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Places of Interest in and Around Goa

Beaches

Anjuna Beach
Arambol Beach
Agonda Beach
Aguada Beach
Benaulim Beach
Bogmalo Beach
Baga Beach
Calangute Beach
Cavelossim and Varca Beaches
Candolim Beach
Colva Beach
Goa Benavali Beach
Goa Siridao Beach
Goa Miramar Beach
Goa Sinquerim Beach
Goa Mobor Beach
Majorda Beach
Palolem Beach
Vagator Beach

Churches of Goa
Basilica Of Bom Jesus
Church of Our Lady of Rosary
The Rachol Seminary
The Se Cathedral
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The Reis Magos Church
The Church of St. Alex at Curtorim
The Church of St. Anne

Temples of Goa
Brahma Temple
Shri Bhagavati Temple
Shri Datta Mandir
Shri Damodar Temple
Shri Chandreshwar Temple
Devaki-Krishna Temple
Shri Gomanteshwar Temple
Gopal-Ganapati Temple
Sri Mangesh Temple
Shri Ananta Temple
Shanta Durga Temples
Temple of Tambdi Surla

Monuments
Fort of Aguada
Cabo Raj Niwas
Cabo de Rama
Chapora Fort
Tiracol Fort

Other Places
Bondla Sanctuary
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Dudhsagar Waterfall
Mayem Lake
Ancestral Goa

Beaches

Anjuna Beach

Anjuna is a small village in North Goa and Anjuna beach is approximately situated 18 km away from Panaji, the capital of Goa. Goa Anjuna beach is one of the most popular beaches in Goa. The beauty of the white waves rushing to embrace the pale golden sand on the beach can be witnessed in full form at the Goa Anjuna beach. Goa Anjuna beach comes to life with the flea market and the full-moon beach parties at Goa Anjuna beach that continue through out the night. The flea market at Goa Anjuna beach offers a tourist just about anything he desires, right from swim suits to water-sports equipments to second hand bikes to cameras to various trinkets that can taken away as souvenirs to...just about anything. The Anjuna beach flea market is held on Wednesdays but a good bargaining skill is required to shop here. Apart from all this, one can also treat oneself to delicious Goan cuisine...right from mouth-watering prawns to heavenly pork vindaloo. The Anjuna beach in Goa comes to life with the rave parties held during the nights that continue till the wee hours of the morning. These rave parties are famous not only in Goa but all across the world. These beach parties have attracted thousands of tourists from across the world. These full-moon beach parties at Goa Anjuna beach filled with music, dance, fun and frolic transports you to an altogether different world. At Goa Anjuna beach, there is the magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920, the Mascarenhas Mansion and the Chapora Fort, for one to see. The Mascarenhas Mansion is an architectural delight with rich and classic balconies. It has some of the finest stained glass floral etchings. The Chapora Fort gives a splendid view of the nearby Anjuna and Vagator beaches. The fort has been well preserved except for a few interesting ruins. Once, it was a domain of the Muslim rulers before the Portuguese wrested it. The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 47 km from Anjuna. The nearest railway station is at Karmali, 11 km away from Panaji and 29 km from Anjuna. There are buses every hour to Anjuna from Mapusa . Once in Goa, you can also hire bikes whose charges range from Rs 250 to Rs 400 per day. This way you can cover all the beaches as per your wishes and schedules. There are plenty of guesthouses around the village and even a couple of hotels. There are also houses which a person can take on rent if he is planning to stay on the Goa Anjuna beach for a couple of months.

Arambol Beach
Arambol is situated further north of Goa. Goa Arambol beach is approximately 50 kms from Panaji, the state capital of Goa. Though frequently visited by the tourists, this beach has very peaceful atmosphere. Apart from offering peace and tranquillity, the villages around Arambol also have a hand in enhancing the beauty of Arambol beach in Goa. The villagers at this Goan beach are friendly and go out of their way to make you feel at home. Here, you can get the feel of the Goan culture from close quarters. There are sulphur pits and freshwater lakes that tourists can use for swimming during their vacations in Goa. To reach Arambol Beach one can take one of the many buses that regularly ply between Arambol and Mapusa, and also between Arambol and Chopdem. It takes around 40 minutes to reach Arambol from Chopdem for a distance of 12 km. On market day's tourists can take boats to Anjuna. To move locally in Arambol, vacationers can hire taxis or bikes that are easily available.

Agonda Beach
The next beach to Palolem Beach is Agonda beach. It is a long and lonely beach fringed with palms and casuarinas and dominated by a large hill to the south. If a person is looking for for some quiet moments, Goa Agonda beach is the perfect place because you will find absolutely no tourists, no souvenir stalls, no restaurants, nothing. Just the trees, the beach, the big beautiful ocean and you. Not far from Agonda beach is Cabo de Rama, untouched by most of the visitors in this region. The atmosphere of the fort creates a sense of history and drama that very few would fail to appreciate. The fort is named after Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to the local legends, Rama stayed here with his wife Sita during the period of 12 year exile. It is really difficult to reach Agonda Beach because it falls a bit away from the main road and no local buses ply here. The best way to reach this beach is by a scooter or motors bike. There are not many facilities on Goa Agonda beach as far as staying is concerned. So it is always better to stay at some guesthouses and visit Agonda beach. But if you are the adventurous type, then you can hire a tent and camp for the night on the beach.

