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For a first visit to India, travel in Goa is highly recommended as it offers diversity and the elements that are too many, the very essence of India - superb sights, reins of Portuguese culture, sun, sand and beaches and above all a great, carefree and warm travel experience. Goa is a land known for its atmosphere, its wonderfully fresh seafood cuisine, its sense of joie de vivre, its people, its churches and temples, and last but not the least for its beaches. Pale gold sand stretching for miles on end, fringed with coconut palms, isolated coves separated by cliffs reaching into the sea. The sun, the sand and the surf create an enchanting wonderland, which is too hard to resist. Beauty can be quite inebriating and here you have so much of it - in the golden sands, the blue waters, the sylvan forests and the lakes.

Goa is about mood and that took a joyous one and an experience that can simply be defined as memorable beauty can be quite inebriating and in Goa you have so much of it - in the golden sands, the blue waters, the sylvan forests and the lakes. Visiting Goa usually covers the normal tourist circuits including one or two beaches, shopping / hopping at Mapusa, and Madgoan or Panajim. But there is more. In Goa, you have to put in more days to fully savor the place, the pleasure of discovering a crab under a stone, churches of Old Goa, temples in small villages, and the peace of watching a quiet sunset on a beach. The whole experience is miraculous in distressing oneself. Such is the beauty and magic of Goa, which has more than 100 km of coastline and the sea has different shades to offer at various places. One can rest assured that the mood of the sea will not be repeated in Goa.

Places to See in Goa :

Dona Paula : An idyllic picturesque spot, it commands a fine view of the Zuari river and Mormugao Harbour. Water scootering facilities are available here.

Basilica of Bom Jesus : Built in the 16th century, it is the most popular and famous, of all churches in Goa. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, kept in a silver casket, are enshrined here. This church, dedicated to Infant Jesus, is now a World Heritage Monument.

Aguada Fort : Aguada Fort, Goa Tour PackageIt was built by the Portuguese in 1609-1612, to command the entry into the river Mandovi, in order to protect, Old Goa from potential enemy attacks. A spring, within the fort, provided water supply to the ships, that called there. The fort, presently houses the central jail. A lighthouse is situated nearby, the visiting hours for it being 16.00 to 17.00 hrs.

Se Cathedral : Most imposing of all the churches in Old Goa, its vaulted interior overwhelms the visitors, by sheer grandeur. This Cathedral has five bells, of which, one is the famous Golden bell, the biggest in Goa and one of the best in the World. The church is dedicated to St. Catherine.

Church of St. Francis of Assissi : The entrance and the choir, are in the Manueline style, the only fragment of its kind in the East. The interior is illustrated with exquisite paintings. The adjacent convent, now houses the Archaeological Museum.

Old Goa : East of, Panji, lies the site of Old Goa, founded by Adil Shah, in the first decade of the 16th century. It was being developed by him, with a view to shifting his capital, from Bijapur. However, Al fonso de Albuquerque made short work of it, when he stormed and took over, to house the centre of power of Portugues colonies.

Vagator Beach : It is a popular beach, dominated by the Chapora Fort, to the North, on its imposing headland. To the South of Vagator is Calangute beach.

Calangute Beach : Calangute, is the most popular holiday resort in Goa. The Albuquerque mansion built in 1920, is flanked by octagonal towers and attractive Mangalore tiled roof.

Anjuna Beach : A popular beach area, adjacent to the Chapora Fort. In Anjuna there is a magnificent Albuquerque mansion, built in 1920, flanked by octagonal towers and attractive Mangalore tiled-roof.

Colva Beach : Colva beach is about 6 kms from Margao. Colva beach is the pride of Salcette and only rival to Calangute, by its scenic splendour. Here, sand, sea and sky blend in enchanting natural harmony, unspoilt by men. Has good accomodation facilities, particularly at the tourist cottages.

Shri Manguesh : 22 kms from Panaji, at Priol - Ponda Taluka, the temple of Shri Manguesh, is located on a hillock, surrounded by lush green hills. Though small, it has an air of distinctive elegance. Its lofty white tower at the entrance, is a landmark of the country-side. This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Shri Shantadurga : Sumptuously built at Kavlem, it is dedicated to Shantadurga, the Goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. It has a rich and beautiful Garbhakuda, or the holy of holies, where the deity is kept. The deity was shifted from Kelsi. Agrashalas provide lodging facilities for the devotees.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls : Dudhsagar Waterfalls, is accessible by train only. Water plummets hundreds of feet in large volumes, in cascades, forming one of the most spectacular of all natural phenomena in Goa and the life of our ecosystem, in one of our Sanctuaries. A popular destination to hikers and trekkers, it is also accessible by jeepable (4 wheel drive) route (14 kms) through the Bhagvan Mahavir Sanctury. However, one needs to obtain permission in advance from the Department of Forests at Junta House, Panaji.

Vasco-Da-Gama : A modern, well laid out city close to Mormugao Harbour, has beautiful and extensice avenues. The air terminus of Goa at Dabolim lies on the outskirts of the city. It is also the railway terminus for passanger service on the South Central Railway.

How to Reach Goa :

By Air : Goa's entry point for travelers coming by air is its international airport is Dabolim, which is 29 km from Panaji, on the coast near Vasco Da Gama. Most domestic airlines operate in Goa apart from chartered private airlines operating from UK and Germany. Indian Airlines has direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai daily.

By Rail : Goa is very well connected by rail from Mumbai (490 km), Bangalore (430 km) and Delhi (1,874 km). The two main stations of Goa are at Margao and Vasco Da Gama.

By Road : Goa is easily approachable from Mumbai and Banglore by road. There are lots of private deluxe coaches available besides Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa transport corporation buses. Car rental service is also available to reach Goa by road. Goa’s main bus station is Kadamba.

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