Goa Holidays


Goa HolidaysTourism in Goa is generally focused on the coastal areas and tourists’ activities are mainly limited on Goa beaches. It is the smallest state by area. While on a trip to India, you may explore variety of lucrative Goa packages that are generally available with tour operators in India. You may opt for luxury or budget packages as per your preference. You need to spare at least three days for Goa trip, although the recommended ideal time for Goa holidays is one week.

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Panaji is the capital city of Goa, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. Tourism in Goa forms primary industry. In winter international tourists especially Europeans visit Goa to enjoy the ideal climate. In summer domestic tourists visit here. It is also notable for cheap beer, wine and spirits. Its only airport is the Dabolim Airport that caters as military as well as civilian airport. It receives international flights from Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait, Britain, Germany and Russia during the charter flight tourist season. Goa Carnival is one of the main attractions of and presents somewhat different picture of India to the foreign visitors comparatively. It is famous for its excellent beaches, churches and temples. The Bom Jesus Cathedral, Fort Aguada, a new a wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in Old Goa are other tourist destinations.

 

Goa has an area of 3,702-km² and population of 1.344 million residents, making it India’s fourth smallest state (after Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh). It is India’s richest state with a GDP per capita. It was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure and ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators. The historic city Margao exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants and conquered it. The Portuguese overseas territory existed for about 450 years; until it was annexed by India in 1961. It is renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture that is visited by large number of international and domestic tourists. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot. The state is divided into two districts: North Goa and South Goa. Panaji is the headquarters of the North Goa district and Margao of the south district. Its major cities include Vasco, Margao, Mormugao, Panaji and Mapusa. Football is the most popular sport in Goa and is embedded in Goan culture.

The Portuguese converted a large portion of their subjects in Goa to Christianity. The British between 1812 and 1815 occupied it during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1843 the capital was moved to Panjim from Velha Goa. By the mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded to form the present day Goa. After India gained independence from the British in 1947, Portugal refused to negotiate with India on the transfer of sovereignty of their Indian enclaves. On 12 December 1961, the Indian Army commenced with Operation Vijay resulting in the annexation of Goa, Damman and Diu into the Indian union. Goa, along with Daman and Diu was made into a centrally administered Union Territory of India. On 30 May 1987, the Union Territory was split, and Goa was made India’s twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu remaining Union Territories.

Most of Goa is a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan. It has a coastline of 101 km. The main rivers include the Mandovi, the Zuari, the Terekhol, Chapora River and the Sal. The Mormugao harbour on the mouth of the River Zuari is one of the best natural harbors in South Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi are the lifelines of Goa. These rivers are one of the busiest rivers in India. It has more than forty estuarine, eight marine and about ninety riverine islands. The total navigable length of rivers is 253 km. Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, day temperatures of over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity. The monsoon arrives by early June and provides relief from the heat. Most of the annual rainfall is received through the monsoons, which last till late September. It has a short winter season between mid-December and February. The average temperature in December is between 20 °C (68 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F) with moderate humidity.

The Western Ghats, which forms most of eastern Goa, has been internationally recognized as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. In the February 1999 issue of National Geographic Magazine, it was compared with the Amazon and Congo basins for its rich tropical biodiversity. The wildlife sanctuaries boast of more than 1512 documented species of plants, over 275 species of birds, over 48 kinds of animals and over 60 genera of reptiles. The State has a rich forest cover of more than 1,424 km². Goa’s state animal is the Gaur, the state bird is the Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul, which is a variation of Black-crested Bulbul, and the state tree is the Asan. Goa’s forests are rich with medicinal plants. Coconut trees are ubiquitous barring the elevated regions. Goa has many famous National Parks, including the renowned Salim Ali bird sanctuary.

Goa has two World Heritage Sites; the Bom Jesus Basilica and a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa (the patron of the Archdiocese of Goa is actually the Blessed Joseph Vaz). Once every twelve years, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing. There are many forts in Goa such as Tiracol, Chapora, Corjuem, Aguada, Gaspar Dias and Cabo de Rama. In many parts of Goa, mansions constructed in the Indo-Portuguese style architecture still stand, though in some villages, most of them are in a dilapidated condition. Fontainhas in Panaji has been declared a cultural quarter, showcasing the life, architecture and culture of Goa. The architecture is a combination of Indian, Mughal and Portuguese styles. It has museums too; the two important are Goa State Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum. The Aviation museum is exclusive in India.

Rice is the main food crop with pulses; ragi and other food crops are also grown. Main cash crops are coconuts, cashew nuts, areca nuts, sugarcane and fruits like pineapples, mangos and bananas. Rice with fish curry is the staple diet in Goa. Its cuisine is famous for rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Pork dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for major occasions among Catholics. An exotic Goan vegetable stew, known as Khatkhate, is a popular dish during the celebrations of festivals for all. A rich egg-based multi-layered sweet dish known as bebinca is a favourite at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa is feni; Cashew feni is made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree, while coconut feni is made from the sap of toddy palms.

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 52 km from Panaji in the foothills of the Western Ghats in Goa. Eight square km in size, Bondla is “rather small” even by official accounts. It includes a Mini Zoo, Deer Safari Park, Formal Gardens, Botanic Gardens and a few Ecotourism Cottages.

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