In quest for the perfect holiday, I am looking up al that needs to be seen in the culture and party destination of Goa.
Aguada Fort: Immediately south of Candolim, on the end of a peninsular region. Built mainly for protection from susceptible attacks. Portuguese for water, and had been a fort where most ships docked for water along their long voyages as there was a spring within the area the fort was built. Also the locale for the famous Dil chahta hai shootings! (I am not certain, unless I visit this place, as some information I found points towards Chapora fort as the one where the shooting for the film happened. This fort is also said to house the Central Jail in today’s time.)
Tiracol Fort: At the northern tip of Goa, this fort houses the statue of Jesus on the rock. This is way north as compared to all the other touristic areas, so maybe you might have to skip it for a later time.
Cabo Fort: This is the residence of the Governor; you can not hence enter the fort. It lies in a peninsula at Dona Paula.
Church of Mae de Deus or Mother of God: Set in a very beautiful locale in Saligao, and was named after a statue which was housed in a convent which does not exist anymore. One of the few churches built in true Gothic style.
Cathedral in Old Goa: This portrays a classic example of the Roman Catholic rule on the shores of Goa. The cathedral houses one of the largest bells in the world, and has 14 chapels. It houses a cross on which the vision of Christ is said to have been seen around 1900s.
Basilica of Bom Jesus: This basilica in Old Goa is said to house the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, who was entrusted with the task of spreading Christianity in the Portuguese colonies in the east.
Tambdi Surla Temple: The oldest temple in Goa, built in true Jain style and 65 kms from Panjim.
Mangueshi Temple: Lord Shiva temple, which draws crowds from all over. An interesting fact is that you can not enter right upto the lingam here, unless you are of a particular caste
Arvalem Caves: These are said to be the caves where the Pandvas lived during their exile, hence also called the Pandava Caves. The caves are situated 100m away from Sri Rudreshwar Temple and Arvalem waterfall one of the most picturesque site of the town of Arvalem. 9 kms from Bicholim town.
Apart from the ones listed above, there are many more interesting places which I came across and I need to go and see for myself which are the best of the lot!
Crocodile trips and Dolphin trips: You can take a half day cruise to see crocodiles at the back waters and the dolphins at the sea. It said one can also try to swim with the dolphins!!! I am so so keen to do that. I am not to sure how true this should be. I am sure they are eventually wild and can not be completely let to be with tourists in the vas ocean. Yet to be seen whether the swimming actually does happen.The crocodiles I believe should be closer to the mouths of the rivers, or backwaters. They are mainly freshwater or river water animals and would not venture out into the sea.
Water sports: Water skiing, water scooter, wind surfing- a blend of surfing and sailing
Paragliding: This is available across most locations and if you are closer to any of the resorts then an easy 300 rupees more is what you would have to pay for the same.
Scuba Diving and Snorkelling: These are two underwater expeditions on can have for starting Rs.2000/-. I found Goa Aquatics to host a wonderful Scuba diving discovery experience at the island off the shores of Calangute beach. They provide all the equipment, and give you a brief learners stint also to ensure safety and a true underwater experience.
Food and Shopping
Shopping is an all round activity, which is best done with bargaining and along the Calangute, Candolim and Colva stretch. The art and crafts of Goa predominantly are Creative Pottery, Shell Work, Furniture, Brass Work, Bamboo Work, Papier-Mache. All these contribute to a large extend as the cottage industry sector in Goa.
The staple food of Goa is fish and rice in various forms and spices. The preparation of the same dish will vary in taste at North Goa and South Goa. The shack eating experience is the best to savour Goan delicacies. They will also come and check on how you would like your fish!
Some famous dishes to try out:
Ape de Camarao
Brittos: This place on the Baga beach is said to be awesome for its food and ambience.
Bobs Inn: Good steaks, again on Candolim- Baga stretch
After Seven and Rustlers: Situated along the Calangute – Candolim belt.
Holiday Street: Situated at Candolim for all kinds of cuisines ranging from Goan to Kashmiri to Greek.
Martins: It is considered an institution in itself, serving authentic Goan delicacies and an ambience to experience
Not to miss
Panjim: The many squares in Panjim, and the houses which line these streets with their tiled roofs and balconies jutting out onto the streets.