- | -view more Courtesy: WeatherBug
Fixed Holiday Packages
- Rs. 25999Ladakh Packages with Return Flights from Delhi
- Rs. 14999Himachal packages for 7 days with transport from Delhi
- Rs. 19999Chardham Yatra with transport from Delhi and all meals
- Rs. 15999Uttrakhand Holiday for 8 days with transport from Delhi
- Rs. 77777Kailash Mansarovar Yatra - Avail Rs 10,000 off
Renowned for its party scene – sun, sand and psychedelia form a big part of the Goan experience for most tourists. With sunny, palm-fringed beaches bordered by the endless blue of the Arabian Sea, the allure of Goa is hard to resist. The architectural splendor of its churches, temples and quaint white houses blend harmoniously with the beach scenery. Backpackers, honeymooners, holidaymakers...everyone has a reason to experience the Goan way of life. Its many beaches are ideal to simply stretch back and catch a tan or try out some water sports or indulge in rave parties. It, quite simply, is a one-stop beach destination.
Goa formed a part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. Later it was ruled by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur. About 2000 years ago, Goa was ruled by the Chalukya Dynasty between 580 to 750. And the following few centuries, Goa was successively ruled by the Silharas, the Kadambas and the Chalukyas of Kalyani, rulers of Deccan India.
The beach state fell under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate in 1312, but the kingdom failed to control the region for long, which lead to its subsequent surrender to Harihara I of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1370. The Vijayanagara kings ruled Goa until 1469, when it was usurped by the Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga. After the fall of the dynasty, the region fell to the hands of the Adil Shah of Bijapur who built as their auxiliary capital the city known under the Portuguese as Velha Goa (or Old Goa). Goa flourished during the reign of the Bahmani sultans especially that of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They were peace loving rulers who patronized local craftsmen, build beautiful houses and fortified Goa. However, their liberal and progressive rule was not to last long, and the scene changed in 1510.
Primary reason for King Dom Manuel I’s sending Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque with a powerful fleet in 1503, was to defend the cargoes of species mostly pepper against Arab raiders. The Portuguese in 1510 defeated the ruling Bijapur kings with the support of a local ally, Timayya, and established their permanent settlement in Velha Goa. Though, Goa was not on their radar even after a long time of their presence in India. The Portuguese propagated the spread of Christianity, often with repressive measures such as the Goan Inquisition, leading to a significant population converting to Christianity. This was followed by repeated wars of the Portuguese with the Marathas and the Deccan Sultanate, along with their repressive religious policies which led to the exodus of Goans to neighboring states.
The capital was moved from Velha Goa to Panjim in 1843, and by mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded to most of Goa’s present day state limits. Around then the Portuguese lost other possessions in India until their borders stabilized and formed the Estado da India Portuguesa of which Goa was the largest territory. Even after India gained independence from British rule in 1947, Portugal continued to negotiate with India on the transfer of sovereignty of their Indian colonies. Finally on 12 December 1961, the Indian army commenced with Operation Vijay leading to the annexation of Goa, Daman and Diu into the Indian union. The Union Territory was split on 30 May 1987, with Goa rising to the position of India’s twenty-fifth state, Daman and Diu staying Union Territories.
There are no signboards in many quarters of Goa, many of the existing ones are either illegible or have fallen apart. So making your way could be a challenge, especially after dusk. If you are stuck somewhere you can always ask the locals who are usually friendly and helpful. It is advisable not to over speed in Goa, though the roads are arguably far better than they are in the other parts of the country. It is ideal to keep a top speed of 60-70 kmph, slowing down to 40 kmph on minor roads. Goan roads are full of surprises; expect animals and little kids darting across, not to mention unmarked speed breakers.
A popular mode of transport to move around locally is Honda Activa, a non-geared scooter which is quite easy to ride. You can even rent a geared motorbike including the popular Royal Enfield. Tourists who stay longer hire motorbikes from rental companies. You can expect to spend around Rs 250 a day on a scooter and little more if you are looking for a geared motorcycle.
If you are a bigger group, the best way to explore Goa is by renting a jeep. A lot of these jeeps have open roof, which is a better way to enjoy the Goan sun and breeze, as opposed to a regular sedan. You can expect to spend between Rs 700 to Rs 800 a day for such jeeps. The state bus service can be availed for traveling from one beach to another. Typically, a bus ride costs anywhere from Rs 5 upwards, besides fares for longer distances are usually displayed inside the bus, behind the driver’s seat. Remember, fares are not collected at the bus door, but rather after you have entered and the bus has begun to move. To cover a distance of 30-40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) by bus, expect to spend Rs 10-15.
The most comfortable way to explore Goa is by car. There are many car rental companies around providing world class service.
Tourist Traps in the City
Goa, an idyllic sun-and-sand getaway, is a wonderful holiday destination especially in the winter months of December and January. As you get into the holiday mood, it is necessary to be mindful of a few unwanted elements that are an inexplicable part of Goa’s beach atmosphere. The sight of foreign tourists makes most hawkers move in for the kill. The prices they quote are mostly exorbitant and they keep pestering until you purchase something from them. Don’t let them come close to your bag, as something might invariably find its way into their bag when they leave. A firm ‘no’ is enough to discourage them, considering you do not engage in any conversation with them.
While strolling the beach, in all probability you will meet this curious character who claims to be a professional ear doctor. He stops you, produces a card, and promises you a great ear treatment. If you believe him and ask him to work on your ears, he might simply clean your ear with a cotton bud and produce some stones saying he pulled them out of your ear! It is hilarious as much as obnoxious. Do not waste any money in getting such a treatment. If buying anything from a hawker, make sure you negotiate the rate as there is a tendency to over charge. You could be rudely interrupted by beggars or touts while relaxing on the beach and enjoying the sun. Always take care of your belongings, and abstain from carrying around too much cash.
