By Journey Man
In our series on travel rather, safe travel this edition brings you the small, yet beautiful state of Goa. It maybe a trifle removed from Delhi, being situated in the southwest, but the accessibility of the state is very good. you can fly directly from Delhi, or even take a train, or you can mix it up and fly to Mumbai, from where you can take the scenic Konkan Railway route along the western coastline and through tunnels to the beautiful and happy state of Goa.
Goa still sports its Portuguese heritage it was, till even after Independence, a Portuguese colony, before the Indian army marched in, and a great deal of Goan culture is still deeply steeped in a culture from a way off country. Portuguese is used quite liberally across the state, along with Konkanese, and till recently a Portuguese newspaper used to be published regularly as well.
Goa has an earlier root, though. The state was famous in early Hindu mythology and history. There are references in the Puranas, and in various inscriptions, its name appears as Gove, Govapuri, and Gomant. Medieval Arabian geographers knew it as Sindabur, or Sandābūr, and the Portuguese called it Velha Goa. It was ruled by the Kadamba dynasty from the 2nd century CE to 1312 and by a Muslim attacker of the Deccan from 1312 to 1367. The city was then taken over by the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and was later defeated by the Bahmanī sultanate, which founded Old Goa on the island in 1440.
When the Portuguese attacked Goa was being ruled by Yusuf Adil Shah of the Bahmani Sultanate. The Portuguese defeated Bahmani’s Ruler Yusuf adil Shah in March 1510. Goa was the first territorial possession of the Portuguese in Asia, and Portuguese made it a capital in 1530.
After Independence Goa, Daman and Diu became a Union Territory. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which was previously a part of the Estado da India, but independent between 1954 and 1961, became a separate Union Territory.
In 1987, Goa was separated from Daman and Diu and made a full-fledged state.
If you follow the changes that Goa has gone through, from the times of the Puranas, to Hindu rulers, to Muslim rulers and then to Christian conquistadors, you will realise why there is so much rich heritage in this small place, ethically and culturally. It is a place where you can really enjoy the sun, the beaches and the relaxed atmosphere, as well as the brilliant architecture and history. Also, do take time out to taste the very special cuisine of Goa.
How to go Goa from Delhi
-Road distance is 1872 Km via NH-52
-Aerial distance is 1515 Km.
-First Option is that take a Direct Flight from Delhi Airport to Goa. If you are a journey-freak then the second option is to take flight to Mumbai or go to Mumbai on the Rajdhani Express and then take the Konkan Railway.
-Enjoy the sea view on the train.
– You can also drive down to Goa from Mumbai. The roads are good. Mumbai to Goa (594 km, maximum approx 11 hrs driving). There are eateries and toilets on the way. Follow your Google map.
Famous Tourist Spots in Goa
The following are must-see places in Goa (details from Goa tourism website):
Dudhsagar Falls : Dudhsagar Falls is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in Goa. It is 60 km from Panaji, the capital, by road and is located on the Belgaum–Vasco Da Gama rail route about 46 km east of Madgaon. Dudhsagar Falls is among India’s tallest waterfalls with a height of 310 m. The area is surrounded by deciduous forests with rich biodiversity. This waterfall is also known as Tambdi Surla to some of the local people.
The falls are not particularly spectacular during the dry season, but during the monsoon season the falls are fed by rains and form a huge force of water.
Arvalem Falls : The Arvalem falls, also known as the Harvalem falls, are located near Mapusa in North Goa. The closest village is Bicholim. It is a popular tourist spot and picnic location in Goa, especially during the monsoon season when the falls are a gushing torrent hurtling madly into the lake below. The falls themselves are situated in beautiful and majestic surroundings with the hilly slopes being coated in the verdant greenery, so characteristic of the Goan forests.
Palolem Beach : Palolem Beach is situated in Canacona in southern Goa. The beach attracts many international tourists, mainly during the winter season between November and March. It is considered to be one of the region’s most beautiful beaches.
Baga Beach : This is one of the most happening beaches in Goa. Ity includes fantastic water sports. You can go parasailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kite surfing, jet skiing and more. You can also go on dolphin spotting tours and island trips from the beach. Baga also boasts one of the best nightlife scenes in Goa, the famous Tito’s Lane has some of the best bars and clubs.
