Goa formed part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. This was followed by the rule of the Satvahanas of Kolhapur and the Bhojas who made Chandor their capital. From 580 – 750 AD the Chalukyas of Badami held sway over Goa until the Silharas took control in 1086 AD. Gulhalla Deva of the Kadambas, originally from Mysore, consolidated his hold over Chandor in the 11 th century AD until the 13 th century AD.
Cities of Goa
The Countryside Heaven Of the fishing settlements dotted along the north coast, only Arambol 32-km northwest of Mapusa, is remotely geared to tourism – albeit in a very low-key, low-impact fashion. If one is happy with basic amenities, the village offers two very fine beaches and a healthy dose of peace and quiet. Parties are occasionally held here, but these are rare intrusions into an otherwise tranquil, out of the way enclave. Strewn with dozens of old wooden fishing boats and a line of tourist café bars, the gently curving bay is good for bathing, but much less picturesque than its neighbour around the corner.
The Far South District Of Canacona Ceded to the Portuguese by the Raja of Sund in the treaty of 1791, Goa’s far south – Canacona district – was among the last parts of the territory to be absorbed into the Novas Conquistas, and has retained a distinctly Hindu feel. The area also boasts some of the state’s most outstanding scenery. Set against a backdrop of the Jungle covered Sahyadri Hills (an extension of the Western Ghat Range), a string of pearl white coves and sweeping beaches scoop its indented coastline. Enfolded by laterite headlands and colossal piles of back boulders.
The ramshackle market town of Mapusa is the district headquarters of Bardez Taluka. If one arrives by road from Mumbai and plan to stay in one of the north Goan Wildlife, one can jump off the bus here and pick up a local service straight to the coast, rather than continue on to Panjim, 13-km south.Local specialties include strings of spicy Goan sausages (‘Chourico’), bottles of ‘Todi’ (fermented palm juice) and large green plantains. One’ll also encounter sundry freak shows, from run of the mill snake charmers and kids dressed up as Sadhus to wide-eyed Flagellants, blood oozing out of slashes on their backs.
Margao is Goa’s second largest town and a bustling commercial centre. Barely frequented by travellers, this central Goan town has an old-worldly charm about it because of its Old Portuguese churches, and fine country houses decked with dark rosewood furniture. Surrounded by fertile farmland, the town has always been an important agricultural market, and was once a major religious centre, with dozens of wealthy temples and Dharamshalas – however; most of these were destroyed when the Portuguese adsorbed the area into their Novas Conquistas during the 17th century
MORMUGAO / MARMAGOA
Close to the important industrial town of Vasco da Gama lies the main port of Goa, in Marmagoa. The town has some industries and not very much else besides the highly dilapidated ruins of a fort, and an ironic history, which classifies it as “the town that never was”. A Ruined History Well, leaving the dramatics aside, Marmagoa was the site that was first chosen to be the capital of the Portuguese Empire. The Viceroy even moved to Marmagoa in 1703, but the Maratha warriors (term used for Shivaji and other Hindus originating from Maharashtra, , and Old Goa was made the capital instead.
Called Panjim by the Portuguese, Panaji, which means “the land that does not flood” is the state capital of Goa. Unlike many capital cities, Panaji has a distinct unhurried character. It is situated on the southern banks of the Mandovi River, which makes this town all the more charming. The town centre has plenty of accommodation, and finding a place to stay is only a problem during Dussehra the festival of St. Francis in early December, and during peak season, when tariffs double. One can get a nice place to stay at off-season times, when hotels offer substantial discounts.
Sandwiched between the Chapora and Arondem rivers, the predominantly Hindu Taluka of Pernem –in the Novas Conquistas area – is Goa’s northernmost district and one of its least explored regions. Apart from the fishing village of Arambol, which attracts a trickle of backpackers seeking a rustic alternative to the Wildlife south of the river Chapora, the beautiful Pernem coastline of long sandy beaches, lagoons and coconut plantations has few settlements equipped to cope with visitors. However, the picturesque, if bumpy, journey north from Arambol to Terekol fort, on the Maharashtrian border, provides ample incentive to spend a day away from the beach
Ponda can be described as the Hindu heart of Goa. It is famous for the five important temples that are situated around the town, and also has the largest mosque in Goa. Most of these temples look relatively new as they have been restored after being destroyed by the Portuguese. That explains why there are no temples around the coast, which was the prime territory of the Portuguese. Ponda is also an important transport link.
