Goa is a paradise in the province of India. Kilometers of beaches, ruins of ancient fortresses entwined with vines, waterfalls and nature reserves invite lovers of exotic recreation and entertainment. Goa differs from the rest of India in comfort, cleanliness and developed infrastructure for tourists.
Who and why should come to Goa
In the high season, up to 2 million tourists arrive in Goa. Beach holidays, scuba diving, walks to waterfalls and safaris in nature reserves are very popular among most visitors.
Fans of antiquities and mysteries of history can see the remains of fortresses and Old Goa, with its architectural gems: temples, basilicas and palaces.
Gourmets come here to try the famous Indian dishes seasoned with the sun and local fruits, and at the same time take a walk through the spice plantations.
Active tourists go to Goa to go scuba diving, watch tropical fish, go water skiing and motorbikes.
Bhagwan Mahavir Reserve
Located near the Western Ghats. The main attraction of this reserve is the impenetrable and evergreen tropical forests, untouched by man. They contain over 700 plant species, many of which are found only in India.
On the territory of the nursery there is Dudhsagar waterfall, which is considered one of the places of power in Goa. You can walk around the park, or drive a car along a specially paved track. Numerous animals live in the forest more often: tigers, panthers, leopards — however, they try not to catch the eye of the public.
Bandla nature reserve
It is the smallest of all the reserves located in Goa — its area is only 8 square kilometers. However, this does not prevent the nursery from being one of the most popular among tourists. For children, there is a lot of entertainment here: a zoo with interesting little animals, mini-locomotives, and playrooms. Adults can ride elephants.
The reserve is divided into two parts. The first is wild, the second is more comfortable. In the center of Bundle there is a botanical garden, and around it is a wild forest with predatory animals.
A waterfall in the region of northern Goa from a height of 50 meters brings down its explosive waters to the ground. It can be heard for several kilometers.
The streams of Arvalem below turn into a lake, which looks organically in a picturesque landscape. Tourists, in addition to the waterfall, also visit the stone staircase that leads to the local temple. And from the observation deck offers a beautiful view of the surroundings.
Caves of Arvalem
The caves are a nice addition to the waterfall of the same name. Locals believe that they were once cut through by Buddhists who wandered in these parts. They had nowhere to stay for the night, so it was decided to make a couch among the stones.
According to scientists and researchers, caves in this place could appear in the 5th-6th centuries. They are five tunnels that converge in the center. The hall formed by their intersection does not exceed two hockey rinks in size. On the walls of the caves there are still inscriptions in Sanskrit, which are about 700 years old.
The largest Indian waterfall is located in the foothills of the Western Ghats. The place is truly legendary and a local myth is associated with it.
Hindus believe that a princess once lived here, who took water procedures right in the lake and drank milk from a golden jug. One day she noticed that someone was watching her from behind the trees. To hide her nakedness, the girl poured milk over herself. Flowing white jets became the basis of the waterfall, the name of which is translated as “milky ocean”.
Cotigao nature reserve
It is located near Palolem, and you can get to this reserve on foot. It is this adventure that attracts tourists who are forced to wade through the jungle to see the nasty monkeys. Cotigao is located on the banks of the Talpona River.
The main attractions of the reserve are observation platforms, or rather, the view that opens from them. From a height of 25 meters you can see a watering place where wild animals come early in the morning and late in the evening to get drunk.
Kotigao appeared relatively recently — in the 70s, but many animals are no longer there. There are no tigers, bears, hyenas, leopards and gazelles, but monkeys, wild boars and bison still live in the reserve.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
The reserve is located on the island of Chorao — the largest of the 17 islands of Goa. The mangroves of this place are simply overflowing with wild exotic birds. Only here you can see the kingfisher, black little bittern, sandpiper, kingfisher, vulture, cormorant and others. In total, there are about 400 species of birds on Salim Ali.
The main flow of tourists comes here from October to March — at a time when a large number of migratory birds arrive. The nursery is open all year round, and in addition to birds, alligators, crabs and otters can be found on its territory.
Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Pilgrims and tourists consider this Catholic temple one of the most beautiful in Old Goa. The church is located on a small hill, which offers a magnificent view of the city. The cathedral was built at the beginning of the 16th century and was originally a small chapel where Portuguese sailors came to pray.
Basilica of Bon Jesus
Translated from Portuguese, Bon Jesus means “Mercy of Jesus.” This is the most frequently visited attraction of Old Goa, which was formerly the capital of the Portuguese colony. Today the shrine is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
For several centuries, the temple has been a real mecca for pilgrims. Visitors are attracted not only by the beautiful architecture of the basilica (the building is made of black granite), but also by the fact that Francis Xavier, one of the most revered Catholic saints, is buried in it. His relics, which have been on display for more than 10 years, are considered miraculous.
When visiting the abandoned Fort Redi, many tourists associate with the cartoon about Mowgli. The stone walls have long been overgrown with wild vines, the paths between the ruins are entwined with tree roots and strewn with leaves, and most importantly, on the way to the fort you can meet a huge number of curious monkeys.
