Without a doubt North Goa is a paradise for Sundowners. Home to some really pretty beaches and peace giving places of worship, North Goa is an essential part of the Goa holiday experience. There is so much that one can indulge into while at this part of the beautiful state that one may never wish to go home. Nature lovers can choose from variety of places to call their nest, whereas the adventure seekers can freely sway from here to there as vivid water sports await them. Romantic couples can find their moments in the backwaters and isolated places, whereas Amigos can hangout together in coolest shacks and groove to some awesome music. Gastronomists can relish the delectable food and the solitude seekers can choose a lonely cliff with a view for themselves. The region offers something for everyone and most of all a queer peace of mind that is rare to find anywhere else.
Aguada Beach in North Goa is a popular tourist attraction. Catching the eyes of the beach lovers, the beach’s highlight is the fort that stands on a cliff that faces the Aguada beach. Pristine and calm, Aguada beach is perfect to enjoy evening strolls and witness the sun setting down. One can enjoy variety of watersports here along with hanging out in cafes, getting a massage and shopping for a range of items. Aguada resort that is perched over the cliff is a popular hotel complex and has kept a partial portion of the beach for its guests. An ideal way to enjoy and explore the beach and the rich history of the fort here would be to check yourself in the Aguada resort.
Baga beach is another popular place to visit in North Goa. The beach is located at the end of the stretch Calangute beach. Baga is a bustling beach as it gives visitors lot to enjoy and experience. An unbroken line of shacks overlook rows of sun beds that further overlook a jagged line of motorboats often attached to the paragliders; this is an ideal view of the beach in the daytime. Whereas, the nights at Baga are seductive in its own way, with some really crowd that is mostly comprised of fun loving individuals that enjoy drinking and dancing to some cool music, the beach seems to come alive. There are several restaurants and bars at Baga and each one is swarming with crowd every night.
Calangute is the contiguous beach of Baga, for the record not even the locals know the separation point of the two beaches. Where Baga is reckoned to be slightly more picturesque, Calangute beach is an adventurist getaway. Apart from the fancy crowd that the beach gets covered with, it is more famous for its range of restaurants that serves the scrumptious seafood. A beautiful sunset can surely be expected here; also the makeshift market at a distant corner can woo the visitors here.
Goa State Museum is the state’s archaeology museum. Throwing light on the rich history and culture of Goa, this museum is one of the well-maintained places in the state. The museum has fairly a large collection that includes eight thousand relics like rock statues, wood made items, bronzes, artwork, manuscripts, unusual silver coins, numismatic selection, and anthropological collection. There are various Hindu as well as Jain relics and scriptures as well. It is indeed one of the best places to see in Goa and once you explore it completely you’ll find out why.
Built in 1617, Chapora Fort was the watch post of the border. Today, the fort lies in ruins; however, it is an incredible vantage point and offers a gorgeous view of Vagator and Anjuna beaches. Though the fort is in ruins today but one can still see the two tunnels which served as emergency escape for the Portuguese. The Portuguese are believed to have ruled over Chapora Fort for more than 150 years. For visitors, this fort that lie in ruins is a great backdrop for photographs and the view from here is undoubtedly scenic.
Situated on the suburbs of Panaji, Dona Paula is a popular tourist place in Goa. It is recognized as the home of National Institute of Oceanography. Infact, it is a hub for numerous accommodation options in Goa. It is a hammered shaped land that divides the estuaries of Zuari and Mondovi River. The Dona Paula monument is located on a small islet, which is connected with the mainland by a small bridge and a quay. Also on the islet is the Belvedere, which is a Greco – Roman type of structure, from where one can view the Arabian Sea and the River Zuari. Dona Paula has a beautiful stretch of sea that remains crowded; however during the monsoon the stretch is calm and becomes a lovely haunt for romance.
Reckoned to be one of the largest temples in Goa, Mangueshi shrine is situated in Mangueshi Village in Priol. The main deity in the temple is that of God Mangesh, who is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Mangueshi Temple is 450-year-old that stands out with for its simple and yet exquisitely elegant structure. The temple consists of several domes and balustrades. There even seats a prominent Nandi Bull and a beautiful seven-story deepstambha (lamp tower), stands inside the temple complex. The temple also has a magnificent water tank, which is believed to be the oldest part of the temple. There is a spacious assembly hall which can accommodate 500 people at a time. Chandeliers of the nineteenth century adorn the temple. The annual festivals including Rama Navami, Akshaya Tritiya, Anant Vritotsava, Navaratri, Dussera, Diwali, Magha Poornima Festival (Jatrotsav) and Mahashivratri. Magha Poornima Festival begins on Magha Shukla Saptami and ends on Magha Poornima are celebrated in the temple with much pomp and show.
Built in 1541, this is reckoned to be the first church in Goa. Seeing a complete renovation in 1619, The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is a riot of heavy ornamentation. Believed to be a fine example of relatively simple architecture, the church still boasts of two flanking altars that on the left dedicated to Jesus Crucified and the right one dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary. A great deal of carvings can be seen on each side of the marble statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. The main altar is that St. Francis Xavier; his glass encased statue is positioned centrally on the reredos. A large number of visitors come to visit this place of worship in Goa and indeed you should visit this religious place to witness some excellent architecture.
Situated in Panjim, Kala Academy is a fine acting institute in Goa. It is in a way a cultural heritage of the state that has produced a large number of artists that excel in the field of art and culture. The Academy is an apex body to develop Music, Dance, Drama, Fine Art, Folk Art, Literature etc. and to promote cultural unity of Goa. It has a distinctive character of imparting training, also on regular basis festivals, competitions, exhibitions, workshops, seminars, discussions and debates, performances and other activities for preservation of traditional art forms are organized here. One can visit the State Art Exhibition and also can see performances that happen every now and then here.
