Everyone knows Goa as the land of beaches – sun, sand and sea, but does anyone ever realise that there’s so much more to Goa than just the sea in the day and clubs at night? Goa has a diverse culture that should be appreciated – forts, churches, markets, museums and heritage homes that gives one a real feel for the place.
The forts in Goa are numerous ranging from that of Chapora to Aguada to the smaller ones the likes of Reis Magos. All these forts have a history that is definitely worth noting. In fact, the lighthouse at Fort Aguada attracts scores of tourists every year. If you’re a history buff, make sure you pay these a visit.
Whilst everyone knows of Goa’s Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa has a range of other beautiful churches as well – their white facade and foreign architecture giving them a look unlike any other. Although most churches have the usual church like architectural elements, they all have something unique to boast of – Immaculate Conception’s never-ending criss-crossed stairway (literally a stairway to heaven) and Mae de Deus’ beautiful French architecture being amongst a few.
When it comes to markets, nearly everyone is aware of the Saturday Night Market and the Wednesday Anjuna Flea Market but how many people know of the Friday Mapusa market?
Decades ago, people from various Goan villages would meet at Mapusa to sell their wares. Over the years, this space has culminated into, today, what is known as the Mapusa Friday Market. The goods here range from a variety of spices to clothes to all sorts of colourful trinkets and baubles. And the prices go as low as Rs. 50. Buzzing with activity, local and otherwise, this little market is bound to heighten your senses.
So while this market is a market that functions during the day, the Saturday Night Market is a space that amalgamates the Goan experience into one amazing night – live music, scrumptious street food, stalls selling all sorts of exciting stuff (jewellery, furniture, home decor, clothes), fire dances and photobooths amidst intense energy, this place gives you club like vibes right under Goa’s starry skies.
Another cultural experience is the Museum of Goa (MOG) that displays quirky artwork concocted by Indian as well as international artists. The museum also maintains a cafe and a gift shop, so make sure you pay them a visit.
Now although Goa is so much more than just beaches, please don’t feel like you should miss out on the sandy experience. At almost every beach, water sports, shacks and delish seafood awaits.
If you happen to visit during the monsoons, try and make a trip to Chorla Ghat and witness an exposition of magnificence – a plethora of waterfalls amidst greenery galore.
If it’s during February, try and plan your dates around Goa’s Carnival and feast amidst an array of colour!
October to December is a pleasant time to visit as well. This is when Goa either prepares for Diwali or Christmas, both of which are beautiful experiences.
So while this gives you a basic outline, feel free to lookup certain sites that are likely to give you a little more information. And if your budget permits, try and book a private villa to really accentuate your stay.