Places to visit in Goa are not restricted to the Beaches only. The places to visit in Goa are many with ancient places of historic importance. The appeal that Goa has is to a large extent similar to everything that is associated with the province, exotic and yet refreshing. Whether it is whitewashed churches or quaint fishing villages, Goa has a bit of everything for everyone. Among her many appeals are small, picturesque towns which constitute the major portions of the places to visit in Goa. These include:
Panaji: The capital of Goa and headquarters of North Goa District, a small a charming city on the left bank of silvery Mandovi River, with beautiful red-roofed houses, built in Latin style, also boasts of many modern houses, well laid garden, statues and avenue’s lined with Gulmohar, Acassia and other trees. Enchantit panorama unfolds from atop Altinho (Hill Top)
Old Goa / Velha Goa
It is one of the important regions of Goa due to its historical significance. It was the former capital of Goa under the Portuguese regime. It is an UNESCO declared World Heritage site due to its Renaissance architecture which can be still witnessed in the monuments and churches of the region. It is at a distance of nine km east of Panaji. Having a few grand churches and cathedrals which are among the largest in Asia. Old buildings have been turned into museums and are maintained by the Archaeological survey of India. A few other monuments in Old Goa are the Viceroy’s Arch, Gate of Adil Shah’s Palace, Chapel of St Anthony, Chapel of St Catherine, and the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Velha Goa rose as the second capital of the Bijapur Kingdom though all that remains of that era today are pieces of the Gateway, part of the wall that surrounded the Sultan’s palace. The Portuguese colonization of Goa with Alfonso de Albuquerque’s victory over the Sultan’s forces also began here. It then served as the Portuguese capital of Goa until 1843 and from the mid 16th century onwards, the Christian Doctrine began to be spread from here by St. Francis Xavier.
Basilica Of Bom Jesus : Acknowledged as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Basilica Of Bom Jesus is as sacred as it is beautiful. One of the oldest churches in Goa, it has the mortal relics of Saint Francis Xavier and its baroque architecture is a splendid art to behold. The marble floor, inlaid with precious stones, the elaborated gilded altars, and the paintings from St. Xavier’s life, all make it one of the frequently visited place in Goa.
Dona Paula Beach : With its aura of romance and myth, the Dona Paula Beach is thronged by tourists not only in search of their deceased beloved, but also to indulge in water sports on the clear waters. The beach is named after Dona Paula de Menezes, the daughter of a viceroy who threw herself off the cliff when refused permission to marry a local fisherman named Gaspar Dias. The Dona Paula Sports Club provides facilities for cycling, motorboat rides, water-scooter, windsurfing, toboggan, ski-biscuit, toboggan, water-skiing, parasailing, skibob, sports fishing, snorkelling, harpoon fishing, yachting, and kayaking on the beach.
Mapusa : The name Mapusa is derived from the Konkani term, maap, which means measure and sa which means fill up. Mapusa is the third largest city in the state of Goa and has a history of its own. Mapusa was a well developed gaunkari or community farming system. Bodhgeshwar Temple is the temple where your wishes are fulfilled. The local goan’s have great faith in this temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Bodhgeshwar who sat below a banyan tree and solved the problems of the people who came in. The Church of Our Lady of Miracles which is also known as St Jerome’s Church, located on St Jerome’s road. It is an ancient church dating back to 1594. It was during this year that the church was first built. Thereafter, it was reconstructed a number of times. The church has some interesting architectural elements to grasp your attention like the gabled facade. However, the popularity of the church is more because of its feasts.
Vasco-da-Gama: It is 30 kms. from Panaji. A modem, well laid out city close to Mormugs Harbour, has beautiful and extensive avenues. The air terminus of Goa at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city. It is also the railway terminus for passenger service in the South Central Railway.
Ponda : Image source : http://www.flickr.com/photos/zolivier/4048073568 By Zolivier Antruz, the inspired name of the Ponda subdivision, was the redoubt where the Hindus, displaced by the Portuguese from the coast, barricaded themselves between rivers and hills to hold their sway. Here they preserved their culture and further enriched it. From this area came Kesarbai Kerkar, one of India’s greatest singers; as also Dinanath Mangeshkar, the father of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle; and such other singers as Jitendra Abisheki, Mogubai Kurdikar-a great singer herself and the mother of the incomparable Kishori Amonkar. The area has several Hindu temples such as Sri Ganapati Temple and Mahalaxmi Temple.
