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Air India has international flights to [[Kuwait]] and [[UAE]] twice a week.  
Air India has international flights to [[Kuwait]] and [[UAE]] twice a week.  
Air arabia has discount flights to sharjah ,
Air arabia has discount flights to sharjah.
Qatar Airways has flights to Doha , and has convenient connections to western Europe , Africa and USA
Qatar Airways has flights to Doha, and has convenient connections to western Europe, Africa and USA
Flights are chartered to the [[United Kingdom]], [[Germany]], [[Russia]] and [[Switzerland]].
Flights are chartered to the [[United Kingdom]], [[Germany]], [[Russia]] and [[Switzerland]].

Revision as of 16:52, 26 March 2011

Village scene, Goa

Goa a state in India's West region, is a former Portuguese colony with rich history. It is 3,700 km² with a population of approximately 1.4 million. Goa has a unique mix of native and Portuguese cultures and architecture that attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year (including about 400,000 foreign tourists).

Panaji, Goa's state capital is also known as Panjim, Ponnje or Pangim. It is one of the most charming cities in India.

Goa is a hub of tourism in India. From the 1960s, Goa has been attracting a steady flow of visitors -- first the hippies and returning expat Goans, then the charter tourists visiting (starting with the Germans in 1987), pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindu shrines, those opting to settle in Goa as their home, visitors coming here for medical treatment, and a growing number of those who attend seminars and conferences in Goa.

Goa is visibly different from the rest of India, owing to Portuguese rule which isolated it from the rest of India for 451 years.



Village Goa

Goa's heart is in its villages. Prominent Goan architect Gerard Da Cunha has argued elsewhere that, unlike others, Goans don't live in the cities. They mostly live in the villages and they travel to work.

Not surprisingly, it's the villages of Goa which hold out both charm and character. Take an aimless ride on a relaxed evening or a languid morning - living in Goa can be tough and slow, but holidaying there is just fine -- and surprise yourself about the charms of the Goan village.

Unlike urban areas, the villages tend to be neat and clean, friendly and even good value-for-money. Except maybe in those areas where there are a lot of tourists already.

Goa has many different faces. The coast varies from the "hinterland". Below is a list of some villages where you could find something unusual. But don't restrict yourself to this list alone. You never being surprised what you run into, in Goa without even knowing it exists.

Goa is home to a number of other villages worth visiting: Assolna, Benaulim, Britona, Cortalim, Curtorim, Goa Velha, Mollem, Usgao, Reis Magos, Savoi Verem, Shiroda... a list like this would be far from complete. Please note that you wouldn't necessarily be looking around for accommodation (though you can find it in some places) here, because these villages are often close to the places where most tourists stay (the coastal belt, or the towns).

The Goan population is a mixture of Hindus and Roman Catholics, the distribution being approximately 65% Hindu and 24% Christian. There is also a smaller Muslim population. Despite this, there have been no communal clashes (except for violence in 2005 in the twin towns of Curchorem-Sanvordem, involving the Muslim and Hindu communities, over a dispute believed to have been politically stoked-up) in the past and Goa is regarded as one of the most peaceful states in India.

Goan Catholics generally acknowledge their Hindu roots, and carry traces of a caste-system within their social beliefs sometimes. It is recorded that in many instances the Hindus left one son behind to convert and thus continue to own and manage the common properties while the rest of the family preferred to emigrate to neighboring areas along with the idols representing their Hindu deities.

Over the years large numbers of Catholics have emigrated to the major commercial cities of Bombay and Pune and from there onward to East Africa, the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique, to Portugal itself and towards the end of the 20th century to Canada and Australia. Many old Goan ancestral properties therefor lie either abandoned or mired in legal tangles brought about by disagreements within the widely dispersed inheritors of the property. In recent years, expat Goans have been returning to their home state, often purchasing holiday homes along the coast (which are then converted into 'rent back' apartments, hired out to short-staying tourists by realtors).

The best time of the year to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is comfortable, dry and pleasant.

Goa's links with Portugal

Apart from the consulates there are cultural organisations active in Goa, with the Portuguese again being most active.

Fundacao Oriente has a large presence in Fontainhas, the latin quarter of Panjim. It does organise an occasional interesting programme, Fundacao Oriente, which sponsors cultural events and adds variety to Goa's cultural scene. This faced some major problems when it was first set up. Goa's uneasy parting of ways with its former Portuguese rulers, and lingering ultra-nationalism amidst a section of freedom fighters could be seen as the reasons. The Fundacao also has been subsidising a book-publishing plan which has helped put out more Goa-related titles in what is otherwise a small but colourful market for books dealing with a tiny region of South Asia.

  • Fundação Oriente Delegation in India 175, Filipe Neri Xavier Road Fontainhas Panjim Goa 403 001 Tel : 0832 - 2230728/2436108 Fax : 0832 - 2230291 Email : oriente@sancharnet.in / foriente@dataone.in
  • Centro de Língua Portuguesa/Instituto Camões AGVA House 9/32 Dr. Dada Vaidya Road Panjim Goa 403 001 Tel : 6647737 Email : clpicgoa@gmail.com Contact : Dr. Miguel Lume
  • Fundação Cidade de Lisboa Dias Building, 1st floor Rua de Ormuz Panjim Goa Tel : 2223969 Contact : Dr. Jorge Renato Fernandes
  • Indo Portuguese Friendship Society Santosh Building Near CBI Office Altinho Panjim Goa Tel : 2436875 Contact : Francis Menezes, President / Gopal Vernekar, Secretary
  • Dempo Centre for Indo-Portuguese Studies Dempo Trade Centre Patto Plaza Panjim Goa 403 001 Tel : 2437849 / 50 Contact : Ms. Isménia da Veiga Coutinho

Public holidays

For a state which has a lot of people passing through, Goa has nearly two weeks of holidays each year. Government offices have a five-day-week (Saturday-Sunday closed). Panjim closes early (around 8PM) each evening, and shops here could have a fairly longish siesta break (from around 1.30PM till up to 3.30PM). Goan shop owners take this siesta break seriously, and no business is conducted during this time. Bars, restaurants and other shopping centers are more buyer-friendly.

