A Guide to Goa - The Land of Allowances

1st Dec 2013
Photo of A Guide to Goa - The Land of Allowances 1/11 by Gunjan Upreti
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Relax and Unwind, Majorda
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Colors of joy at Colva
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Palm trees and the sunset
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A walk to remember
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Sinquerim Beach
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Sunset at Calangute
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The famous shacks
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Flip flops anyone?
Photo of A Guide to Goa - The Land of Allowances 11/11 by Gunjan Upreti
Fort Aguada

"A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking" - Earl Wilson.

So pack your flip-flops and head straight to Goa to witness mesmerizing beaches, swaying palms, white sands and sparkling waters. For me, Goa has that special ingredient which made me think and do the unthinkable.

Traveling is about letting go and completely being open to let days unfold as they may. In fact, you often experience the most incredible adventures when you least expect them. Goa has undoubtedly proved its mettle as the fun capital of India. Renowned for its fun-filled vibe and enjoyable culture, Goa is considered to be the best place to spend a vacation regardless the season. From party beaches with all night revelry to hidden sun-kissed coves where you won’t see another soul, Goa has something for everyone.

My Goa vacation was all about relaxing and enjoying the best of coastal India. Goa is famous for its moonlight and beach parties. These nightclubs and lounges are the major crowd puller that fascinates people from across the world. These are the best places to unwind yourself completely in the amazing environment and serves as the best destination for party lovers.

Your Goa trip would not be successful unless you indulge yourself in shopping. Goa offers visitors a myriad of opportunities to shop, ranging from top end boutiques that offer exclusive knick-knacks, exotic silks, embroidered products, handicrafts and antiques to the popular weekly flea markets on various beaches, with pleasant and affordable shopping experience. In between these are delightful little shops some that are no more than a hole in the wall, but stock up some unique stuff.

Justifiably tagged as the ‘ Paradise Beach', Palolem is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Goa. Because the beach is not extravagant in terms of size, it is easy to explore on foot. However, mopeds and bicycles are available for hire on the main street. It offers both relaxation and adventure. Palolem also has a market just behind the beach that sells jewelry, clothes, and souvenirs. For my entire south Goa trip, I stayed at The Fern Gardenia Resort at Palolem Beach.

Photo of Palolem Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

Margao or popularly know as Madgaon is 36km away from Palolem beach and has many sights and destinations. These include the 'Closed' Market called, in the Portuguese language, Mercado de Afonso de Albuquerque, the municipal building, the municipal garden, Anna Fonte, Old Market or Mercado Velho, Holy Spirit Church and the grand colonial mansions.

Photo of Margao, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

As a result of my interaction with the locals I got to know that in the colonial days Colva beach used to be the resting area for Margao's high society, who would visit Colva for their "Mundanca" or change of air. Colva's nightlife is livelier and vibrant than anywhere else in south Goa. The beachfront is a collection of concrete hotels, souvenir stalls and fly blown snack bars strewn around a central roundabout. You can hire jet skis, indulge in beach sports, swimming and sunbathing in the specified zones.

Photo of Colva Beach, South Goa, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

The sands of Majorda are not as white as those of Colva. It is a quiet and calm beach that is not as crowded. Its one of those recreational beaches where people relax under beach umbrellas and recline on pool chairs. If you are on the lookout for a beach where you can enjoy the sea and read a book, this is your destination.

Photo of Majorda Beach, Majorda, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

A theme park called ancestral Goa has been built in Loutolim also called 'big foot'. This place also gives visitors a glance of a sight other than beaches, churches and temples which Goa is famous for and imparts a culture based education about the roots and heritage of Goa.

Photo of Ancestral Goa, Loutolim, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

The Seminary once housed the famous Museum of Christian Art, containing church artifacts collected from all over Goa. The green way that leads to the seminary is beautiful beyond explanation. Every corridor of the Rachol Seminary is furnished with paintings which speak volumes about the rich history.

Photo of Rachol Seminary, Rachol, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

One of the most exquisite waterfalls, the Dudhsagar waterfalls is located in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary at Collem in South Goa in the Western Ghats. The site is very popular for trekking and hiking, the fall overlooks a steep, crescent-shaped edge of a valley covered with beautiful tropical forest.

Photo of Dudhsagar Water Falls, Sonaulim, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

After exploring the calmness of South Goa, I went ahead to witness the madness of North Goa. My first spot Fort Aguada is possibly the largest and the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. A very interesting thing about the fort is a 13 metre high lighthouse, which looks down over the vast expanse of sea, sand and palm tress. It’s definitely worth visiting!

Photo of Fort Aguada, Candolim, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

The Sinquerim Beach is stunningly beautiful and quieter than the other beaches of Goa. The soft sand of the beach makes it the best site for evening walks. Tourists here get to enjoy the magical of the Arabian Sea. The beach is marked by a number of wooden boats, belonging to the fishermen of Goa. Fort Aguada is very closely located to Sinquerim beach.

Photo of Sinquerim Beach, Candolim, GA, India by Gunjan Upreti

There are a lot of makeshift bars and restaurants on the beachside of Candolim beach. Tourists can stop for a drink of feni - a locally brewed drink made from cashew or coconut. Candolim beach offers various water-sports activities-right from parasailing to water-skiing, wind surfing and fishing.

Photo of Candolim, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

The hip and lively nightlife of this place makes it prominent worldwide. Usually locals, hippies and foreign holidaymakers dance the night away in Calangute beach. Shacks and picturesque huts make up good choices on the beach. Several unique items like small trinkets and numerous types of handmade items are available in open market here. This beach also offers great shopping experience.

Photo of Calangute, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

In Goa it's always better to park yourself near a beach that's not just popular for it's shores but also has a buzz around it. Baga Beach tops all beaches in North Goa in that sense. Be it the Titos Lane where you can walk at night aimlessly and do enough pub hopping, to Britos at the beach where you can have a hearty meal, Baga Beach has it all. For my entire North Goa trip, I stayed at river side regency which is about a kilometer from Baga.

Photo of Baga, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

Insanely popular for its nightlife and vivacious party culture, Anjuna also offers an equally popular flea market. There are a number of parties and themed events that occur along the coastline at Curlies, UV bar among others, for a fun night out. For the foodies, the German Bakery is a great place to unwind and offers varied delicacies in meals and desserts.

Photo of Anjuna, Goa, India by Gunjan Upreti

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