Vasco da Gama, 29-km by road southwest of Panjim, sits on the narrow western tip of the Marmagoa (also known as Mormugao) peninsula, overlooking the mouth of the Zuari River. Acquired by the Portuguese in 1543, this strategically important site was formerly among the busiest ports on India’s west coast. It remains a key shipping centre, with container vessels and iron ore barges clogging the choppy river mouth, but holds nothing of interest for visitors, particularly since the completion of the Konkan Railway, when Goa’s main railhead shifted from here to Margao. The only conceivable reason one might want to come to Vasco is to catch a bus to Dabolim airport, of Bogmalo beach, 8-km southeast.
Churches in Goa
Goa, Jewel of India, is studded with a number of churches that remain as silent but forceful witnesses to the intense religious history of the land.
BASILICA OF BOM JESUS
Visitors from India and overseas flock to the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, built in 1605, and now declared a World Heritage Monument. The church houses the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa, who died while on a sea voyage to China on December 2, 1552. The following year, while transferring his remains to Goa, in accordance with his wishes, it was found that the saint’s body was as fresh as the day it was buried. This miraculous phenomenon continues to attract the devout from all lands, and an Exposition or public viewing of his body every ten years attracts lakhs of pilgrims.
The Se Cathedral nearby is dedicated to St. Catherine, as it was on her feast day, 25th November 1510, that Alphonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa. Believers are awe-struck to hear of the Cross of Miracles, which is placed in the cathedral, its earlier church having been destroyed. People have had a vision of Christ on this cross and the rock on which it was found was said to spout water while, today, the Cross is slowly growing. Earlier, it was at Se Cathedral that the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier were shown to the public.
CHAPEL OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER
Behind the gate of St. Paul’s college is a Kuchcha road branching off the main road, leading to the chapel of St. Francis Xavier. It is built of laterite plastered with lime mortar, with tiled roof supported by wooden rafters is a plain chapel with only one altar. Architecturally, it is of the Doric order. The Chapel was within the enclosure of the College of St. Paul and was dedicated either to St. Anthony or to St. Jerome. The original chapel was in existence in 1545. With the outbreak of the epidemic and the consequent abandoning of the college of St. Paul in 1570, the chapel fell into ruins and the present chapel was built in 1884.
CHURCH OF THE CARMELITES
Nothing remains of the Church of the Carmelites excepting the façade and a raised pavement, which served as an altar. Its location is to the southeast of the Church of St. Cajetan and is on a hill more or less contiguous to the hill on which the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount stands. The church was built in 1621. The Carmelites, on their refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the king, were expelled from Goa in 1707. The church fell into disuse and ruins soon after.
THE CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF THE MOUNT
As one proceeds, about 2-km on the main road towards Ponda, a Kuchcha road branches off towards north at a place where a cross is fixed. The road leads to a hill on which, commanding a picturesque view, is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. A series of steps leads to the Chapel, which is built of laterite plastered with lime mortar. It has three main altars dedicated respectively to our lady of the mount, St. Anthony and St. Andrew. The chapel was built under the orders of Afonso de Albuquerque in 1510 and is referred to as in existence in 1519. It was reconstructed twice.
THE CHURCH AND CONVENT OF ST. MONICA
In the Holy Hill, on the way to the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary , is a huge three-storeyed building of laterite which was originally lime-plastered but is now plastered with cement. It is square on plan with a large inner courtyard, around which is a cloistered verandah and numerous cells and halls. The vaulted ceilings in some of the halls are tastefully painted with floral decorations and scenes from the Holy bible. The construction of the convent and the church of St. Monica was commenced in 1606 and completed in 1627. The building was destroyed in a fire in 1636 and re-built the following year.
