Let’s Explore The Portuguese Have Left For Travelers In Goa!

Goa is undoubtedly a thrilling place not only for its unbeatable vibe but for its rich culture and history. Five hundred years ago, Portuguese arrived in Goa and everything changed for this state, a lot for best! From gorgeous churches to the popular Goa Carnival, a lot that we admire and love about Goa today hails from Portugal culture. There are many fascinating Goa vacation packages that will not only let you explore the North, beach and party side of Goa but the Old Goa as well, where the real history of Goa thrives!

Rich and unperturbed, this is the feeling that one has while walking through the pavements of Old Goa. The Portuguese came to Goa in the 16th century and stayed here till 18th. Its beautiful streets and Portugal style buildings still retain that charm of the bygone era.

The beautiful churches are another attraction of Old Goa that will never go unnoticed. The gorgeous murals on the inside, the enthralling architecture, the tranquillity in ambience, each and everything about these churches make them more than just a tourist attraction.

Once there were around 60 churches in Goa, but today only 7 imminent ones remain. Let us look at these beautiful churches that Portuguese have left for us to admire!

Se De Santa CatrinaSe De Santa Catrina

Built in the 17th century, this cathedral houses the beautiful Golden Bell, which is known to be the biggest in Goa. Also, the church is considered to be one of the largest churches in India and is a must visit.

Bom Jesus Basilica

Bom Jesus Basilica

Known to be as one of the finest specimens of Baroque architecture, this gorgeous 17th-century cathedral is listed amongst UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You must visit it once to experience pure tranquility.

Church of Lady Rosary.jpgChurch of St. Francis of Assisi

Located in North Goa, this church is easy to access from any hotel North Goa and one must for such is its magnificence- brilliant wooden craftsmanship, wonderful frescos, floral artwork, an abode of historical paintings, sculptures and artefacts, this is a church of immense beauty!

Church of Our Lady of Miracles.JPG

Church of Our Lady of Miracles

The church is built on a demolished Hindu temple and both Christians and Hindus believe this place to be sacred for praying. Indeed the church is miraculous for it truly defines ‘unity in diversity’ in India.

Chapel of St. Catherine.jpgChapel of St. Catherine

This simple yet elegantly designed church has undergone many modifications. It was initially built in 1510 by a Portuguese governor, but its present structure is a reflection of 1952’s modification and yet it retains its old world charm.

Church of St. Cajetan

Church of St. Cajetan

The beautiful structure of this church derives inspiration from original Basilica in Rome. It is nestled in close proximity to Viceregal Palace and Se Cathedral and one must explore the beauty of this one!

Church of Lady RosaryChurch of Lady Rosary

This unique church has a pint of Gothic in its design. It lies to the west of Basilica of Bom Jesus and boasts of two gorgeously designed chapels and several elaborate altars.

Old Goa, located near the capital of this splendid state, Panjim is one of the must visit places in Goa. An amble through the streets of this wonderful place and you’ll feel as if you are transported to an old European town. The calmness it possesses is a rarity in today’s world. So, abandon your lavish Goa hotel room for one day and take a peek into Goa’s rich history, just here in Portuguese town, ‘The Old Goa’.

8 Famous Churches of Goa That You Must Visit

A remanence of Portugal rule, churches in Goa exudes brilliance and magnificence that is simply impossible to forget. They provide Goa’s culture a magnetizing charm that you perfunctorily feel with just a glance at these. So, even if you have put up in hotel north Goa, you must make a trip to old Goa and explore this state’s every corner to discover these fabulous churches and realize Goa’s rich history!

Bom Jesus Basilica

Bom Jesus Basilica

This beautiful 17th-century church is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated in Old Goa, it is a masterpiece by Giovanni Battista, who was a famous sculptor of that time. The mausoleum took almost a decade to finish and today it is known as one of the finest specimens of Baroque architecture.

Se Cathedral

Se Cathedral

Also laid in Old Goa, this church ‘Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina’ is one of the largest churches in India. It was built to mark the victory of Portuguese ruler, Afonso who captured Goa in 1510. The day also witnessed the victory of Saint Catherine and hence its name!

