Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beyond Europe: Exploring India and the Beauty of Goa

Goa is a particularly interesting area in India. Many foreigners live here, making it a cosmopolitan province and is popular with tourists. Whenever tourists think of Goa, they think of the beach life that is found in this coastal province. Why wouldn't they anyway. Goa’s culture makes its beach life particularly attractive to foreigners. It is more westernised than other provinces in the country, partly because of its heavy Portuguese influence.

The world-renowned beaches of Goa provide a relaxing location for peace and quiet, as well as great spots for water sports. Beaches such as the Arambol Beach are famous for its hippy crowd. If you are into yoga, meditation, reki and the likes, you should visit this beach area. For the party crowd, head over to the northern beach of Anjuna. Here, you will find trance parties, hippies, music, and an energetic crowd to top it all up. However, if you are looking for a quiet experience, Baga and Morjim Beach, are good options. It is advisable, however, to look for beaches on the southern part of Goa if you want quiet and seclusion. In all these areas you can find affordable accommodation, as you’d expect in India! Choose from backpacker hostels, cheap hotels like the Holiday Inn in Goa or luxury 5 star hotels that come with all the trimmings.

But Goa is so much more than just the beaches. Despite being the smallest province in India, it still has a sizeable area to offer delightful experiences. As stated earlier, the area has a lot of Portuguese influence. As a result, there are quite a number of ancient Portuguese buildings around worth touring. The Fort Aguada is one of the most famous structures in Goa. The streets of Panjim, Goa’s capital, also bear signs of the Portuguese architecture especially in the Sao Tome area. What’s more, a visit to Old Goa, also known as Golden Goa, reveals the full extent of the former colonial power’s influence. Grand churches stand along this glorious section of the city. The SE Cathedral, for example, is an imposing structure, complete with tapestry and paintings influenced by Portuguese royalty. There are many other ancient churches in this area too.

Even with Portuguese structures, Goa still has Indian culture. There are temples, shrines, and festivals that are much like the rest of the country. The local festivals are colorful affairs, with vibrant street processions to celebrate. Even though Goa has a more relaxed lifestyle compared to the rest of the country, festivals are still very exciting affairs.

You can learn more about Goa in its museum areas. The different museums here focus on different aspects of Goa’s history. The Museum of Goa Daman & Diu showcases the archaeological side of Goa, complete with Hindu relics. The Archaeological Museum of Goa leans toward the Portuguese influence of Goa. Other museums in the area also include the Naval Aviation Museum, not forgetting the Menezes Braganza, both of which highlight a special aspect of Goa’s history and culture.

One of the undiscovered gems in Goa is its nature. While most come here for the beach life, they miss out on some of the interesting wildlife on offer. The area boasts of a national park, five wildlife sanctuaries and even a bird sanctuary for aviary lovers. These areas form enjoyable alternatives to going to the beach.
Whatever you choose to do, there’s no doubt you’ll love Goa. With something everyone set in a beach paradise, there’s nowhere quite like it.

1 comment:

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