THE CONVENT AND THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN OF GOD
Situated to the east of the tower of St. Augustine it is a plain looking building constructed in the beginning of the 18th century. The convent was abandoned in 1835. The Society of the Misericordia occupied it for some time. From 1844 onwards, it was used as a residence for chaplains, confessors and others employed on behalf of the nuns of St. Monica. The roof of the church was removed in 1850. The present roof was built recently.
THE ROYAL CHAPEL OF ST. ANTHONY
To the west of the tower of St. Augustine is the Royal Chapel dedicated to St. Anthony, the national saint of Portugal and held in great veneration by the Portuguese. It was built in the beginning of the 17th century. In 1835 the chapel was closed but opened again in 1894 when it was also renovated. It was inaugurated again in 1961 after complete restoration done by the Portuguese Government.
Temples in Goa
Among the oldest temples in Goa are the ones built by the Saraswat Brahmins of Bihar-the Mangeshi Temple of Priol, the Shanta Durga Temple at Kavele, the Ganapati Temple at Khandole, the Mahalaxmi Temple at Bhandiwade and the Sri Nagesh Maharudra Temple at Bandora. Of these, unlike all other ancient deities of Goa, the Sri Nagesh Maharudra did not move from Bandora (Bhandiwade) even during the period of the Portuguese inquisition. There hangs many a tale about the origin of each of these temples, most of them revolving around the migration of the Saraswats from the banks of the legendary Saraswati river, on to the Gangetic plains, and then on to Gomantaka on the invitation of the sage Parasurama.
SRI MANGESHI TEMPLE
The Mangesh Linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Lord Brahma himself, from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga on to Gomantaka and settled at Mathagrama, the present-day Madgoa, establishing their most sacred and ancient temple of Mangesh on the banks of the river Gomati or Zuari as it is called today. Lord Mangesh is worshipped here in the shape of a Shiva linga. After remaining in the house of a temple priest for sometime, the Sri Mangesh deity was finally installed in its present site at Priol.
SHANTA DURGA TEMPLE
The Shanta Durga or Shanteri Temple is at Kapilpura or Kavele, also in Atrunja taluka. This deity is believed to have been carried by Loma Sharma of Kaushik Gotra when the Saraswats came to Goa from Trihotrapuri (present-day Trihut division) in the Mithila region of Bihar. A story in the Skandapurana speaks of how Lord Shiva, when defeated by his spouse Parvati in a game of dice, had left mount Kailash and gone to Gomanchala near Kushasthali for tapasya (penance). It is here that he heard the cries of the Saraswat Brahmin, Loma Sharma, caught by a crocodile in the river Aghanashini
SRI GANAPATI TEMPLE
Atrunja taluka in Goa is now called Ponda. It is a land of valleys and mountains. An ideal abode for the gods amidst coconut and areca nut groves, Ponda has many Hindu temples, the Sri Ganapati Temple at Khandole village being one of the most prominent and oldest. As in the case of all Ganapati temples, legends and lore are aplenty here. The idol of Ganapati, who rides on a mouse, was shifted during the inquisition from Elle to Naveli in Dewadi island; then to Khandepar in Ponda; from Ponda to Narve in Dichole; and finally to Khandole village near Mashel town in Ponda taluka.
Mahalaxmi is the Goddess of power and strength. She is believed to be an incarnation of . Adishakti. -the supreme power and energy. The Shaktas, among the Saraswats, worshipped Adishakti in the form of the linga. Many accept her as Pallavi, their supporting deity, believing that this Goddess of tremendous strength and power was released when the devas and rakshasas were churning the ocean for amrita (nectar). On their arrival in Goa, the Saraswats, who had brought the Mahalaxmi idol with them, built a temple at Bhanda-Vatika or Bhandiwade village in the Atrunja taluka.