Anjuna Beach : India’s West Coast paradise, Goa, is home to some glorious beaches of India. One of them is known as the Anjuna Beach. Anjuna beach is Goa’s local “multidimensional entertainment hub”. The combination of the white sand and the scintillating blue sea create an unbeatable view.
Benaulim Beach : Benaulim, is one of the few places in Goa where one can glimpse handicraft typical to this area. Also, mythically Benaulim is famous as the place where the legendary Parashuram’s arrow landed by which Goa was created.
Betul Beach : Betul is an important fishing port where all the mechanized boats and deep sea trawlers bring in their catch. Here headlands from the slopes of the Western Ghats protrude into the shore.
Bogmalo Beach : Just 4 km from the airport at Dabolim, it is a favourite among the elite classes and has an air of exclusivity. Although the resort hotel towers above the village, there are still a few smaller and appealing places to stay in. Windsurfing and water skiing facilities are available.
Varca, Cavelossim and Mobor Beach : Varca, Cavelossim and Mabor are a trio of the most alluring beaches south of Benaulim. These beaches are much cleaner and quieter than most of the other more famous beaches of Goa. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices. There is plenty of transport for these beaches from Margao. From Cavelossim village, Margao is 18 km and buses and autos are available easily.
Basilica of Bom Jesus Church : the Bom Jesus Basilica is a World Heritage Monument, Basilica of Bom Jesus, is partially in ruins but still a model of simplicity and elegance along with a fine example of Jesuit architecture. This is the only church in Old Goa, which is not plastered on the outside, the lime plaster having been stripped off by a zealous Portuguese conservationist in 1950. Bom Jesus’ meaning ‘good Jesus’ or ‘infant Jesus’ to whom it is dedicated. This imposing Basilica also contains the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, the so-called Apostle of the Indies.
Se Cathedral Church : The largest church in Asia, Se Cathedral is clearly the top tourist attraction in Goa. Known for its impressive interiors, the mosaic work and the Golden Bell, which is the largest in Goa and one of the largest in the world, Se Cathedral is located in Old Goa. The 17th Century Roman Catholic Church is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria and is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Goa. It is also one of the churches that has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
St. Augustine Church : In 1986, UNESCO declared the ruins to be a World Heritage Site. It is also the site of the archaeological discovery of the remains of Queen Ketevan. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. Its construction was started in 1597 and was completed around 1602. Even though the original church lies in ruins, it becomes ever more apparent that it yet has unplumbed depths.
St. Anthony’s Church : Dedicated to St Anthony of Padua, the church consists of fine architecture and structure. The Neo-Gothic style church possesses two steeples on the frontispiece and a statue of St Anthony.
Church Of Our Lady Of The Rosary : The church is considered one of the best-preserved monuments of colonial times in Goa. Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is a 16th-century Catholic Church located in Old Goa. This is one of the oldest churches of Goa and is now, a part of world heritage sites of the churches and convents in Goa. This church is considered as a victory symbol for Portuguese over Deccan rulers.
Nunnery of Santa Monica Church: Named after St Monica, the mother of St Augustine, the Nunnery of Santa Monica is located on the hill behind the popular church in Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus. The history of Nunnery of Santa Monica states that the foundation stone was laid in 1606 by the Archbishop Aleixo de Menezes and the construction completed in 1627. The church has the statue of Santa Monica and the symbol of the Holy Ghost. Nunnery of Santa Monica is located around 11 km from Panaji via Ponte de Linhares Causeway.
St. Francis of Assisi Church : The Convent was built by the Franciscan friars around 1527 and later expanded. Today it houses the museum, established by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1964.
Chapora Fort : Another jewel built by the Portuguese, Chapora Fort is enriched with history and beauty. It offers a splendid view of the surrounding Anjuna, Chapora, and Vagator beaches. The fort gets its name from Chapora river.
Aguada Fort : Known to protect Old Goa, Aguada Fort is a well-preserved 17th-century Portuguese fort. Overlooking the vast expanse of Arabian Sea, the fort is famous for the lighthouse and Aguada jail.
Albuquerque Mansion : Constructed with white stones, Albuquerque Mansion is a historical antique of 1920. Tourists usually visit this place for a splendid view of Mangalore tile and octagonal towers lined up in the mansion.
