Goa, a state in India's West region, Goa is visibly different from the rest of India, owing to Portuguese rule which isolated it from the rest of India for 451 years.
The population is approximately 1.4 million. Goa has a unique mix of native and Portuguese cultures and architecture that attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year (including about 400,000 foreign tourists).
Panaji, Goa's state capital, is also known as Panjim, Ponnje or Pangim.
From the 1960s, Goa has been attracting a steady flow of visitors, from hippies to returning expat Goans, pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindu shrines, those opting to settle in Goa as their home, people going for medical treatment, and attendees of seminars and conferences.
in Goa. The Goan population is a mixture of Hindus and Roman Catholics, the distribution being approximately 65% Hindu and 24% Christian. There is also a smaller Muslim population.
Expect a huge influx of tourists and locals residing in other states during festivals like Ganesh Jayanthi and Carnival, which is celebrated at the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. It is advised to make bookings for trains, buses and flights well in advance if you intend on visiting the state during these times.
Goa has a number of other smaller, charming and sometimes crowded towns such as those along the beach belt (Calangute, Candolim), and in the interior (Chaudi in Canacona, Sanvordem-Quepem, Bicholim, Pernem town, etc). In addition, Goa has some nearly 350 villages, each having a character of its own.
Goa is famous for its beaches, ancient temples and churches, and the Goan carnival.
Places to visit:
Dona Paula - a popular beach. Calangute Agonda — also known as Turtle Beach
Old Goa, home of sixteenth century churches, convents and monuments.
Dudh Sagar Waterfall
Cabo de Rama near Agonda, an old Portuguese fort.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary has sambar, gaur (Indian bison) and wild boar, amongst other animals. Elephants have also been spotted here at times.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Goa's state language is Konkani. Most Goans speak Konkani, English, Hindi, and Marathi. Portuguese is also known by a small segment.
If you are flying, you will be landing at The Dabolim airport in Vasco Da Gama, Goa's only airport. You can also travel by train, and by the many buses connecting the state with cities in India (primarily Mumbai, Mangalore and Bangalore).
Internet cafes can be found in Goa's urban areas, tourist spots and hotels. It is not difficult to find an internet center in a state known for its large expat and tourist population. ID has to be presented and foreigners will need to present their passport before being allowed to use the internet.
Goa is one of the more expensive states in India to stay in. During the peak season, which lasts from November to late March, the prices are very high. Especially in December, 5 star hotel rates rates range from around Rs.20,000 - Rs.35,000 per night. Goa has a lot of places to stay at, except during the last week of the year, between Christmas and New Year. Try to avoid that week and you will get a better deal.
As always, use common sense, don't walk alone at night if you can help it, keep your belongings close to you at all times, and beware "friendly" strangers, pickpockets, scams, etc. If you need information or advice, ask a local business owner, rather than a stranger or a taxi driver.
The temperatures can be extreme in winter and summer, it's wise to bring sunscreen! The best time of the year to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is comfortable, dry and pleasant.
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