The fortification was built in this place in the 16th century by the Savant family. Initially, Redi had a different name, but was later renamed after a nearby village.
Church of Saint Francis of Assisi
It is an example of colonial architecture, which was inherited from Portuguese rule. The cathedral is located in the city of Panaji, where it was built in the 17th century by order of the Viceroy of Portugal. However, the history of the church began a century earlier, when Franciscan monks moored to the local shores and wanted to found a small monastery.
Initially, there were three altars in the cathedral, but now nothing remains of the old church. But today a museum is opened here, which everyone can visit.
Cathedral of Saint Catherine
A large number of tourist attractions are concentrated in Old Goa. There are many cathedrals and churches that are filled with hundreds of pilgrims every year. The center of religious events is the Cathedral of St. Catherine. In Asia, this building is considered the largest structure. The church is made in strict accordance with the canons: there are bells, an altar, and a font.
There is a legend associated with one of the chapels of the cathedral. They say that in the 17th century there lived a shepherd who wanted to make himself a small wooden cross. While he was working, Jesus Christ himself appeared to him. What they talked about — history is silent. However, since then the shepherd’s cross began to grow. He was placed in the chapel and put on public display. Believers say that it still continues to grow in size.
The Aguado Fortress, which appeared in Goa during the time of the Portuguese invaders, is one of the oldest attractions in the state. The fort is located on the edge of Candolim beach and is quite well preserved compared to other defensive structures in India. Until now, there is a prison in which the guilty foreigners are serving their sentences.
The fort appeared in Goa in the 17th century and was paved with red stone. In addition to its main function of protecting the city, it also served as a reservoir of fresh water.
Shri Shantadurga Temple
This is a private complex in India, which belongs to the Brahmin community, and among the locals is the most revered shrine. Hindus believe that the goddess Parvati reincarnated several times in this temple. According to legend, a conflict broke out between Shiva and Vishnu, which escalated into real hostilities. Parvati was able to reconcile the gods, after which peace reigned in the world. It was in her honor that this temple was erected.
Church and Monastery of Saint Augustine
The church has not been active for a long time — it was destroyed 30 years ago. At the same time, with obvious delay, it was included in the UNESCO list. The cathedral dates back to the 16th — early 17th centuries and is believed to have been built by only 12 monks.
The monastery previously had all the attributes of the Catholic brotherhood here: dining rooms, bedrooms, even hospital and guest rooms were equipped. The church had four altars and eight towers. After the expulsion of the monks in the 19th century, this place was abandoned.
The smallest but best preserved fort in Goa. It is interesting that it belongs to the state only legally, territorially Tiracol belongs to the neighboring one. The fortress is really small in size — you can walk around it in just 5 minutes. The fate of Tiracol was much more successful than that of other forts that have survived in Goa.
It was built in the 17th century on a small slope next to the river of the same name. The location turned out to be extremely successful, because from the observation towers everything that happened near the coast of the Arabian Sea was visible.
Today, Tiracol has been turned into a fashionable hotel. Here you can see ancient lanterns, chests and even spears. And in the inner courtyard is the church of St. Andrew.
Night market in Arpora
The market, which operates only at night from Saturday to Sunday, attracts a huge number of visitors, most of whom are Europeans. This is a well-known party place in Goa, where a large number of entertainment venues are concentrated.
The entire area of the bazaar is divided into three parts: the upper one sells clothes, accessories and various Indian fabrics. In the center there are cafes where you can relax, drink wine and other strong drinks. In the lower market there are entertainment bars and restaurants, fire shows are often held.
Naval Aviation Museum
Located right outside the Dabolim airport. The area of the museum is vast — a large number of airliners are located in its courtyard, many of which were manufactured in the last century.
The museum was opened in the late 90s. Then his collection consisted of only 6 exhibits. Today, among the most valuable aircraft carriers were: French Alize, Lockheed Superconstellation, Vampire, Sea Hawk, Sea Harrier fighters and others.
Fontaines quarter in Panaji
Fontaines Old Quarter is one of the most popular in the capital. It has become such thanks to its small streets that resemble European courtyards, as well as the most beautiful alleys and houses painted in different colors.
The quarter was founded 200 years ago — at a time when Panaji was considered the capital of Goa. At the same time, immigrants from Portugal began to actively populate this place, so today it is so reminiscent of a Portuguese town. The name Fonteynes is translated as “quarter of fountains”. Indeed, there are many sources that provide local residents with fresh water.
Fragrant plantations where spices grow are a real highlight not only of Goa, but of the whole of India. You should definitely see with your own eyes how vanilla, cloves, cardamom grow, as well as try local exotic dishes generously seasoned with fragrant herbs.
The main thing is to be able to stop at one plantation, since there are a great many scattered throughout the state. Interestingly, in addition to herbs and spices in Goa, you can see how pineapples, cashews, coconut and papaya grow.