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Goa is a dream destination for most Indians – and this is why I decided to visit the smallest state of India for my honeymoon. I had heard so much about it that I just wanted to enjoy the experience. Boy was I in for a surprise!
The entire state is a tourist attraction and you should divide it into north and south to assist in planning your trip. North Goa is famous for beaches, parties and shopping markets. This is THE destination for party animals as it hosts some of the most exciting parties. South Goa is a more calm and peaceful area. Here you can relax and unwind while enjoying the beautiful beaches and scenic beauty.
We decided to do a bit of both.
Although Goa has numerous hotels and villas for rent, my husband and I – being hard core rock ‘n’ roll fans – decided to stay at Hard Rock Hotel. Even though Goa has rocking nightlife, the hotel hosts private parties, events and shows for guests.
We would wake up to rock music every morning. We attended one or another event every night in the hotel – and this made our stay more memorable.
Some of the popular beaches in Goa are Baga Beach, Vagator Beach, Anjuna Beach, Chapora Beach, Colva Beach, Palolem Beach, Agonda Beach, Bogmalo Beach and Butterfly Beach. I found Sinquerim Beach and Candolim Beach to be the best beaches by far. Both of these beaches have clear water, smaller crowds and a fantastic view. Here you can try several water sports, like water skiing, paragliding, surfing and snorkeling.
The Aguada Fort, located next to Sinquerim Beach, is an awesome sunset point. It has stunning Portuguese architecture and a well-preserved lighthouse, which is a popular tourist attraction. The restaurants along the beaches have a wide variety of delicacies and there are various resorts, like Taj Vivanta, nearby.
Goa has strong Portuguese roots. The state was a major Portuguese colony and its influence can be seen in the architecture. It is famous for its temples, churches and convents, and the architecture of Goa is so splendid that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portuguese is still spoken here, along with Konkani and Marathi, but one can easily communicate in English and Hindi.
Chapora Fort dates back to pre-Portuguese era. While the fort itself is in ruins, the scenic view is excellent and the beach is captivating in itself. Chapora Beach is on one side and Vagator Beach is on the other. Vagator is a quiet and glorious beach, whereas Chapora is a black sand beach and isn’t as clean or quiet.
One of my favorite sites is the Basilica of Bom Jesus. One of the oldest churches in both Goa and India, it is famous as the location of the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. St. Xavier was believed to possess miraculous healing powers and it is said that his body is still in the same condition as it was when he was buried. His relics are open for public display once every ten years.
Dudh Sagar is another one of the most famous destinations in Goa. It is one of India’s tallest waterfalls and is an incredible beauty. The easiest way to travel is through a thick forest using the cab service provided by locals since the rail road to the waterfall has been closed by the government.
The journey to Dudhsagar was more memorable than the actual waterfall. The biggest drawback was the unavailability of clean restrooms and the scarcity of drinking water in the entire area. A classic liquor of Goa, called Feni, is sold be locals here (we bought a cashew feni). It is expensive, but at the same time it is said that it cures ailments. It is normally mixed with ice.
The food in Goa mimics the lifestyle here and hence there is a wide variety to choose from. Goa is a fun as well as a culturally rich place. Highly influenced by western culture, you will find that both Indian and western festivals are celebrated with the same zeal. And, if you feel lucky, you can even try your luck at the local casinos.
Goa is a mixture of fun and culture. And the most beautiful part of the trip is that it always makes you crave more!