Aguada Beach
Goa Aguada beach is situated in the north of Goa and is 4km from Sinquerim beach in Goa. The main attractions while at Aguada beach are Fort Aguada and Reis Magos Fort. The Fort of Aguada was built by the Portuguese to control the entry of the enemy into River Mandovi and to protect old Goa from attacks. The fortification skirts the seashore. From the ramparts of Fort Aguada, one can get a fantastic view of the golden beaches running right up to the borders of the Indian state Maharashtra. At the center of the fort is a circular lighthouse tower which was built in 1864. If one can manage to reach the top of the lighthouse, then he can catch some excellent view of the Cabo Raj Niwas. Reis Magos church , built in 1555, offers a fantastic view of the Mandovi river. Once you enter the church, you will be surrounded by shades of all possible colours. Reis Magos church houses the tombs of three viceroys. To reach Goa Aguada beach, it is always better to arrange your own means of transport. You can either hire a taxi or a motorbike. You can rent the bikes on a daily charge basis, the charges ranging from Rs 300 to 400. Goa Aguada beach is situated 4km from Sinquerim beach and few buses from Panaji can drop you somewhere close to Aguada beach.

Benaulim Beach
Goa Benaulim beach is situated in south Goa on the shores of the Arabian Sea. It lies 41 km away from Panaji, capital of the Indian state of Goa. Benaulim beach is 2km from Colva beach. Benaulim beach in Goa starts where Colva beach ends. It is a very quiet beach. This is the beach to be when you just want to relax, relax and relax. Eating joints nearby offer you snacks and drinks as and when preferred and you don't even have to bother about getting up from your comfort zone for such things because there are assistants roaming about through whom you can place the orders and the food or drink is brought to you where you are seated. So at Goa Benaulim beach, all you do is sit and relax. The best thing about Goa Benaulim beach is that it is still rather undiscovered by domestic tourists even though it is a famous beach for fishing. Benaulim beach gets fairly crowded in the evenings and on weekends. Local visitors often frequent this Benaulim beach; they get off their buses about a kilometer away and pour onto the beach. Apart from the lovely beach, there is the Church of St John the Baptist which is situated on a hill beyond the village and is worth a visit. On the arrival of the monsoon, Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao) is celebrated as a thanksgiving. Young men wearing crowns of leaves and fruits tour the area singing for gifts. To commemorate the movement of St John when he was in his mother's womb and visited by Mary, the mother of Jesus, the young men of this village jump in the wells. To reach Benaulim beach, the nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 70 km from Benaulim. The nearest railway station is at Karmali, 11 km away from Panaji. Panaji is 41 km away from Benaulim. There are frequent buses from Colva, which is 2km from Benaulim beach, running to and from Margao (also Madgaon; which is 8km away from Benaulim) from where one can take a bus to Panaji, which is 33 km further ahead. At Goa Benaulim beach you will find only few hotels for your accommodation but you can definitely rent a house if you are going to stay for long.

Bogmalo Beach
Situated very close to the airport, Bogmalo beach in Goa is clean and not very crowded like Anjuna beach or other beaches in Goa and while at Goa Bogmalo beach, one can definitely go in for a swim as the water is quite safe for swimming. Initially Bogmalo beach in Goa was a fishing village. Despite modern eating joints, hi-tech shops selling handicrafts surrounding it, the village at Bogmalo still manages to stay alive. With the five-star Oberoi hotel nearby, Bogmalo beach in Goa promises a very luxurious stay. One can reach Bogmalo by bus or taxi from Vasco da Gama which is 8km from Bogmalo. The beach is about 18 km from Dabolim Airport and is well-connected by buses, motorcycle taxis, and taxis.

Baga Beach
Baga Beach lies on the shores of the Arabian Sea of North Goa in India. It is encircled by Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim, in the Bardez taluka, and is just 15 km from Panjim, the capital of the state of Goa. While at Baga beach in India's Goa, one can do nothing but just drown in the peaceful solitude offered by this beach. But if you care for some other trip, then you can visit the medicinal springs. To reach this place, you have to tread through the narrow road leading past the Bom Viagem Convent along the cashew-covered foothills, which leads to the springs at Mottant. This is an ideal spot for picnics and bathing, as the water is believed to be medicinal. Overlooking the village and the Arabian Sea, at the Baga hilltop is the Baga Retreat House dedicated to St Francis Xavier. It is also known as the Casa de Retiros. The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji. Panaji is just half an hour's drive away from Baga. The nearest railway station is at Karmali 11 km away from Panaji. Panaji is just half an hour's drive away from Calangute. Goa Baga beach is about ten minutes from Mapusa, and thirty minutes from the state capital, Panaji. There are frequent buses to Panaji and Mapusa from Baga and Calangute. Most buses from Panaji terminate at Calangute and a few trudge further on up to Baga. Mapusa is around 8 km away from Baga.

Calangute Beach
Goa Calangute beach is situated on the shores of the Arabian Sea in the North of India's Goa. It is encircled by Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim, in the Bardez taluka, and is just 15 km from Panajim, the capital of the state of Goa. Goa Calangute beach is also called the 'Queen of Beaches' because the beauty you at find Calangute beach in Goa cannot be found elsewhere. Under the shade of palm trees, bathes the Queen of Beaches-Calangute. Goa's Calangute seems to be a distortion of the local vernacular word-'Koli-gutti', which means land of fishermen. Some people connect it with Kalyangutti (village of art) or Konvallo-ghott (strong pit of the coconut tree) because the village is full of coconut trees. With the advent of the Portuguese, the word probably got distorted to Calangute, and has stuck till today. In a green semi-circle, the villages of Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim do their bit to enhance the divine beauty of Calangute. There are picturesque agors (saltpans) at Agarvaddo, Maddavaddo is full of madd (coconut trees), Dongorpur skirts a bottle-green hillock and Tivaivaddo laces the beach. In Gauravaddo lived the gaudds or milkmen ran dairies. Goa Calangute beach is often crowded with people, children making sand castles, colorful crowds surging towards the sea, hippies busy remembering the good old times and the young and old alike lazing on the golden sands. This picture of a perfect tourist haven is completed with shacks and stalls under the shade of palm trees selling everything from fried prawns and beer to trinkets made of seashells. Other places worth visiting are the Church of St Alex and the Kerkar Art complex. Church of St Alex, with its two towers and a magnificent dome displays the beauty of the architectural style and ornate altars. In 1996, Calangute celebrated the fourth centenary of its parish church.

