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Goa - Are Beaches Her Only Lure?

Written by:
Suneet Paul
Alexander Savin

Every international and national tourist to India wants to visit Goa - globally accepted as the land of divine white sand beaches. With an exotic blend of the generous nature’s gift of an intoxicating landscape of palm trees and gently sloping mountains of the Western Ghats, this often referred to State as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and harbored on the Arabian sea, stands apart from the rest of the country also because of it’s unique and vibrant cultural fusion and architecture. The lure to be in the meditative environs of Goa goes beyond the aura of the picturesque beaches such as Morjim, Sinquerim, Palolem, Colva and so many others. This realization was further reinforced on my recent visit here courtesy the invitation from a dear Goan friend.

Sandy Beaches (Wikipedia, by Hemant Meena)

Though the smallest State of India, she is regarded to be the richest in aesthetic beauty. Rated by the National Commission on Population to have the best quality of life, the foundations of this unique Goan culture was laid way back in the earlier sixteenth century with the invasion of the Portuguese here. They came as merchants and gradually established themselves in Goa - spreading their religious, economic and lifestyle influence for around 450 years. Apparently, it was only in 1961 that they let-go of this territory to India. The resultant contemporary blend of cultures of the native Konkani, Portuguese and the neighboring States of Maharashtra and Karnataka bring in an exciting and liberal cosmopolitan flavor reflected in the food, dress and the cool and relaxed mannerisms of the inhabitants. Annual carnivals are still a relished way of life with the appetite for music and dance being huge. No wonder the beaches are often crowded with tourists for the late-night dance parties. I was told that the Russians and Brits outnumber the others who come here in chartered flights and become residents for months together. And the modern-day attraction of the casinos established in the recent years, adds a newer dimension for those seeking higher adrenaline levels.

Gitanjali Art Gallery, Panaji, (@Wikipedia by Shambhavi Karapurkar)

A drive on the highway or even the side roads truly exposes you to the bounty of intense green wealth all along in the landscape. I gathered that the rich flora and fauna are due to its close proximity to the Western Ghats’ rain forests. The tropical monsoon generates abundance of the coconut trees with the thick cover of foliage all around - which is as exhilarating as the diverse alcohol experience here. As is rightly said that the external environment around governs our attitude, the Goans are warm, hospitable and friendly carrying a pride of their heritage. One of the few States of India having 100% rural electrification, sees the adventurous hard-working fishermen and others enjoy their afternoon siesta. The laziness in the atmosphere often gets to you as a stress-buster- calming the nerves.

image @Wikipedia by Nkodikal

While traveling in Goa, one cannot miss the earlier traditional architectural exuberance in its residential villas, the churches, temples, the State buildings and such others. For history lovers with a keen eye, there is plenty to discover in the absorbing Ottoman, Portuguese, Classical and the Hindu-Portugal style of adorning building facades. Also, a visit to the recently opened Museum of Alcohol would be an interesting insight to grandeur and style associated with the drink. And for the modern architecture pursuers, there is the new airport terminal and the Naval Shipyard symbolizing the progressive path.

Each visit to Goa indeed leads to a newer captivating tale and trail.

Shanti Durga Temple, (@Wikipedia by Nkodikal)

Se Cathedral,(Wikipedia by Nikodikal)

New Terminal Block of the Int. Airport (@Wikipedia, by Mackvin)

Alcohol Museum 

By Liliana Alvarez

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