The tiny Indian state of Goa has a big reputation for being the host to the phenomenal tourist attractions and activities. Its location on the western coast of India blesses Goa with enthralling beaches. Over 450 years of Portuguese rule conferred a vibrant culture and lifestyle over the state. With the rise in the tourist activities, the state has become a frequently visited destination for the teenagers and the young adults. Another popular category of tourists visiting Goa is that of honeymoon couples who get to relax at a multitude of venues in the state.
Starting with the Sumerians, a number of powerful dynasties and empires ruled the present day region of Goa. Indo-Aryans, Dravidians, Mauryans and many other Hindu dynasties helped in the development of the state. After being ruled for short intervals by the Delhi Sultanate, Vijayanagara Empire and Bijapur rulers, the region was finally annexed by the Portuguese in the beginning of the 16th century. Today, the state has proportionate mix of Hindu and Catholic populations, which add to the culture of Goa in their respective ways.
The most sought-after activity in Goa is to explore the splendid beaches, offering multiple activities to relax and have fun. Arjuna Beach in North Goa is one of the popular tourist beaches, known for its red cliffs, coconut plantations and attractive white sand. The beach helps the tourists to explore the amusing side of Goa with its nightlife venues and outdoor parties. Another highlight of the beach is the flea markets and night bazaars. North Goa has many other beaches like the quiet Arambol Beach and the crowded Baga Beach. Calangute Beach also has its own charm and is a regular host to the rave parties.
The most popular among the South Goa beaches is the Colva Beach which has admirable scenic beauty to its credit. Agonda, Patnem and Palolem Beaches, though smaller than other beaches, offer peaceful atmospheres to spend quality moments. The star attractions at many of the beaches in Goa are the water sports and adventure activities. The very entertaining banana ride at these beaches is an extremely engaging experience to take part in. The thrilling activity of jet skiing is another opportunity for the adventure-lovers. In addition, the tourists in huge numbers take part in the breathtaking activities like waterskiing, kite surfing, diving and parasailing.
Apart from water sports, the tourists can also enjoy go-karting that has become another awe-inspiring activity in the state. There is no way one can overlook the wonderful experience of sunbathing at one of the beaches in Goa. It is also possible to avail beach massage services to soothe the mind and the body. Another good idea is to enjoy delicious seafood items and a variety of drinks at the beachside shacks.
Old Goa is particularly famous for showing the influence of the colonial rule. The place is dotted with many popular churches, museums and historical buildings that provide the opportunity to explore the colonial history of the state. The convents and churches in Old Goa are listed among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Se’ Cathedral Church and the Church of St. Francis of Assisi are the two worthwhile sites that the tourists prefer to visit. The Basilica of Bom Jesus showcasing baroque architectural style is also a noteworthy attraction of the area.
In addition to those located in Old Goa, there are other Goan churches like the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception and St Augustine Church and Monastery are popular for exhibiting different architectural styles and mystical colonial charm. The state also has many Hindu temples located in different cities. Another set of fabulous attractions in Goa is that of old forts. The 17th century Terekhol Fort is one of these attractions that can be reached using a ferry. Chapora Fort which was known for offering impressive defense against enemies is another popular attraction.
Fort Aguda was built by the Portuguese and it is still in a well-maintained state. The lighthouse at the fort is one of its main highlights. Gaspar Dias, Mormugao Fort and Corjuem Fort are also popular among the tourists for offering the rustic and old world charm and extreme tranquility. The museums in Goa include Goa State Museum and Naval Aviation Museum. The former offers exhibits in the categories like Christian arts, sculptures and state’s freedom struggle, while the latter offers the exhibits that tell the story of Indian Naval Air Arm. The Secretariat Building of Goa is another imposing structure that offers the astonishing blend of different architectures.
Goa has its own share of wildlife venues. The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the home to the animals like leopards, bison, cobras and spotted deer and some rare species of birds as well. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary houses many zoos and botanical gardens and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the home to sloth beer, wild boars, eagles and other species. The bird lovers can visit Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary where it is possible to explore local and migratory bird species. Butterfly Conservatory is another popular venue where one can explore many varieties of beautiful butterflies.