Church of St Francis of Assisi

Church of St Francis of Assisi

Nestled in Velho, North Goa, this church is easily accessible from hotels north Goa, India. Immaculately designed with frescos and floral designs and showcasing intricate wood craftsmanship, this church displays architecture of Barque and Corinthian. Another interesting thing about this 16-century old church is that it a museum inside filled with historical sculptures, artefacts, and paintings.

Church of Our Lady of Miracles.jpgChurch of Our Lady of Miracles

Discovered in 1595, this church was initially operated as a military chapel. It is built on the ruins of a Hindu temple and is, therefore, a sacred site for Christians and Hindus alike. Its best feature is the annual festival which attracts a number of tourists every year.

Chapel of St Catherine

Chapel of St Catherine

This one of a kind church in Goa displays simplicity yet seamless elegance in its design. The church was first built in 1510 by Portuguese governor but was modified a number of times after that. The present structure was rebuilt in 1952.

Church of St CajetanChurch of St Cajetan

The architecture of this flawlessly designed edifice is influenced by Corinthian architecture and inspired by original Basilica in Rome. Both the interior and exterior are beautified wonderfully with intricate work. The church lies in close proximity to Se Cathedral and Viceregal Palace.

Church of Lady of RosaryChurch of Lady of Rosary

With a tinge of Gothic in design, Church of Lady of Rosary stands as one of the oldest churches in Goa. It lies in Basilica of Bom Jesus’s west and consists of two elaborately designed chapels, the main one dedicated to Holy Mother. There are gorgeous altars too inside which will definitely catch your sight.

StSt Alex Church Alex Church

Located in Calangute, it is one of the most popular churches in Goa. Where it stands today, stood a Hindu temple dedicated to Ravalnath, a form of Lord Shiva once. This truly mesmerizing church was built in 1597 and exudes positivity in the ambience that is undoubtedly contagious for one’s soul!

Whether you are a party enthusiast, nature lover or simply a leisure tourist in Goa, your trip is incomplete without a visit to Goa’s amazing churches. So, do not just let loose at five-star hotels in Goa, but plan a hike to its each and every corner as the churches of this mighty tourist location are a must visit!

 

 

Goa – My Escapade

5 star hotels in north goa
Though it may be the smallest state in India, Goa has surely a lot to offer.  From relaxation on  secluded beaches to rockin’ your socks off with fellow backpackers or simply exploring the ruins of old Portuguese forts and the charming city of Panaji,  Goa has something to suit everyone’s palate. For me,  I love to do a bit of everything and mix it all up a little.

In this article, I will give you a shortlist of each of the places I visited during my holiday in Goa, trying to give you a few handy tips along the way

palolem beach , five star hotels in north goaPalolem beach

After getting off a 14 hour overnight bus from Cochin, Kerala, my first stop was Palolem. Located in Canacona, South Goa, Palolem is known to be inhabited by many foreigners.  Beautiful stretches of golden sand with a stunning turquoise beach, Palolem is very small, with enough amenities to satisfy your basic needs. Accommodation here is reasonably priced as there are plenty of chilled out beach huts/resorts all along the main beach, haggle your heart out for the price though as bargaining is really the way to go about for everything.


agonda-beachAgonda Beach

To the north of Palolem is an even more relaxing and quiet Agonda beach. There really isn’t a lot to do here except to chill and soak up the sun. Something I would strongly recommend to do whilst you are here is to hire mopeds and ride to Cabo de Rama fort. It’s just a few hours drive and the route is simply breathtaking which makes for a great half day excursion.

panaji, north goa hotels, goa north hotelsPanaji

Further up north, overlooking the Mandovi river is Panaji, Goa’s capital city. Walking down the bylanes, you can get a glimpse of colourful villas, paved streets and old architectural buildings that represent the old Portuguese era. Many famous restaurants and international clothing brands are ideally situated here.

Stay and Accommodation near beaches

There are many accommodation choices available in Goa starting from cheap resorts to expensive. From budget hostels near Calangute Beach to Hard Rock (one of  the 5 star hotels in north Goa), North Goa has a place to stay for all kind of travelers. While south Goa too has options, they are not as comfortable as the ones in north Goa.