Major public or special holidays are around Christmas, Republic Day, Id-ul-zuha, Gudi Padva, Good Friday, Independence Day, Ganesh Chaturthi (both days), Gandhi Jayanthi, Dussehra, Diwali, Id-ul-fitr, Feast of St Francis Xavier, Goa Liberation Day, ; Mahashivratri, Holi and Id-e-milad. Banks may remain open during local religious celebrations. Weekend: Saturday and Sunday.

Expect a huge influx of tourists and locals residing in other states during festivals like Ganesh Jayanthi, and Carnival (celebrated at the begining of Lent in the Christian calendar. It is advised to make bookings for trains, buses and flights well in advance if you intend on visiting the state during these days.


Regions of Goa
North Goa (Bardez, Bicholim, Pernem, Ponda, Sattari, Tiswadi)
The northern talukas.
South Goa (Canacona, Mormugao, Quepem, Salcette, Sanguem)
The southern talukas.

By Indian standards and size, Goa is a very small state with only two districts. These districts are together further divided into 11 talukas (sub-districts). While for administrative purposes Goa is divided on a North and South Goa basis, for touristic purposes (other than understanding the geography), this distinction doesn't make much sense to the traveller. Both North Goa and South Goa are similar, and each has their own "coastal" and "interior" areas. Likewise, the central coastal part of both the district have similar histories, and underwent Portuguese rule for longer than did the hinterland, making them more Westernized in appearance.

Goa's different regions, if these are to be pointed out, are actually its central coastal areas (where the beaches are located, and these area were under colonial rule for longer, reflecting more of Portugal's influence, including having a relatively larger Christian population), and the interior hinterland areas (more of the nature sanctuaries, mining zones and rural areas are located here).

It must be however noted that despite popular perception, Goa has a minority Catholic population (a little over 25%) while the Hindus (in varying caste groupings) form the majority. Likewise, contrary to popular perception, Goa is not an island, though parts of what was considered "Goa" in the past were cut-off from the mainland by the many rivers this region is known for.

Goan culture has been shaped by the mainly Hindu and Catholic population. People are mostly easy going ( 'sossegado' in Portuguese). With better connectivity by Air and Rail, there has been an influx of people from neighbouring states, that has led to different cultures. Many Indians from other states have now come and settled here.


Goa's "cities"

For a state which claims to be "half urban", Goa has a surprisingly large number of villages. Even its "cities" are more like small, crowded (in Panjim's case, scenic) towns. Currently, not one city has a population significantly more than 100,000, though some are close to it. The villages can be charming, and in a world of their own, though sadly, tourism and the real estate boom it engineered is seen by locals as destroying the very place the visitors come for.

  • Panaji (Panjim, also referred to a Ponn'je in Konkani, and earlier called Pangim and Nova Goa during Portuguese rule) – the state capital

Goa also has a number of other smaller, sometimes charming and sometimes crowded towns such as along the beach belt (Calangute, Candolim), and in the interior (Chaudi in Canacona, Sanvordem-Quepem, Bicholim, Pernem town, etc). Some of these are gateways to the nearby touristic areas. In addition, Goa has some nearly 350 villages, often scenic and each having a character of its own.

Some other places which you could find more information about:

Other destinations

Bondla Park, entrance., Goa
  • Agonda — also known as Turtle Beach
  • Old Goa, home of famed sixteenth century churches, convents and monuments
  • Ponda taluka, the temple heartland of Goa


Goa's state language is Konkani. Most Goans speak Konkani, English, Hindi, and Marathi. Portuguese is also known by a small segment, especially the elite and earlier privileged class or the older generation which studied in pre-1961 Portuguese-ruled Goa.

However, different languages tend to be used for different purposes in Goa. Konkani is the most widely spoken. English and Marathi tend to be most widely read. (Most newspapers are read in these two languages too.) For primary schooling, education has to be imparted in "local regional languages" (i.e. Konkani or Marathi) to be entitled to receive government grants, on the argument that elementary education is best imparted in the "language of the child". At middle and high-school, and college too, education is almost wholly imparted in English.

Catholics largely use Konkani for their prayer services, while the language for religion is largely Marathi for Hindus. The administration is largely conducted in English, which is also the language of publication of the official gazette, and the main used tongue in the courts.

Poster of a Konkani film from the 1960s, Goa, India.

It can be rather difficult currently to be able to learn Konkani, with options for learning rather restricted. The language is written in four to five scripts, in and beyond Goa -- Devanagari (the official script), Roman or Romi (widely used in Goa), Kannada-script, Malayalam-script and Perso-Arabic reportedly used by some Muslim communities further south along the Indian west coast. Recently, books to learn Konkani in the Roman script have also been published, making it easier for those not knowing the Devanagari script (used to write Hindi, Marathi and other languages too) that is the officially-recognized script for Konkani in Goa.

Get in

Goa can be reached by its lone airport (Dabolim), by train, and by the many buses connecting the state with cities in India (primarily Mumbai Mangalore and Bangalore). If you are travelling from Mumbai or Pune, car travel would provide you a journey through he breathtaking scenery of Konkan area. Travel from Mangalore to Goa is through konkan rail and you can see its breath taking scenary and doodh sagar.

