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Goa City Tourism and Travel Guide

History of Goa

If there is one thing that makes Goa different from other parts of India than it is its East-West symbiosis giving it a special historical and social niche. The history of Goa tells a sweet and sour story of colonial heritage, oppressiveGoa City rulers, a glorious culture, and uneventful immediate past.

As a land with the identity of its own, Goa was brought into focus when it was liberated of Portugal from its oppressive rule of around 450 hundred years in 1961. Goa was captured and annexed to the Portuguese in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices and also cottons and indigo. But, Goa has a history that starts much before Portugal even thought of Goa being where it is

Goa - The Early History
Goa was coveted and ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards. The first kingdom to rule Goa and Konkan were Bhojas, who were the feudatories of Ashoka in 4th and 5th centuries AD. The city of Chandrapur (present Chandor) was founded by Prince Chandraditya, son of Chalukya King Pulakesin from 566 to 597 A.D. after this, Goa was ruled consecutively by Silahara Dynasty, Kadamba Danasty, and finally Hoysalas from 1022 to 1342 A.D.

From the 14th century onwards, Goa became a great trading center on the west coast, especially in the vast trade of horses imported from the Middle East. This was the time for bigger empires to move in and Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1344. But there empire was not going to last too long and in 1347, Bahmani Sultans defeated

Vijayanagara forces in 1347 and controlled Goa. Afterwards, it was a time of great prosperity and peace for Gpa, especially during the rules of Yusuf Adil Shah and Ismail Adil Shah. They created beautiful houses, fortified Goa, and encouraged local craftsmen. Their liberal and progressive rule was not going to last too long and situation changed in 1510 A.D.

Goa Under the Portuguese
Goa for all purposes was not on the Portuguese Radar even after a long time of their presence in India. When the Portuguese nobleman Alfonso de Albuquerque and his cousin Francisco de Albuquerque were sent with a powerful fleet in 1503 on the orders of King Dom Manuel I, the purpose was to defend the cargoes of spices, mostly pepper, against Arab Muslim raiders.

The center of spice trade was Calicut at that time and Portuguese had built forts in Cochin and Cannanore.

It was in 1506-08 that an opportunistic pirate, Timoja, persuaded Albuquerque to attack Goa and acquire a better land base. This made Goa, Portugal's first real territorial acquisition in Asia. After a brief period of recapturing by the Muslims, Goa Albuquerque finally captured Goa in 1510.
The inquisition of Goa in 1540 reversed the previous liberal policy of Albuquerque and imposed strict censorship of literature and new laws to forbade non-Christians from professions. Forced conversions took Goa Cityplace continuously, censorship was established on literature, the temples were destroyed, and non-Christian priests, holy men, and teachers were evicted. This led to continuous fleeing of Hindus from Goa to other parts of India.

It is not that the relationship with Portugal brought only destruction for the Goans. Portuguese also built great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians from around the world. But it is also true that pre-1961, Goa was a highly impoverished region very backward and primitive. It is after the liberation that Goa of today has emerged and it has surprised even the locals many of whom had left their homeland before its liberation. Portugal and India are today friends and Goa continues to be a fascinating blend of Latin and Oriental.

Climate of Goa

Monsoon
The main feature of the Goan climate is the monsoon, which occurs between June and the end of September. Goa is in the path of the southwest monsoon, thereby experiencing a dry period lasting six to eight months of the year, followed by the annual rainfall, which occurs over the remaining four months. During the two months preceding the onset of the monsoon the humidity increases dramatically, and the normally clear skies become hazy and then cloudy. During the monsoon, 250cm to 300cm of rain is normal, although in the Western Ghats the downpour is considerably high than on the coast.

Once the monsoon has run its course the skies clear and the weather becomes pleasant. For four to five months from October through February the climate is near perfect-cloudless blue skies, warm but not oppressively hot days, and calm seas. By mid-March the humidity starts to rise as the monsoon begins to approach again

Climate

Rainfall
July To End September (26 inches)

Winter
Late November To Mid-February (Min. 3° C - Max. 11° C)

Summer
Mid-March To End Of June (Min. 25° C - Max. 45° C)

How to reach Goa?Goa City

By Air: Dabolim is the main entry point for Goa situated at a distance of around 29 km from Panaji on the coast near Vasco da Gama.

Most domestic airlines operate in Goa apart from chartered private airlines operating from UK and Germany. Indian Airlines has direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai daily. Air India also flies to Goa.

By Rail: It is not difficult to reach Goa by trains, especially after opening of the Konakan Railway that connects Margao and Vasco da Gama to major cities in India. You can take trains from Delhi 1,874 km), Mumbai (490km), and Bangalore (430 km) to reach Goa comfortably. From the railway stations, you can hire taxis and motorcycle taxis to reach the desired destinations.

By Road: Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka state transport corporations operate from the Kadamba bus stand at Panaji. Frank Shipping operates a boat service between Mumbai and Panaji.

Moving around in Goa is quite easy. One can find bus as well as car rental services. A unique experience is that of the motorcycle taxi. Several ferry services are also available.

