Dreaming of a beach vacation? Need to unwind with family? It is time to materialize the Goa plan.
One of the smallest state in India, Goa had made a place for itself in the world map as the perfect tourist destination. While youngsters come to Goa to party all night, friends come to Goa to chill over beer and seafood and families visit Goa to relax. Goa is the perfect destination for all. Before you plan your vacation to Goa, there are a few things you need to know and keep in mind, which will be dealt with in this article.
- What is the history of Goa?
- What is the population of Goa?
- What do the Goans speak?
- When is the ideal time to visit Goa?
- How to reach Goa?
- How is the weather in Goa?
- Which food is Goa famous for?
- What to pack for your Goa trip?
The land of sun, sand and sea is celebrated not just its spicy food but also for the susegaad Goans. People often wonder how Goa has managed to charm them all? While some are drawn towards the beaches, some indulge in the Goan cuisine and most find comfort in the Goan culture.
1) A PEAK INTO GOA’S PAST:
Located on the West coast of India, Goa was always treated like a golden egg due to its access to the sea. As major trade center Goa has attracted numerous rulers who wanted to strengthen their trade relations and accumulate wealth through commerce.
Goa was a part of the Mauryan Empire before being ruled by the Scytho-Parthians from 2nd to 4th century AD; then the Abhiras, Batpura and the Bhojas from the 4th to 6th century AD. Goa was later a part of the Chalukya Empire (6th to 8th century AD); the Rashtrakutas of Malked (8th to 10th century AD) and then the Kadamba dynasty from 1002 AD to 1356 AD.
Historians and Goans fondly remember the rule of the Kadamabas as the golden age where witnessed development and cultural enrichment. Tambdi Sulla, the oldest temple in Goa and one of the most picnic spots in the state was constructed by the Kadamba rulers.
A Muslim invasion of Goa in 1350 caused chaos and destruction in the state. This was followed by the Portuguese invasion in 1510 under Alfonso de Albuquerque. While the British ruled the rest of India, it was the Portuguese that ruled over Goa for over 300 years. Goa’s prosperity by the 16th century was the reason it was referred to as “Golden Goa” or “Lisbon of the East”.
Goa was eventually liberated by the Indian armed forces on 19th December 1961 as directed by the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. Year after year Goa celebrates the Goa Liberation Day on 19th December along with the Indian Independence Day on 15th August.
2) UNDERSTANDING THE LOCAL GOANS:
As on 2017 1.817 million Goans reside on 3,702 square kilometers of Goan land. That sure is a lot of people living on a small state.
The locals speak Konkani, written using the same script as Marathi. Goa’s varied history has influenced Goa’s languages as well so while Konkani is spoken by most Goans and is also recognized as the official state language, there are other languages spoken in Goa as well. Some Goans recognize Marathi as their mother tongue, while some speak Portuguese at home.
When travelling to Goa one need not be acquainted with Konkani as Goans are well versed with Marathi, Hindi and English as well.
3) IS GOA HOT OR COOL OR BOTH?
As a coastal state, Goa has a very coastal climate and is humid almost all through the year. Goa experiences summers from mid or end of March till May, monsoons from June which last till September and winters in the months of October, November, December, January and February.
May is the hottest month with the temperature rising to 35 to even 40 degree centigrade (95 to 104 degree Fahrenheit). But the downpour of rains from June onwards cools down the land, quickly making everyone forget about the summer heat. The winters are not as cold as in some other parts of India. The temperature does not drop below 20 degree centigrade (65 degree Fahrenheit) even on the coldest mornings or nights.
4) WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT GOA?
I feel that there is no wrong time for Goa. Goa’s beaches rescue the tourist from the heat and provide the perfect occasion to flaunt their swimwear and shorts. The monsoons are suited for those who enjoy the rains and prefer watching Gods blessing the state with rain. And the winters are not that cold so that will not stop you from wearing tank tops and dresses.
5) TICKLING YOUR TASTE BUDS:
Seafood is synonymous with Goan food, but that is not all. Goa is definitely famous for its sea food with delicacies like prawn curry, prawn vindaloo, crab xec xec, squid (calamari) rechado and so on. But Goa is also a food heaven for meat lovers with Chicken Xacuti, Pork sorpotel, Chicken Cafreal and cutlet paav.
The vegetarians can enjoy the local food as well. The batat (potato) bhaji, tonak (made from various pulses), khatkhate are a treat your taste buds.
Goan food is famed for being spicy, but Goa’s desserts are no less. The traditional Bebinka, doce, serradura, dodol, patoleo etc will ensure your return to Goa for more.
6) HOW TO GET TO GOA?
Goa is well connected by air, rail and road.
Goan airport is shared by the naval base, which prohibits photography at the airport but provides all the facilities like the other airports. Goa’s only airport is located at Vasco (South Goa) which is 28 kms from Panaji, the capital city of Goa and will roughly take around 50mins by car.
The airport has numerous taxi services which can also be availed at night. The government has recently started with airport taxis, which drop the passengers around Goa but only during the day.
Several buses travel in and out from Goa with stops at the Panaji bus stand (North Goa) and Margao Bus stand (South Goa). A few buses also stop at Mapusa bus stand (North Goa) and Ponda bus stand (South Goa).
Goa has four railway stations. One is at karamali (North Goa), Thivim (North Goa), Margao (South Goa) and Vasco (South Goa). A number of trains zoom through these stations at various times making it convenient for travellers.
Goa has a few private taxis but no facilities of Ola, Uber so tourists prefer hiring bikes or cars if they do not want to use the local taxis.
7) WHAT SHOULD YOUR BAG TO GOA CONTAIN?
Now that your Goa trip is becoming a reality and you are about to pack your bag for your holiday, these are the essentials you will need.
Cap or Hat or Scarf
- Shorts, Skirts or Dresses
- Swim wear
- Party clothes
- Flip flops
- Passport/ Aadhar card and license
- Hand sanitizer
- Basic medications
Do not worry if you miss anything, Goa has a lot of shops and medical stores at almost every corner so you can always buy from there.
With a brief understanding of Goa and Goans you are armed with a better understanding of the state and its people which will make it easier for you to plan the trip and enjoy your time in Goa.