Shanta Durga Temple : this is one of the famous temples in Goa. Shri Shantadurga Temple is situated at the foothill of Kavalem village in Ponda Taluka, Goa. The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. According to local belief, there was a fight between Vishnu and Shiva at this place.
The battle was so fierce that the god Brahma prayed to Goddess Parvati to intervene, which she did in the form of Shantadurga. Shantadurga placed Vishnu on her right hand and Shiva on her left hand and settled the fight.
Bhagwati Devi Temple (Pernem) : The Shri Bhagwati temple is an ancient temple in Goa. It is said to be more than 500 years old. The temple of Sri Bhagwati is quite unique and is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. The presiding deity of temple is Goddess Bhagwati in Ashtabhuja (eight hands) form.
Archaeological Museum of Goa : The Museum was initially set up in 1964 by the Archaeological survey of India (ASI). Originally confined to one long hallway, it was expanded in 1982. This museum contains many important and beautiful artefact of Portuguese rule in India. The most important of these are considered to be the portraits of the long-dead Viceroys and Governors of Goa. There are two larger than life bronze statues, portraits of the Viceroys of Goa, spanning the 400 year Portuguese rule, postage stamps, coins issued by various Hindu.
Safa Masjid, Ponda : Safa Masjid, located in the hinterland town of Ponda, is one of the last remaining vestiges of Goa’s Islamic heritage. One of only two such 16th century monuments, it was built in 1560 by Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur.
Jama Masjid, Sanguem : This smaller mosque is located in Sanguem taluka. Located 26 kms from Margao, it was last renovated in 1959. The newly built elegant structure boasts of a simple modern design with four minarets.
Goan food : The cuisine of Goa is a delicious reflection of its history and heritage. It is influenced by its Hindu origins, four hundred years of Portuguese colonialism, and modern techniques. No other cuisine in India can claim such contrasting influences. Seafood, coconut milk, rice, and local spices are main ingredients of Goan cuisine.
Kingfish (Vision or Visvan) is the most common delicacy. Others include Pomfret, Shark, Tuna and Mackerel. Among the shellfish are crabs, prawns, tiger prawns, lobster, squid and mussels.
-Fish curry called Humann and rice, also known as Kadi or Ambot
– Fish Suke or Dhabdhabit – Dry spicy preparation of fish, eaten as a side dish
– Kismur – A type of side dish normally consisting of dried fish (mostly mackerel or shrimp), onions and coconut
– Kalputi – It is a dish prepared normally from the head of a large fish, onions and coconut
– Ambot tik – A sour curry dish prepared with either fish or meat
– Arroz doce – A Portuguese derivative of kheer (sweetened rice)
– Canja de Galinha – A type of chicken broth served with rice and chicken, and is originally a Goan recipe
– Feijoada – A stew brought by the Portuguese
– Bebik (Bebinca) – A pudding traditionally eaten at Christmas
When all is over, though, if you love your drink, then sit by the beach and enjoy a long cocktail or even a mocktail. Many five star resorts have live bands and even solo bands, in which one person will be playing several instruments together, as well as belting out popular songs.
In the end, Goa is a place to chill. Just chill.
White Lady : A Christian Goan tradition where this preparation, which is part of a full meal, is always served for the ‘Bikrencheam Jevonn’. Just before a couple got married, the village women would prepare a meal to feed the poor (hence the name Bikrencheam (poor man’s) Jevonn (food)). The addition of dried prawns to the curry added to its own distinctive flavor and taste)
-Cashew Feni – 45ml
– Coconut water – 90ml
– Coconut cream – 45ml
– Sugar syrup – 20ml
Method : Shake all ingredients for 10 seconds and pour into a whisky tumbler filled with ice. Grate a pinch o fresh nutmeg on top to finish
Exotic Blue :
– Cashew Feni – 30 ml
– Malibu – 30 ml
– Blue curacao – 5 ml
– Coconut water – 90 ml
– Tonic water – A splash Pear Slice
Method : Fill a long drink glass with ice cubes and build with Cashew Feni, Malibu, and coconut water. Top with tonic water and float blue curacao.
-Cashew Feni – 45 ml
– Cointreau – 15 ml
– Cranberry juice – 30 ml
– Orange juice – 30 ml
– Lemon juice – 30 ml
– Sugar Syrup – 30 ml
Method : Fill in a long drink glass with crushed ice and build up the ingredients. Stir and garnish with an orange slice.