Accommodation in Goa

Accommodation in Goa is very easily available with many unique Hotels, Resorts and Guesthouses to suit everyone’s taste and Budget. Accommodation ranges from simple studio apartments and beach huts for backpackers to five-star deluxe luxury suites for the sophisticated traveller. However accommodation prices are high during the peak season which is around December-January. Therefore it is advisable to book early if travel is intended around this period.

 

Accommodation in Goa can be categorized as follows:

 

Budget Hotels

Budget accommodation is appropriate for the price conscious traveller or the backpacking tourist. This accommodation type includes basic, standard rooms with a few amenities. They are more affordable as compared to larger hotels.

 

Mid-range hotels

Mid-range hotels are found all across Goa and form a major chunk of the available accommodation. These hotels have organized reception areas, well-appointed rooms, room service and usually also include a restaurant. If you have to visit Goa during the off-season, these mid-range hotels are undoubtedly the best options for your stay. During the peak season however most of these hotels are occupied with International travellers.

 

High-end hotels

The higher range of hotels in Goa can be categorized as 4-star hotels and 5-star hotels. They are located in all major towns and cities and some of them even enjoy pride of place along the beach belt. Although some of the resort hotels are not beach properties, they are located not very far from the local beaches. Hard Rock Hotel Goa is one such hotel which is conveniently located in the heart of Calangute and is just 1 km away from the famous Calangute beach.

 

Beach Huts

Goa is considered as a tourist haven and is one of the most favoured destinations for international and local travellers. However, if you truly want to enjoy and experience the beach life, then hiring a beach hut is a viable option. These Beach huts are comfortable and affordable and they are a good choice for those who have a tight budget. They are ideal for large groups of friends or even married couples. As they are located all along the beach belt, you have plenty of options to eat with good restaurants just outside the huts. It is indeed a great place to unwind and experience Goa’s buzzing nightlife. The very popular beach of Goa is a pleasure to eye sight. You can consider few hotels on Calangute beach in Goa for a pleasant stay.

 

Service Apartments

If you are looking at a homestay kind of accommodation then service apartments are available at many resorts. You have a wide choice of luxurious, comfortable and cost-effective rooms to suit your style.

 

Villas

Villas are either situated on the beach or hidden in Goa’s idyllic villages where you can hear only the sound of birds and curious monkeys. Each privately owned villa has a distinctive style with unique antiques or modern décor with basic amenities.

Tasteful Weddings in Goa

Have you ever heard your relatives and friends narrate stories about sunny beaches, incredible seafood, vibrant music, warm friendly people, stunning sunsets, a casual island vibe and enthusiastic festivals with a distinct Goan flair—loaded with food, music and energy! Imagine having a dream wedding in this picturesque land, how noteworthy and sentimental! Here are a few tips that will make your wedding in Goa as simple and peaceful as could reasonably be expected:

  1. Choose a perfect location in Goa

The most imperative step in arranging a tasteful wedding in Goa is choosing the correct wedding venue. Selecting a wedding venue that not only fits your style but also has adequate rooms to suit your list of attendees is crucial in the initial stage of wedding planning. Ensure that the venue has different indoor and outdoor options to organise the pre and post wedding functions, perhaps it could be somewhere at the poolside or closer to the beachfront.

  1. Consider the weather

Goa is like any other tropical place. While it has some great months to soak up the sun, it has those days that are rainy too so don’t forget to check the weather forecast before booking the venue. The best time to get married in Goa is between October and March when the weather is cool and pleasant. June to September are the monsoons in Goa; unfortunately the Goa Government does not allow beach weddings during this period. April and May are low season months as they are hot and moist; a beach wedding during this period could be considered if it is to be arranged after sunset.

  1. Hire a wedding planner

It is practically difficult to arrange a tasteful wedding in Goa without local support. Hiring a wedding planner in Goa will put you at ease and help you relax before the wedding. Many believe that wedding planners are very expensive and it is a myth that their services are required only for large and enormous weddings. A good wedding planner understands your needs, pays attention to every detail, gives you creative ideas and helps you stay away from the wedding stress and clutter. He customizes his package according to your requirements and ensures that your big day culminates in style.