Velhas Conquistas : Also called “Old Conquests” as they were incorporated into Portuguese-India in 16th Century, are the 4 administrative districts in Goa, Tiswadi, Bardez, Mormugao and Salcette. They are the most developed areas of Goa and are highly appreciated for their Goa- Portuguese style architecture.
Calangute Beach : is situated some 15 km north of Panaji. This is a 7-km-long beach and the scenic natural beauty of the peaceful coastal countryside has turned this beach into one of the most popular destinations in the world. The real discovery of this beach was done by the Hippies who loved its pristine surroundings and blissful serenity and golden sands. They spread the word around and the beach saw hordes of European tourists coming. Tourists even now trudge down the dusty, weather-beaten roads in search of that idyllic coastal Goa.
Chapora Fort : An old and dilapidated fort, along the coast of Chapora River, which was earlier used for defensive purposes , now serves a serene site, to view across Chapora river to Pernem, over the surrounding Vagator Beach and also out to the Arabian Sea. More on Chapora Fort
Anjuna Beach : Also known as the freak capital of the world, Anjuna beach is just the right place for lazing holidaymakers. The place comes live with its ever-famous full-moon parties and the Wednesday flea market to take one on to a trance trip. The beach is most popular among the local populace who love its 20-km-long virgin white sands, fringed and sun drenched.
Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary : is spread in the area of 240 sq. kms. It is the largest wildlife preserve of Goa. Located at the foot of the Western Ghats near Molem village, the sanctuary is 53 kms away from Panaji, the state capital. The evergreen forests and lush green trees surround the sanctuary.
Molem National Park : lies in the heart of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary. Taking a tour of the sanctuary is a great experience in itself, as one can see the running herds of deer and Indian bison. Malayan giant squirrels, clusters of monkeys, black panthers, cobras and pythons are the common sight here. You can even spot the elephants and tigers in their natural adobe.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary : is set 10 kms in the northeast direction of Usgao Tisk village in North Goa. It is one of the small preserves in Goa, covering the area of just 8 sq. kms. You can see here the Indian bison, jackal, black-faced langur, wild boar and different species of deer. Besides animals, tourists can also enjoy sights of multiple species of birds and butterflies.
The Shanta Durga Temple : is dedicated to the Goddess Shantadurga, in Ponda Taluka, is very sacred temple to Brahmins, a Hindu-sect. Its pyramidal roofs and beautiful domes are of a great architectural value. The pillars and floors, made of Kashmir stone is a unique art. The temple also has a huge water tank, a deep- Stambha (pillar of lights) and guest houses in the premises. More on Shanta Durga Temple
Shri Mangesh Temple : Most of the temples in Goa have deities brought from Mithila region in Bihar to which the Saraswat Brahmins of this region are believed to belong. The ancient Mangesh Temple is situated on the banks of the river Gomati or Zuari as it is called today. Lord Mangesh is worshipped here in the shape of a Shiva linga. The linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Lord Brahma himself, from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga on to Gomantaka and settled at Mathagrama, the present-day Madgoa, and established their most sacred temple.
Naval Aviation Museum : A short distance from Vasco da Gama, in Bogmalo area, lies Naval Aviation Museum, that exhibits history and evolution of India’s naval and Aviation forces. Outside the museum is a huge park with a grand display of the crafts used by Indian forces on various occasions and battles, whereas the museum provides the academical information about these battles as well. Along with various old documents, photographs, the museum also has the uniforms and the arms and weapons used by the soldiers, all preserved and intact, thereby making this museum one of its kind.
Shri Ramnath Temple : The temple of Shri Ramnath is situated at Ponda around 33 km from Panaji. Apart from the main temple, there are four other temples, namely of Shri Betal, Shri Shantadurga (Shanteri), Shri Laxminarayan, and Shri Sidhanath. All these temples together constitute Shri Ramnath Panchayatan.
Goa State Museum : Located in Panjim, the capital city of Goa, The Goa State Museum was built in 1996. The museum has variety of artifacts on display including stone sculptures, wooden carvings, bronze items, paintings, old manuscripts, rare coins and anthropological objects. It also houses a number of old Hindu and Jain artifacts and scriptures.
