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Goa, until 1961, was a Portuguese colony having been conquered in the sixteenth century. After India gained independence from Britain, the Portuguese retained Goa until forced by the Indian government to relinquish it. In 1987 it became India’s twenty-fifth state. Goa, the country’s smallest state, lies on the west coast of India which is washed by the Arabian Sea. Its fantastic beaches, and there are over one hundred kilometres of them, attract many thousands of tourists from all over the world. Evidence of its Portuguese heritage is evident in its food, its architecture and its culture.
Tropical beaches, their white sand glistening in the sunshine being gently lapped by warm clear waters, are one of the main reasons why hundreds of thousands of tourists book a Goa holiday each year. Apart from the beaches there are wonderful examples of colonial architecture among the public buildings and churches. The cuisine is a tasty combination of Portuguese and Indian and the variety of restaurants has something for everyone. The beach bars and clubs provide a lively nightlife.
A Goa holiday is popular with a wide variety of people. Families with small children enjoy the all-inclusive holiday packages knowing that it will cater for their every need. Couples of all ages can enjoy the peaceful romance of the less populated beaches and young people can enjoy the lively nightlife.
The time to avoid Goa is during the monsoon season which lasts from June until the end of September. Many of the tourist facilities close at this time. From the end of October until the end of February conditions are ideal. Humidity then begins to rise.
Goa on the west coast of India is a popular resort with the Indian population as well as the rest of the world. Its tropical beaches are beyond compare, fine white and golden sand washed by the clear waters of the Arabian Sea. With miles of shoreline it is always possible to find a secluded, tranquil spot offering privacy. A variety of water sports are available from the beaches. Accommodation caters for all budgets and ranges from five-star all-inclusive hotels to self-catering apartments and from upmarket villas to beach huts. The Portuguese heritage is evident in the wonderful variety of cuisine. Goa truly has food to suit all tastes. Friday night curry-lovers are spoilt for choice. Markets combine a wonderful shopping experience with street entertainment. Stalls are laden with edible goods, spices, local crafts, clothes and shoes, as well as a vast array of trinkets. Goa has nightlife to suit all tastes with lively beach bars and clubs pulsating until dawn and fine restaurants offering romantic venues.
The capital, Panaji, has fine designer boutiques and specialist shops. The historic cities have wonderful examples Portuguese colonial architecture including magnificent churches. Inland Goa has mountains and waterfalls, jungle and paddy fields with an abundance of flora and fauna.
A Goa holiday offers days of glorious sunshine on stunning beaches with a wide variety of recreational pursuits both in and out of the water.
Goa has the enviable reputation of being a state when religions live in harmony with each other. There are many festivals celebrating unity in this diverse culture. There are music and dance festivals as well as popular carnivals celebrating New Year and religious feasts such as Easter. Theatre plays an important part in the culture of Goa where subjects are explored through music and movement.
As well as being famed for its glorious beaches, Goa is also renowned for its beach parties. The bars and clubs on the beach have dusk until dawn entertainment. Many of the larger hotels have their own discos which are popular with families with teenagers. There are of course many quiet restaurants where couples can enjoy a meal in intimate surroundings.
All over Goa there are lively outdoor markets offering an immense variety of goods as well as entertainment. Apart from fruit, vegetables and spices, there are stall after stalls of local crafts making ideal gifts or holiday souvenirs. It is important to haggle over prices as goods are priced at least fifty percent higher than their actual worth.
Fish and rice are important ingredients in the Goan diet. Curry lovers will enjoy the wide variety of spicy dishes. The larger hotels cater for more conservative palates with a range of international cuisine. Goa, with is large catholic population, is a state where pork is eaten. Pork sorpotel is a tasty dish, a speciality often served at times of celebration. Vegetarians will enjoy the wonderful flavours found in khatkhate, a vegetable stew. Drinks in Goa are very cheap as the taxes are low.
There are striking differences between the modest dress of local women and western beachwear and this can sometimes lead to women being pestered by local men. Goa has had, in the past a reputation for the easy acquisition of drugs. While this may, or may not, have been the case; please be aware that even the possession of a small amount of drugs can lead to a long term of imprisonment. While a holiday in Goa may appear to be heaven on earth, the jails are the very opposite.