Kerkar Art Complex is quite special and is the one and only of its kind on this beach. It is a popular center for exhibitions of arts and crafts of local artistes. On Thursdays and Fridays, you can be audience to connoisseurs of Indian classical music and dance. Apart from places of visit, Calangute beach in Goa offers parasailing, water skiing and wind surfing which starts in the afternoon when the wind is blowing in the right direction and it goes on till sunset. Calangute beach is a mere thirty minutes bus ride up the coast from the capital, Panaji and is about ten minutes from Mapusa. There are frequent buses to Panaji and Mapusa from Calangute. Most buses from Panaji terminate at Calangute and a few trudge further on up to Baga. Mapusa is 8 km away from Calangute. Calangute offers lot of choices when it comes to accommodation. From resorts & star hotels to budget rooms, you will find everything here.

Cavelossim and Varca Beaches
Goa Varca beach is situated 5km south of Benaulim while Cavelossim beach is around 12 km from Benaulim. Goa Varca beach and Goa Cavelossim beach are filled with soft white sands and doted with black lava rocks at certain places. These beaches being much cleaner and quieter than most of the famous beaches of Goa manage to attract many tourists. There are numerous beach shacks offering a variety of Goan dishes and seafood at reasonable prices. There are several food joints around Dona Sylvia where you can get entire package of good food, good drink, nice service, and a pleasant service at quite reasonable rates. The main attraction at Goa Varca beach and Goa Cavelossim beach is the facility available for dolphin watching. There are boat trips arranged for this special event. Tourists can book themselves and sail away into the sea to watch the dolphins and if you are lucky, you can even touch these dolphins from close quarters. Goa Varca beach has sets of rooms and villas, but these places of accommodation may come as slightly expensive. Goa Cavelossim beach consists of beach resorts and beautiful inns facing the sea. So accommodations may pose no problem if you are heading towards Cavelossim beach or Varca beach in Goa. You can avail the buses or taxis services to reach the Cavelossim and Varca beaches. Or else, you can hire motorbike to travel to these beaches.

Candolim Beach
Goa Candolim beach comes as an ideal beach for those who are slowly getting tired of the crowded beaches of Calangute or Anjuna. Though tourists quite often frequent Candolim beach, you can still find some quiet places for yourself. If you want to try your hand at fishing, you are welcome to do so too. Some hotels at Candolim beaches offer yoga and meditation session which will give any tourist a sense of relief from all the stress and fatigue that he has been trying to run away from by being in Goa. Goa Candolim beach offers a variety of sports activites, right from parasailing to water-sking. There are special guides to help you through these daring water sports activites. Besides the main attraction at the Candolim beach in this Indian state of Goa is the special boating excursion especially during the evenings which offers you beautiful views of the sunset...you can really feel the sun touching its all-glory orange and then slowly sinking into the sea. This excursion is definitely worth a try.

Colva Beach
Colva beach is situated approximately 40 kms from Panaji, the capital of Goa. Colva beach is also at a distance of 2km from the Benaulim beach where tourists often go to have some quiet moments. With virgin white sands spreading out to 20kms, lush green palm trees swaying gently, this sun drenched Colva beach is the one of the most loved beach of the tourists. Though there are eating joints and hotels around Colva, the Colva beach still manages to keep its serenity in tact. Unlike Anjuna or Calangute, Colva beach in Goa gained popularity only lately. Over the years, many hotels and buildings have sprung from nowhere in and around these beaches in Goa. Colva beach is one of those beaches in Goa that is developing at a very good pace. Apart from the beach, you can also visit the Nossa Senhora de Merces (Our Lady of Mercy) Church. This church is famous for its annual religious event-Fama of Menino Jesuse (Child Jesus)-since the 17th century. The predominantly Catholic community celebrates it on the third Monday of October every year. It is one of Goa's most popular feasts and a big fair is held on the occasion. The nearest airport to reach Colva beach in Goa is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji and 68 km from Colva. The nearest railway station to reach Colva beach in Goa is at Karmali, 11 km away from Panaji. Panaji is 40 km away from Colva. There are plenty of hotels offering accommodation at cheap rates, but its always better to book in advance.

Goa Benavali Beach
Goa Benavali beach is a tiny, relaxed resort situated few miles South of Goa. Goa's Benavali beach has a handful of budget hotels and excellent seafood restaurants.

Goa Siridao Beach
Situated near the Zuari estuary, Goa Siridao Beach is a shell collector's haven with its assortment of oyster and pearl shells.

Goa Miramar Beach
Goa Miramar beach runs up to 3 Km. A lovely golden beach of soft sand griddled with palm trees facing the blue Arabian Sea, Goa's Miramar beach is very near to Panaji, the state capital of Goa.

Goa Sinquerim Beach
Goa Sinquerim beach is located some 13 km away from Panaji. The Taj Hotel group has set up the Heritage Complex here which dominates the headland around the historic Fort of Aguada. There is uninterrupted beach, starting from here all the way to north to Baga and if you want a long walk on the beach, there cannot be a better place to start from than here.

Goa Mobor Beach
Goa Mobor beach is situated in the north of Goa. Mobor beach in Goa is very beautiful, very clean and, in spite of warning notices put up by a luxury beach hotel, it is a public beach. All beaches in India are public beaches. Private enterprise has, however, responded well to the needs of visitors: there are beach umbrellas and chairs and tourists happily broil themselves in the Goan sun.

