IntroductionGoa is the most popular tourist destination in India that attracts foreign tourists as well as the people of India with its beautiful beaches and historical sites. Goa is an amazing place for tourists as it is a famous place for water sports, adventure tourism, wedding and honeymoon destination, golden sand beaches, dolphin sightseeing, photography hot spots, waterfalls, beautiful gardens, sunbathe and sunset watching, market, and shopping, Churches and Cathedrals, delicious seafood, nightlife, Casinos, Yoga and Ayurveda centres.
1. Dudhsagar Water FallsIt is one of the must-see waterfalls located 71 Km away from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand and 50 Km. away from Margoa Railway station. This waterfall is one of the longest and largest waterfalls in our country. It is located at the borderline between Goa and the Karnataka States inside the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary. This waterfall has a mammoth height of 1017 feet and a width of 100 feet from its peak. The waterfalls look like an overflowing sea of milk from its peak and thus this waterfall got its name 'Dudhsagar Waterfall'. These waterfalls are also known as 'Vajrasakala Falls' and 'Tambdi Surla Waterfalls'.
Own vehicles are not allowed into the sanctuary to reach the waterfalls. Forest department (or Licenced Private) provide jeeps for the tourists to reach the waterfalls safely. Trekking is another way to reach these waterfalls. During monsoon season, trekking is not allowed as it needs crossing of Mandovi river. Visitors have to carry their own food and water as they are no shops near the waterfalls region. The cost of Jeep Ride for a person is Rs.400. The timings to visit this place is from 9 AM to 3: 30 PM.
Image: Dudhsagar Waterfalls in Goa (Courtesy:-wikipedia.org)
2. BeachesThere are a number of beautiful beaches in and around Goa that attracts so many tourists.
Anjuna beach is located in the Northern part of Goa. The beach gives a beautiful look with its white sand and the red laterite rocks of the beach. The water on the beach is good for swimming and the beach is ideal for Sunbathing. It is a great place to enjoy the sunset in the evening. The Anjuna flea market on Wednesday is a great place for buying electronic goods, clothes, jewellery, etc.
Colva beach is one of the topmost, spectacular and oldest beaches of Goa. It is located at 33 Km. away from the Panjim bus stand. This beach is famous for watersports like jet skiing and speed boat rides. Shopping and nightlife are the main specialities of this beach. The beach stretches to around 25 Km. with beautiful palm trees around its coast.
Beautiful Colva Beach in Goa (Courtesy:wikipedia.org)
Calangute beach is one of the best beaches of Goa and is popularly known as 'Queen of beaches'. It is located at 14 Km. away from the Panjim bus stand. The beach is very wide with the soft sand, rough sea with more tides. This sea is not safe for swimming as heavy tides come quite often. Tourists can enjoy jet skiing, snorkelling and speed-boat rides in Calangute beach.
Baga beach is located 15 Km. away from the Panjim bus stand. As the Baga river flows through this region and thus this beach is known as Baga beach. The scenic beauty of this beach attracts foreigners to visit this beach. At the Baga Hilltop, a Retreat House found dedicated to St. Francis Xavier is located and from that place, we can enjoy the scenic beauty of Baga beach. Dolphin watching, fishing and water sports are the main activities of the beach.
Candolim beach is located 13 Km. away from the Panjim bus stand. It is a beautiful place to view sunset and sunrise. Nightlife is grand in this region. Parasailing, catamaran sailing, banana rides, jet-skiing are the most enjoyable watersports on this beach. Aguada Fort, Sinquerim Fort, Chapel of St. Lawrence, Mandovi River are located close to this beach and one can't miss them to visit these places.
