Once ruled by the Portuguese, Goa was liberated in 1961 and is now the 25th State of India. Goa can be a real surprise to travellers. It has the blend of two cultures, Portuguese and Indian, which can be seen and felt everywhere. Miles of golden beaches, magnificent cathedrals, ancient forts, lush tropical landscapes, fairs and festivals, carnival, all can enrapture the minds of every traveller to the State.
The most important part of Goan tourism and Goa Tourist attraction is Goan beaches which are world famous for its beauty. They are among the finest in the world and every year they attract hundreds and thousands of peoples from around the world and within India. It’s a perfect place to spend a vacation or enjoy the honeymoon. The beaches in the northern part are more famous as more events are held there and southern beaches are quite and are perfect destinations for those who seek the solitude of loneliness. The famous northern beaches are Anjuna, Arambol, Baga, Bambolim, Calangute, Candolim, Chapora, Dona Paula, Miramar, Morjim, Sinquerim and Vagator while the famous southern beaches are Agonda, Benaulim, Bogmalo, Canaguinim, Cavelossim, Colva, Majorda, Mobor, Palolem and Varca.
Forts form a vital part in telling the history of the past and Goa as a whole. Majority of the forts lie in the region of Old Goa. Rulers of the past- the Portuguese, the Muslims and the Marathas all contributed their part in building these magnificent forts. Famous among them is the Aguada Fort-the largest fort built by the Portuguese. Equally famous are the Cabo da Rama Fort, Chapora Fort and Terekhol Fort. Other forts are Reis Magos Fort, Rachol Fort, Corjuem Fort, Mormugao Fort and Cabo Fort – now known as the Cabo Raj Bhavan.
The Churches in Goa are world famous for the splendid art work on the altars. Among them the most famous is the Basilica of Bom Jesus where the mummified body of St. Francis Xavier is kept in a silver casket, and the oldest one is the Church of Our Lady of Rosary on Monte Santo. Others are, The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, The Church of St. Cajetan, The Se Cathedral and The Augustine Church of Our Lady of Grace.
The Brahma Temple in the village of Brahma Carambolim and Shri Gomanteshwar Temple at Brahmapuri, in old Goa both of which date back to the 5th century, can be counted as the oldest among the temples in Goa. The Shanta Durga and Shri Manguesh, part of the complex of temples that surround Ponda, The Shri Bhagavati Temple in Pernem, Shri Datta Mandir at Sanquelim, Shri Damodar Temple, The Shri Chandreshwar Temple atop the Chandranath Hill The Devaki-Krishna Temple at Marchel are also famous temples and are visited by a large number of devotees.
Goa is not just beaches and churches. There are some beautiful Wildlife Sanctuaries and Parks that can take you to another world of life. The Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorao is a paradise to bird-watchers. Other attractions are the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary which includes the Molem National Park, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ratha-Saptami festival in February, Maruti-Zatra at Sri Mahalakshmi Temple, Chariot Festival (Vijayarathotsav) at Mahalsa Temple, Shigmotsav in March, festival of Gade at Mahadev Bhumika temple, Kalas Utsav which is celebrated every alternate year at Sri Morjaee Temple, Janamashtami which marks harvest festival, Ganesh Chaturthi - which can be said the number one festival of Goa, Dussehra are the main Hindu festivals.
Goinchea Saibache Fest or better known as the Feast of St. Francis Xavier is the biggest of all Christian festivals in Goa. It is celebrated on the first week of December and millions of visitors from all over the world attend it. Other Christian festivals are the Three Kings Feast and The Procession of Saints as well as Easter and Christmas.
The biggest social festival apart from the religious festivals is the three-day Goan Carnival and is also famous internationally. It is celebrated before the 40 day Lent before Easter. It concludes with the famous Red-and-Black dance held by the Clube Nacional in Panjim.
Adding to the attractions that Goa puts forward to the visitors are the Museum and Art Galleries of the State. The State Archaeology Museum in Panaji, Archaeological Museum in Velha, Museum of Goa Daman and Diu in Panaji, Museum of Christian Art within the convent of Santa Monica in old Goa, Naval Aviation Museum which is just six kilometres from the port of Vasco-da-Gama, Kerkar Art Complex and The Art Chamber near Calangute beach are the other places which show cases the history and life.
The Dudhsagar Waterfall located in the Goa and Karnataka border where water falls from very high and thus forming a splendid view is a famous tourist spot. It’s a place frequented by nature lovers, trekkers and hikers. The best season to visit this place is in the monsoons as water will be flowing in plenty. Another attraction is the Mayem Lake near Mapusa, which is an ideal place for boating and bird watching.
For thrill seekers Goa offers a wide range of adventure sports like Parasailing, Jet-skiing, Water Skiing, Knee and Wake-Boarding, Windsurfing, Speedboat Rides, Catamaran Sailing, Scuba-diving and Snorkeling, Hiking and Trekking, Microlite Flying, Microlite Flying, Go-Karting etc. Most of the water sports facilities are available in a number of beaches.