SRI NAGESH MAHARUDRA TEMPLE
The Saraswats also established the Sri Nagesh Maharudra deity at Bhandiwade. Unlike the other deities, this one found a safe abode right from the start and did not have to be shifted from place to place. The temple, which faces west, has a beautiful tank in front, with a Nandi bull in black granite standing at its entrance. At some distance are also visible the smaller temples of Poorvachari, Betal and Raval Nath. The Palace of the Sunda King stands in the neighborhood. It is a measure of how deep their roots run, despite all the Portuguese influence that had been thrust upon them.
SHRI ANANTA TEMPLE
Shri Ananta Temple at Sovei Veram is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the second god of the Hindu Trinity, whose role is that of preservation, just as Brahma. s is of creation and Shiva. s is of dissolution. This is the only Ananta Temple in Goa and therefore of special interest. Surrounded on all sides by water and beautiful countryside, the aspect of the temple site inspires tranquility and peace. For village folk, the pilgrimage could be undertaken for the purpose of exorcising spells as the belief is that the Lord has the power to do so.
SHRI CHANDRESHWAR TEMPLE
The Shri Chandreshwar Temple atop the Chandranath Hill dates from the pre-Christian era, when this region formed part of the Boja capital of Chandrapur today. s Chandor). The famous Shiva Linga is lit up by moonlight on the full moon night, and is said to become mystically bathed in water. Sri Chandreshwar or God of the Moon is so placed so to offer the visitor a wonderful view of the green valley below.
Beaches in Goa
Goa beaches are renowned worldwide for their spectacular beauty and facilities for beach acitvities all over the world. The beaches in north Goa stretch over a distance of 30 kilometers. The beautiful beaches are the venues of entertaining parties, carnivals and adventure sports activities
One of the most charming beaches of Goa, Arambol Beach is located about 50 km north of Panaji. Situated in the quiet and friendly Arambol village, Arambol beach is a nature lover’s dream destination with expansive coastal stretch and an unspoilt feel to it. The beach is a long stretch of golden sands interspersed with rocky cliffs. There are two beaches in Arambol, the main and more popular one being the Harmal beach, which is the northernmost beach in Goa. The second beach, which can only be reached on foot, is more picturesque and surrounded by steep cliffs on both sides.
The Vagator beach in north Goa is located at a distance of 24 kilometers from Panaji, the capital of Goa. The beach lies on the northern side of the Bardez taluka. Offering a stretch of soft white sands, coconut palms, and a scenic view of the Arabian Sea, the Vagator beach has become a hot favorite tourist destination among the tourists. Attractions Beaches many of the famous beaches of Goa are located near the Vagator beach. These include Chapora, Anjuna, Baga and Calangute beaches. All these beaches form a chain of beaches in north Goa that are among the foremost tourist attractions in Goa.
Anjuna Beach rose to prominence as the ‘freak capital of the world’ and was a hot favorite among the Hippies who tried to fuse the spiritual traditions of the East and the art, ideas and the music of the West. Anjuna beach of Goa is one of the most popular beaches in Goa and is an ideal resort for holidaymakers looking for a vibrant nightlife. Anjuna comes to life at night especially during its famous full-moon parties. The best time to visit Anjuna is early November. Water sports include swimming, Parasailing, Windsurfing, and Yachting. Swim suits and gear for water-sports can be bought or hired locally.
Located 10 kilometers to the west of Mapusa along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian Sea, the Baga Beach is part of a 30 km stretch of beach coastline. Situated between the two famous beaches of Anjuna and Calangute, this small but wonderful beach is in essence, an extension of Calangute beach. One of the finest beaches in Goa, Baga beach begins at Fort Aguada, extends initially as Sinquerim beach, thereafter as Candolim Beach and unites into Calangute beach and then continues as Baga beach. Hereafter, the beach extends as Anjuna Beach and then as Vagator Beach, finally ending at Chapora Beach and Fort.
