If you’re still making a selection from warm countries that are sunny and quite accessible – escape to Goa!
Despite the opinion of some media, Goa is anything but an exotic island. It is just a small state of India, with a coastline length of just over 100 kilometres. The former Portuguese colony freed from the occupants only in 1961, later receiving the status of an independent state in 1987. It is, in fact, an Indian province with a lot of villages and only four smaller towns – Vasco Da Gama, Panaji (capital), Mapa (North Goa shopping centre) and Margao (the business and commercial centre of South Goa). The largest city, Vasco Da Gama, has a population of only 100,000.
Without waxing too poetic, Goa is India’s main resort and one of the most accessible destinations for a warm beach holiday in winter. It has won the spurs of the thousands of travellers from all over the world. After all, even in the most elite areas and 5-star hotels, prices here are much lower than on other similar destinations. Besides, budget tourists will duly appreciate the options for a good placement in mini-hotels and guesthouses.
The uncommon places of Goa attract those tourists who are already bored of lying on the beaches and playing online games. The most unusual and dramatic standout of the natural tropical landscapes is the architectural heritage left by the Portuguese.
Caves of Arvalem
Caves of Arvalem are located 9 kilometres south of the city of Bicholim (North Goa). They represent a compact complex of spaces hollowed out in the slope of a small hill, in which there are lingams (symbols of Shiva), very revered by local believers. On the lingam in the second cave, an inscription in Sanskrit is carved with a syllabic Brahmi letter dating back to the 7th century. The creation of the same caves dates from the 7th to the 6th centuries BC. They are also called “Pandava caves”, because, according to legend, they hid Pandavas – brothers-warriors from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
Another unusual place in Goa is Dudhsagar waterfall. Situated far from the beaches in the Western Ghats, few tourists get to such a remote location. Its name, which translates as “dairy sea” waterfall was given for the white foam created on its surface due to the countless number of small ledges. The length of the flow of Dudhsagar reaches 600 meters – this is the fifth largest waterfall in India. The road to it is catchy since one will have to travel through the very long underground tunnels; It is captivating to look at the waterfall because it is crossed by a railway bridge, and it is interesting to feel it with your skin because you can swim in the lake at its foot.
Floating Casinos, Mandovi River
Goa is virtually the only state in which you may find casinos. But the most amazing part is that the half of all Goa’s casinos are literally floating in the Mandovi river. The casino ships arose after the adoption of the restrictive law, where the game houses found a loophole concerning the inability of building casinos on Indian soil, but not the water. But later, the Goa government has enhanced its licensing policy for gambling houses as several ground-based casinos emerged on the territory of some luxury hotels. They, as a rule, offer only slot games.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Panaji
The Church of the Immaculate Conception cannot be attributed to the unusual places of Goa, however, it is definitely very impressive. The Baroque church, built in Panaji in 1541, was designed for sailors who stayed here on the road from Lisbon to Old Goa. It stands in the park on the top of a small hill, so it has a lovely double staircase.