Distance from Goa to various cities:

By bus

There are several bus routes from various cities, but most traffic is from mainly Mumbai and Pune, but with increasing demand from the south, there has been an increase in buses and trains from Mangalore,Bangalore and New Delhi. Overnight buses from Mumbai to Goa are one alternative to trains and flying. Note that while many of the coaches are newer Volvo models, you will share your sleeper bunk with one other person. (2 Person bunk)

By train

Indian Railways [1] connects Goa with direct train services from Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Kochi, Kolkata, Thiruvanantapuram, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The destination station is usually Madgaon in South Goa. Travelling to Goa by train is a real pleasure as the route passes through greenery and many tunnels.
A railway station which most tourists tend to miss is Thivim, which is served by most trains and is just 20 minutes away from Calangute beach by taxi.
For budget travellers, this is the cheapest option, apart from being faster and much more comfortable than travelling by road. It is advisable for tourists to make reservations well in advance as the major trains (Konkan Kanya, Nethravati express etc.) are usually heavily booked. Also note that trains from Mumbai and most other places have a quota of seats set aside for tourists. Quota tickets must be purchased in person at the rail station by the tourist and cannot be booked via a travel agent. Note that quota tickets are only sold at the station of origin. Tickets can also be booked online (but only if you hold an Indian credit card or bank account)[2].
As of Jan. 2010, you can book online with a foreign credit card, but when you are asked to choose your payment option, you must use the payment option "AXIS."

Unless travelling on a shoe string budget, it is advisable to travel in air conditioned sleeper coaches, that are relatively quieter, and much more comfortable. Each bunk is provided with two freshly laundered sheets, a blanket, and a pillow. You can also have a hand towel on request.

Most Travel Agents will book tickets for a small fee, R200, but be aware that trains do get busy and you need to book in advance, do not leave booking your ticket to the last moment as you may be disappointed.

Here are some useful trains to get into Goa:

Train Number Train Name You may board at You may alight at
2432 Rajdhani Express Nizamuddin (Delhi), Panvel (Mumbai) Madgaon Junction
2618 Mangala Lakshadweep Express Nizamuddin (Delhi), Kalyan (Mumbai), Panvel (Mumbai) Thivim, Madgaon Junction
0103 Mandovi Express Mumbai CST, Panvel (Mumbai) Thivim, Madgaon Junction
0111 Konkan Kanya Express Mumbai CST, Panvel (Mumbai) Thivim, Madgaon Junction
2051 Jan Shatabdi Express Mumbai CST, Panvel (Mumbai) Thivim, Madgaon Junction
2450 Sampark Kranti Express Nizamuddin (Delhi) Thivim, Madgaon Junction
7309 Yesvantpur-Vasco Express Yesvantpur (Bangalore) Madgaon Junction, Vasco Da Gama
7311 Chennai-Vasco Express Chennai Central, Yesvantpur (Bangalore) Madgaon Junction, Vasco Da Gama
8047 Amaravathi Express Howrah (Kolkata) Madgaon Junction, Vasco Da Gama
6346 Netravathi Express Thiruvananthapuram Central, Mangalore Junction Madgaon Junction, Thivim
2431 Rajdhani Express Thiruvananthapuram Central, Mangalore Junction Madgaon Junction

Travelling by train can be quite an experience as you are more likely to be able to interact with fellow Indian travellers visiting Goa from different parts of the country, under more relaxed conditions.

Also see Rail travel in India

By air

Goa has one airport at Dabolim in Vasco.

Some airlines fly directly to Goa, but most international flights arrive via Mumbai.

Many domestic airlines have daily flights to and from Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kozhikode (Calicut).

Domestic Airlines flying into Goa include Kingfisher airlines [3], spicejet [4], Jet Airways [5], Indian Airlines [6], Air Deccan [7], Indigo [8] GoAir [9], Paramount Airways and MDLR Airways.

Air India has international flights to Kuwait and UAE twice a week. Air arabia has discount flights to sharjah. Qatar Airways has flights to Doha, and has convenient connections to western Europe, Africa and USA

Flights are chartered to the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and Switzerland.

On arrival, pre-paid taxis from Dabolim Airport are preferred. Find yellow pre-paid taxi booth 30 metres on the left when you exit the main building. There is also a pre-paid taxi stand in the international arrival area .The rates are slightly cheaper than the yellow cabs .

Normally most resorts pick up from the airport for free so please make sure you ask your resort for free pickup.

By ferry

Occasional cruise services ply from Mumbai to Goa. This was run in past years, but currently it is discontinued.

Get around

High resolution maps are not available for Goa - for instance, some popular isles are not shown in many maps.

Parts of Goa lack sign-boards, so finding your way around will be a challenge. When in doubt just ask - usually people are friendly and helpful- don't expect precise answers though (a so-called 'five minute drive' could take a good twenty).

While driving, expect surprises like domestic animals and little children darting across the road and unmarked speed breakers / speed bumps.

By motorbike

Choice of geared and un-geared motorbikes and scooters can be borrowed on rent (typically without helmets). Those planning to stay long can consider buying them too. Rentals are around Rs 300 (+ about Rs 100 for fuel) a day on a Honda Activa scooter and a little more if one is looking for a geared motorcycle. Always ask for a discount if renting long-term (one month or more) when you should not have to pay more than Rs 100 per day (scooter). Ensure that you have all the ownership documents of the bike. Also, avoid taking motorbikes with yellow plates out of Goa, it is a punishable offense. Hiring a bike with white plates is ok for local travel in your immediate vicinity but if you want to travel further afield then always rent with yellow plates. Wearing a crash helmet is compulsory when you go on any major roads, ask for local advice. Rs 100 fine for not wearing, or a large hospital bill. Don't forget that foreigners will need an International Driving Permit (Convention 1949) and this is the first thing the police will ask you for if stopped. You should also carry your normal driving licence with you.

By bus

Fares: 4-6 rupees and buses a great way to travel and see the country and are inexpensive. 10-15 rupees often get you a 30-40km ride.

By car

Mahindra, Willys or Maruti Gypy makes are similar to the long wheel base version of the Suzuki Jimmy. Some of these jeeps are open roof. Expect to pay around Rs. 1,000 - Rs. 1,200 a day.

