The Portuguese Shangrila, Goa is distinctly different from other states in India. It is probably the best beach destination in India, and even if you close your eyes and visualise a beach destination you wish to visit, your imaginations would probably weave a colourful potpourri of Goan life. India, a land bordered by oceans, seas, and mountains, plenty of beautiful beaches to offer, but Goa has some tremendous captivating quotient travellers can’t just overlook. It is not just only beaches but overall ambience of this state that pulls people from all over the world.
Goa lanes and Old Portuguese houses
Winters are the best time to visit Goa as the state comes to full life with events and activities. On the other hand, if you are a quiet person, you will love to roam around through beautiful lanes of Goa. The sweet sunny weather is perfect for long walk through lanes, observing old Portuguese houses that reflect the relics of erstwhile era of Portuguese colonized rule. During festival time, Christmas, Easter (Paskanchem Fest in Konkani), Shigmo, Sao Jao (Feast of John the Baptist) and famous Goa Carnival, the doors of these homes are open for everyone. You can wish these simple, joyful people with open arms, cakes and good wishes. You will definitely realise that the old charm of Goa is not lost, not yet. Explore the Old Goa beyond beaches, trance parties and alcohol.
Divar Island – a symbol of Catholicism
Divar in native Konkani language means small. River Mandovi is the only river flows through Goa and merges with the Arabian Sea right next to Panjim. The river belt is beautiful surrounded by thick foliage of mangrove. Divar Island, a small island just located before the river meets the sea, which is historically very significant part of Goa. Many people don’t know but long before Panjim, Divar was the capital of old Goa. It was once essentially a Hindu pilgrimage center. When Portuguese came to the land, they systematically attacked the Brahmins on the island and converted them to Roman Catholic Brahmin. The island is a home to three very important churches, out of which Divar Church is historically the most important one.
Living with a Goanese Family
If you really want to enjoy to the core in Goa, live like a Goanese! Rather living in a hotel, you can search for a nice homestay. Most of the homestays are run by Portuguese families offering you a memorable stay in a Portuguese house. That would be perfect. Isn’t it? Even if you find an Indo-Polish family in a Portuguese house, the experience will be pretty remarkable. Some families who came to Goa from other countries have started homestay services as well. One can see the life of these families, their simplicity and can get indulge to create their own peaceful tenement in midst of worldly chaos along with them. Needless to say, the day starts with perfect aroma of coffee, and sometimes that continues throughout the day. If you are in winters, festival time, you will experience some home cooked bakery desserts and cuisines. A famous homestays Casa Menezes is 300 year old house surrounded by palm trees and paddy fields in Goan village. The house is decorated with antique and heritage furniture. Cancio’s House, a 500 year old offers absolute laid back accommodation in Aldona Village.
Experience scintillating Seafood and aromatic coffee
Goa offers you great coffee and equally interesting ambiance. You will enjoy some freshly brewed coffee at variety of cafés such as Bodega, Urban Café, Hotel Venite, Baba Coffee, and Coffee Haven. Another thing you simply can’t miss in Goa is exotic cuisines. This coastal state of India is a paradise of seafood. Moreover, you can experience some exotic Konkani cuisines that are exclusive to this place. Food is everywhere, even if you don’t want to burn a hole in expensive restaurants; you can explore equally good food in shacks on the beaches of Goa. Some of the seafood you should look for are kingfish, tuna, squids, crabs, and quintessential pomfret.
For the love of music
Post-Christmas, it is the time for incessant partying in Goa. Goa host Asia’s biggest dance and electronic music party named Sunburn Festival. You need to head for Vagator Beach for Sunburn Festival from December 27 to 30. At that time on the Candolim Beach the Supersonic Festival is celebrated.