Situated in Sanquelim, Arvalem Waterfalls is one of the most beautiful pieces of nature that one can enjoy in Goa. The fall is located at a short distance from Bicholim. Arvalem also known as Harvalem comes to life in the monsoon season. It drops down from the height of 50m and offers quite a view to relish. Visitors can also explore the nearby Arvalem caves as well as Rudreshwar temple. The best way to reach here is by taking a taxi or on foot.
One of the ideal ways to enjoy holidays in Goa is sail in the houseboat on the backwaters of Chapora River. By taking the houseboat, one can enjoy the rustic charms of Goa. Watch the traditional fishermen catch fish in their dug out wooden canoes and see the beautiful swaying coconut and palm trees fringing the water body, offering an ideal site that any nature lover would adore. The backwaters of Goa are truly scenic and thus are a must visit. One can choose to hire a boat for a day and enjoy the sail, also there are options to stay in the houseboats and relish some quality time with a loved one.
Anjuna Beach Flea Market is a small carnival in itself. Held every Wednesday, this market is visited by expats to Indian tourists to locals alike! A happening flea market, where one can find lot of activities till late night. The market evolved in the 1960s, when hippies headed to Anjuna for trance music and parties. Initially, the market was more like a garage sale, where hippies would sell stuff in a bid to earn some extra money. However, the current market is no less than a fashion street, where one can find great souvenirs, fashionable clothes and lovely artifacts. Food stalls are also the part of the market as well, where one can enjoy some authentic Goan food.
Apart from its above mentioned waterfalls (Aravalem), Bicholim is altogether a tourist destination for sure. Undoubtedly scenic, it boasts of a beautiful lake called Mayem and the vast countryside that is dotted with cashew trees. It also has some historic Hindu temples like Saptakoteshwar temple and one of the oldest mosques in Goa. Mayem Lake is located in east of the market town of Mapusa, it is amidst the unspoilt countryside full of sleepy villages. The lake sits on wooded shores in low hills and is rich in birdlife. The distinct places here are the open cast iron ore mines that add to the already distinguished features of Goa. There best way to visit Bicholim is by taking a ferry route from Ribander to Chorao with Madel being the place for landing.
Probably one of the most happening shacks in Goa, Curlies is a great place to visit if you are itself in North Goa. Located on Anjuna beach strip, Curlies has become one of the prominent landmarks in Goa. What started as a beach shack, Curlies is now a two floor complex with restaurants, bars, internet café, sea view veranda, tea house, indoor club that can host up to 500 people. Various water-sport and other activities like the parasailing, kayaking banana boat ride, dolphin trip, fishing trip, Grand Island trips are also conducted from the Curlies Shack. And ofcourse the mouth watering seafood, cheap beer and excellent music are the reason why you must visit Curlies in Goa.
Mapusa is believed to be the largest town in northern Goa. Like other major towns, Mapusa is a hub for travellers and locals alike. One has to cross Mapusa in order to visit number of places in northern Goa, whereas the local crowd is seen visiting this place due to its weekly Friday market. The place does not have many tourist attractions but it has a fair number of places of worship and few monuments that are worth visiting. The most famous places here are Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Sansthan, Church of Our Lady of Miracles, Maruti Temple and Colonial era Municipal Building.
Arambol Beach has always stayed a place of interest in northern Goa. A paradise for budget stayers, Arambol is often recalled as the home to hippie. However, this cool place has seen changes in terms of the crowd and people who wish to stay here over the year but one thing has remained permanent and that is the uber vibe of this place. The beach is often crowded with some cool people who are seen performing something or the other in the evening. Even the lodging stays relatively cheap and that’s why Arambol stays top of the list of places to visit in Goa for all kinds of travellers. Staying here or not is completely one’s wish; however spending a lively evening here is a must!
Vagator is located about 22 Kms from Panaji in Bardez taluka. The beach stretches about 30kms along Arabian Sea. During the tourist season, Vagotor becomes the favorite venue for mid night parties in Goa. Large groups of long-stay backpackers and party people religiously set up camp here for months every season. The beach has red cliffs that are indeed a distinct mark in the beauty of the place. The beach is fairly divided into parts, if you face the sea, the part on your right is called North Vagator Beach or Big Vagator and the left side is known as Ozran Beach or Little Vagator Beach. Famed for its rave culture, this beach is one of the prettiest beaches in northern Goa and thus makes an ideal place to visit.
Reckoned to be one of the best kept secrets of North Goa, Mandrem Beach is a must visit for solitude seekers. The beach is situated about 21kms from Panaji and is divided into two parts; one is called Junas and the other Ashvem. Laid back and languid, Mandrem Beach is ideal for yoga, meditation and ayurveda practices and this is what makes this place unlike others. It is absolutely a place to find the true bliss. Most accommodation, dining and alternative therapy options can be found along the narrow beach-access road, or on the scintillating sands themselves.
Panaji is probably one of mist laidback capitals in India. Overlooking the Mandovi River, Panaji is a perfect place to see the vivid reflections from the culture and traditions of Goa. It is one of those places where the maximum Portuguese influence can be witness. Its old Latin Quarter still offer a glance of Portuguese lifestyle, it is during the daylight the houses glow yellow and their purple doors compliment them. The ochre-coloured mansions with terracotta-tiled roofs, wrought iron balconies and arched oyster-shell windows add more charm to this capital city. Panaji is a one of the best places in Goa to enjoy solitude, peace of mind and culture as unlike any other capital in India it is free from the maddening rush, the polluted air and the hustle and bustle. A day or two in Panaji is mandatory for good Goa vacation experience.
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