There are many car rental companies available.


Panjim riverside, Goa

Art & culture

Goa has a number of museums. There's the Goa State Museum and then there's Architect Gerard da Cunha's relatively-new architectural museum called Houses of Goa. The Xavier Centre of Historical Research, at Porvorim, has its Gallery on Christian Art, named the Xavier Xandev Museum. the archaeological museum and portrait gallery is at Old Goa, the Christian Art Museum at the same location (a little further away at the Santa Monica Convent annexe), and the Pilar Seminary Museum. At the Bom Jesus Basilica is a modern art gallery containing the works of the Goan surrealist, Dom Martin, as well as photographs of Churches and other monuments taken by the world-renowned photographer, Benoy Behl. Big Foot at Loutolim (aka Ancestral Goa) is an attempt to illustrate and recreate Goa's traditional past. In the village of Benaulim is the Goa Chitra Museum, containing the largest collection of ethnographic artifacts ever assembled in one place. There's even a vintage-cars collection of sorts -- Ashvek Vintage World "dedicated to restore and preserve motoring and motorcycling gems of historical interest in Goa". You can find cars ranging from ye old Mercedes Benz, to the Peugeot, Morris, Chevrolet and the Volkswagen. Check it out at Nuvem, on permanent display. Entry Rs 50.

  • There's the religious Museum of Blessed Joseph Vaz .
  • The Naval Aviation Museum behind the airport is a great place to see and touch vintage aircraft like the Sealands, Doves, Alizes, Seahawks, Vampires and Hughes Helicopters besides the relatively newer Sea Harriers and a Super Constellation.
  • The Goa-government run Kala Academy and the Portuguese-run Fundacao Oriente in India, the Central Library (even tourists can become temporary members) are also other options.
  • The Sound and Light Gallery Museum is at Old Goa, where one can get a Christian religious tour, artistically done. The Goa Science Centre, at a scenic location along Miramar Beach, is a great fun-place for kids specially, but not only. Entrance is Rs 10 (and less for students). There's also a movie theatre showing 3D science-related films.

Art galleries in Goa include Gallery Gitanjali (run by Ajit Sukhija in a building that once was the People's High School at Panjim's latin quarter of Fontainhas), Galeria Cidade at the Cidade de Goa luxury resort, Peace Cottage Fine Art Gallery perched between two luxury hotels at Betalbatim, Gallery Boa Arte opposite the Municipal Garden in Panjim, Picturesque opposite the Goa Urban Cooperative Bank also in Panjim, and Gallery Yemania in Verem. Other art centers are also open in Goa. Art Chamber at Calangute, the Kerkar Art Complex and more. Dr Subodh Kerkar has two galleries, one for his permanent collection, and the other housing the works of Indian and foreign artists. The open air auditorium puts up performances in Indian classical music and dance.


Goa is world famous for its beaches, its ancient temples and churches, and its Goan carnival.

Sunset at the Palolem beach
  • Anjuna Beach - Close to the Chapora Fort, its key attraction is a magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920, flanked by octagonal towers and an attractive Mangalore tile-roof. Anjuna was the second-home (and main location) of the hippies in Goa, in the 1960s and 1970s, after other destinations like Calangute got more "crowded" for them. It is still venue of a (vastly-changed, more mainstreamised) flea market held each Wednesday. In the nearby village of Arpora, two colourful Saturday night bazaars are held in the non-monsoon seasons. This is still part of "alternative" Goa, though charter and other tourists also visit the place in increasing numbers to "get a feel of the hippy years".
  • Arambol Beach - A quiet beach in North Goa near Pernem. Not too many facilities in terms of hotels or eating joints. The water is shallow and good for swimming.
  • Palolem Beach A scenic beach in extreme south Goa. Getting a bit crowded. Good eating options. Turning pricey though (by local standards). The rocks and islands off its schore are definitely scenic.
  • Patnem Beach - a small and quiet beach in Canacona taluka
  • Vagator Beach - a beach in Bardez, neighbouring Anjuna
  • Morjim Beach - beautiful beach, inhabited by Russian tourists. Prices are high, many restaurants with Russian cousine. Nightlife is vibrant here. This place is popular among kitesurfers due shallow depth of the sea and very wide beach.
  • Asvem Beach - quieter beach in extreme north Goa's Pernem taluka
  • Mandrem Beach - another beach in extreme north Goa's Pernem taluka
  • Candolim and Sinquerim Beaches in North Goa's Bardez taluka. Once humble fishing villages. Now the crowded concretised coast of North Goa. Goa's Benidorm. Or quickly getting to be as crowded.
  • Colva Beach - This beach's spectacle of sea, sand and sky blend in a enchanting natural harmony, weaving their magic spell on the visitors. Known for its scenic beauty. This is part of Salcete, Goa's only Catholic majority sub-district. Once a very hospitable area, now relations are getting monetized thanks to tourism.
  • Calangute Beach - aka Queen of all Beaches in Goa. Once highly rated. Now crowded. Expect traffic jams along the main crowded street. Beach is full of Indian tourists, a lot of noise, a lot of souvenirs and water sports beggar. You won't get peace here. Many famous clubs are located here. Nice eating options.
  • Baga Beach A family-beach and charter tourist destination just outside Calangute.
  • Chapora Home of the Chapora fort. Close to Vagator and Anjuna beaches. Also site for a fishing jetty where trawlers (introduced into Goa in the 1960s and 1970s, amidst protests from traditional fishermen, who were affected by them) bring in their catch.