On the shores of the Arabian Sea, under the shade of palm trees, bathes the Queen of Beaches-Calangute. Calangute seems to be a distortion of the local vernacular word -‘Koli-gutti’, which means land of fishermen. Some people connect it with Kalyangutti (village of art) or Konvallo-ghott (strong pit of the coconut tree) because the village is full of coconut trees. With the advent of the Portuguese, the word probably got distorted to Calangute, and has stuck till today. In a green semi-circle, the villages of Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim do their bit to enhance the divine beauty of Calangute.
Candolim beach is located in the northern part of Goa. It is among the popular beaches of the state but is known to be relatively peaceful, compared to the more noisy beaches of north Goa. Located on the west coast of India facing the Arabian Sea, the Candolim beach offers nature lovers, vacationers, and honeymooners an excellent opportunity to be amidst tranquil surroundings and a calm sea. The beach is located about 15 kilometers from Panjim. The beaches nearest to the Candolim beach are Senquirim, Calangute and Baga, all of which form the same stretch of coastline. Candolim is an ideal place to be in if you want to be in a quiet atmosphere without missing out on the tourist attractions in Goa. Attractions
DONA PAULA BEACH
Dona Paula beach is called ‘Lovers’ Paradise’ due to a tragic story associated with this beautiful beach in Goa. The beach gets its name from Dona Paula de Menzes, daughter of a viceroy, who committed suicide here when she could not get married to a local fisherman she loved. This story and a beautiful setting with swaying palm trees and casuarinas make it one of the foremost tourist attractions in Goa. The best time to visit would be during winter (November to March). The Miramar beach and the Vainguinim beach are the nearest beaches from Dona Paula.
Bogmalo is a small fishing village surrounded by two palm-fringed headlands in the northern part of Colva bay. Its claim to fame is a sandy beach at the end of the cove that makes Bogmalo all the more captivating and spectacular. Located 18 kms from the Dabolim airport and 8 kms from Vasco da Gama, Bogmalo beach flaunts a heady mix of serenity and commercialism, coupled with simple beauty where you can cheerfully lose yourself. The Goa Bogmalo beach is clean and not overcrowded like some other beaches in north Goa. Regardless of recent developments, the village at Bogmalo still manages to retain its original essence.
The beautiful Colva beach in South Goa is among the best known tourist attractions in Goa. It is known as the largest among the beaches of south Goa. Located about 6 kilometers west of Margao, and 39 kilometers from Panjim, this beach stretches to 25 kilometers, lined by coconut palms facing the serene Arabian Sea. The south Goa beaches like Benaulim, Majorda, Betalbatim, Betul, Canaguinim, Agonda, Palolem, Rajbhag, Polemcan be visited on a stroll or by other means from Colva beach. The Benaulim beach, about 2 kilometers away, is quieter than Colva.
One of the quietest beaches in Goa, Benaulim beach begins where Colva beach ends. A famous beach for fishing, Benaulim has remained largely undiscovered by domestic tourists. It’s only in the evenings and on weekends that his charming beach gets somewhat crowded. Thus, Benaulim Beach in Goa can be the perfect getaway for you to bask the day off soaking in the sun and enjoy an idyllic vacation in Goa. On each side of the sand drenched beachfront, the softly shelving sands glisten away almost to the horizon, strewn with pictorial wooden fishing boats. You can encounter hawkers, masseurs and fruit vendors appearing from time to time
You must visit Varca if you are staying at Benaulim or any of the nearby beaches in south Goa. The Varca beach is much quieter than the other more famous beaches in Goa. The palms and the long houses dotted near the beach make for a splendid spot ideal for a quiet and relaxed vacation. Though not among the most favored beaches in Goa, Varca beach offers you amazing scenic beauty that will remain etched in your memories for a long time. Sunbathing and swimming are the most common activities indulged in by the tourists. Dolphin watching and boat trips will surely keep you enthralled at Varca. A boat cruise on the river Sal promises dolphin spotting, as well as breathtaking sunsets.
