Goa Dourado, (Golden Goa, Roma do Oriente, (Rome of the East) so has Goa been described over the last 500 years by conquerors, travelers, poets and evangelists. The Gods of the Hindu Pantheon and the Ancient Sages had known Goa for three millennia before the dawn of the Christian era as the heart of Aparanta, a mythical province. Aparanta was what the name says in Sanskrit, a place ‘beyond the end’ exotic and beautiful, where time stands still.
India is a many-splendored land but few of its corners are more favoured than Goa. With a 105 km coastline embracing many of the finest beaches India can offer. Unforgettable Goa, a blend of serenity and excitement down a 100 kilometer long coastline, studded with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Goa beaches are its crowning glory.
Although Goa is prevailing as a legacy of the Portuguese colonial era, in fact, its history dates back to as early as in the antiquity, during which facts were mingled with mythology. However, the evident history of Goa is that it was part of the Mauryan Empire (the 3rd century B.C).
For the next 700 years, Goa was ruled by the succession of Hindu dynasties such as the Shillaharas, the Kadambas, and the Chalukyans. Until 1312, Goa was controlled by the Muslims, and it began to rise as an important landing place for ships carrying horses to Hampi.
By the late 15th century, upon the discovery of a new route to India by the band of Portuguese adventurers, including Vasco de Gama, Goa became the ideal base for the seafaring Portuguese who determined to overcome the manipulation of the spice route from the East. In the meantime, the Portuguese also took the occasion to spread Christianity, accordingly resulting in the expansion, and consolidation of Portuguese cultures, languages, and other legacies of values of the Christian world into Goa. Owing to the wealth gained from the spice trade, during the Portuguese domination, Goa came into its golden age. It became the largest city in the East, boasting of no less than 300 churches within town, and having a population of over 40,000 people. To,day the Goan people still retain a distinctive Southern European flavor, yet, combine their native culture, making Goa one of the multi-cultural showcases in India.
Down the corridors of time Goa has been different things to different people. To the Portuguese conquerors it was ‘Golden Goa’, the El Dorado, the ‘Rome of the East’. Such was its beauty and grandeur, that a traveller was moved to remark: ‘Whoever has seen Goa, need not visit Lisboa’—Lisbon, which was then the grand epicenter of the Portuguese dominions.
Some decades later, the early 17th century French traveller Francois Pyrard wrote: ‘Whoever has been in Goa may say that he has seen the choicest rarities of India, for it is the most famous and celebrated city, on account of its commercial intercourse with people of all nationalities of the East who bring there the products of their respective countries, articles of merchandize, necessaries of life and other commodities in great abundance because every year more than a thousand ships touch there laden with cargo.’
Pyrard continued with near prophetic veracity: ‘…as for the multitude of people, it is a marvel to see the number which come and go every day by sea and land on business of every kind…One would say that a fair was being held every day for the sale of all sorts of merchandise.’
While the contemporary traveller may not come to modern, thriving Goa ‘for the sale of all sorts of merchandise’, the ‘fair’ is still very much on. The traveller is here to find something different: a balm on the busy mind, to enjoy days of freedom on Goa’s magnificent beaches, to parasail or swim with the tide of fellow visitors from all around the globe, to savour its unique cuisine and imbibe its spirits, to take a long and invigorating trek in its unexplored interiors, to marvel at its majestic temples and churches, in short, to be at one with the most friendly people in the country.
In the sixties and seventies, it was, as we have remarked, a haven for the hippies. Since then Goa has moved on to fullfledged Statehood, its own Council of Ministers, a magnificent new Assembly complex, its citizens among the most literate in the country with a per capita income the highest in the land.. At the hub of this prosperity, is the Tourism industry.
Goa is a multifaceted jewel in the crown of India. It is a frame of mind and body, spirit and soul. Goa is an unfading memory. It is joy and nirvana. Goa is India’s smallest State—with the largest heart.
Goa is Forever
How to get to North Goa
By Air :
Nearest Airport – Dabolim (42kms), Belgaum (120kms), Hubli (210kms)
By Rail :
Nearest Railway Station – Panjim(16kms), Thivim(18kms), Madgaon(46kms)
By Road :
North Goa is an ex-Panjim / ex-Belgaum / ex-Hubli Getaway
Things to know about North Goa :
North Goa comprises Baga-Calangute-Candolim-Sinquerim, different ends to a single stretch of beach, which gets visitors from all over India and has made Goa the world renowned destination.
North Goa (Baga – Calangute – Candolim – Sinquerim Stretch) during Oct-March period transforms itself into an experience. Restaurants, pubs and nightlife here are highlights.
Shacks are set up on the beach where lively music is on all through the day. Watersports are conducted around here
North Goa beaches are considered the safest in India.
Charter Operators from East Europe and Russia bring in plane loads of guests for fixed duration stay (Multiples of 1 week) and fill North Goa during season.
During June-Sept corporates conduct their incentives and get-togethers for which North Goa is a popular destination.
North Goa during June-Sept is more sedate with only odd shack open, streets deserted (except Sundays) and most restaurants closed or semi-closed.
Calangute and Baga end of the Beaches are public beaches and India tourists and day visitors throng them. Stretch between Baga and Canangute have a lot of resorts with private beach access that have a relatively peaceful beachfront.
Stretch between Calangute / Candolim / Sinquerim is not typically visited by the day visitors and so left for the house guests of resorts here to explore.