  • Relax at the beaches. Goa has an almost unbroken 70 km coastline of beaches
  • Visit historic Hindu temples and the cathedrals of a bygone era at Old Goa
  • Enjoy the variety of Indian, Chinese and western cuisine
  • Chill out at the discos and pubs
  • Checkout Anjuna flea market
  • Visit libraries: Central Library in Institute Menezes Braganza (Panjim) and Mapusa's Athaide Library. Other research institutions with good collections include the Xavier Centre of Historical Research at Alto Porvorim, the also-Jesuit run Thomas Stevens Konknni Kendra nextdoor at Porvorim, the Goa University, and a quaint Konkani-focussed library called Amchem Diaz (Our Traditions) that functions out of the first floor of a commercial establishment not far from the Margao bus stand and the local court.
  • Diving: The season is between mid October to mid May. Diving is not possible during the monsoons in India (June till mid October) The water temperature is between 27 to 30 degrees. The local diving here consists of dive sites around Grande Island, just off the coast near Vasco Da Gama. The dive sites are mostly 12 to 16m deep, and the visibility varies through the season, with an average of around 5-6 m. Marine life is abundant, with many species of reef fish, and hard and soft coral,and several shipwrecks to dive. Several dive centers conduct PADI courses, and organize dive trips to Pigeon Island (also known locally as Netrani Island) in the neighbouring state of Karnataka.
  • Kitesurfing: Goa is certainly not the best place in the world to try kite surfing, but it still has something to offer. Check Morjim, Arambol and Aswem beaches in North Goa. You can find instructors in Morjim, that take 8000-12000 Rs for beginners course. Season starts in January, you can expect 1-2 windy days a week during January and February, and 2-3 days a week during March. Most people use 10-14m² kites. Water is choppy most of the time, don't expect wave riding.
  • Paragliding: Check Arambol Beach in North Goa for tandem paragliders.
  • Jet-Ski, Banana ride and Paragliding: Goa has one of the cheapest beach adventure sports rates. Head to Anjuna or Bagha beach during daytime and you will find many small group of vendors offering these. If in a small group, with adequate bargaining and luck, you can bargain to around Rs. 800-1000 (off season) for a 10 minute jet-ski ride, 15 minute banana ride and a 15 minute paragliding session, for each person.



To understand a complex region like Goa, it's best to get started by reading on it. This is a melting pot of cultures, histories, languages and complexities.

Bookshops in Goa include the Panjim-based Broadway Book Centre (Ashirvada Building, at the end of 18th June Road, Panjim), the Golden Heart Emporium functioning out of an old house in Margao's Abade Faria Road locality, the tourism-belt based Literati Bookshop (near Tarcar Ice Factory, along the main Calangute-Sinquerim road), and Upper Storey at Arcon Arcade at the Fort Aguada Road in Candolim.

There are also other bookshops scattered around the state, including Varsha's and Mandovi Hotel's (in close proximity to the Azad Maidan, Panjim; the alternativish Other India Bookstore almost hiding atop the old Mapusa Clinic in Mapusa (entry from behind); among others. Don't miss the rare books section of the Central Library in the oldstyle colonial Institute Menezes Braganza (Panjim), and the municipality libraries in the main towns, including Mapusa's Athaide Library.

Other research institutions with good collections include the Xavier Centre of Historical Research at Alto Porvorim, the also-Jesuit run Thomas Stevens Konknni Kendra nextdoor at Porvorim, the Goa University, and a quaint Konkani-focussed library called Amchem Diaz (Our Traditions) that functions out of the first floor of a commercial establishment not far from the Margao bus stand and the local court.

From wines to cashew-nuts, enchanting local music to alternative books and handicrafts, Goa has a lot. Goa's handicrafts are clearly under-rated and under-appreciated, even while being reasonably priced. Their range includes carved furniture, brassware, crochet and more (see section on the government-run Aparant emporia).

Global items come in amazing diversity specially at the night markets of North Goa. In Panjim, the 18th June Road is faster emerging as a lure for shoppers and tourists. Mapusa, while hosting a traditional market each Friday, attracts a number of tourists, specially foreigners. Goa's talented goldsmiths are neatly located in a line at Mapusa's market, and in parts of Margao and Panjim. Check out traditional Goan lacquerware toys (available at the Aparant emporia).

Every major hotel has its own bookshop, of varying quality. Books tend to be priced amazingly inexpensively in India, including in Goa. For the best collection of books related to 'alternative India' and the environment, visit the almost hidden Other India Bookstore. It sits atop the old Mapusa Clinic, at Mapusa's Feira Alta locality. Entrance from the behind.

Broadways Book Centre at 18th June Road (near Caculo Traffic Island); Confidant's Golden Heart Emproium in Margao (2732450); Mandovi Square near Cine Nacional (2234241); and Varsha Book Stall (2425832) near the Bank of India and Azad Maidan. The last two focus on newspapers and magazines coming in from the rest of the country and abroad.

Reading Habit, at Campal on the way to Miramar Beach, has a wide variety of books.

One Goan unique product is that of hand-painted ceramics. *Furniture is another area of interest, in terms of shopping options, despite its bulky nature. Antiques are also a growing business here.

Foreign tourists increasingly go "shopping" for medical services. There are a number of outlets that offer a form of 'health tourism'. These include centers like Dr Pimenta's Dental Practice (www.goadentist.com) at Romano Chambers (near the Old Petrol Pump in Calangute) and Lake Plaza near Nehru Stadium in Margao.


Want to shop Goan? One good value-for-money place is the Aparant network of outlets managed by the State-run Goa Handicrafts network. In their ten outlets across Goa you could expect to find an interesting range of handicrafts from Goa. And reasonably priced too. Items range from shell-work to clay, bamboo, paper mache, coconut-items and fiber. "If visitors have a problem with carrying back some the (more fragile) handicrafts home, then fibre is a good option. These outlets are, besides four in Panjim, located at Vasco da Gama (on Swatantra Path, at the Vasco Residency) and at the local GTDC-run "residency" hotels in Margao, Mapusa, Calangute, the Bicholim Pottery Production Centre at the Industrial Estate, and at Loutolim's Big Foot.