The cavelossim beach in south goa is one of the most popular beaches in goa. it is considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in south goa. the beach stretches for 10 kilometers and offers a wonderful retreat for tourists from all over the world. november to march is the best time to visit this wonderful beach. the beautiful paddy fields, the sal river, and the sand of the beach create a perfect holiday ambience at cavelossim beach. The nearby beaches of south goa, including mobor, varca, colva and majorda are among the major tourist attractions in goa.
A 3 km stretch of white sandy beach along the south Goa coastline, Agonda Beach lies about 37 kms from the town of Margao. It is the next beach after Palolem while you are driving towards Panaji from South. One of the most picturesque beaches in Goa, Agonda is relatively desolate largely because of its distance from the main cities. The beach offers perfect isolation for nature lovers in search of true peace of mind. The small and secluded cove of white sand at the Agonda beach in Goa is fringed with towering palm trees and casuarinas. A large hill lying to the south of the beach makes for an enchanting backdrop.
Forts in Goa
Goa, Jewel of India, is studded with a number of forts that remain as silent but forceful witnesses to the intense religious history of the land.
A spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that called there, giving it the name “Aguada” (meaning ‘water’ in Portuguese). On the northern side, it provides a harbour for local shipping. The fort, at present, houses the central jail. A 19th century built lighthouse is situated inside the fortress. Immediately south of Candolim, a long peninsula extends into the sea, bringing the seven-kilometre white sandy beach to an abrupt end. Aguada Fort, which crowns the rocky flattened top of the headland, is the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. Built in 1612 to protect the northern shores of the Mandovi estuary from Dutch and Maratha raiders.
CABO RAJ NIWAS OR THE CABO PALACE
Built in 1540 AD opposite Fort Aguada on the south headland of the river Mandovi, the Cabo (the Portuguese word for cape) Palace fortress housed the Franciscan monastery, which later (1594 AD) became the official residence of the Governor of Goa. Holding the most panoramic view one can witness in Goa with the Indian Ocean towards the west, the Bay of the river Mandovi and Fort Aguada on the north and the busy port of Mormugao. Remaining unhabitated and isolated for centuries, it is believed some human habitation must have been present over here but because of its enclosure in a dense wilderness, no signs of earlier settlements found.
Chapora fort was built by the Adil Shah of Bijapur on the southern headland of the Chapora River. It was also known as “Shahpur” and is now mostly ruined. It has a commanding view of the Vagator beach and is near to Anjuna beach. The red laterite bastion, crowning the rocky bluff, was built by the Portuguese in 1617 on the site of an earlier Muslim structure. Deserted in the 19th century, it lies in ruins today, although the views up and down the coast from the weed-infested ramparts are still superb.
This fort near the internationally famous Marmagoa Harbour was built to protect the harbour situated near the Vasco da Gama town. Its work started in 1624. It covered an area of six miles in circumference, contained towering bulwarks, three magazines, five prisons, a chapel and quarters for the guard. It had 53 guns and a garrison with 4 officers, and was an important fortress on the western coast. Unfortunately, except the chapel and a portion of the boundary wall, little is left of this fort.
North of Arambol, the sinuous coast road climbs to the top of a rocky, undulating plateau, then winds down through a swathe of thick woodland to join the river Arondem, which it then follows for 4km through a landscape of vivid paddy fields, coconut plantations and temple towers protruding from scruffy red brick villages. The tiny enclave of Terakol, the northernmost tip of Goa, is reached via a clapped-out car ferry from the hamlet of Querim, 42-km from Panjim, It was a key Portuguese fort for the defense of Goa, on the north side of the estuary of the Teracol River, the most northern boundary of Goa.
Monuments in Goa
Goa, Jewel of India, is studded with a number of monuments that remain as silent but forceful witnesses to the intense religious history of the land.
Located at Laoulim, 10-km from Margao, ancestral Goa is a mock up village dating Back a century. Built in a verdant hillside, a guided trek takes one down the Goan memory lane. Amidst a variety of rare wild flowers and mushrooms, a variety of exquisite insects and mushrooms and birds are also sighted. A species of frog, now almost extinct, which was once a Goan delicacy, might also hop out along the trail. he Hangout Places This sprawling village has a natural spring, a fisherman’s hut, marketplace, mansion of ‘Dona Maria’ and traditional Goan artisans at work.
