of Karnataka on the south and east. The vast expanse of the Arabian Sea on the west forms the magnificent coastline for which Goa is justly famous. Goa has a soul which goes deep into its unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer. Goa is blessed with wide and wonderful rivers numbering seven in all. The waters of the rivers are emerald green. Terekhol (Tiracol), Mandovi, Zuari, Chapora, Sal and Talpona are the main rivers which weave their way throughout the state forming the inland waterways adding beauty and romance to the land. The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendours of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favourite with travelers around the world. Since the arrival of the Hippies in the sixties, Goa has been a major destination on the itinerary of international and domestic tourists.

Over the centuries, various dynasties have ruled Goa. Rashtrakutas, Kadambas, Silaharas, Chalukyas, Bahamani Muslims and most famously the Portuguese have been rulers of Goa. Goa was liberated by the Indian Army from Portuguese colonization on December 19, 1961 and became a Union Territory along with the enclaves of Daman and Diu. On May 30, 1987 Goa was conferred statehood and became the 25th state of the Indian Republic.

Goan cuisine is a blend of different influences the Goans had to endure over the centuries. The staple food in Goa is fish and rice, both among the Hindus and the Catholics. Unlike the Christian food, the Hindu Goan food is not strongly influenced by the Portuguese cuisine. The sea and rivers abound in seafood - prawns, mackerels, sardines, crabs and lobsters are the most popular with locals and visitors alike.

Having been the meeting point of races, religions and cultures of East and West over the centuries, Goa has a multi-hued and distinctive lifestyle quite different from the rest of India. Hindu and Catholic communities make up almost the entire population with minority representation of Muslims and other religions. All the communities have mutual respect towards one another and their secular outlook has given Goa a long and an unbroken tradition of religious harmony. The warm and tolerant nature of the Goans allows them to celebrate and enjoy the festivals of various religions such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Christmas, Easter and Id with equal enthusiasm.

The most famous legend associated with Goa, is that of the mythical sage Parashuram (the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), who several thousand years ago created the entire stretch of Konkan coast by ordering the seas to recede. The Sea God gave up the lands on the banks of the two main rivers of Goa viz. Mandovi and Zuari (then called Gomati and Asghanasini) for the settlement of the Aryans accompanying Parashurama.

Another legend, less well known, states that the coastal area of Konkan enchanted Lord Krishna, who was charmed by the beautiful ladies bathing in the area. The ladies in turn, were so taken up by the melodious music coming from his flute, that they kept dancing forgetting their daily chores. Lord Krishna, then named the land Govapuri after the cows (gov) belonging to the locals.

PANAJI

The capital of Goa and headquarters of North Goa district, Panaji is a small and charming city on the left bank of silvery Mandovi river, with beautiful red-roofed houses, built in Latin style. It also boasts of many modern houses, well laid gardens, statues and avenues lined with Gulmohar, Acassia and other trees. This lovely state capital has retained its Portuguese heritage in a lived-in, knockabout kind of way and exudes an aura more reminiscent of the Mediterranean than of India.

BEACHES OF GOA

Coconut juiceAgonda beach: The crimson tint in the vast horizon of blue ocean at daybreak with palms and casuarinas dominated by a large hill to the south. That is Agonda beach for you. Almost negligible tourist in the area gives you the frivolous fancy of owning a beach.

Arambol beach: This secluded pristine beach is a wonderful place to get some long awaited issues with you sorted out. The manner in which you would be available for yourself in this tranquil tract of sand and sea is absolutely unparalleled. It is in fact a set of two beaches and is isolated from the maddening crowd unlike other Goan beaches.

Aguada beach: Located at north of Goa this is one of the most frequented beaches of Goa as it presents the opportunity of experiencing the churches, the beach and the famous Portuguese fort all at the same time. A beach with such attributes is very rare in any world tourism map.

Benaulim beach: From the edge of the Colva Beach starts one of the quietest beaches of Goa. Still unexplored by majority of the domestic tourists, it is basically a weekend getaway and pathway for evening ramblers from the nearby villages.

Baga beach: Huddled in between the two famous cousins the Colva and the Calangute, this tidy beach is right out of the pages of Nicolai Gogol. The tourists with a fancy for fishing try their luck over here to capture their prize catch. Children with love for water but afraid of its ripping current find their interest in the Baga river.

Bogmalo beach: Bogmalo beach is only eight km from Vasco and four km from the airport at Dabolim. A one time sleepy fishing village yawning back to life with the pouring in of tourists and initiation of commercial activities, this is a serene tract of nature by the sea, from where you can breathe in life. It is safe to swim in this part of the sea as the water here is quite calm.

Calangute beach: This 'Queen of Beaches' under the shady coconut is a haven for the hippies and all other happy go lucky people. The villages of Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim enhance the charm of this Queen in a green necklace like semicircle.

Candolim beach: Be it participating in a vibrantly active water sports like parasailing or water skiing or carelessly musing into the huge orange globe sinking into the evening sea, there is no better beach in Goa to offer you these offbeat pleasures of the sea.

LobsterCavelossim beach: Submerging your feet on soft white sand, relishing the delicacies of Goan seafood, or sailing away into the deep blue sea caressing the Dolphins from close quarters - there is lot to be done when you are into this part of Goa beaches.
Colva beach: Colva is by far the most popular of South Goa beaches, famous for its white sands and is to South Goa what Calangute is to North Goa. For those who like to be where the action is, Colva is the place in South Goa, with lots of resorts, shops and activity. For those who prefer more tranquil surroundings, there are smaller places to stay at within 20 minutes walking distance on either side of Colva.

Dona Paula beach: This beautiful place by the untamed nature is immortalized by the tale of love between Dona Paula de Menzes (the daughter of a viceroy in colonial India) and Gaspar Diaz, a local fisherman. The highly romantic tale gets alive in the backdrop of this breathtakingly beautiful place and tourist from all the corners of the globe flock to this abode of Eros.

Majorda beach: This is the most unperturbed beach of the area that perfectly responds to the drone of the relatively calm sea, in its highly articulate silence. The seashore is famous for its delicious breads processed out of the best Goan toddy the recipe of which was imported in India by the Jesuits and presently rests with the Majordans alone in this part of the world.

Mobor beach: Situated in the north of Goa this fascinatingly beautiful and immaculately maintained beach is the sunbather's paradise. In spite of warning notice put up by a luxury beach hotel, this is a public beach. There are beach umbrellas and deck chairs provided by the hotel authorities.

Palolem beach: The most fascinating element that makes Palolem Beach stand apart from the rest of the beaches in the region is its crescent shaped bay lined with swaying coconut palms. This white sand beach is a picture perfect.

Vagator beach: The pure white sand dotted with black rock and swaying coconut and palm trees, marks the emblem of Vagator beach. This sparsely populated beach is basically a habitat for the fishermen community. The local fishermen community in their traditional attire getting ready to venture into the sea or coming back with their day's catch is a spectacle to watch.

Varca beach: Soft white sand, black rocks like formation from lava and numerous beach shacks offering delicious Goan dishes - those are the type of images around that will make you feel that in all probability you are standing in and around Varca beach.

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