Goa Science Centre : This interesting centre, located in Panjim, provides a lot of information in the field of Science and Technology, along with fun. Usual display of interesting inventions, 3D Film Shows, Science Film Shows and Cyberlab Shows, take place daily at Goa Science Centre for people of all ages.
Sahakari Spice Farm : is situated amidst lush green surroundings at Curti. Located in The taluka of Ponda, the farm is extremely popular amongst tourists for its rich cultural heritage and magnificently designed places of worship. Guests can relax under the dense forest cover as they enjoy the aroma of a variety of genuine spices that are grown around the farm.
Vagator Beach : Overlooked by the 500-year-old Portuguese fort, the Vagator beach with its soft white sands, the black lava rocks, the coconut palms, and the lush green landscape leaves each visitor awestruck. The beach is located north to the Anjuna and despite being disturbed by the hustle and bustle of tourists; life goes on peacefully here in the background.
Cabo De Rama : is located 16 km north of Agonda seashore in the coast road on the south finish of Colva Bay. Also identified as the Cape of Rama, it takes its name through the Hindu epic Ramayana hero, Lord Rama as in accordance the Hindu perception Lord Rama during his exile from Ayodhya stayed here. The cape is crowned by a fort which was initially a Hindu construction and rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1763 right after obtaining it from the Maratha ruler of Sonda. It had 21 guns for its protection, a chapel, military barracks and quarters for the use of the commandant under the Portuguese.
Colva Beach : Sitauted at a distance of 6 km from Margao, Colva beach with its scenic splendour and the harmony between sand, sea and sky can compete any beach in Goa. Not to be missed for the first-time visitors to Goa.
Banastarim Bridge: is located at about sixteen kms from Panjim and 12 kms from Ponda in Goa. It has a govt school along with a sports activities club. You can find three temples within the region because the Village shares a large hindu population. Even so the village is primarily known for its market which begins filling from Thursday night and get complete by Friday morning each and every week.
Banastarim is also identified for that Meta Bridge. The bridge in Banastarim occasionally called the Banastarim Bridge is an important website link to the Tiswadi and Ponda taluka also as to the Mandovi River.
The Anjunem Dam is situated on the Sanquelim-Belgaum highway in Chorla ghat at about ten km from your Sanquelim town. It is 1 of the most idyllic locations to get pleasure from the mystic allure and greenery around. The dam lies in the sylvan valley shaped by the proximity of another peak, Morlemgad to its south-east and beneath one of Goa’s highest peaks, Vagheri hill. For lodging, there is a forest department rest house at Keri and an irrigation department rest home over the dam. There’s also a private eco resort in Chorla ghat.
Miramar Beach : Miramar or Gaspar Dias is one of the beach that are much nearer to Panaji and ignored by many tourists. This should come as a blessing as the crowd here is lesser than other popular beaches in Goa. But this small beach can be used for little beyond sunbathing, since the undercurrents and flow are dangerous.
Dudhsagar waterfalls : lies on the eastern border of Goa-Karnataka, is a beholder’s delight. It is amongst the top 100 highest waterfalls in the world and is also believed to be one of the highest falls in the country. This cascading waterfall takes a steep plunge of 2000 feet down in the wooded mountains of the Western Ghats. The magnificent falls are located in an idyllic tropical forest with intersecting streams all along, thus, rendering an awesome look when viewed from the top. The falls looks even better as the mysterious radiance of the first morning sun falls on it.
Arvalem Caves: These caves through the sixth century, are very modest, with no articulate sculptures or paintings. The origin of these caves is unsure, some believing them to be of Buddhist origin, even though the presence of lingas doesn’t justify this assertion claiming them to become of Brahmin origin. They are also claimed to become known as the Pandava caves, signifying the reign of Pandavas here throughout their 12 12 months exile as described inside the Mahabharata. The shafts of your 4 carved lingas within the cave resemble to these discovered with the well-known Elephanta and Ellora caves. The Arvalem caves are very much patterned within the Buddhist cave design, rock cut into laterite stone, with the sanctuary with the northern finish and also the vihara with the southern end.
British cemetery : The army or the British cemetery was built in Goa in 1802 through the British. It’s regarded to be extra than 180 many years old and will be the only reminder of your British occupation of the territory of Goa throughout the Napoleonic period. During the Napoleonic wars from 1799 to 1813, the British military cemetery was built to serve the purpose of a British garrison of Rs.10, 000 males who had been stationed at Fort Cabo to prevent Goa from falling into French fingers. The cemetery has 56 gravestones and 47 tombstones, the earliest that date to 1808 and also the last to 1912. It can be reached by taking the street connecting the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) using the Raj Bhawan.
