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Top Tours

 
"Private Portuguese Heritage Tour: Se Cathedral
"Discover Goa’s colorful history on this private half-day tour. Learn about the heavy influence Portuguese rule had on this region’s religion and architecture from your expert guide’s interesting commentary about all the places you see. After pickup from air-conditioned vehicle your guide will take you to the Basilica of Bom Jesus a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds the remains of the Catholic missionary St Francis Xavier.Enter the church and walk on the marble floor inlaid with precious stones. Admire the exquisite paintings adorning the walls that depict scenes from St F also known as the Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria
From $50.00
 
Full Day Private Goa Shore Excursion Including Lunch at Spice Plantation
"9am - You will be picked up from the sea port or your desired location in Goa to begin your full day tour with a professional guide.9.45am - Shri Manguesh TempleA beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located on a Hillock. T stands at the gates in the temple complex. 10.45am - Shree Mahalasa TempleAlso known as Shri Mahalasa Narayani Temple is 450 year old Temple dedicated to the Goddess Mahalasa. Lakshmi (Mahalasa) the goddess of wealth and prosperity is the presiding deity in this temple. The inner hall of the temple has carvings of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu that have been resplendently painted. 12.30pm - Sahakari Spice Farm (Lunch Included)A an aroma of a variety of genuine spices coming from the trees grown around the farm lots of knowledge guidance on the type of species and treatment for various diseases sumptuous lunch in traditional Goan style. As you move deeper into this site
From $88.00
 
Goa Walking Day Tour Including Tuk Tuk Ride
"Think you know Goa? Think again. We’re taking you beyond the breezy beaches and party nights to show you the sunshine state through the eyes of a Goan local. We will meet at the Head Post Office in Panjim and start your Goa walking tour. It will passing along the way various monuments such as the Old Secretariat the 15th-century summer palace of sultan Yusuf Adil Shah and the Abbé Faria statue. From the fish market bursting with fishnets and a huge array of fish you will proceed to the vegetable and spice markets where you will smell the exotic spices and herbs grown in the marshlands of Goa. You will continue on to the flower market
From $64.00

RELIGION Tips (20)

Sacred cows

It is well known that cows are sacred to Hindus, but knowing this didn’t really prepare me for some of the (to Western eyes) unusual sights we came across. Not only do cows wander freely on town and city streets as here, but also on the beach (photo 2). And the cows are very definitely in charge. Time and again we witnessed local drivers getting incredibly impatient with each other, hooting their horns and trying to squeeze through spaces that weren’t really viable. But if a cow was blocking their way they were much more tolerant and would wait uncomplainingly until said cow decided it was time to move on.

I have found several reasons cited for the Hindu reverence for cows. Some trace the cow's sacred status back to Lord Krishna, who is said to have appeared 5,000 years ago as a cowherd. He is sometimes referred to as Bala-gopala, that is "the child who protects the cows" and also as Govinda, meaning "one who brings satisfaction to the cows." Elsewhere Hindu scriptures talk about the cow as the "mother" of all civilization because its milk nurtures the people. Milk holds a central place in religious rituals and the divine bull, Nandhi, guards Hindu temples.

The reverence for cows manifests itself in several ways. In addition to the freedom they are granted to roam where they will, many people consider it good luck to give a cow a snack such as a bit of bread or fruit before breakfast. And conversely, a citizen can be sent to jail for killing or injuring a cow. Maybe that explains the patience of the drivers – they would not want to run one over!

toonsarah's Profile Photo
toonsarah
Feb 06, 2009

Marigolds

These flowers have a special place in Hindu worship and culture. They are often strung into ornate and beautiful garlands which are used to decorate shrines or as offerings in the temples.

Various meanings have been attributed to the flower, and hence for its significance in worship. Some say its saffron/orange colour signifies renunciation, others that its sturdy stem symbolizes a trust in the divine and a will to overcome obstacles.

The use of marigolds in homes, whether to decorate a shrine or simply to garland a doorway, has another more practical benefit too, as the unpleasant odour helps to keep insects and other pests at bay. For me the sight of these beautiful golden flowers piled up in the markets and draped over statues and shrines will be one of the abiding memories of our visit to Goa.

toonsarah's Profile Photo
toonsarah
Feb 06, 2009

Bambar a SACRED GROVE

The Sacred Grove located at Bambar in Satari Taluka is the abode of rare medical plants. This forbidden spot is a refuge for a unique forest community and it is classified as Myristica Swamp Forests having great ecological significance. The trees have unusal aerial roots which are analogous to pneumatophores or stilt roots of mangrove forests. The area of the grows is about 0.25 ha of undulating terrain and is situated 11 kms from the Goa - Karnataka border.

