Honestly, we have friends that have visited Goa for decades and some who go a couple of times a year, and they are now saying how much they really are going off the place and how it is ruined.
Well, part of this reason is that they never leave the usual big resort beaches and hotels. Once enough people get onto how great a place is, it doesnt really take that long before it changes, usually for the worst.
But, there are still some great places that arent ruined in Goa, but you really need to have your own transport. We drove South toward the boarder with Karnataker, and found some amazing beaches where we were the only people on them. And the countryside is amazing.
The departure lounge of the airport terminal is as bad as the Arrival lounge. The air conditioner was not working. It was hot, humid and fetid. There was no one who would/could take our complaint or set things right. The telephones had 'Inoperative' written on top of them. The suggestion Box was missing. In its place, someone had placed a garbage bin. A fitting response, we thought. It was a relief when our flight was announced.
A tip. Eat well at the Port Lounge restaurant if your airlines does not provide you food. Yes, they serve beer!
NB. A new airport is coming up next to this one. Swanky one.
First Written: Oct. 2010
Re-print: Nov., 2013
The ones I saw were lined up on one side of the main road. Delightful ones almost rivalling those on Altinho hill. They had a quiet air about them, almost supercilious and in a world of their own. The world outside did not concern them. They were content in their smugness.
First Written: Oct., 2010
Shantadurga temple is about 33 km from Panaji and is located on the foothills of Kavalem village. It is dedicated to Goddess Shantadurga, who mediated between Vishnu and Shiva when the duo were fighting such a fierce battle that Lord Brahma was forced to pray to Parvati to intervene. Mediate, she did, in the form of Shantadurga.
First Written: Oct., 2010
Perched atop the Altinho hill, Mala-Panjim and offering a scenic view of the river Mandovi River, lies the orange-coloured Sri Maruti temple. Large crowds congregate here during February for the 'jatra' (folk theatre). In Panjim area, this is the most beautiful temple. The idol of Maruti can be seen from the main road thorough a gap in the basement wall of the temple. Of special interest is the octagonal 'deepastambha' (light tower) and the large wheels of a chariot. It looks bewitching during the night, especially on a full moon night. Nearby are Government quarters, which, thankfully, blend with the scenery.
First Written: Oct., 2010
It was built in 1728 by Maratha ruler Shaha Raje of Satara.The temple compound has a octagonal 'deepastambh' or lamp tower painted in white.The unusual feature of this temple is the clear influence of European church architecture in it's construction.
Goa has so many wonderful beaches and Miramar is one of them.It is located close to the capital city of Panjim.the main beach is always crowded so we chose a secluded spot where the locals visit.The sunsets in Goa are spectacular and it is nicer to bathe in the evening sea.
A wonderful event held every December , the Goa International Marine & Boat Expo attracts a lot of visitors and trade participants.The latest in international boating and marine equipment are on display.
The tropical Goan beaches were my favourite places to relax in the hot sun. On some of them were small shacks, constructed by any timber washed up on the shore and palm tree branches as roofing. Cold drinks were sold in these primitive bars, including Fenni, a local alcohol brew made from coconuts or cashews, and very potent!
This was such a fantastic day out for us. We felt like we got a genuine feel for old Goa - and also ate the best Goan food we've ever had! We were collected from our hotel in a very comfortable big car late morning and taken first to the House of Braganza (really interesting!) for a little private tour. Then we drove about twenty minutes to a Priests mansion which was being restored by the lovely family who live there. They also cooked an amazing lunch for us. It was traditional Goan-Portuguese food, all made from home recipes and plenty of different dishes to try. We sat for ages on the terrace enjoying the peaceful garden and chatting with some nice people we met on our tour. They do private groups too but I thought this was a really nice way to meet people on holiday. I also really liked the fact the whole day was so friendly and easygoing - big tour groups are not our thing. A highly recommended thing to do for anyone!