Fairs & Festivals of Goa

Some of Goa's Own Festivals are :
Shigmotsav or Shigmo: This is a grand five-day festival of colours, celebrated distinctively in the villages, corresponding with Holi or Spring Festival. Held for one-week up to the full-moon day in March, Shigmo is universally celebrated in Goa, but especially at Panaji, Mapusa, Vasco-da-Gama and Margao

Kalas Utsav
Kalas Utsav is celebrated on a major scale every alternate year at Sri Morjaee Temple in Pernem. People from Maharashtra and Karnataka also attend the seven-day socio-religious event held here.

Novidade:
The farmers, Hindu or Christian gives their first offering to the church before harvesting their rice crop. The offeringGoa City takes place at the time of Novidade, in which the parish priest himself harvests a sheaf of rice and returns with it to the Church. Local people accompany him with music, fire-works and jubilation. Women folk of Goa's earliest tribal settlers perform a dance called Bhandup in the second half of the month.

Zatra of Shri Shantadurga
The Zatra of Shri Shantadurga is held at Dhargali in Pernem. The deity is taken out of the temple in a colorful procession for the day. The annual zatra of Shri Shantadurga at Kunkoliemkarin at Fatorpa in Quepem also falls in this month. Thousands flock to attend the festival from distant lands.

Bonderam Festival, Goa
The feast of Bonderam is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of August every year at Divar Island, 12-km from Panjim. On this day, the quiant land of Divar, away from the hustle and bustle of Panjim, is agog with excitement. Melodious music drift from the village to mainland Old Goa - once the hub of Portuguese Goa - even before the crack of dawn on the Saturday. At noon people begin trickling into the village. By the evening the trickle is a deluge. An expectant crowd assembles along either side of the main through fare of the village. The tempo is set by lands and lasses wielding "fotashes" engaging themselves in mock battles. The gaily coloured floats accompanied by colourfully dressed youngsters make a pretty picture.

Goa Cranival
Carnival in Goa is a non-stop 3-day festival of colour, song and music, creating a healthy entertainment for all, young and old. The soothing climate, full of fun- 'n' -frolic, which the Carnival generates, is much longed for. It does not matter whether one enjoys or see others enjoying. There is enthusiasm and happiness all around.

Cuisine of Goa

Goa Cuisine
Visitors to Goa tend to think that food and drink in Goa means the famous fish, curry, rice and feni package. And for most Goans these are indeed the three basic necessities of life -- fish, curry and rice. They combine to make a heavenly daily meal for the average Goan. But Goan cuisine, like the land itself, has many flavours and tastes with its vast treasure trove of culinary delicacies. The long period of Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, has left an indelible influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine. Most people who sample Goan cuisine, enjoy this different and unique style of food which has a distinct and unique combination of spicy flavours. A Goan values his food as much as he does his daily siesta (break). And in his daily meal, seafood always has a pride of place is some form or the other. From fried fish to exotic concoctions like ambot-tik, sea food is usually a must on the menu, except for the occasional break for some religious observance. Goans take pleasure not only in what they eat, but also how they cook it. Although modern conveniences have almost completely taken over in urban areas, the traditional way of cooking in clay pots on firewood continues in most rural areas of Goa. This style of cooking adds an additional smoky flavour to the food, highly valued by Goans.

Despite the two schools of cuisine traditions influenced by the respective religions of Hinduism and Christianity; there are some meeting points that present an interesting harmony. This blend of various cooking styles and influences is what makes Goan food so unique among the cuisines of India.

With a wide variety ranging from prawns to sausages, chicken to beef, and numerous vegetarian dishes, Goan cuisine is able to satisfy even the most finicky gourmet appetites. Goa has some magnificent culinary delicacies like the prawn balchão and sorpotel which have become famous around the world.

While Hindu Goan food does not seem to have picked up any major Portuguese influence, the Christian food has been influenced not only by the Portuguese, but also by its overseas colonies. Traditional Goan cooking calls for plenty of muscle and time. Grinding is always part of the recipe and the nicer the dish the longer it takes to make.

Goan food is simple but most, though not all, of it is chili hot, spicy, and pungent. Items made from rice, fish, and coconut abound in nearly every Goan meal.

Seafood such as prawns, lobsters, crabs, pomfrets, clams, ladyfish, mussels, and oysters are used to make a variety of curries, fries, soups and pickles. Besides fresh seafood, dried and salted fish dishes are also highly prized by Goans.

In this section we provide a selection of Goa's famous dishes with detailed descriptions of ingredients and cooking methods so you can reproduce the exotic flavor of the dishes in your very own kitchen.

So here is a taste of Goa and if you are travelling to Goa don't forget to pack a healthy appetite.

Hotels in Goa

Hotel Aguada Hermitage, Goa
Hotel Nizmar Resort, Goa
Hotel Sun Kissed Resort, Goa
Hotel Baga Beach Resorts, Goa
Hotel Bambolim Beach Resort, Goa
Hotel Holiday Inn Resort in Goa
Hotel Holiday Inn, Goa
Hotel InterContinental Grand Resort, Goa
Hotel Kenilworth Beach Resort, Goa

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Culture and Monuments

Night Life, Music and Dances