Goa, earlier a part of Union Territory Goa, Daman and Diu, in 1987 became the 25th and smallest state of India. This tiny emerald land of Goa is surrounded by the river Terekhol on the north, state of Karanataka on the south and east and Arabian Sea on the west. In ancient times, it was known as Gomantaka or Gomanchala.
PANAJI (PANJIM) the capital of Goa is situated on the banks of river Mandovi. It is the smallest capitals of India. Narrow winding lanes, archaic houses with overlooking balconies and red tiled roofs, small bars and cafes etc reminisce about Goa's Portuguese legacy that has been meticulously preserved till date. The Church of the Immaculate Conception in the heart of the town attracts many a visitors. The three mile long Miramar beach and Dona Paula to Margao is an unique experience for someone who has not been in ferry earlier.
VELHA GOA : It means Old Goa and is at a distance of 10 kms from Panjim. Once a thriving and prosperous city and the second capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty, its splendour was short lived. Today it is a small village surrounded by huge churches and convents built during its glorious days and offers a fascinating voyage through medieval architecture.
BASCILICA OF BOM JESUS : The Basilica of Bom Jesus has acquired fame throughout the Roman Catholic world as it contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier enshrined in a silver casket. The interior of the church has richly carved and gilded altars but otherwise, has a stark simplicity. On the walls surrounding the casket are the murals depicting St. Francis Xavier's journeys to spread Christianity. An exposition of the saint is held every ten years and the St. Xavier's festival is celebrated every year on December03. This church has a modern art gallery attached to it.
SE CATHEDRAL : Se Cathedral or the Church of St. Catherine dates back to the 16th century. It is an exquisite example of archaic art and architecture. Its golden bell is the biggest in Goa and considered to be one of the finest in the world.
Besides these, there are many other chapels and churches in Goa.
MARGAO (MADGAON) : This commercial centre of Goa is 34 kilometres from Panjim. It has a rail connection to Vasco-da-Gama. The old church in the little village of Raia is worth visiting. The covered market place of Margao is fascinating to watch. Six kilometres away from Margao, lies the famous and scenic Colva beach which has the biggest coastline.
VASCO-DA-GAMA : This well planned town is also known as "Shambhaji". Dabolim airport is 4 kms away from Vasco. There are a number of hotels of different categories catering to tourists. Marmagoa is one of the busiest and well equipped harbours with mechanized ore loading facilities.
THE BEACHES OF GOA : Blue waters merging with the blue horizon, white sands with the coconut palms adding their greenery to the entire scene and rugged rocks flaunt their beauty in forty beaches scattered throughout Goa make the beaches of Goa a world apart, to say the least. Some of these beaches are primitive, unchartered and untouched yet. The climate is balmy and they are the ideal places to laze. There are not many to intrude upon your privacy and the local people are warm and friendly. No wonder, many people come to Goa to pay homage to its serene beaches.
CALANGUTE-BAGA ANJUNA BEACHES : These are the well known and developed beaches. One has to reach by ferrying across Betim or through the Mondavi bridge. The Anjuna beach is adjacent to Chapora Fort. Nearby the beach is Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920.There are a number of small resorts and restaurants on the way which are trendy and serve a large variety of sea foods, chicken and pork foods.
The Aguada bay is formed by two projections-bthe Cabo and Aguad. Three beaches - the Dona Paula beach, Caranzalem beach and Miramar beach, off the Mandovi Estuary- can be traced between the Aguada bay formed by the Cabo and the Aguad.
The Salcete Taluk of Goa is famous for Colva, Benalim and Carilossim beaches which are one of the most fascinating beaches in terms of the width and cleanliness.
Little wayside bars on the roads leading to these beaches are called "traverns" which allure tourists with the "Feni"- a local liquor prepared out of Cashew Nut, coconut or palm.