The Shantadurga Temple is Goa's most popular shrine. It was built by Shahu, the grandson of Maratha chief, Shivaji from 1713 to 1738. Its unusual pagoda style roof and 5-storeyed octagonal lamp tower are unique to Goa.
Grand chandeliers hang in the huge central hall and silver screens shield the main sanctuary, which is as far as you'll get unless you are Hindu. The main sanctuary holds the silver deity of Shantadurga (a form of Parvati, Shiva's consort).
We were fortunate to have a priest take us around the property to show us the elaborate rathas (chariots) that are used during a jatra (festival).
Dress respectfully and remove your shoes before entering the temple.
From the Shantadurga Temple you can walk to the Sri Ramnath Temple (which has a linga).
The Caravela sails from Panaji each night for a gambling cruise. You'll sail down the Mandovi River into the Arabian Sea. The top deck has a relaxing atmosphere where you can have drinks and watch the city float by. There is music - and on special nights (such as New Year's Eve) there is a live band. (We've spent NYE here twice.) The dining room has a decent multi-cuisine buffet.
The (live gaming) casino has blackjack, poker, roulette, slot machines and other games. It's not Las Veaga, but it is an enjoyable night out.
Dress Code: Smart Casuals. Shorts and sleeveless t-shirts not permitted. Flip Flops, chappals not permitted.
Photography is permitted on board except on the main casino floor and theVIP gaming rooms.
Sundeck closed for monsoons.
Unlimited Food & Alcohol: Rs 2500. There are also deals for chip purchases.
The Central Jail is a downhill ride from Fort Aguada. There's not much to see as far as the jail itself - you cannot enter unless you are coming to visit an inmate. But if you go to the fort, it's worth a short look.
At the entrance are a few nice statues and the view is really nice. You can get a better view of the jail if you pass by in a boat. You'll see inmates waving out the windows.
Although the accommodations come with a sea-view, you don't want to end up here!!
Early each morning the fisherman head out into the Arabian Sea. Late each afternoon they bring in their daily catch. Kingfish, prawns, mackerel, pomfret, crabs, etc. line the tables. The smell is overwhelming but it is a visual treat. Buyers go from table to table bargaining for their fish. Watch as the fish is skillfully cleaned, talk to the fisherman, take some photos, and enjoy the atmosphere.
** There is a market in the city of Panaji where locals go for fish, fruits, and vegetables. This is not the market described in this tip. You must cross the river to access this market. This is where the fisherman leave from and come into each day.
There is a very small charge to enter.
Three animal-loving girls on holiday - of course we had to visit the local animal rescue!
Animal Tracks was opened in 1998 & is a fully functional veterinary clinic with a properly built kennel block housing 90-100 dogs at any given time (mostly puppies) and a purpose built cattery for 50 cats. The clinic has expanded to deal with wildlife & numerous pigs, goats, cows & water buffalo.
Visitors are always welcome to the clinic to see the animals, help with cleaning (and playing with) the cats & kittens, and the dogs always need walks. However, the best help any animal shelter could every hope for is visits from volunteer vets.
The staff were friendly and took their time to show us around & explain their activities to us. The conditions are - compared to Western standards - rather poor, basic & smelly - but the centre is doing what it can and is already making a big difference for animals in the area.
The main aim of the centre is to sterilise, treat and whenever possible re-home the animals or release them back to where they were found. As many people in Goa do not want dogs as pets, or simply cannot afford them, most adult dogs are sent back to the streets after being treated & sterilised... the operations will prevent further generations of unwanted puppies being born in the future.
The animals are all vaccinated against rabies, and dogs are then given an collar from the shelter: so if you see dogs with IAR collars, rest assured that they have been neutered/castrated and are rabies-free.
the IAR also provides this free service for those who cannot pay & obviously for the stray animals. DONATIONS ARE OF THE ESSENCE!
The centre also fights for the rights and survival of India's wildlife:
Horrendous cruelty is inflicted on elephants, monkeys, "dancing bears" and snakes.
Please NEVER give money to anyone with performing animals!