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Rome of the East: GOA

Updated: Feb 5

Today, I want to take you on a journey through Goa, sharing my personal experiences and the hidden gems that make this place so special.

Imagine walking along the endless beaches of Goa, feeling the soft sand beneath your toes and the gentle breeze caressing your skin. The rhythmic sound of the waves crashing against the shore creates a soothing melody that instantly puts your mind at ease. The beach is not just a place to sunbathe and swim; it's a hub of energy and vibrant nightlife. As the sun sets, the beachfront comes alive with numerous bars and pubs, each offering its own unique atmosphere and a chance to dance the night away.

But it's not just the nightlife that makes Goa special; it's the food too! Oh, the culinary delights of Goa are simply irresistible. Seafood takes central stage here, with dishes bursting with flavours influenced by the Portuguese heritage. Imagine savouring a plate of spicy Goan fish curry or tangy Vindaloo, accompanied by fragrant rice and a refreshing Sol Kadhi drink. And let's not forget the mouth-watering desserts like Bebinca, a layered coconut pudding, that leave you craving for more.

As you explore the streets of Goa, you'll come across architectural marvels that transport you to a different era. Churches with intricate designs and majestic forts stand as reminders of Goa's colonial past. The Bascilica of Bom Jesus in old Goa is one such church. It is a world heritage site. The body of Saint Francis Xavier lies here in a silver casket. Bom means good and new born. A sculptor from Florence, Giovanni Battista Foggini, designed a mausoleum on top of which now rest the remains of St Francis Xavier. Every 10 years, on the death anniversary of St Francis Xavier, his relics are displayed to the public.

The Aguada Fort, perched proudly on the Sinquerim Beach, tells stories of battles fought and victories won.

And in the quaint Fontainhas area of Panaji, the Latin Quarter, you'll find yourself surrounded by charming Portuguese architecture, with its vibrant colours and picturesque streets.

One thing that truly sets Goa apart is its seasons. I've experienced the serene beauty of winter, where the sun shines brightly, and the weather is just perfect for lazy days on the beach.

The monsoon season, on the other hand, paints the landscape in shades of green. The rain showers breathe new life into the rivers, waterfalls, and lush forests. It's a time when nature comes alive, and the beaches take on a deserted, yet mesmerising, charm.

Here are some fascinating facts about Goa, India's sunshine state, that will leave you in awe!

  1. Goa's Got the Jungle Fever Did you know that over a third of Goa is covered in lush forests? That's right, this tropical paradise isn't just about the stunning beaches. Goa's forests are home to some incredible wildlife, like Indian giant squirrels, mongoose, Slender Loris, macaques, and even sloth bears.

  2. Bars Galore – Cheers to That! Goa has nearly 7,000 bars scattered across the state. That is a very large number for the smallest state of India. Fenny made of cashew and port wine are specialty of Goa.

  3. Small but Mighty Don't let its size fool you. Goa may be India's smallest state, but it covers a coastline that stretches for a whopping 99 miles.

  4. Money Talks – Goa holds the crown for the highest per capita income. This state knows how to make money, thanks to its thriving tourism industry. Goa has been recognized as the best place in terms of infrastructure and living standards.

  5. Two-Wheelin' Taxi Fun Hold on tight, folks! Goa is home to India's legitimate two-wheeler taxis. That's right – you can hop on the back of a motorcycle and zip through the streets with your trusty pilot. It's an adventurous and cost-effective way to get around.

  6. The Portuguese Connection Prepare to be transported back in time as you explore Goa's rich colonial history. The Portuguese ruled Goa for a staggering 450 years! Their influence is still evident today, from the beautiful churches and museums to the colourful houses that dot the landscape.

  7. Double the Independence, Double the Fun Goa knows how to celebrate freedom with a double dose of patriotic pride! Not only does it commemorate India's independence from British rule on August 15th, but it also has a second independence day on December 19th. That's when the Indian Army showed the Portuguese who's boss and officially made Goa a part of India.

  8. Bird Paradise Calling all bird lovers! Goa is a haven for our feathered friends. With over 400 species of birds calling this place home, you're in for a treat. From the majestic Great Pied Hornbill to the vibrant Asian Fairy Bluebird, you'll be amazed by the colorful displays and melodic symphonies of the avian residents. Don't forget your binoculars!

  9. Make a Splash at Dudhsagar Waterfalls Prepare to be blown away by one of India's tallest waterfalls – Dudhsagar Waterfalls in Goa. Standing at a staggering height of 603 meters, this natural wonder will leave you speechless. Tucked away in dense jungle and cascading down behind a railway line, it's a sight straight out of a movie. Take a dip in its refreshing waters and experience pure bliss.

  10. Rockin' Oldest Rocks Goa is more than just a tropical paradise; it's a window into ancient history. Geologists believe that some of the oldest rocks in India can be found here, dating back over a mind-boggling 3.6 billion years! These Trondjemeitic Gneiss rocks between Molem and Anmod are like a glimpse into the Earth's distant past

But beyond the sights and flavours, what truly captivates me about Goa is its spirit of Susegad.

Susegad is a concept associated with the culture of Goa . Derived from the Portuguese word sossegado ('quiet'), it is often viewed as the relaxed, laid-back attitude towards life that is said to have existed historically in the former Portuguese territory.

It's a way of life that encourages you to slow down, embrace the present moment, and find contentment in the simple pleasures. The Goan people, with their warm hospitality and welcoming smiles, embody this philosophy.

Whether you're strolling through the markets, sipping a coconut water on the beach, or simply enjoying a conversation with a local, you'll feel a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.

So, my dear friends, if you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or a cultural experience like no other, I wholeheartedly recommend you visit Goa. Let its golden beaches, mouth-watering cuisine, and warm-hearted people leave an indelible mark on your soul. Embrace the Susegad lifestyle, let Goa's magic capture your heart, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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