In Panjim, the other outlets of Aparant are located at the Udyog Bhavan (opposite the Goa Police Headquarter, near the Ferry Jetty); at the main Kadamba bus-terminus; and at the Crafts Complex office of the Goa Handicrafts in Neugi Nagar (Rua de Ourem). The largest number of items are available at the last location, about 2.5 kms off the center of town.

Most of the Aparant outlets are open between 9:30 or 10AM to 6 or 7PM, depending on their location.

Products of dry coconuts and coconut-shells are carved and often designed to fit on a wooden base. Items produced here include table lamps, flower pots, table clocks, different religious statues and decorative items.

Cotton thread is transformed in an artistic way with the crochet steel hook, rendering it in beautiful designs and shapes. Likewise, sea-shells that were once discarded by the beach get transformed by artisans. Traditional clay art -- in the form of pots, ash-trays, flower pots, images of gods -- is a skill that has been built up across generations in Goa. Ditto for the case of bamboo products.

A few of these items are produced in-house at the Goa Handicrafts' center in Bicholim. Others come from artisans across the state. This network has done a fair job in highlighting the skills of geographically-scattered local artisans, and also finding them the market they so-badly need to sustain their rich talent.


The Goan staple diet consists of rice and fish curry along with pickles and fried fish. This can be found on many of the beach shacks. The Goan cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and local flavours. Many dishes such as prawn balchao and Kingfish in Garlic have distinct Portuguese flavour.

Dishes such as Vindaloo and Xacuti (pronounced Cha'cuti) will be familiar from Indian restaurant menus, and are originally Goan dishes.

Most beaches have shacks that serve surprisingly delicious meals, specially sea-food and they'll usually consult you to see how you like your food. Don't miss the shack eating experience. You'll want to go back and do it again. Most fancy hotels and restaurants serve terrible foods, it is best to eat at local places, ask a taxi driver where these would be and don't let him take you to any fancy restaurants as they receive commission.

Here, you can find so many restaurants with sea food is available.



  • Feni can have up to 42% alcohol.
  • Goa has an estimated 4000 and 2200 traditional stills manufacturing cashew and coconut feni, respectively.
  • North Goa dominates cashew production, while the South dominates coconut.
  • Feni can be used in cocktails too. A 2001 republished book by Francisco Gracias is titled 'Goan Fenny Cocktails'.
  • 'Business India' in 2001 argued that feni could fill the gap created by the growing demand and rising prices for drinks like the Mexican Tequila, abroad.
  • 'Drinks International' classified feni under the 'exotic spirits' category, comparing it with the Mexican Tequila.
  • Feni is labelled as a 'country liquor' in modern India, causing handicaps to its growth.
  • Clear, triple-distilled feni cannot be considered just any cheap brew. It has a unique distinctive taste.
  • In India, traditional drinks like feni are "debarred" from entering a market reserved for the "ridiculously branded" Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), says 'Business India'.
  • Says Madam Rosa Distillery's Valentino Vaz: "In India... country liquor a most abused term -- a state monopoly. The output is reserved for the poor and the market is not allowed to supply arrack."
  • Leading Goan feni manufacturing companies like Madame Rosa, Real, Cajulana, Dona Maria, Lobos Distilleries are reported to be doing a roaring business.
  • Local producers say unfortunately, the state and Central governments are "studiously" not lifting the country liquor labels from such a "fantastic product".
  • The Portuguese brought the cashew-crop from tropical America to Goa sometime between 1563 and 1578.
  • The name 'feni' is believed to have been derived from the Sanskrit-Konkani word 'fen', meaning froth.
  • Feni has a distinctive smell. Some non-drinkers or drinkers of other spirits find it unpleasant. "But feni lovers simply can't do without it," as its supporters back home say.
  • Attempts to remove the aroma of feni have brought back cautionary signals, with some fearing a feni without its smell would kill the drink.
  • Expat Goans earlier, and tourist visitors now, have taken the drink to new markets -- Middle East, Europe, Australia and Canada.
  • Liquor baron-turned-politician Vijay Mallaya has said: "Being a frequent visitor to Goa, I am familiar with feni. I know it has a potential to hit the international market."

For a destination which tends to be costlier -- in almost everything -- than the rest of India, Goa has liquors and wines that are priced noticeably low. Products available range from wine (red and white), to the oddly-named Indian-made foreign liquors (IMFLs, which include whisky, brandy, rum, gin, vodka and more), and local liquors (basically cashew and coconut feni). Prices of domestic products range from Rs 40 to Rs 350 per bottle, depending on product and brand.

There are two local brews long made and drunk in Goa -- cashew feni and coconut feni. One comes from the cashew apple, and the other from the sap of the coconut tree. Goa's feni-making has been much focussed on.

Feni-brewing skills have been honed by Goa's former Portuguese rulers. Strange but true: the cashew was brought in by the Portuguese themselves, and today it seems like a closely integrated part of Goa. Cashew-apples go to waste in neighbouring states, and in the fruiting season, one could get a strong smell of semi-fermenting apples being transported specially from Maharashtra into Goa, at locales close to the border.

Feni has come to become synonymous with Goa. "Indigenous alcoholic drinks include coconut palm toddy from south and eastern India and the Goan liquor 'feni' based on coconut palm juice or cashew nut," explains the website of the Indian Embassy in Russia.

Needless to say, feni has its own strong taste. Some like it, some don't. At one of the liquor outlets in Panjim, you can run into bus-loads of tourists picking up their 'souvenir' of feni.

Of course, there are a range of other options too. Local wines are priced at between Rs 40 to Rs 150 per bottle (of 750 ml).

In recent years, Goa has been hosting what it calls the "Grape Escape", a festival of wines, around the start of each year (held in mid-February 2007 and May 2006, for instance).