THE GATE OF THE COLLEGE OF ST. PAUL
The College of St. Paul, once the principal institution of Jesuits in India for imparting knowledge on Christianity, was built over the ruins of a mosque south of St. Cajetan’s church at Old Goa in 1542. However, it was abandoned during the outbreak of plague in 1570 and went into disuse. The Government demolished this ruining structure in 1832 to carry materials for building construction in Panaji. What remains of the college that was completed in 1542 and of the collegiate church consecrated on 25 January 1543 is the façade in the shape of an arch with a niche at the top and a cross crowning it.
THE GATE OF THE PALACE OF ADIL SHAH
The Palace of Adil Shah at Old Goa was the most prominent building with magnificent lofty staircases. It was the residence of the Portuguese governors till 1695, and was afterwards used by them on festive occasions. It was deserted during the epidemic in the 18th century, was demolished in 1820 and the materials carried to Panjim for construction of houses. Now only the gate remains which is architecturally purely Brahminical in style. Six steps in front of the gate lead to the raised platform on which the gate stands. It is made of basalt and consists of a horizontal lintel resting on pillars decorated with mouldings and having on the outer side fragmentary perforated screens.
Where the Kuchcha road branches off from the road to Neura, leading to the Church and Convent of the Cross of Miracles , is a lone pillar on a raised platform, which once occupied the central place in the city square, and was used for punishing offenders of the law, who were tied to it and publicly whipped. It was in use during the Portuguese rule till the end of the 17th century. The pillar, which is of basalt, had iron rings fixed to it and from its shape and mouldings it appears that the pillar might have formed part of a Brahmanical temple. Where the Kuchcha road branches off from the road to Neura, leading to the Church and Convent of Miracles.
THE VICEROY’S ARCH
The main road in front of the Church of St. Cajetan leads to the river Mandovi through an archway known as the Viceroy’s Arch. The arch is made of laterite except for the façade on the riverside which is facetted with greenish granite. The façade has a niche at the top with a statue in stone of Vasco da Gama. Correspondingly, in the rear, is a statue of the Argonaut. There are two inscribed slabs alongside the walls in the arch. Though the original structure was built soon after the conquest of the city by the Portuguese, the arch underwent considerable changes.
Wildlife in Goa
The wildlife sanctuaries Goa are a haven for animals. Flora and fauna is well preserved in the sanctuaries of Goa. Thus a visit to these beautiful jungles is a must when you visit Goa. Deforestation and extinction of certain species of animals are becoming serious issues. The wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are doing their best to preserve the wealth of the flora and fauna that they have. Move away from the concrete jungle and come and spend some time in the natural jungles of Goa.
BHAGWAN MAHAVIR SANCTUARY
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary is Goa’s largest wildlife preserve with an area of 240 sq.km. It is situated close to the Molem village at the foot of the Western Ghats, this sanctuary lies on the eastern border of the state. It is 60 km away from the state capital, Panaji. The sanctuary is situated amidst nature’s splendor; evergreen forests and deciduous trees encompass this preserve. Molem National Park is in the heart of the sanctuary. Herds of deer and gaurs (Indian bison), clusters of monkeys, Malayan giant squirrels, cobras and pythons are a common sight. One might even spot elephants and tigers.
Bondla Forest is 38 km away from Margao. More than a sanctuary it is an ideal jungle resort and a major attraction for school going children and nature lovers. Its mini zoos, sprawling deer park in natural habitat, botanical and rose gardens attract people throughout the year. Up in the foothills of the Western Ghats, Bondla is being promoted by the Department of Tourism and is a good place to see sambar and wild boar among other things. It’s the smallest of the Goan wildlife sanctuaries but the only one at present that has accommodation for those wishing to stay more than a day. The Zoological Park and gardens at Bondla remain closed on Thursdays.