Historical Perspective
This grove is known to exist for the last 250 years and the reigning deity is the God ‘Nirankar’, who is worshipped by the people of three villages namely Maloli, Ustem and Nanode. Their deep rooted religious belief strengthened by the cult of nature worship, has ensured that the vegetation remained more or less untouched for the last 40 to 50 years.

People of these three villages used to assemble at the site during the years gone by to venerate the Lord “Nirankar” who is considered the ‘Rakhandar’ (Protector) of these villages. After the sacrifice, the ritual is performed and food is cooked, but only the male members eat the preparation. These customs and rituals have now been neglected due to the changing life style of the people and other pre-occupation for their material gains.

Vegetation
The natural vegetation of the area is of tropical hill forest dominated by evergreen broad leaved species. The floral composition of the grave shows the presence of the following plant species: Alstonia scholaris, Artocarpus hirsuta, Calamus thwaitesii, Calophyllum inophyllum, Combretum sp., Canarium strictum, Holigarna arnottiana, Holigarna grahamii, Hydnocarpus laurifolia, Lophopetalum wightianum, Machilus macrantha, Myristica malabarica, Piper nigrum, Stereospermum personatum, Osbeckia sp, Tetrameles nudiflora, etc. In addition, there are several species of algae, lichens, epiphytes and under growth plants which are yet to be identified.

One of the unique features of the trees in this habitat is the presence of numerous aerial roots in the shape of “U” arching over the mud. These roots resemble a knee when the leg is folded. The ecological significance of these peculiar knee roots is an adaptation or reaction to overcome environmental stress. Presumably this is two fold - one in which the plants overcome poor anchorage in a soft bed; and two ensuring root aeration when oxygen is not available in the soil. In either case it is analogous to the adaptations found in mangroves. The knee roots suggest the presence of an underground stream creating conditions similar to those of mangrove swamps.

How to reach
Bambar is located approximately 60 kms. from Panaji on te Valpoi-Nanode road and is easily accessible.

Whom to contact
1. Dy. Conservator of Forest
Research & Utilisation
Aquem, Margao-Goa Ph.: 0832 - 2750099

2. Dy. Conservator of Forest
North Goa Division
Ponda, Goa. Ph.: 0832 - 2312095

Justin_goa's Profile Photo
Justin_goa
Nov 07, 2008

Diwali a national festival...

In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest, after he defeated the evil Ravana. The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deeva), thus its name: Deepavali. This word, in due course, became Diwali in Hindi. But, in South Indian languages, the word did not undergo any change, and hence the festival is called Deepavali in southern India. There are many different observances of the holiday across India.
'Diwali', also called Deepavali or festival of ligths, is the abstraction of the Sanskrit word Deepavali - 'Deep' means diya (small pots made from clay) or light and 'Avali', means a row - meaning a row of diyas or array of lamps. Thus placing small diyas, candles & lamps inside and around the home marks the festival of lights.
Diwali festival is celebrated after 20 days of Dussehra. The five days long festivity of Dipavali celebration begins on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin (October / November).

Justin_goa's Profile Photo
Justin_goa
Oct 27, 2008
 
 
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Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha Chaturthi or Ganesha Festival is a day on which Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees.
It is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Chavath ( चवथ ) in Konkani. It is celebrated as it is the birthday of Lord Ganesha.
The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Typically,
the day usually falls between 20 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi . This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha.
if Chaturthi prevails on both days, the first day should be observed. Even if chaturthi prevails for complete duration of madhyahana on the second day, but if it prevails on previous day's madhyahana period even for one ghatika (24 minutes) the previous day should be observed.
Madhyahana is the 3rd / 5th part of the day (Sunrise-sunset).

Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati, is widely worshipped as the supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune.