In Panjim, new ventures are also bringing in new products. A Nau ("The Ship" in Portuguese, unfortunately since closed down, as of the time of writing this, October 2008) brings in a range of wines and other commodities from Portugal.

Global Spirits and Foods, which operates out of the Pilerne Industrial Estate some 10 kms from Panjim, wholesales a wide range of products from across the globe -- champagne and cognac from France; wines from Argentina and Chile, Australia and New Zealand; vodka from Poland; single malt from Scotland; and even the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage of Brazil Cachaca. (Cachaça is the product of the distillation of fermented sugarcane juice, with its alcohol strength between 38% and 51% by volume. It is often said to differ from rum in that it is made from sugarcane juice while rum is made from molasses.)

In terms of local products, Madame Rosa has also been diversifying into coffee and other liqueur. Flavours include mango, anise, almond and chocolate mint. PVV (Pedro Vincent Vaz), another prominent brand, comes out with its cashew and palm products (in sizes of 750 ml, 180 ml and 60 ml). Other brands have names like Dom Pedro, Goan Treasure, Cashew Inside, Fruit Shape, among others.

Alcoholic Beverages The popular alcoholic beverages in Goa are Beer and Wine. There is also the local liquor, Fenny, which is quite potent and strong. It comes in 2 flavours, Cashewnut and Coconut.


Goa is one of the more expensive states in India to stay in. During the peak season, which lasts from November to late March, the prices are very high. Especially in December, 5 star hotel rates rates range from around Rs.20,000 - Rs.35,000 per night. A room / hut at peak times will cost you around 600 / 800 Rs. All tourist spots charge more in the peak season.

Goa really has a lot of places to stay at, except during the last week of the year, between Christmas and New Year, when the place is usually completely packed. Try to avoid that overhyped week and you will get a better deal without the added pressures.



Goa has a large network of banks, some of which will change currency. In the tourist pockets and urban areas, one comes across such services easily. Reserve Bank of India's Foreign Exchange Department is at 3A/B Sesa Ghor, Patto in Panjim (Ph 2438656, 2438659, fax 2438657) though one need not go specifically here.

Leading hotels, shops and travel agents will also offer foreign currency exchanges.

Goa has lots of premium properties for tourists to stay and enjoy the place


Phones (needs work)

At the time of writing, Goa's telephone directory hasn't been published for at least four years. In a state with among the highest teledensities (phones per hundred users) across India, this is a serious handicap.

Add to this the reality that the telephone network here is frequently growing. And that telephone numbers have grown from four-digits to the current seven in not too many years. Finding the right number you need can be tough.

Old telephone directories have segregated phone subscribers on the basis of the many small phone exchanges in the State. (Earlier, it needed a trunk-call to call from one exchange to the other, not anymore.) So it can be very confusing to locate a particular phone number.However if you do have a phone Number of the Bsnl co. gettin the Adress is easy by dialing 197.

Goa's main telecom ISP BSNL has this online telephone directory [10] which is partiallly useful.

Government of Goa's Department of Information and Publicity (located at Udyog Bhavan, near Azad Maidan and the Goa Police Headquarters in the heart of Panjim) comes out with a fairly-regularly unpriced -- but not easily available -- pocketbook of phone numbers. This focusses largely on politicians, goernment officials and media persons. Some useful fax numbers, email addresses and websites mentioned here. But don't expect officials to reply to your e-mail!

Yellow pages are also available. To enquire about local businesses contact Hello 2412121 (0832-2412121) ,The Talking Yellowpages Of Goa and Online Enquiry Hello Yellowpages Goa [11]. Both these services from Hello Group Goa [12]. offers information on a range of businesses in Goa.

Mobile services have grown fast in Goa.

It is very easy to get a Prepaid mobile SIM card. It will cost around 100Rs, just take a copy of your passport to a phone shop and away you go. It is worth thinking about cost and coverage if you are travelling around india as once you leave Goa and travel to anoher state you then pay roaming charges for all calls. It is still cheap though. A single text to the UK from Goa costs 10Rs and calls cost about 12Rs a minute.

  • IDEA[13] - GSM
  • Airtel[14] - GSM
  • Vodafone[15] - GSM
  • BSNL-Cell One - GSM
  • Tata Docomo[16] - GSM
  • Reliance Mobile -GSM / CDMA[17] - CDMA
  • Tata Indicom[18] - CDMA

and now GSM


Internet cafes can be found in Goa's urban areas, tourist spots and hotels. It is not difficult to find an internet center in a state known for its large expat and tourist population. ID has to be presented and foreigners will need to present their passport before being allowed to use the internet.

Consulates and High Commissions

Goa is home to the Consulate General of Portugal. Obviously so, as this distant country has had close and long historic and colonial ties.

Getting a Portuguese passport -- or, rather, "regaining" Portuguese nationality, going by what it actually implies -- is no longer as easy as it once was for people of Goan origin. This continues to be available, even if difficult and time-consuming to obtain now, and also for those born after 1961. There are still many queueing up at the lavishly done-up consulate.

Portugal's consulate has itself changed home thrice in a few years. It has now settled along the route to Panjim's one-time -- and still, in some ways -- elite area of Altinho.

Britain, which has a significant number of tourists visiting the region, also has its Tourist Assistance Office (earlier designated as a consular officer) based here. Germany, Austria (in the port town of Vasco da Gama) and Italy have their honorary consuls.

  • Portuguese Consulate General, 38-39 Father Angelo Road-Altinho, 2421525 (, fax: 2421522), [19].
  • Gm-flag.png German consulate, Cosme Matias Menezes Pvt. Ltd., Rua de Ourem, Panaji, 403 001, +91 832 223 55 26 (, fax: +91 832 222 34 41), [21]. Mon-Fri 10AM-5PM.
  • Austrian Consulate, Salgaocar House, Vasco, 2513811.
  • Italian Vice Consulate, D1 Sesa Ghor, Patto Plaza, 2438944 (fax: 2365785).