3. Saint Augustine's Church It is one of the oldest churches in Goa built by Portuguese in the 1600 year. It was built on the 46 meters holy hill of Monte Santo and only the relics of this church can be seen now. This church lies in the southern part of Goa. The original structure of this church contained eight chapels, four altars, and a convent. Thousands of people visit this church every day to see the past glory of this church in its relics. This church has got the recognition of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
4. Basilica of Bom JesusIt is one of the 400 years old church and was established in the year 1605. It is located at 10 Km. east of Panaji along Mandovi river. The baroque architectural style was used in the construction of this church. Ornamental form of architecture, marble for laying floors, and precious stones were used in the construction makes it amazing. St. Francis Xavier brought Christianity to Goa. Both Catholics and non-Catholics visit this church as they believe that this church has got magical powers to cure the diseased persons. St. Francis Xavier's embalmed body kept in an airtight glass coffin is still there in the church and it will be kept for view for every ten years. This church has got the recognition of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
5. Archaeological Museum of GoaIt is 10 Km. to the east of Panaji and located at the back of St. Francis of Assi. This museum has a huge collection of antiquities from the Pre-Portuguese, early and late medieval periods. Armoury, metal figurines, statues of the Portuguese period are on display in this museum. The portraits include that of Vasco da Gama, Alfonso de Albuquerque and other Governors in their formal attires that can be seen in this museum. Brahminical sculptures, coins, currency, revenue, court fee stamps, Paleolithic stone tools, Microliths, and a few Neolithic Celts are also displayed in this museum. The special attraction to this museum is a six-meter high statue of Alfonso de Albuquerque, a wooden statue of St. Peter, and a standing statue of Lord Vishnu accompanied by Goddess Laxmi and Garuda on either side.
6. Arvalem CavesThese caves are also popularly known as 'Pandava caves'. People believe that Pandavas have spent their 12 years exile period in these caves. The caves present in this place are believed to belong in the sixth or seventh century. The red bricks found in these caves make the caves very attractive. The four Lingas found in the cave resembles that found in Elephanta and Ellora caves. An engraved inscription is written in Sanskrit and Brahmi script can be found on the second linga of this cave suggests it belongs to the seventh century. During the visit to these caves, one can also visit Rudreswara Temple and Arvalam Waterfalls. These caves are located at 9 Km. to the South of Bicholim town. Travellers have to come up with Bicholim town by bus and then have to take a cab to reach these caves.
7. Brahma TempleIt is situated Nagargao Village, about six kilometres from Valpoi Town. An elegant tall statue of Brahma can be seen inside this temple. The Brahma temple dated back to the Kadamba period of the twelfth century. The Brahma statue in this temple is made out of a single black stone. Brahma can be seen in Trimurti form i.e. Brahma-Vishnu-Maheswara. The Brahma can be seen with a beard in this temple.
8. Salim Ali Bird SanctuaryThis sanctuary was named after one of the greatest Ornithologists of India Dr. Salim Moizzudin Ali. It is located on the island of Chorao in the Mandovi river. Tourists can reach this bird sanctuary by ferry that is 15 minutes drive away from Panaji. There is also a boat service available that works under the Forestry Department of Goa for transporting tourists to the sanctuary. The timing to visit this place from 6 AM to 6 PM. The sanctuary host a number of common and uncommon species of birds throughout the year. The visitors have a chance to see purple herons, kingfishers, woodpeckers, pintail ducks, white egrets, kites, sandpipers, curlews, eagles, drongos, cormorants, and mynahs. Along with birds some uncommon species of crustaceans and reptiles also can be seen. These animals include crocodiles, otters, mudskippers, fiddler crabs, flying foxes, and jackals.
9. Reis Magos FortIt is situated just 7 Km away from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand. This port is a prime visiting place for tourists and also one major heritage site of Goa. This fort was built by Portuguese Viceroy Alfonso de Noronha in 1551. This fort played an important role in the defence of Goa in 1739 against Marathas. Portuguese used this fort for providing shelter to viceroys and dignitaries who came from Lisbon. The British army used this fort during 1798-1813 as their shelter. Later it was used as a prison till 1993. Restoration work is going on in renovating this fort by Archaeological survey of India.
10. Aguada FortIt is located 15 Km away from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand. Aguada Fort one of the major attractive spots of Goa tourism. The Aguda Fort was built by Portuguese at the Mandovi river in 1612. Portuguese military architecture was used in the construction of this fort. The first-ever lighthouse built-in 19 the century in Asia can be seen near this fort. A Central Jail is also located near this fort. Initially, the Portuguese used this fort to protect themselves against the invasion of Dutch and Maratha invaders. The timings to visit this place is 9.30 AM to 6 PM.
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