Majorda Beach
From Bogmalo down south, there is Majorda beach and the Majorda Beach Resort. Majorda beach can be reached from Colva beach, which is around 8 km away. Majorda beach in Goa has a very interesting history behind it. Majorda is the village where the Jesuits, fond as they were of the good things of life, discovered the best Goan toddy (sap from the coconut palm), which they used to leaven the bread. Naturally, then, Majorda in Goa is the place where the Goans were first trained in the delicate art of baking European breads. The Majordans are still Goa's best bakers. The delights of the beach, however, were discovered much earlier, in the mythic times when the gods above went through a lot of turmoil. There is a Goan version of Ramayana and therein Lord Rama was kidnapped as a child and brought up at Majorda. Later, in pursuit of Sita, he camped at Cabo de Rama-a headland further south-where the stretch of developed beaches ends. Majorda beach in this Indian state of Goa is an uncrowded beach and a person not wanting to get disturbed by the hustle-bustle of the other beaches can very well find this as an escape option. Majorda is located at a distance of 18 km from Dabolim Airport and connected to Margao by buses, motorcycle taxis, and taxis. Goa Majorda beach has a beach resort, Mahorda Beach resort, to boast about. This resort ensures a very comfortable stay, but this resort may prove to be slightly expensive. For people who are looking out for cheaper accommodation, there are few guest houses to try out. Besides one can look out for private house owners who are ready to let out their houses to the tourists.

Palolem Beach
Palolem beach in Goa is situated 2km west of Chaudi. Goa Palolem beach is one of the most ideal beaches in Goa. It has a crescent shaped bay lined with swaying coconut palms hemmed by a pair of rocky crags. The white sand beach in an arc is picture perfect. The village located nearby has several cafes and souvenir stalls catering to day-trippers and vacationers who arrive in droves on sightseeing tours of the beaches. Despite the commercialisation, Palolem remains a traditional village, where the easy pace of life is dictated by the three daily rounds of todi-tapping. Goa Palolem beach is just 3 km away from Canacona Railway Junction, now on the Konkan Railway. Tourists can take taxis and auto-rickshaws to reach Palolem beach from Margao, 40 km away. There are regular buses from Margao to Palolem that would drop tourists at Canacona village. Panaji, the capital of Goa, is more than 70 km away. Tourists visiting the Palolem beach have the option of choosing beautiful beach huts and family rooms situated along the shores.

Vagator Beach
Located in North Goa, Vagator is 22 km from Panaji, the capital of the Indian state of Goa. It lies on the northern edge of Bardez taluka. Vagator beach is also situated close to the Anjuna beach. The Goa Vagator beach boasts of pure white sand, doted with black rocks and swaying coconut and palm trees. At Vagator beach, you can also witness the seawater changing colors from aquamarine to emerald, tiny cottages with gardens garlanded by colors of lemon, purple and fuchsia. Goa Vagator beach is also made special by the fishermen community residing along its shores. So while you are in Goa's Vagator beach, you will come across the fishermen in their traditional attire getting ready to venture into the sea or coming back with their day's catch. Besides the breath-taking beaches, Vagator has other attractions also to offer. From Goa Vagator beach, you can see the 500-year-old Portuguese Fort. It takes you down the memory lane depicting the Old Portuguese era. The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji. Panaji is just 22 km away from Vagator beach in Goa. If you are travelling by road, Goa Vagator beach is at a distance of 9 km from Mapusa, and 22 km far from the state capital Panaji. There are frequent buses to Panaji and Mapusa from Vagator. Once at Vagator beach, there is not too much of choice for staying except for a few guesthouses, or houses on rent. During the peak tourist season, one might find trouble finding an accommodation here, and so, at that time, Calangute and Baga can be a better bet.

Churches of Goa

Basilica Of Bom Jesus

One church at Goa in India which tourists never fail to visit is the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa which was built in 1605. The history of this Goan church is as interesting as the beautiful architecture that this church in Goa, India, is proud of. Basilica of Bom Jesus has now been declared a World Heritage Monument. The sacred relics of St.Francis Xavier are kept in this church. St.Francis Xavier, patron saint of Goa, died while on a sea voyage to China on December 2, 1552. As per his wishes, the following year, while transferring his remains to Goa, it was found that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. This miraculous phenomenon continues to attract the devout from all lands, and an Exposition or public viewing of his body every ten years attracts lakh of pilgrims.

Church of Our Lady of Rosary
In Velha Goa or Old Goa, crowning a hill, which was known as the Holy hill, is one of the earliest churches, the Church of Our Lady of Rosary. In Panajim or Panaji, as Goa's capital is called today, the oldest Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The huge Convent of Santa Monica, dating from 1606, was the first Nunnery in Asia. Today, after centuries of changing fortunes, it has been restored and is once again a residential convent.

The Rachol Seminary
The Rachol Seminary in South Goa has a chequered past. Originally a Muslim fortress it was first converted by the Portuguese into a church and later into a prison. In the late 16th century, it acquired respectability as a seminary for Theological Studies, with the Jesuits rechristening it from College of All Saints to the College of St. Ignatius Loyala, the name of their Founder.

The Se Cathedral
The Se Cathedral nearby is dedicated to St. Catherine, as it was on her feast day, 25th November 1510 that Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa. Believers are awe-struck to hear of the Cross of Miracles, which is placed in the cathedral, its earlier church having been destroyed. People have had a vision of Christ on this cross and the rock on which it was found was said to spout water while, today, the cross is slowly growing. Earlier, it was at Se Cathedral that the sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier were shown to the public.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Not far away stands the beautiful whitewashed Church of St. Francis of Assisi, which today houses part of the archaeological museum. Exhibits include prehistoric items from a distant tribal past as also reminders of Goa Dourada, Golden Goa, also known as the 'Pearl of the Orient' or 'Rome of the East' during its heyday. It was the concentration of magnificent churches, symbol of a powerful conquering presence, which justified this last title. In fact, the Church of St. Cajatan, built by an Italian architect in 1651, was modeled in miniature on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Today a theological college is housed here.

The Reis Magos Church
Built in 1555, the church was once a mission center of the Franciscan Order of Monks. Also in Bardez Taluka, at Saligao, amongst picturesque surroundings, stands the Church of Mae de Dens or Mother of God. The statue after whom this church was named once occupied a convent, now no longer extant, and was known for its miraculous powers. This church is a fine instance of Gothic architecture.

