GOA

The brilliant green of the paddy field and the tiny hamlets with white painted churches stand out against a brilliant red soil-Goa startles, enchants and hypnotizes with its blends of East and West. This is after all an erstwhile Portuguese colony and the colonial masters have left behind a rich cultural legacy. India's finest beaches are in Goa. The Tomb of St Francis Xavier in Old Goa is a major Christian Pilgrimage. The elegant Portuguese mansions resting in sleepy villages are enchanting.




HIGHLIGHTS :  Akshardham Temple, Night view of India Gate.

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Goa is a new state of India and its capital Panjim though has modern buildings but still contains the charm of small town feel. The old buildings which impart it special pristine charm include the Idalcao Palace, Braganza Institute, Largo da Igreja (the Main Square, dominated by the Church of Immaculate Conception). The nearby Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a nice excursion.


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Also called Valha Goa, Old Goa is the erstwhile capital of Albuquerque and the heart of Portuguese Goa. The Tomb of St Francis Xavier inside the Basilica of Bom Jesus attracts millions of devout here annually. MAPUSA The administrative headquarters of Bardesz talluka, Mapusa boasts of St Jerome's Church, Our Lady of Miracles and the Maruti Temple. Coconut-fringed sandy beaches dot the coastline in Bardez and Pernem talukas, in north Goa.

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Indeed, it is north of Panaji that the legendary beaches of Goa are to be found. Here's the exclusive resort of Fort Aguada, the legendary Baga, the famed Flea Market of Anjuna and quieter stretches of sand like Candolom and Arambol.


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The historical Fort Aguada, the stronghold of the coastal Portuguese forts, was built in 1612. At nearby Sinquerim Beach, the Taj Hotel Group has set up Hermitage Complex.

Further north, Calangute is a busy seaside town with an excellent beach. Between Calangute and Anjuna, Baga is a busy, lively beach. Massages on offer, sarongs for sale, fortune telling-there's much activity here. Beach shacks dish out some great food.

Anjuna is one of Goa's most visited beaches. Beach parties are a major attractions where crowd sway to the beat of rava and trance music. The Flea Market, held on Wednesdays, is extremely popular.

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Margao :- Margao, the capital of Goa's most prosperous taluka- Salcete- is the second largest commercial centre in Goa after Panjim, the capital of Goa. Margao exudes the pristine colonial charm in its subtlest form. Margao usually serves as an overnight stop for visitors who are about to hit the beaches of south Goa but the Baroque-style Church of the Holy Spirit, and the many fine 17th-century houses are worth checking out. The famous beaches of souther Goa are Benaulim, Varac and Colva with many luxurious beach resorts.


Goa is known for partying and festivals and fairs give opportunity to party with religious and cultural fervor. It can be observed in the celebration of several Christian festivals in Goa with much gusto. These include the Feast of Three Kings, Feast of our Lady of Miracles, Feast of St Anthony, and Feast of St Francis Xavier. The largest non-religious celebration is the Carnival, marked by colorful processions complete with floats.

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Goan food is hot, making good use of the bird's -eyes chilling grown locally. The dishes show a strong Portuguese influence, although local flavors are also apparent. The signature dish is the spicy pork or beef Vingaloo. The Goan sausage-chorizo-is 'hot', literally. Other notable dishes include sorpotel (Pickeled pig liver and heart) and chicken xacuit. The juice of the cashew fruit is fermented to produce feni, the potent local brew. Goa is one place that knows how to party, where people come for their bit of fun and sun. The best time to be here is around New Year, when the wildest parties in the country are thrown all over Goa. It's an experience few can forget.

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