Goa! One word that brings out the sparkle in the eyes of millions of people in the country. Who hasn’t dreamed of firing up to the tunes and dancing until their legs could carry them no more. Who hasn’t dreamed of hanging out with their best buddies in an exotic land on a typical tropical beach. Who hasn’t dreamed of an epic vacation in goa, drowning away every worried thought in the body with drinks and make up for every dreaded overtime with some all night raves. And the beautiful part is, however wild you may dream of, this party stop will never let you down. Cruise casinos, secret beach parties, dazzling discos, valley clubs, street pubs.. You name it, Goa has it!
It’s probably places like Club Cabana, Shiva Valley, Tito’s lane or the Calangute beach shores that gave you the night of your life, last time you were in town. But you cannot be more wrong, if you think this is all Goa is a about. Long before the booze took over, sailors from the west were searching for this hidden paradise, which they called the eastern El-Dorado. Only stories were heard of its beauty, from those lucky few who set their foot in these untouched shores. A few of its remnants still remain un-popular and relatively un-exploited, echoing with magic and wonder.
The tourists from all over the world start pouring in from the break of winter to the peaks of summer. The clouds show their wrath for the rest of the year, making them really bad beach days. But contrary to popular belief, watching Goa in rains is an experience in itself. The showers give their brief visits in the most unexpected of times, the flora takes it’s hand covering everything in sight with fresh shades of green and with all the tourist rush gone, the whole place is cleansed, and the true colors of Goa comes out.
Goa is enveloped around with the mighty western ghats and they set the perfect terrain to form awesome waterfalls. The famous Dudhsagar is the first one that comes to mind. This four tier-ed thousand foot ‘sea of milk’ greets you welcome, as the first Goan sight you see as you arrive by train. With a little hike along some rustic tracks and crystal brooks, some of the most charming and flawless waterfalls of the country, like Netravali, Thambdisurla and Harvalem. Standing there alone, witnessing such nature’s masterpieces, gets etched in you mind and heart forever.
The beaches of Goa are the hubs that have all the gravity for all the things that make us freak out. Getting into some swimwear, chilling out at a beach shack and grabbing some things might be the first things you want to do, when you arrive. But believe me, there is a whole other side to the beach experience. There are a handful of shores like Cola, Galgibaga, Keri and Betalbatim, that makes you feel the spirit of sea, as you hear nothing but the waves hitting the rocks, birds chirping through the skies and wind rustling through the trees. Some of the calmest and vibrant sunsets can be seen, serene moments can be found and whitest sand can be walked on, if searched for.
Against the splashing sea, stand some timeless forts and castle walls in this province. The Portuguese took reigns and were the first notable ruling hand to Goa. Their forts like Cabo De Rama and Agoda, still stand straight, staring at the horizon, as the nature takes over and blends them in. A view from the farthest edge of the fort’s wall, makes everything in the world vanish, except for the sea and the sky waving slowly yet steadily, making it’s viewers trapped in its enchantment.
Goa’s historical heritage is strikingly different from the rest of the country. A strong philosophy of Christianity and Westernism lays the foundation of the core culture in this state. The lifestyle now we see is brought along with the sail boats from the far west. And so, one can see a portrayal of European legacy in the architecture and art of Goa’s history. The best way to teleport to an ancient Greek city is to take a stroll around Old Goa. Wooden carved churches group together, with pure Portuguese architecture with sculptures of brass and carvings from the Testament. Goa is filled with ancient churches like the Three Kings Church, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Sao Jacinto chapel, St. Francis Xavier chapel, each with glamour and grandeur surpassing the next.
The Menezes Braganza mansion in Chandor was once the home for the province’s governor and his family and still is, to his descendants. A tour around the house, witnessing their relics and riches, still left in the places they naturally belong, gives a true portrayal of the Portuguese royal lifestyle. The ballroom in this living museum, with crystal chandeliers to lighten the dance floor, ivory and black wood piano to breeze some tunes, and teak sofas rustling with conversations, takes you all the way to a Victorian era celebration.
You can live in Goa all your life, and still there is a good chance you might end up finding that one place that is just so stunning and nothing like you have ever seen. That, is the eminence of this place. The parties are undeniably awesome. And the rest of it, breath taking.