More often than not you will spot little kids offering to polish your shoes, even if you are wearing white flip flops! The worst of the lot are the masseurs offering a therapy on the beach for an earth-shattering rate, especially to foreigners. Such massages can sometimes be more harmful than relaxing, and you can’t ever be sure if the guy is qualified. If you want to get a massage done, visit a proper Ayurveda massage centre scattered all around Goa. While traveling in train beware of pick-pockets. Women should avoid strolling by the beach alone at night, and if you must, make sure you have a companion.
Steer clear of small time jewelry stores that sometimes trap tourists by first quoting a higher price, and if the shopper negotiates and doesn’t buy the product, he is harassed into buying something at least. If you wish to shop for jewelry, go to reputed big stores that have courteous staff. Also be warned of the 'timeshare crew', who ride up their motorbikes to you and inform that you have just won a lottery. Such people get paid rather well for enticing holidaymakers to their venue. In order to avoid this, a polite “no thank you” is enough to send them on their way.
Goa is an international holiday destination, and has a fairly liberal outlook owing to its history and diverse cultural influences. Couples can have their privacy without grabbing any eyeball. You can travel around in any outfit you feel comfortable. But avoid wearing revealing clothes when using the public transport and visiting crowded public areas or sightseeing attractions. Prefer to dress appropriately while visiting a temple or church.
Goa has lots to offer in terms of shopping, from wines to cashew nuts, Goan trance music, books, to handicraft, the array is diverse. Goan handicrafts are somehow underrated and under-appreciated even while being reasonably priced. Of local handicraft, you can shop from a range of carved furniture, china, pottery, brassware, crochet, shell artifacts and antique silver jewelry.
The area around Cavelossim Beach in South Goa is famous for its night market offering an eclectic variety of Goan souvenirs such as clothes, handicraft, silver jewelry, wood carvings, music and antiques among others. Besides, there are many night markets in North Goa selling an amazing variety of global items. 18th June Road in Panjim is also coming up in a big way as a shopper’s paradise. Mapusa attracts a number of tourists, especially foreigners to its traditional market each Friday. Don’t forget to shop for traditional Goan lacquer ware toys available at the Aparant emporia. Some popular bookstores are Broadways Book Centre on 18th June Road (near Caculo Traffic Island), Confidant's Golden Heart Emporium in Margao (2732450), Mandovi Square near Cine Nacional (2234241), and Varsha Book Stall (2425832) near the Bank of India and Azad Maidan. The last two focus on newspapers and magazines coming in from the rest of the country and outside. You can even try out ‘Reading Habit’, at Campal on the way to Miramar Beach.
Artisans in Goa turn out some wonderful hand-painted ceramics. These colorful, intricately designed ceramics are unique to this part of the country, and hence popular with souvenir shoppers. Furniture and antiques are just as popular. Interestingly, medical services in Goa too receive a lot of foreign clients. There are a number of outlets that offer a form of health tourism such as Dr Pimenta's Dental Practice at Romano Chambers (near the Old Petrol Pump in Calangute) and Lake Plaza near Nehru Stadium in Margao.
Goa has a network of state-run handicraft emporiums selling genuine artifacts including shell-work, clay, papier mache, bamboo and coconut fiber souvenirs. Such outlets are, besides four in Panjim, located at Vasco da Gama (on Swatantra Path, at the Vasco Residency) and at the local GTDC-run residency hotels in Margao, Mapusa, Calangute, the Bicholim Pottery Production Centre at the Industrial Estate, and at Loutolim's Big Foot. Most of the Aparant outlets are open between 1000 to 1800 hours depending on their location.
You will come across some interesting souvenirs of dry coconut and coconut-shells carved, often designed to fit on a wooden base. In addition to some traditional, handmade table lamps, flower pots, table clocks, religious statues and showpieces, beautiful designs and shapes are created of cotton thread in an artistic way with the crochet steel hook. Traditional clay art - in the form of vases, ash-trays and idols of deities - is a skill honed over generations in Goa. Ditto with bamboo artifacts.
Shop for clothes at ‘Just Casuals’ that houses a great collection of garments exported from India, you never know which brand you might find here, besides the prices are a steal. This is located at Navelcar Trade Centre in Panjim (Tel. 2226666).
Phones :Cell phone rates are one of the cheapest in the world.
There are four GSM service providers:
* BSNL  GSM Triband
* Airtel  GSM Triband
* Vodafone  GSM Triband
* Idea GSM Triband
CDMA service providers are
* Reliance Communications
* Tata Indicom
Internet: There are several internet cafes / Cyber Cafes from where you can access the Internet for sending email or uploading your digital photos.
* Reliance world offers you broadband connectivity at many locations across the city.
* Sify iway also offers broadband connectivity at different locations spread all over the city.
Goa is served by almost all television channels available in the country. Doordarshan or DD1, the national television broadcaster, has two free terrestrial channels on air. DTH (Direct to Home) television services are available from Dish TV, Tata Sky and DD Direct Plus. The All India Radio is the only radio channel in the state broadcasting in both FM and AM bands. Two AM channels are broadcast, the primary channel at 1287 kHz and the Vividh Bharati channel at 1539 kHz. AIR's FM channel called FM Rainbow, is broadcast at 105.4 MHz. Private FM radio channels available are Big FM at 92.7 MHz, Radio Mirchi at 98.3 MHz, and Radio Indigo at 91.9 MHz. There is also an educational radio channel, Gyan Vani, run by IGNOU broadcast from Panaji at 107.8 MHz.