Beaches in North Goa :
This stretch begins from the headland of Fort Aguada just outside Panaji city and moves up north towards the border to Maharashtra. Right from the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, an interrupted stretch of sand lies awaiting tourists, sunbathers and party animals.
CANDOLIM – Candolim is the first beach that can be approached from the city of Panaji. But most part of it is acquired by the Fort Aguada beach resort and other package tourist companies. Though it is difficult to find individual accommodation here, there are a few hotels with restaurants attached.
The nearest place to find tourist information and travel agencies or other facilities, is Calangute. One highlight of Candolim is the Parasailing and Water skiing facility, besides other sports available here.
CALANGUTE – Calangute is the beach to which everyone heads for the moment they land in Goa. So it is natural that it is overcrowded in both in peak and off seasons. This huge seven-kilometre sweep of sand located 15 kms from Panaji, is called the ‘Queen of Beaches’. All the travel agencies and tour operators have a base here from where bookings are done for most of all the other beaches.
Years of tourism has brought in a tremendous change in the scenario and therefore, hotels and guesthouses stretch uninterrupted from Calangute to Baga. The village of Calangute has all basic facilities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, resort companies, all kind of eateries and medical facilities. The number of internet cafes in Calangute might totally exceed the number in the entire city of Panaji.
Huge showrooms filled with exquisite handicrafts from Kashmir, Tibet, Indonesia, Rajasthan and other exotic places, line up the main road running towards Anjuna. But the beach as such is not the best of all. There are no swaying palms nor are there any traditional boats lying there to add variety. The waves are bigger and heavier here due to the rapid drop.
BAGA – This is part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian sea that begins at Fort Aguada continues as Sinquerim Beach, then as Candolim Beach and merges into Calangute Beach and then to Baga beach and then Anjuna Beach and then to Vagator Beach finally ending at Chapora Beach and Fort.
As compared to Calangute Beach , it is more quieter and also more isolated. Its scenic beauty, with the creek, the Retreat House perched on the hill and the lack of local tourist buses all have contributed to its unique beauty. It is more popular with western tourists who love to use it as a base for water sports and fishing in the area.
VAGATOR – This beautiful beach is located about 22 Kms from Panaji and is situated in Bardez taluka. This is part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the arabian sea that begins at Fort Aguada continues as Sinquerim beach, then as Candolim beach and merges into Calangute beach and then to Baga beach and then Anjuna beach and then to Vagator beach finally ending at Chapora beach and Fort.
The beach adjoining Anjuna is secluded, crescent shaped and situated on the Caisua bay along the Chapora river basin, in the shadow of Chapora fort. During the tourist season, it is a favorite venue for mid night parties. There are a number of buses that run from Mapusa and Calangute Beach to Vagator. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa, the KTC bus station.
ANJUNA – It stretch of beach coastline along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian sea that begins at Fort Aguada continues as Sinquerim Beach, then as Candolim Beach and merges into Calangute Beach and then to Baga Beach and then Anjuna Beach and then to Vagator Beach, finally ending at Chapora Beach and Chapora river and Fort.
The Village of Anjuna is a five square mile enclosure nestling between the Arabian Sea and the Hill overlooking the beach. the beach is known for its swaying palms, soft sands and natural beauty. It has an unusual rocky formation overlying a cove of white sand and black rock that juts into the Sea.is located about 18kms from Panaji and is situated in Bardez taluka. This is part of a 30 km.
SINQUERIM – With a magnificent 17th century fort which has now been converted into a prison. It is one of the best beaches in Goa with international class facilities for water-skiing, para-sailing, fishing, scuba-diving and wind-surfing.
You can stay here either at the Fort Aguada Beach Resort, Taj Holiday Village or at the Aguada Hermitage which is situated on the hillside, overlooking the sea.
Sinquerim is located some 13 km from Panaji. Taj Hotel group has set up the Heritage Complex here which dominates the headland around the historic Fort Aguada. There is uninterrupted firm sand from here all the way to north to Baga and if you want a long beach walk, there cannot be a better place to start from.
MIRAMAR – This beautiful beach is located about 3kms from Panaji. It lies adjoining the estuary of the river Mandovi as it opens into the Arabian sea. It was originally known as the “Gasper Dias Beach”.
From the beach across the river is an excellent view of Fort Aguada. Apart from its proximity to Panaji, it is very much commercialized and a large number of hotels and exclusive homes of Goa’s rich and famous stud the area.
The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days. The Dhempe College of Arts and Science is located here and so is the memorial to Goa’s first chief minister, the late Dayanand Bandodkar. A lovely golden beach of soft sand gridled with palm trees facing the blue Arabian Sea, is the nearest to Panaji.
AGUADA – Aguada beach is almost synonymous with the top-notch Fort Aguada Hotel complex, a superb hotel that is built on the cliff, around the remnants of the early 17th century Portuguese fort. Although access to the beach is not possible through the hotel grounds, which are private, you can walk along Aguada beach, for in India private beaches do not exist.
The hotel has been constructed in three parts, consisting of expensive cottages on the upper reaches of the hillside, the fort jutting out to sea, and a delightful Goan village, with individual cottages. Drawn by the clientele of the hotel, Aguada beach has cafes, itinerant vendors of everything from Kashmiri carpets to massages, and a good range of water sports.