The Church of St. Alex at Curtorim
This Church dates from the 16th century.
The Church of St. Anne
Situated at Talaulin Iltias, affectionately called Santana by the people, is dedicated to the Mother of Mary. It is situated on the right bank of the Siridao River.

Temples of Goa

Brahma Temple

It lies in the village of Brahma Carambolim. Dating from 5 AD, it is one of the few temples dedicated to Brahma to be found anywhere.

Shri Bhagavati Temple
In Pernem celebrates the Goddess Bhagavati Ashtabhuja, or eight-handed Goddess, one of the forms of Durga.

Shri Datta Mandir
Lies at Sanquelim, this temple is known for the miraculous cure for mental troubles, which the deity, the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar, is said to offer.

Shri Damodar Temple
On the banks of the river Kushavati is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Christians alike. The waters of the river near the temple precincts are a cure for all ailments. Shri Damodar is known simply as Danubab by the faithful and he is, till today, the patron deity of Margao. The idyllic surroundings of Zambaulin make the visit quite memorable.

Shri Chandreshwar Temple
Atop the Chandranath Hill, this temple dates from the pre-Christian era, when this region formed part of the Boja capital of Chandrapur today's Chandor. The famous Shiva Linga is lit up by moonlight on the full moon night, and is said to become mystically bathed in water. Sri Chandreshwar or God of the Moon is so placed so to offer the visitor a wonderful view of the green valley below.

Devaki-Krishna Temple
Like many of Goa's temples, the Devaki-Krishna Temple at Marchel was moved here from two previous locations, to be safe from oppression. The beautiful and unusual image in black stone is of the baby Krishna on his mother, Devaki's hip. Could the Baby Jesus and his Mother, Mary, represented in so many of the neighboring churches here have given this temple its inspiration, or is it simply an astonishing coincidence of the overlapping of Western and Eastern traditions?

Shri Gomanteshwar Temple
Lies at Brahmapuri, this temple in old Goa, dates back to the Kadamba Kings who ruled Goa in the 5th century AD.

Gopal-Ganapati Temple
Near Bandona amidst lush green surroundings is the temple of Gopal-Ganapati. A modern temple, consecrated as recently as 1966, it is built on the spot where the Maratha king Sambhaji defeated the Portuguese army in 1683. The surprise defeat was believed to be a sign of the deity's protection of the rural. The image of Gopal-Ganapati was discovered quite accidentally at this historic battlefield and sheltered under a thatched-roof until recently.

Sri Mangesh Temple
One of the most celebrated and therefore most visited of Goan temples is dedicated to Sri Mangesh or Lord Shiva, the cosmic power of Perfection. A beautiful legend surrounding the name of the Lord tells how the Goddess Parvati, Shiva's consort, came to Goa in search of her divine spouse, who had left her alone in their mountainous home after a disagreement. Seeing her, Shiva took the form of a tiger, whereupon Parvati cried aloud: thrahi mam girisha! - O save me, Lord of the mountains - thereby seeking refuge in her lord. The words mam girisha transmuted to Mangesh. Thousands of believers come here annually, to take refuge in the great Lord Shiva, as Parvati had done.

Shri Ananta Temple
Located at Veram is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the second god of the Hindu Trinity, whose role is that of preservation, just as Brahma's is of creation and Shiva's is of dissolution. This is the only Ananta Temple in Goa and therefore of special interest. Surrounded on all sides by water and beautiful countryside, the aspect of the temple site inspires tranquility and peace. For village folk, the pilgrimage could be undertaken for the purpose of exorcising spells, as the belief is that the Lord has the power to do so.

Shanta Durga Temples
Finally, pay your obeisances to three separate temples, all dedicated to the Mother Goddess, Shanta Durga. She is so named as she is said to have mediated in a dispute between her husband, Lord Shiva and the equally influential Lord Vishnu. Having established peace or shanty between the two, she acquired the somewhat paradoxical title of Shanta Durga. For Durga is traditionally a warrior-like Devi, with ten hands, armed with fierce weapons who, seated on a tiger, battles fiercely with the forces of evil on behalf of her devotees. Those who utter her name perform even the hardest tasks with ease and, in particular, she is invoked before undertaking a mission or journey. The principal Shanta Durga temples are at Fatorpa in Quepem taluka, which is visited by thousands of believers from all over Goa. The sumptuous temple at Kavalem provides lodgings like other temples too, and in famous for its interior. The third temple is at Dhargal in Pernem, amidst beautiful surroundings. The Goddess was moved here in 1550 AD for safety from the Inquisition. Perhaps her peace loving nature helped to restore harmony in the land of her adoption.

Temple of Tambdi Surla
The Temple of Tambdi Surla is one of the few religious structures in the state that survived Portuguese onslaught.

Monuments

Fort of Aguada

Fort of Aguada is situated in the north of Goa, 18 km from Panaji. The Fort of Aguada was built by the Portuguese to prevent the entry of the enemy into River Mandovi and to protect old Goa from attacks. The fortification skirts the seashore. From the ramparts of Fort Aguada, you can get a fantastic view of the golden beaches running right up to the borders of the Indian state of Maharashtra. At the center of the fort is a circular lighthouse tower which was built in 1864. If you can manage to reach the top of the lighthouse, then you can catch some excellent view of the Cabo Raj Niwas. The Fort presently houses the central jail.

Cabo Raj Niwas
Cabo Raj Niwas, built in 1540 AD, is situated just opposite to Fort Aguada. This fortress housed the Franciscan monastery during the 16th century and now Cabo Raj Niwas is the official residence of the governor of Goa.

Cabo de Rama
Not far from Agonda beach is Cabo de Rama, untouched by most of the visitors in this region. The atmosphere of the fort creates a sense of history and drama that very few would fail to appreciate. The fort is named after Rama, hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. According to the local legends, Rama stayed here with his wife Sita during the period of 12 ear exile.

