is a package- tour paradise, squeezed between the seas
and the lush forested hills. It offers glistening sands, swaying
coconut palms, and ultra fresh seafood.
Luxury hotels and budget guesthouses overlook fisherman mending
their nets, and beer comes cheap and chilled. Discovered by pioneering
hippies looking for peace and love. Goa's beaches are now
filled with persistent hawkers during the day and rave parties
at night. For those intent on discovering the real India, Goa
is the best treated as a relaxing break on the southern trail.
Lavishly gifted by nature, Goa can also boast
of its rich cultural and historical heritage. It
is hardly surprising that the Portuguese who came in search of
spices in 16th century decided to put down roots in this tropical
paradise. Goa s natural boundaries, the Arabian Sea and
the Sahyadri mountains, had sheltered it from much of India's
inland turmoil, while its strategic location on the newly discovered
trade route to the East made it even more attractive.
Tucked away snugly between the hills of the Western Ghats on the
East, Arabian Sea to the West, Maharashtra s coastline to the
North, and Karnataka s coastline to the South, this tiny territory
covers 1350sq miles (3500 sq km). It provides spectacular views
with bottle green hills wooded with jackfruit, mango, and cashew
groves, cut across by river and edged by miles of sun-drenched
beaches. Warm, languid climates, and a gentle unspoilt people,
complete this compelling kaleidoscope. While the rest of the country
progressed towards the independence and the 20th century, Goa
remained a Portuguese colony, since 4 1\2 centuries of Portuguese
rule has left its imprints everywhere. Stop at a small taverna
(bar) for a drink of feni - a locally brewed drink made from cashew
or coconut, listen to the sounds of a mando (love song) and the
strains of a guitar mingling with the sensuous lapping of the
waves, or the warm golden sands of lonely, idyllic beaches. There
is a Mediterranean atmosphere in the quaint towns with their red-tiled
roofs & narrow streets and the charming fishing villages surrounded
by coconut groves.
It is easy to slip into Goa s warm effortless existence.
In Goa, Latin influence fuses with Indian color to produce
an enchanting hybrid. Goa's traditions of language, religion,
dances have remained firmly entrenched despite the end of Portuguese
rule in 1961. Goans may be Indian, but they are Goan first.
Goa's international airport is Dabolim, at a distance
of 29 km from Panaji, on the coast near Vasco Da Gama. Most domestic
airlines operate in Goa apart from chartered private airlines
operating from UK and Germany.
Goa by train is easy from Mumbai
(490 km), Bangalore
(430 km), and Delhi (1,874 km). Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka
state transport corporations operate from the Kadamba bus stand
at Panaji. Frank Shipping operates a boat service between Mumbai
and Panaji.The Konkan is a coastal strip of land bounded by the
Sahyadri hills on the east and Arabian Sea on the west. It is
a land where mythology breathes side by side with economic growth;
a land with rich mineral resources, dense forest cover, and a
landscape fringed with paddy, coconut, and mango trees.