Goa
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What’s Great about Goa…..

Located on the western peninsula and known as well for its beaches as it is for its shopping, churches, festivals and nightlife.  There is so much to love about Goa.  Read on and find out why we love it so much…

Shopping

Being a major tourist hub, Goa boasts plenty of shopping options.  There is no shortage of shopping malls.  However if you looking for authentic shopping experience, make sure you get along to Goas markets.  Here are our top 3 must stop markets:

  1. Mapusa Market

This market is spread over a large area. It closes by sunset so make sure you’ve got plenty of time and you have your comfy shoes are on.  At Mapusa you’ll find antiques, textiles, traditional handicrafts, Goan pottery as well as  spices, fruits, homemade pickles, sausages and so much more.  This market attracts local vendors and traders from all over Goa where they come to haggle for clothes and everyday items.  Not only will you find unique and well-priced souveneirs but you’ll also get to observe everyday life of locals.

  1. Saturday Night Bazaar at Arpora

When planning your trip to Goa, be sure you’ve scheduled to be there on a Saturday night. The Night Bazaar at Arpora offers hard to find handicrafts that are slightly more expensive.  However, Vendors offer great deals and a large variety of kiosks offering everything from spices to carpets, hammocks to clothing, textiles to accessories.  This market attracts mostly foreigners looking to explore the heritage and culture of Goa.

  1. Anjuna Flea Market

Held every Wednesday in the beach town of Anjuna in North Goa, this market is known as one of the liveliest in Goa.  With its wide variety of products on offer, there is plenty of opportunity to practise your haggling and secure a bargain. This colourful market offers an abundance of local handicrafts, spices, clothes footewear, beach wear, artificial jewellery and accessories.

Churches

When the British ruled India, Goa was a tiny enclave ruled by the Portuguese.  On December 19th, 1961 the Portuguese were unceremoniously kicked out by the Indian army.  What was left behind from this time in history were the beautiful Churches and houses scattered across Goa.  If you are looking to take in some history, be prepared to marvel at the following 3 places of worship:

  1. Se Cathedral

Se Cathedral is one of the largest Churches in Asia and is dedicated to St. Catherine.  The Cathedral took almost 80 years to build.  Legend has it that the Golden bell of this Cathedral could be heard all over Goa.  When you visit the Cathedral, take a close look at the 14 alters inside.  You will see each is more intricately carved than the next.

  1. Bom Jesus Basilica

This Basilica is significant to the Goans as it holds the mortal remains of one of the patron Saints of Goa – St. Francis Xavier.  Francis Xavier died on board a ship and his body take to Malacca.  It was later decided that he should be buried in Goa.  On arrival of his body in Goa, more than 2 years afer his death, people noticed that Francis Xaviers body hadn’t decomposed.  The Church deemed this to be a miracle and St. Francis Xaviers body is put on display to the public every 10 years (next being 2024).  A silver casket designed in the 17th Century holds the remains of this Saint.

  1. Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

Located in Goas Capital City, Panaji, this is one of the oldest Churches in Goa.  The Church was originally built to welcome sailors home.  It towers over the City with a statue of Mother Mary at the front casting a watchful eye over its inhabitants.  This is one of the most beautifully preserved Churches and is used even today with devout Catholics stopping by to pray en route to work.

Festivals

Goa is famous for its lively and alluring festival scene.  The calendar of events is both long and popular with locals and visitors enjoying the celebrations. Combine the sun, sea, sand, colour, culture, music, dance and food and you’ve got the perfect festival destination.  We recommend checking out these 3 festivals in Goa…

  1. Goa Carnival

Goa Carnival is one of the biggest annual festivals in Goa. Every February the festival celebrates the beginning of Lent.  This four-day festival is a cultural extravaganza. See colourful floats, feasts, live music, dance, fire and acrobatic performances, sports competitions, fancy dress parades, and loads of other fun activities that showcases Goa, it’s culture and it’s traditions.

  1. Sunburn Festival

This is India’s biggest Electronic Dance Music Festival attracting over 350,000 people and hundreds of artists every year.  The festival is a 3 day dance party in the hills of Pune.  You can expect spectacular performances by some of the greatest names in electric music including martin Garrix, Hardwell, David Guetta and Armin van Buuren.

  1. Vasco Saptah Festival

Vasco Saptah is an annual festival of seven-days in length.  It is held in the Vasco region of south Goa and reveres Lord Damodar, an avatar of Shiva.  Shiva is believed to have saved Vasco from a severe epidemic in the late 19th century. Highlights of the festival include cultural and religious programmes, fairs and makeshift stalls selling everything from food and household items to clothes and accessories.  This is an annual festival that is held in late July – early August.

Beaches

With all your sightseeing, shopping and festive celebrations, it’s only right that we finish with our top picks of Goas famous beaches.  Make some time to relax on some of Goas most beautiful beaches…

  1. Cavelossim Beach

Cavelossim Beach is known for its contrasting black rocks and white sand.  It’s a peaceful beach that is perfect for relaxing, swimming or for taking a boat trip to see Dolphins or trying out a whole range of water activities.

  1. Palolem Beach

Known as one of Goas most beautiful beaches, a thick forest of coconut palms lines this idyllic spot.  The semi-circled shaped beach boasts calm waters and white powdery sand.  Its bamboo beach huts and picture-perfect setting has an unparalleled natural serenity.

  1. Arambol Beach

Arambol is hands down one of the best beaches in Goa. 16 km in length this unexplored beach is surrounded by cliffs on two sides and has a Fresh Water Lake nearby.  This cove like beach is a traditional fisherman village with bohemian feel that attracts many international tourists and alternative travellers.

Be sure to allow yourself enough time to take advantage of all that’s on offer.  There are so many things to see and do… We think Goa is great and after making your way through the above, we’re confident you will too!

References:  Thank you Tour My India, Goan Village, Make my Trip, The Orange Mango, Holidify, Culture Trip
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