Chapora Fort
Goa Chapora Fort is situated near the Anjuna beach in Goa. The Chapora Fort gives a splendid view of the Anjuna and Vagator beaches. The fort has been well preserved except for a few interesting ruins. Once, it was a domain of the Muslim rulers before the Portuguese wrested it.

Tiracol Fort
Drive along the full length of Goa's 130 km coast line and when you come to the last beach of Goa in India, Arambol, just look across the Tiracol river and you will find a pretty little fort which looks as if it has come out alive from a fairy tale. This fort has now been converted into a hotel. A beautiful little Goan church dominates the central court around which the fort of Tiracol rises: a living church full of light and quiet elegance. Cross the court and walk up the narrow stone stairs through short passages into split level rooms which follow the contours of the headland: old furniture, superb views over the river Tiracol and the beaches and out to the blue horizon of the sea. The Portuguese had sailed in from there, established themselves in the old conquests like this one, taken over an existing outpost, converted it to a fort to repulse the latest technique of attack. Other Places of Interest

Bondla Sanctuary
There is this little Bondla Sanctuary at Goa in India with its unique wild life rehabilitation centre which is a major tourist attraction. Here the animals which have been orphaned or injured, wander into inhabited areas where they get tender loving care. And this way they, thrive. There has been a population explosion of porcupines who now rustle around with their usual, bad-tempered bustle. However, Bondla's greatest attraction is its profusion of birds. In twenty minutes you can spot 11 different species including a Grey Hornbill.

Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Thirty per cent of Goa, India, is covered with dense forests and though tigers and elephants do wander into the 240 sq. km of the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa, they don't stay for long: possibly because there isn't enough of their favourite food available or perhaps because centuries of hunting by the Portuguese had built in an instinctive fear for these forests among the larger animals. However, if lucky, you can spot Indian bison, the Gaur, in the forests of Molem in Goa, a part of this large sanctuary.

Dudhsagar Waterfall
Once out of the dense forests of the sanctuary in Goa, India, you can emerge into the dramatic Goan valley of Dudhsagar. A tributary of the Mandovi river cascade down for 600 metres. Its water gushes under a railway bridge and foams white towards the spectators. If you cross the bridge by train you will chug over the mid-point of the highest cascade and, if the wind is right, you'll feel the spray in your compartment. But if you see the falls from below, this 'ocean of milk' which is what Dudhsagar means, seems to be pouring out of the sky!

Mayem Lake
The Mayem Lake is the favourite escape of the local Goans who pack their picnic baskets and set off to this delightful haunt.

Ancestral Goa

The Ancestral Goa project, the brainchild of Goan artist, Maendra J. Alvares who has used his family's ancestral property to keep Goa's culture alive and is a place worth visiting as any lay visitor can get a glimpse of Goa in its original grandeur and authentic form. Dedicated to the preservation of art, culture and enviroment and inorder to preserve Goa's past and its rich traditions this magnificent project named "Ancestral Goa" is the result of a lot of meticulous research, planning and hardwork. It opened to the public in April 1995. Ancestral Goa is miniature Goan Village as it would have existed 100 years ago. It is located on a nine acre verdant hillock at Loutulim ins South Goa, about ten kilometers from Margao. This place imparts a culture based education about the roots and heritage of Goa. Local feasts and festivals are celebrated with traditionsl style and fervour. A visit to Ancestral Goa on any of the feast days, allows for a pure experience of Goan customs and lifestyles. The Eat-out offers a menu full of traditional Goan Specialties. Local vegetables, fish and sweets are treats to be indulged in.

Important sights in Ancestral Goa

Big Foot Art Gallery
Handicraft Centre
Sant Mirabai
Big Foot
The Dance Floor
Casa De Dona Maria
Anand Lotlikar's Ghor
Goan farmer's House
Escola de Musica (Music School)
Sant Khuris
Rakandar
Boca da Vaca
Goan Fisherman
Goan Coconut Husker
Bhati (Distillery)
Tinto
Dovornem
Taverna (The country liquor shop)
The Khumbar
The Chamar
The Mahar
The Barber
Rubber Plantation
Spice and Fruit Garden
Bird Habitat

Visiting hours are 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Contact

ANCESTRAL GOA

Next to Big Foot Dance Floor,
Near The Saviour of the World Church,
Loutolim, Goa
Tel No.: 2777034/ 2735064

Website: www.ancestralgoa.com
Email: info@ancestralgoa.com
Big Foot Art Gallery
Conceived as a means to promoting amateur artisanship in all its form, the Big Foot Art Gallery is one place that has played host to artists of State and National fame. Shows lasting upto three days; it works as a center of exhibition of art produced at the Artist's Camps. The gallery also exhibits work done by school children at the "on the spot" poster and drawing competition, which are an annual feature. Craftsmanship in artefacts and allied subjects have also been displayed at the gallery. The gallery housed at the exit of Ancestral Goa. Flanked on the side by the handicraft center, the gallery is easily accessible to visitors to the exhibits. Besides the entire project this place is a focal point for the many guests as it is always hosting exhibitions that, free of costs are open to the public.

Handicraft Centre
The Ancestral Goa Handicraft Centre is housed near the reception area. The artefacts displayed here include ones of bamboo, cane, clay, sea shells and terra-cotta products, toys and a treasure trove of local handmade garments, souvenirs etc. and are available here for sale at nominal rates.

Sant Mirabai
This National Landmark captures Sant Mirabai singing devoutly to the almighty strumming on her ektara and measuring 14 metres by 5 metres. This monolith was single-handedly chiseled by the artist Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alavres Sculpted in Greco-Roman style from a vast expanse of laterite stone in August 1994 at Loutolim, Goa, in a record time of 30 days. This work has been cited in the Limca Book of Records as the Longest Laterite Sculpture in India.

