Holiday destination Goa

Goa, the fine and fertile island on the Western Coast of India, lying 320 km south of Mumbai, had come under the rule of many historical dynasties. Goa is a great holiday spot in India and an excellent place to unwind. Read on further and get to know about the tourist attractions of Goa.

The land of Goa was ruled by the Kadambas with Chandrapura (the modern Chandor) for their capital. The commercial centre Govapuri became a prosperous city under them. Goa has an area of 3813 sq km.

In 1352, Goa was conquered by the Bahamanis, the Mahomedan rulers of Deccan. For a while they were ousted by the Vijaynagar kings, but they recaptured it in 1470, in the process destroying Govapuri almost completely. Their capital was Ela on the river Mandovi. Yusuf Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur later captured it.

The second governor of the Portuguese possessions in India, Alfonso de Albuquerque, conquered the land in 1509 by killing the Bijapur soldiers mercilessly. The large cannon with which Adil Shah tried to defend his possession still lies at Campal in Panjim, the capital of Goa.

Soon Goa became a legend in Portugal. Camoes, the renowned Portuguese poet, described Goa as "A Senhora de todo o Oriente" —the Queen of the Orient.

At the time of the Napoleonic wars in 1809, Goa was occupied by the British, but after the Treaty of Vienna they restored it to Portugal. Then after foreign domination of more than four centuries, Goa was liberated by India.

Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were the Portuguese possessions. While the first three form one Union Territory, Dadra and Nagar Ha'veli, consisting of 72 villages in Valsad district of Gujarat constitute another unit, for administrative facility.
About 150 km north of Mumbai, located between Gujarat on the east and the Gulf of Cambay on the West, is the Daman enclave. Off the Gujarat coast, the island of Diu is connected to the mainland by a bridge near Tad village.

Panaji and Surroundings

Panaji rises upward from the river Mandovi. This capital of the Territory is the finest base for the traveler. Houses colored in white and pastel are a foil to the well-nurtured bougainvilleas that look out from the house. Roads wind past graceful old houses, taverns and parks.

Find your way to the central plaza girdled by soothingly cool arcades. Climb the terraced steps to the Church of the Immaculate Conception with its twin towers and belfry. Enjoy a liberal view of the palm-studded city and the river flowing by.

Goa is connected with Mumbai and Trivandrum by daily air service. You can also reach it by train (24 hours from Mumbai), by road or by sea.

The Beach

Gaspar Dias stretching along the Mandovi estuary, a shimmer of sand and sea, and Dona Paula around the headland facing the Juary River can give you some refreshing moments.

Calangute Beach , 15 km away, is an unforgettable beach- spot for its scenery. Here you can avail of accommodation in the Fort Aguada Beach Resort.

Aguada Fort

Standing on an elevation, quite dramatic in concept, this fort was built by the Portuguese 450 years ago. It still has some superb Manueline arches, springs and fountains and a garden of exotic flowers and fruit.

The newly opened resort is above the fort, equipped with all modern amenities and with provisions for aquatic sports, sand buggies and horse-ride. The Aguada Fort is in Old Goa.

The other historic sights of Old Goa are the Basilica of Born Jesus, Se Cathedral, Convent of St. Cajetan, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of St. Catherine, the Arch of the Viceroys, the Archaeological Museum, and the Portrait Gallery at the Convent of St. Francis.

Se Cathedral

The architecture of this Cathedral built in 1533 is unusual— showing Hindu and Muslim influence. Of the five bells in this church, the one known as the Golden Bell is the largest bell in the world.

The interior has an overwhelming baroque grandeur. There is a cross in the cathedral on which Christ is believed to have appeared in 1619.

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Fine paintings, carving, and ornamental work distinguish the church—marked by a baroque octagonal tabernacle.

Bom Jesus

Here rests the body of St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle of the East. He came to Goa in 1540 and died in 1552 in China. When his coffin was opened—because the body was to be brought to Goa—it was found to be in a perfect state of preservation.

Till 1974, the body used to be exposed to the devout at the Basilica of Born Jesus, once every ten years.

Temples in Goa

Once along the river temples stood prominently. They were razed to ground by the Portuguese. Archaeologists have also found a huge stone bull belonging to the Kadamba Age, at Chandor.

The deities under attack were removed to the interior where they remain hidden among the paddy fields and the dark areca forests.

Shri Mangesh Temple

This Shiva Temple is in the hilly surroundings at Mardol. The interior of the temple has been influenced by the cathedral culture and is illumined with chandeliers. A sacred tank is attached to the temple.

Sri Mahalsa Temple

This is yet another temple at Mardol, close to the Mangesh Temple. Vishnu is the deity here.

Sri Shanta Durga Temple

Built in 1713, this is dedicated to Durga of a tranquil mood. The image is flanked by those of Shiva and Vishnu. This is at Kaviem, 33 km from Panaji.

Saptakoteshwar Temple

The oldest in Goa is this temple, enshrining the deity presiding over the dynasty of the Kadamba rulers. Sivaji repaired the monument.
Goa plunges in music, dance and masquerading for three days before Lent every year—the time of Carnival.

The Festive Spirit

On January 6 is celebrated Reis Magos, to celebrate the visit of the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus.

Other Sights in Goa

This is a modern town beside the Marmagao Harbor on the river Juan, bearing the name of the Portuguese seafarer.

Vasco da Gama

This is a modern town beside the Marmagao Harbor on the river Juan, bearing the name of the Portuguese seafarer.

Swimming at Baina Beach, Visiting the Sancoale Church, you can ferry back to Panaji.

Margao , in the hinterland of Southern Goa, a thriving commercial metropolis with parks and modern buildings, Mapusa with its popular Friday Fair, and Tiracol Fort , can be visited leisurely.

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