Goa is one of those states of India to have a fascinating history. In fact, of all other things the rich history of Goa has made this smallest state of India famous and has interested historians through years. The history of Goa, which is popularly known as the beach capital of India, dates back to 3rd century BC.
It was during this time Goa became a part of Mauryan Empire. Colonial rule, glorious culture, oppressive rulers make the rich history of Goa. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Parashurama, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, after shooting an arrow into sea in order to retreat water formed Konkan, the southern part of which was known as Govarashtra, present day Goa.
During the time of the spice trade, Goa reached its Golden Age and it was this time, Old Goa became the biggest city in East that had over 300 churches and a population of 40,000 people.
During the late 18th century, the Marathas had nearly defeated the Portuguese, which met strong competition not only from the British but also from the Dutch and French.
Portuguese in Goa is however responsible only not for destruction and conversion; they have also helped the state in their architecture, cuisine and lifestyle. A number of beautiful churches, like St. Cajetan church and Bom Jesus basilica have been built during the rule of Portuguese.
Main Attraction of Goa:
Beaches in Goa
The famous Goan beaches attract tourists from all over the world. The 106 km long Konkan coast of Goa is dotted with numerous beaches divided into the north and south region of Goa. These beaches provide you with ultimate relaxation and tranquility. The beaches in North Goa cover Anjuna, Baga, Vagator, Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Morjim and Arambol beaches. Colva, Benaulim, Cavelossim, Varca, Velsao, Majorda, Betalbatim, Mobor and Betul are the beaches lying in South Goa. The Majorda beach is the largest one with a stretch of 20 kms connecting it to the Cabo de Rama. There are also massage centers, gyms, swimming pools, Internet cafes, nightclubs, etc. by the beachside.
Churches in Goa
The Church of Our Lady of Rosary on Monte Santo in Old Goa is the oldest surviving Church in Goa built in 1510 - 1550 AD. Again in old Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus; the Se Cathedral; Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception; the Church of St Cajetan; the Augustine Church of Our Lady of Grace and Rachol Seminary built in 1550 - 1660 AD belong to the Baroque period, which coincided the Renaissance period in Europe. Church of St Francis of Assisi at Old Goa, one of the famous churches of Goa was built in 1660 - 1760 AD known to be the Indian Baroque Period.
Forts in Goa
The most famous forts in Goa include the Aguada Fort, the largest Portuguese fort in Goa, built in 1609-12 to fortify Old Goa; Cabo da Rama fort associated with the epic of Ramayana where Lord Rama spent few days with Sita during his exile from Ayodhya; Chapora Fort near Mapusa, built in 1617 by the Portuguese on a Muslim site and Terekhol Fort on the Terekhol River built by Maharaja Khem Sawant Bhonsle in the 17th century.
Museums in Goa
The popular museums and art galleries in Goa are the State Archaeology Museum in Panaji opened on 29th Sept 1977 with seven galleries namely the Banerji Art Gallery, the Religious Expression
Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Western Bronzes Gallery, the Christian Art Gallery and the Cultural Anthropology Gallery. A vast collection of more than 8000 objects includes wooden objects, bronzes, paintings, anthropological objects, clay models, sculptures, manuscripts, numismatic collection etc.
Wildlife and Bird Sanctuaries in Goa
The most important must visit in Goa is the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in Chorao island along the river Mandovi. A bird-watchers' paradise for the tourists, this sanctuary has a variety of indigenous and migratory bird species. The other wildlife sanctuaries that can be visited in Goa are Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.
How to reach Goa:
How to Reach Goa by Air
Goa is finely linked with almost all major National and International tourist destinations through standard and recurrent flights. Tourists can board a flight to their desired destination from the Dabolim Airport in Goa near the town of Vasco da Gama. Many chartered flights connect Goa with United Kingdom and other European countries. Goa also offers international flights for some destinations in Gulf countries.
How to Reach Goa by Railways
Goa has commendable railway tracks, which connect it to the major metro cities of India. The Konkan railways have abridged the time period of the journey to Goa and have provided a fine link with other tourist destinations in India like Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) in Kerala.
How to Reach Goa by Road
Goa has an elaborate network of roadways, which connect it with major metropolitan cities in India like Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai, through the intricate network of National Highways (NH - 4A, NH -17 and NH -17A). The bus services are frequent and easily available. They are either owned by the state (run by the Kadamba Transport Corporation), or owned privately by tourist companies or are run by the Transport Corporations of neighboring states. The buses that operate on these routes connect Mumbai, Hubli, Pune, Belgaum, Bangalore and Mangalore with Goa. The tourists can choose from a variety of buses ranging from economic to semi-sleeper and sleeper coaches to deluxe Air-conditioned buses.
How to Reach Goa by Sea
A significant range of Cruises is available which operates between Mumbai and Panaji thus covering the complete Konkan shoreline. These cruises offer the tourists a close and spectacular vision of the Konkan coastline, which is dotted with beautiful palm trees. A new cruise, which was introduced in December 2003, plies thrice a week from Mumbai to Panaji. However, it is closed temporarily during the monsoons because of rough weather and uncertain behavior of the sea.