Big Foot
Ancestral Goa is built around the legend of Big Foot which has endured over the centuries. The local legend goes that, a wealthy landowner by the name of Mahadar blessed with a deep sense of duty and unending goodness, helped the local poor. Greedy neighbours wishing to take advantage of his naivete kept on asking him for help till one day fleeced all his possessions and destitute with the loss of his wife, he was left alone. The Gods pleased with his devotion granted him immortality only if he paid penance by standing on one foot atop a rock. This done Mahadar was taken to heaven whereupon, the footprint he left behind promised luck to whosoever stood on it with a heart free from greed and malice.

The Dance Floor
The Big Foot is Goa's biggest designer dance floor shaped like a giant foot and has been created for the express purpose of being a versatile venue for all types of functions and entertainment events like weddings, anniversaries, seminars, dances etc. The Big Foot dance floor, measures 40 mts. by 18 mts. and a comfortable number of 2,500 people can be accomodated in the 9,000 sq. meter area. The spacious and well planned parking area is well lit as is the tarred road that leads up to the dance floor from the main road.

Casa De Dona Maria
The typical goan landlord's house has the influence of old Portuguese architecture. The tiled roofed homes having a welcoming look, were built on traditional norms around the 'angonn' courtyard.

Anand Lotlikar's Ghor
Hindu homes are usually distinctive on account of the Tulsi gracing the front yard. A brightly coloured clay or cement structure, carved with imagery of deities holds the Tulsi - a plant which is the symbol of purity. The hindu housewife begins her day after paying homage to the plant. The verandah of a hindu house acted as a social gathering place. The outer doorway usually sported the footwear - often on a special stand - as everyone walked about barefoot. A special room was designated for the deity. This area was usually sacrosanct and kept free of dirt and absolutely no footwear. The kitchens usually were wide, open and also served as the dining area where the householders sat on 'Patts', flat, colourful benches, to partake of their meals.

Goan farmer's House
Goa's main staple, rice is grown in paddy fields across large areas of Goa. Two different crops are planted: Rabi is sown during the monsoon in June and harvested in November and Karif is cultivated during the dry season between October and Febuary using irrigation water stored in reservoirs and ponds. Each stage of the process, involvs days sloshing around in thick mud, or being bent double under blazing sunshine. These farmers lived in houses built of mud, laterite stone and other locally available material. The main part of the house is roofed with small clay tiles 'sulche nodde'. A cowdung paved courtyard flanked by a haystack, ploughing instruments, a woven palm-leaf 'rain coat", all lead to a narrow patio, fronting a single-room mud dwelling. This thatched structure houses in a single room, the kitchen with a fire place, a bamboo hung with rope from the roof, is used for hanging the garments and even the 'gumot' (drum). A crude altar houses idols of saints and crosses. The front patio has a niche bearing an oil lamp and the floor has a pit where rice or spices are pounded using a pounding stick (kandon).

Escola de Musica (Music School)
An integral part of the goan lifestyle, music played an important role in rural and urban Goa. In days gone by, all the children of affluent Goan families were taught music from a very tender age. Those who couldn't afford a tutor at home went to the music school where the 'Maestre' or teacher conducted his classes. The violin, guitar and piano were popular instruments which came in as a direct European influence. The rhythm of the goan life, its harmony and everyday's passage of time has been retold in the form of song and dance over the years and forms an integral part of the festivities no matter how small.

Sant Khuris
Deeper than the azure ocean flanking the goan coastline is the faith of the goan people as its aptly demonstrated in the holy cross, a simple white washed stone structure. These little shrines are flower decked and filled with wax from the numerous votive candles placed there by believers. In the evenings, one often comes across groups of faithful, devoutly singing litanies (hymns) invoking a blessing or in thanksgiving for favours granted. The cross on the Goan landscape besides being a reminder along the way of God's presence also serves as a meeting point and a local landmark. At "Ancestral Goa" - the cross gathers its faithful every year on the 7th of February in a ceremony of Thanksgiving.

Rakandar
The predominance of the rural culture in olden times meant more villages and thickly forested areas. Lack of transport as we know it, meant people had to travel on foot. This exposed them to the dangers common then like dacoity, maneaters like tigers or even the "eve ghost". There was a belief that each area was protected by a guardian angel "Rakandar - who, if invoked would protect and save the unwary traveller. This Goan lore lent credence to the faith of travellers who for goodwill and protection left offerings of fruits and flowers at the lamp-site, which was an iron structure having six lamps. These sites are normally found at the borders of townships and villages. Another unusual sight was the offering of clay horses in thanksgiving for a safe journey.

Boca da Vaca
Most springs in Goa have miraculous healing powers - medicinal and restorative. In villages the springs dotting the hillsides were the main water sources for the villagers. A hollow stem of a palm leaf was often fitted into the source, so that the water would flow evenly. At Ancestral Goa, the spring flows through an earthen ware cow's mouth, hence its name Boca da Vaca (Cow's mouth). The flowing water benefits not only the washer woman but also collects to form a pond sanctuary for birds, fish & animals.

Goan Fisherman
Bounded by the coast, Goa's pristine sands and palm lined shores from Tiracol in the north to the southern most tip at Canacona, are some of the world's most beautiful beaches like Calangute, Colva, Benaulim, Palolem among the few. The main occupation of the people along the costal villages was fishing. Except during the monsoons, the fishermen used to venture out to the sea in wooden boats. Nestled among the coconut tree plantations, along coastline, the fishermen used to build a temporary shack made from coconut trunk rafters and leaves. Here they would repair their nets and store their nets, oars, anchors etc. The floor of the shack is covered with sand and sprinkled liberally with shells to prevent moisture.

