Goa is a state and the hub of tourism in India. Panaji is the capital of Goa.
Goa is famous for its beaches, its historical churches and its seafood. Goa has an almost unbroken 70km coastline of beaches. Anjuna, Arambol, Palolem, Vagator, Morjim, Candolim, Colva, Baga, Calagute etc are some of the beaches. Each has a distinct personality and charm and you need to find the one that suits you. Some of them have souvenir shops and raves and fish and chips joints, others are quiet, relatively private beaches. Water sports like Diving, Kitsurfing and Jet Ski are available in certain beaches.
Goa has liquors and wines that are priced noticeably low compared to other places in India. This is a big reason for its popularity among the young hippie crowd in India. Feni is the local brew. Chilling out in the numerous discos and pubs and shopping in flea markets are other popular activities with tourists. Old Goa is a UNESCO heritage site and has a number of famed sixteenth century churches, convents and monuments that are well worth seeing. Most packages for Goa include a tour of Old Goa.
There are also some wildlife sanctuaries like Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.
The best time to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is dry and pleasant. But the rates are also high at this time.
Goa, a fusion of intense cultures and heritage, owes its charm to its rich historical past. Before the 400- year rule by Portugese Goa was ruled by several dynasties including Mauryas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Delhi Sultanat, Bahmani and Adil Shahis. In 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the ruling Bijapur kings and establishment a permanent settlement in Velha Goa (or Old Goa). Goa was made capital of the Portuguese Vice-Kingdom in Asia.
Goa became a base for the proliferating spice trade and development attained its apogee, during the Portugese rule, Goa was known as Goa Dourada (Golden Goa) and was granted the same civic privileges as Lisbon. Goa remained under Portuguese control even after India achieved independence in 1947. In 1961, a military operation by the Indian Army, resulted in an unconditional surrender of Portuguese forces.
Goa is extremely well connected by flights, trains and buses. Although Goa has only one airport - the Dabolim airport, there are several flights from all major cities in India. One of the best ways to travel within Goa is to wither hire a two-wheeler or a car.
The place of sun and sand, Goa is famous for its variety of beaches. Anjuna, Baga, Calangute, Colva etc., are some of the popular beaches in Goa. These beaches have a distinct look and feel to it with its flea markets, nightlife, water sports and shacks providing food and drinks. There are many beautiful isolated beaches further away from the city, which are popular among tourists seeking to avoid crowded beaches.
Goa has several wildlife sanctuaries like the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahadeyi Wildlife Sanctuary and the famous Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. These sanctuaries provide an excellent treat for tourist interested in wildlife. Morjim Beach and Galgibaga Beach are Olive Ridley Marine Turtles habitats. Morjim Beach is also famous for being host to migratory birds during September to early April.
Goa is also famous for its historical forts and churches which are a major tourist draw. Most notable of them are the Fort Aguada, which is a seventeenth-century Portuguese fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built in 1605.
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