The Spice Plantations: in the Ponda Region are successful in pulling tourists. The Aromatic Spices used in Goa Cuisines have their genesis in these Plantations. The open fields invite you to come and smell each of them. You find plenty of people on the farms who can enlighten you on the spices produced and their distinct features. It’s a rare sight to see endless stretch of farms producing Black Pepper, Vanilla, Cloves and other Spices. The Sahakari Spice Farm, 2 Kms From Ponda grows Vanilla in abundance while The Savoi Spice Farm, 10 Kms from Ponda, excel in Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coves, Turmeric and Ginger plantation and its Cashew distillation unit is an added attraction. Tropical Fruits like Bananas and the Citrus Fruits have their role to play in the success story of these plantations.
Devil’s Canyon : is a much admired river gorge near Molem. Recommended as one of the must visit tourist places in & around Goa, you get to see the rage of the river as it cuts the deep gorge during its flow. Undercurrents and extreme depth make it more alluring for the travelers. This gorge at The Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary also opens before you the scope for a Wildlife Tour. Visiting Tambdi Surla Temple is also on cards. Devil’s Canyon is on your way to Dudhsagar Waterfalls.
Pilar: It is 11 kms. from Panaji. It has important religious and educational centre of Christian Missionaries. The Church, Seminary and School atop hillock command a magnificent panorama of the country side around and a fine view of Mormugao Harbour & Zuari river.
The Amthane dam lies within a splendid location approximately twenty km from Mapusa. It is not but developed for visitors and picnickers but is a nice location to unwind. The dam supplies uncooked water to the nearby Sanquelim water therapy plant. It’s not a massive 1 but has a scenic view from the catchment and Sahyadri assortment past through the mouth in the dam. The Amthane dam may be visited by taking the left side of the fork from your Assonora bridge, instead of driving to Bicholim. For lodging here one can get an eco resort in Sal that offers foods and remain.
Usgalimal Rock Carvings: discovered only recently is situated at 16 Kms south of Rivona in South Goa. Acting on the tip off of the villagers, the archaeologists put their diligent efforts to find out the authenticity of the place as a venue of pre historic settlement. Close to one hundred figures including that of bulls and human figures could be seen now. Reportedly one of the most primal places in western India, Usgalimal Rock Carvings in Goa have enough evidence to conclude that these hail from an era existing between 20-30 Thousand Years Ago.
Calizz : Popularly called “The Heart of Goa”. This is actually a museum detailing the various stages of Goan life through the ages. It is spread over several acres near the Candolim beach. Calizz which means ‘heart’ in Konkani is a collection of artifacts of the bygone era as well as life size models. The tour of Calizz begins with the typical Catholic house of the Portuguese era. The central theme revolves around the folklore of that era that if you had three sons, you gave one to the society, one to God and one to the medical profession. The meaning of that being one lawyer, one priest and one doctor. The lawyer’s room has a pile of books of the gone years as well as pens, locks, ink bottles all of them from the bygone era. The doctor’s room has old medical chests and surgical instruments used two centuries back.
There is the Hindu house of the same era. Every detail up to the cow dung covered floor and the brass lamps is shown. There are lots of other things that you can see. There is also a restaurant that serves authentic Goan food. The Calizz and Dr. Jack de Sequeira’s Statue at Calangute Junction are the places to visit in Goa near Calangute.
Chorao Island : The Tiswadi island of Chorao is located five kms from Panaji. The earliest settlers with the island had been 10 households of the Goud Saraswat Brahmins. The folks with the island are right now identified as the Chodankars. The island was earlier referred to as Chudamani, which implies ‘stunning precious stone’ in Sanskrit. According to the locals who call it Chodan or Chodna, when Yashoda the mom of Lord Krishna threw absent diamonds, the islands emerged from them. Later it received the name Ilha dos fidalgos (Island of noblemen) because the Portuguese noblemen found the island a pleasurable place to live.
The list is not complete. Come for Goa tour the hub of incredible tourist places and attractions and enjoy memorable time with families, friends and dear ones to relish in the memories for long time. Incredible Goa will make your holidays a dream come true.