COTIGAO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest of the three wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, with an area of 105 sq. km. It is located at about 60 kms from Panaji, in Canacona taluka in South Goa, nearly 3 kms off the Panaji-Mangalore National Highway No.17. It is covered with dense forest and varied wildlife, avi fauna and reptiles. The ancient Jeevottam Partagal Math, noted for Vedic studies, lies in the vicinity of the sanctuary.
SALIM ALI BIRD SANCTUARY
Located at the western tip of the island of Chorao along river Mandovi near Panaji , the sanctuary is spread over 1.78 sq km and is completely covered with mangrove species. Varieties of local as well as migratory birds frequently visit the area. This Sanctuary can be visited any time of the year with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden, Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji – Goa. The sanctuary is approachable by walk after crossing over by ferry from Ribandar to Chorao. There are some private parties who can take tourists around in their canoes fitted with outboard motors.
Water Sports in Goa
Goa is a land bordered by the majestic azure sea and when you reach this beautiful tourist spot of Goa, you can’t help but take a plunge into the warm inviting sea. Apart from swimming, you can also indulge in various sports events that are organized in the beach. Look out for those sports that fit you and just take the plunge.
GOA DINGHY SAILING
Those of us who are less athletic and daring but still feel inclined to sail may wish to try dinghy sailing. Such dinghy is available for hire at Cidade de Goa and Taj Holiday Village. About 15 feet in length, dinghies will hold three to four people. Instructors are available for beginners. With two sails and side decks to sit upon, dinghy sailing is as much fun as windsurfing and it is not necessary to be either agile or youthful to enjoy this form of sailing. In fact the wind in Goa is so kind most of the time that dinghy sailing is referred to as beer and sandwich sailing! Crewmembers can relax and enjoy themselves.
GOA SCUBA DIVING
Scuba diving is growing in popularity in Goa. From Dona Paula jetty or from Aqua Marine in Panjim it is easy to take a diver, rent scuba gear and arrange for an instructor. Once you know how to use the equipment, the wonders of the deep open up. A few islands off the shore from the airport are ideal spots for scuba diving. The underwater visibility in Goa ranges for five to ten meters throughout most of the tourist season. Attractive coral heads, lobsters, bright coloured, fish and shells all invite exploration. There is even an old wreck with many stories attached to it though the truth behind its mystery probably sank with it.
GOA SPEED BOATS
Water loving speed freaks can’t resist getting into a speedboat. Sleek with a growling, throaty engine, the thoroughbred speedboat is a compelling machine. But watch out when you are making a choice! Goa has a lot of motorboats which may be capable of 10 to 15 miles per hour and just a few proper speedboats which can reach a speed o 30 to 40 miles per hour. These boats can be taken for long rides or just a spin around the bay. These speedboats that carry six to eight people can also be used as a mode of transportation to visit many beautiful tourist destinations in Goa like Old Goa, Fort Aguda, Sinquerim, St. Jacinto Island and Grant Island.
High fliers amongst the speed lovers take to parasailing. The Taj and the Oberoi hotels both have equipment for this exhilarating sport. There’s a rope about 300 feet long attached to the parasail harness at one end and to the speedboat at the other. The sailor is on the shore in a harness. When the boat takes off he just takes one or two steps and he is lifted into the air, the parasail lifting behind him. During the ride you may use water scooters, those noisy little demons of the sea, which accommodate two people and whisk away at great speed. All the thrills of a motorbike with all the softness of an ocean instead of hard tar beneath the feet.
Finally the least often written about but most often used water sport in Goa, clearly, is swimming. As Goa lies on the warmest ocean in the world there is no end to the fun and frolic of an innocent swim. Requiring no equipment more dramatic than your own swimming costume (nudism is now prohibited) and the desire to roll in the waves spilling from the Arabian Sea, swimming can be enjoyed by the young, the old, the infirm, the affluent and the budget traveler alike. What a nonchalant way to pass the time in Goa while all those fun lovers whiz frenetically by on their surf boards, parasails water scooters, skis, and speed boats.