Stay safe

Goa is an ideal holiday destination for travelers, but tourists should bear in mind that like any country with all its heritage and culture comes its own set of safety issues. Readers, please don’t be alarmed with the advice you may get here, but it's just the guidelines to the dos and don'ts in Goa.

  • Western women should not walk on the beaches at night alone. If you have to, take along a companion.
  • Do not accept un-bottled drinks from strangers under any circumstances.
  • Do not accept rides from strangers, locals or foreigners, especially at night.
  • Do not indulge with drugs.
  • Be careful when wading at the beach as undertow riptide currents can be strong in certain beaches. Avoid the mouths of all rivers (such as the Mandovi River at Miramar), especially at low tide when the flow of the water current out to sea is the strongest. And just don't get into the water at all in the off season. The safe swimming period in Goa is November to early May.
  • Avoid contact with unprocessed cashew nuts as they contain an irritant ('urusiol') also present in poison ivy. The cashew apple is edible when ripe.
  • Goans are very friendly and helpful; should you have any problems, talk immediately to the nearest Goan shop, restaurant or bystander and ask for help.
  • Travel guides can be expensive and have been known to dupe foreign visitors. Try your hand at travelling alone, buy a map and hire a taxi or rent a bike. Befriend a decent taxi driver and agree on regular business.
  • Temperatures in winter and summer can be extreme, so do not forget sunscreen.
  • Beware of hawkers who always mark up their goods up to 300%.
  • Beware of any scam that offers a free ride in return for a "prize". The prize will suck guaranteed.
  • Beware of guides offering to take you to a disco with lots of attractive girls, who will dance with you. This is a sucker scam to cheat you of your money.
  • Also, beware the 'ear doctors', who are more likely to accost men than women and 'produce' some tiny revolting creature, supposedly from your ear, for which they then offer a 'cure' (It is, however, humorous to read the cards they print up promoting themselves).
  • While travelling by train, beware of pickpockets, strangers who offer you snacks or tea, and other such people who make trains in India a regular hunting ground.
  • Don't trust travel agents who say that a train is fully booked! They want you to hire a car that costs more and provides them a kick back. A better thing to do is to check out the details yourself on the Indian Railways website [22]. Also, you can book your railway ticket online on www.irctc.co.in.

Emergency services

Goa now has a common number for police/fire/ambulance services. Just dial 108 in case of any emergency. This service is run by the GVK EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) and is based out of Goa Medical College (Bambolim) and has ambulances posted at various parts of Goa. These ambulances are fully equipped and have trained paramedics.


  • Goa Medical College (Bambolim) 102 or 2458725
  • Goa Air Ambulance +91 98211 50889
  • Indian Red Cross (Panjim) 2224601
  • Esperance Clinic (Panjim) 2463185
  • Margao Ambulance Trust (Margao) 2714464
  • Ravi Naik Trust (Ponda) 2312608
  • Ambulance And Welfare Trust (Panjim) 2227997

Fire service The number to Fire Service is 191.

Police Police Head Quarters, near Azad Maidan, Panjim dgp@goapolice.org police@goa.nic.in

(These should maybe be sorted and moved to appropriate articles)

  • Police Control Room 100
  • Police Control Room Panjim 2428400
  • Police Control Room Porvorim 2416251
  • Police Station-Agaçaim 2218000
  • Police Station-Anjuna 2273233
  • Police Station-Calangute 2278284
  • Police Station-Canacona 2643357
  • Police Station-Collem 2600233
  • Police Station-Colva 2788396
  • Police Station-Curchorem 2650568
  • Police Station-Cuncolim 2763234
  • Police Station-Bicholim 2362233
  • Police Station-Harbour 2520740
  • Police Station-Mapusa 2262231
  • Police Station-Maina Curtorim 2714787
  • Police Station-Margao 2705095
  • Police Station-Old Goa 2285301
  • Police Station-Panjim 2428482
  • Police Station-Pernem 2201233
  • Police Station-Ponda 2313101
  • Police Station-Porvorim 2417704
  • Police Station-Quepem 2662253
  • Police Station-Sanguem 2604233
  • Police Station-Vasco 2512304
  • Police Station-Valpoi 2374255
  • Police Station-Verna 2782325
  • Police Station-Women's PS 2428992

Roadways Enquiry

  • KTC (Kadamba-Goa) 2438034 to 2438037
  • MSRTC (Maharashtra) 2438253
  • KSRTC (Karnataka) 2438256

Official media

  • All India Radio 2224455
  • Doordarshan 2224312
  • Press Information Bureau 2226929

Get out

Most tourists travel to and from Goa by bus. Book in advance during the crowded seasons (particularly during the Christmas-New Year rush, for Carnival, or when other Indian regions have school holidays when families travel). Trains connecting Goa offer an inexpensive and fairly pleasant ride, provided you get confirmed reserved seats. Unconfirmed travel can be pretty harrowing.

Goa is fairly well connected to other nearby Indian cities (Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, etc) via bus. One problem is that most buses ply in the night, and reach their destination the next morning. If you have a connecting bus, train or flight, this means that the timing you reach there might be inconvenient.

Kadamba Transport Corporation is the Goa state-run transport service. Its buses have seen better days, and more efficient times. There are also other state-run buses run by the governments of Karnataka (some services are efficient, specially the Volvo buses), Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. Many private players also offer bus connections to other cities, with varying levels of discounts and efficiency, with the two usually being inversely related.

The main center for booking train and bus tickets, in Panjim, is around the Kadamba inter-state bus terminus. Tickets for the Konkan Railway can also be booked here, though expect long queues during the holiday season (which in India, can also coincide with the timings when children have a school break).

  • Tour: [23] Goa Tour Packages offers exotic tour information's about Goa Package Tours and also provide travel and tourism deals at inexpensive rates to make your tour valuable as well as memorable.

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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