While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Goa (Biggest festival for Konkani people all over the world) Gujarat,

Justin_goa's Profile Photo
Justin_goa
Oct 27, 2008

Holy Cow

You will see cows just about everywhere around Goa on the road on the beach or even wandering around Anjuna market. Cows lead a very charmed life in India. In Hindu religion they are considered a source of life and can never be killed.Its fair to say they get full right of way in Goa and in some villages the mild and gentle spirit is considered one of the family

s.e.a.n's Profile Photo
s.e.a.n
Mar 04, 2008

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh is my favourite Hindu God! The past week has been fireworks, more fireworks, and even more fireworks! Large idols of Ganesh are put in the local temples and after 3,5,7, 9 or eleven days the idols of Ganesh are celebrated in the streets, and carried down to local rivers or the sea for holy dips. Great fun!

BluBluBlu's Profile Photo
BluBluBlu
Sep 26, 2007

Meeting the Real Goans

A good place to meet real Goans (rather than other Indians who have simply moved to Goa during the tourist boom) is at the many churches. The langugae and people are amazing.

Try and catch a wedding as well.

djferros
Mar 10, 2007
BluBluBlu's Profile Photo

BluBluBlu

"The Gem that's Goa"
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Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

Donna_in_India

"Sun, Sand, & Shacks in Goa"
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Justin_goa's Profile Photo

Justin_goa

"My Goa Experience"
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vinodcia

"GOLDEN GOA - WHERE FUN NEVER SETS !"
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bpwillet's Profile Photo

bpwillet

"Just right..."
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Carnival

Every February Goa has a 'Carnival' which runs over four days covering Panjim, Margao, Mapusa, and Vasco De Gama. Calangute has its own seperate Carnival, on the same weekend with a grand procession of floats in the afternoon, followed by a concert at the football pitch in the evening. Its really good fun, and there was a great atmosphere among the visitors and locals. Every bar was packed out...as was every rooftop! For more pics take a look at the seperate travelogue.

BluBluBlu's Profile Photo
BluBluBlu
Feb 20, 2007

Arpora Chapel

This typical white washed chapel is situated by the crossroads at Arpora. Like quite a few Goan chapels its only used for one festival each year. This one celebrates Epiphany, and is only open for about 8 days in total (January), and the festivities finish in a great firework display!

BluBluBlu's Profile Photo
BluBluBlu
Nov 10, 2006

The festival of Lights & Sounds - Diwali

Diwali in Margao, Goa is celebrated not only with lights but also with huge floats of Hindu Gods as tall as 4 storey buildings. Plays are enacted with warriors dressed up in all their finery, fighting these huge towering structures with silver bows and arrows and fireworks exploding all around etc. The pageant is very nice to see with a carnival atmosphere!

The Goa government sponsors these floats - they give a certain sum of money to villages not only to make these floats but finally there are prizes for the best float! Many-a-time we wish our Mumbai government did something like this for us too instead of taking the tax payers money and lining their pockets !

Escadora7's Profile Photo
Escadora7
Oct 27, 2006

Religion is serious stuff here

Christians in India follow thier religion much more passionately and religiously than thier counterparts in the West. While churches might be empty in other parts of the globe on a Sunday, but the Sunday mass here is an occassion for all to get together.

The lenten fasts, celibacy, and rules of the Lord are followed to the T.

alycat's Profile Photo
alycat
Jun 05, 2006

Things to Do Near Goa

Things to Do

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church - Panaji

This Church is located in the heart of the city. It is one of the first churches to be built in Goa with its church bells being the second largest in the world. Best viewed at night when the entire...
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Things to Do

Old Goa

Old Goa was he site of the Portuguese capitl until the mid 18th century. Today is it a magnificent complex of churches, monasteries, and cathedrals that cover a 1.5 km stretch. It is also a UNESCO...
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Things to Do

Panaji - Panjim City

Worth a visit for a few hours to this moderately -sized town which is the Capital of Goa. A good selection of shops and a very extensive market where all manner of goods and fruit can be purchased....
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Things to Do

Boat Trips - Cruises

We had a great time kayaking and sailing with skipper Pascal and Poonam on their traditional yet modern cruise, enjoying the Sunset River Cruise in Goa. The mangroves exploration was super exciting...
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Things to Do

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Northeastern Goa, India. The total area of this park land is 8 square km. It is a popular destination for both tourists and school children. Known for the place...
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Things to Do

Basilica of Bom Jesus - Old Goa

The Basilica of Bom (infant or good) Jesus is 9 km from Panaji on the banks of Mandovi River in Old Goa. It contains the mortal remains of Goa's patron saint, St. Francis Xavier, who died while on a...
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