  1. Set a budget

Before investing on your favourite flowers and color themes, set aside a budget for the wedding. Your wedding budget will cover all your requisites from events and décor to photography and makeup. Ensure that your wedding planner is aware about your budget so that he could work his way around accordingly.

Goa’s Mythological Tales of Yore

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Thousands of years ago the enchanted land of Goa was deeply submerged into the sea. How did it come into existence? How did life evolve in this beautiful state?

Goa’s origins are well rooted in its mythological history. As per the Skanda Purana and other Hindu Scriptures, Goa’s mysterious birth dates back to 12000 BC when the sage Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu was banished from the lands he had once conquered. He therefore waited for an opportunity to claim land for himself. He shot seven arrows from the Sahyadris to push back the Arabian Sea and create a stretch of land which he could acquire. The sea-god was forced to withdraw making way for the submerged land to resurface. And from within the sea in the western coast of India, Goa was born.

Parashurama then brought ten sages to settle on the newly acquired land. They performed rituals and Yagnas alongwith many other Fire Sacrifices. Seven of them were chosen and blessed by Lord Shiva. They were called ‘Saptarishis’ or ‘Saptakoteshwara’ which means ‘Seven Sages’.

As time passed by, Goa was christened with many other names like Gomanchala, Govem, Sindapur, Sandabur, Gopakapuri, Gopakapattam,  Gomantak, Aparantha, Mahassapatam,  Nelkinda and so on.

The foundation of Buddhism was laid in this region by Ashoka of Magadha. Between the second century BCE and the sixth century CE, the Bhojas of the Yadava clan of Gujarat and the Konkan Mauryas of the Kalachuris ruled the land. Later the Chalukyas of Badami took over the reins. From 753 onwards, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed and Southern Silharas of Konkan were dominant. They were succeeded by the Kadambas, the Chalukyas of Kalyani who patronized Jainism in Goa.

The Delhi Sultanate took over the Goa governance in 1312 but had to later surrender to Harihara I of the Vijayanagara Empire. It was not long before the Vijayanagara Empire came crumbling down and in 1469 the Adil Shahis of Bijapur took a stronghold of the kingdom and established Velha Goa (or old Goa) as their auxiliary capital. Eventually they were defeated by their local ally Timayya alongwith the Portuguese. The Portuguese then ruled over the region for over 450 years until Goa was annexed into the Indian Union. In 1987, the Union Territory was split and Goa was declared a State while Daman & Diu continued to remain Union Territories.

This mysteriously evolved land has over the years attracted many influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and missionaries and is even today a treasure chest of natural beauty, spice gardens and rich culture. It is a destination of choice atop every traveler’s list from India and across the globe. Visit Goa to unearth its dynamic history and legends of the past.

Visit Goa to know it better and live it at best, stay at hotels in Calangute, the concierge service of Hard Rock Hotel in Goa is one of the best in town.

Glam, Glitterati and Grandeur of Goa

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Goa is a melting pot of activities when it comes to entertainment at weddings. While the main ceremony along-with the rituals are celebrated with great pomp and grandeur, it’s the entertainment and performing acts that steal the show. From popular DJs, star performers, celebrities and peppy bands to ribbon dancers, belly dancers, fire dancers and illusionists, there are a lot of options to keep the wedding group engaged and entertained.

Weddings in Goa are occasions that people look forward to. Relatives and friends are flown in from different parts of the globe to be a part of the celebrations. The bride and groom ensure that their requirements right from travel to accommodation is taken care of till the last detail. Special dinners and themed parties are organized, along with city tours for the guests. Illuminated ‘wish’ lanterns are set off followed by a dazzling display of fireworks as a tribute to the couple.

Poolside brunches, relaxing spa treatments and other exciting group activities are some of the other offerings atop the wedding planners list. This is followed by a fun-filled evening with fire acts, snake charmers, folk dances and live music setting the right mood for the occasion. The wedding night comes alive with song, dance and merriment as the bride and groom celebrate their day in the company of friends and family.

Reviews of some top hotels of Goa