Goa is a small state in West India, bordered by the Arabian Sea, with the highest density of forest coverage in the country. The miles of beautiful beaches and lush green forests are two reasons Goa is such a popular destination.
The surf and nightlife of Goan beaches are understandably famous. From dolphin spotting and parasailing to sandcastles they are the perfect place to enjoy the sun. Every water sport you could wish for is catered to. Even during monsoon beaches such as Baga beach offer spectacular views with bars and restaurants offering a respite when the rains strike. Stalls line the streets selling delicious delicacies. Bhuna bhutta or roasted corn seasoned with spice and a squeeze of lime is always a warm and satisfying choice. Paniprui is another local speciality you have to try to believe.
Beaches are not the only things Goa has to offer. The vast forests of Goa are home to a plethora of beautiful exotic animals, making a jeep safari a fantastic opportunity. Driving through the rich greenery it is impossible not to notice how many other colours there really are to the forest. Flowers, bright butterflies and even startlingly pink leaves fly past the window as you drive between villages and through National Parks.
Goa is a harmonious blend of traditions, resulting in a unique culture all its own. Exploring both historic sites and places that define Goa today can give you an insight into the people of this Indian state. From awe-inspiring places of worship to bustling flea markets where you can collect mementos of your time in Goa, you are sure to be enchanted.
Riches and Ruins
The diversity of Goa’s cultural heritage is incredible. A unique combination of Portuguese, Hindu and Muslim influences can be seen in everything from architecture to religious sites.
From the ruins of St. Agustin where kingfishers flit through the trees to the wonderfully maintained Bom Jesus Basilica the historic sites of Goa are spectacular to behold. In addition to several chapels the church has an exquisite gilded altar that dominates the interior. The amalgamation of cultural influences is easily seen in the Indian inspired faces of the cherubs. Across the street and surrounded by immaculate gardens Se cathedrdal has equally diverse artwork, including breathtakingly intricate chapels behind gilded screens.
The architecture of colourful Hindu temples hidden in the lush jungle is also inspired by a variety of cultures. Serene silence within them is broken only by the pure ringing of bells as worshippers approach the central shrine. Garlands of flowers draped besides burning incense are a part of the rituals honouring deities.
Whether you are in search of an appreciation for the religious heritage of Goa or simply a quiet place to meditate, there are numerous temples, churches and mosques to choose from. Make sure to respect the traditions of the places through which you wander, and be inspired by their effortless intermingling in Goa.