Goan Coconut Husker
Coconut cultivation, is one of the main moneymaker in many villages of Goa. Apart from the coconut, the principal derivative of this ubiquitious tree is its sap "toddi" - used to distill the local liquor Feni, but other parts of the tree are put to good use, too. The copra oil squeezed from the young nuts is used for cooking or sold to soap and cosmetic manufacturers; the coarse hair surrounding the shell produces fiber for rope, coir-matting and furniture upholstery; dried palm fronds make baskets, brooms and thatch, while the wood from the tree used to make rafters for houses. This versatile plant has around 287 different uses. At the vast coconut plantations of the "Bhatkar" landlord, the "Padkar" coconut plucker used to pluck the coconut by climbing each tree. The coconuts have to be plucked every three months. His work entailed husking the coconut fruit with a spear (Kublo). He managed to husk eight hundred coconuts a day. This husked fruit was sold to households for preparing food as well as for extracting oil.

Bhati (Distillery)
One souvenir a visitor always carries home from his hoildays in Goa are cashew nuts. Cashew trees abound the Goan hillsides. The flowering in January leads to luscious, brilliantly coloured fruit in March, April and early May. It is then plucked, while the apple is used in the process of producing "Feni", the nuts are roasted for consumption. Ironic though it is, the Portuguese imported this leafy tree to Goa where after taking root, it has given Goa the distinction of being the originator of the delicious alcohol "Feni". Distillation does not occur in the monsoons as the humidity is not conducive to the process of fermentation. The distillation of cashew into Feni, involves a three part process. After the cashew is plucked from the tree, the nut is seperated from the cashew apple. The cashew is squeezed for extraction of 'Niro' ( a sweet juice which tastes best when had chilled). Finally the 'niro' is then allowed to ferment and later poured in a big earthen pot and continuously boiled for distillation. The first distillate is called 'urrak' (which has a very low alcohol content). Subsequent distillates yield feni. The nuts are separately roasted and cracked for consumption.

Tinto
The local market place as it were, can be likened to a crude, primitive departmental store where fish, meat and the local produce in vegetables and fruits, baskets, rope and even farming implements and livestock were sold. It is as essential an aspect of the village as its houses, church and temple. An open high dais with broad pillars and a tiled roof - the 'Tinto' was and till today, still is, a spacious & airy structure. Posters with important announcements were affixed on the pillars.

Dovornem
The load bearers weren't always animals in Goa - like oxen. People, labourers and the like, carried baskets laden with goods from one village to the next. This journey on foot often took a day or more. These laterite posts called "Dovornem", like milestones, dotted the paths at regular intervals, placed sufficiently close, enabled the weary traveller to unload his burden, rest and then proceed. The ingenious height and width necessitated no bending or lifting even.

Taverna (The country liquor shop)
As a consequence of such an abundance in the production of such a variety and quantity of alcohol, as happens in Goa, small inns and bars, made an appearance. They first came onto the scene as 'Tavernas'. These country liquor shops, built of mud & stone and partly white washed had a long verandah with wooden and mud benches and a roof made of Mangalore tiles. At the Taverna at Ancestral Goa, the popular goan nectar, "Feni" is on display and sale. Also on display is an unique vintage soda machine which was used to make marble soda.

The Khumbar
The age of usage of baked pottery gave importance to the work of potters. Whole villages of potters were usually assembled around the source of clay. The clay was shaped and moulded on the wheel which was spun manually, the clay product, wet but finished was dried and then baked in a kiln of firewood.

The Chamar
Wooden clogs gradually made way for the lighter and longer lasting leather footwear. the cobbler sole craftsman of his trade with a sharp blade needle, greases and slabs of leather fashioned footwear, made moulds and designed simple but wearable patterns for feet that had a lot of walking to do. The chamar used to go house to house repairing and taking measurement for new footwear or could be found a little distance away from the tinto plying his trade.

The Mahar
Using material like bamboo and cane and using only his hands the mahar, made a variety of products. Baskets, cages, "Konde" - covered high baskets for storage of grain and onion. Wider spaced baskets were woven to cover roosting hens and chicks. Small square, flat baskets to carry flowers were made and used mostly in hindu homes. A triangular open ended "Sup" was used for dusting the husk form rice. These were among the few, everyday items made and sold in bulk.

The Barber
The busiest trader, the barber usually sat under a tree or a makeshift shelter. Homemade oils for a relaxing massage, a sharp and shiny blade, a wooden or tortoise shell comb, a scissor and a small mirror which was usually held by the customer whilst the barber snipped and shaved away. He also went over to the houses to perform the task and this usually was at the more affuent homes. Other traditional Goan artisans include Shetty (goldsmith), Zo (idol makers who sculpt statues of wood and ivory). Chari (blacksmith), Chittari (Lacquer work artisan), Kansar who makes brass lamps and copper vessels.

Rubber Plantation
The rubber plantation a stone throw away from the mock-up village gives the visitor a first hand glimpse of how sap from rubber trees is tapped and rubber sheets made. The plantation also gives the place a green, cool and pleasant look. The plantation enhances the natural beauty of the green surroundings and keeps the campus pleasant and cool.

Spice and Fruit Garden The Spice Garden and Fruit orchard at Ancestral Goa, has the entire refreshing range of spices, vegetables and fruits that are to be found in Goa.

Bird Habitat
Trekking through the lush vegetable, fruit and spice garden, as one approaches India's longest laterite sculpture, a whole section of the thickly wooded hill untouched and untrod upon by humans is inhabited by a vibrant selection of birds. This one green protion of the otherwise landscape hillside acts as a natural habitat where a wide variety of local and exotic birds fly in. Among the well-know species are the Kingfisher, Bulbul, Crane, Owl, Pigeon, Koel, Myan, Parakeet, Wagtail, Woodpecker, Gold throat, Weaverbird, Crow Pheasant, commener Babbler, wild fowl, Golden Oriole, Partridge, Racket Tailed Drongo, Paddy Bird, Baya Weaver, Sunbird, Bee Eater, Paradise flycatcher, Fantail flycatcher, and many others.