Hippy Holiday Hangoa
This is where you go to find the hippie in you. Put an end to your journey of India here, laze around, read, meditate, try all kinds of alternative lifestyles, meet fun people from all over the world who seem to want to stay here forever and wonder if the true swamis of India are here, dressed in psychedelic sarongs with a fado on their lips and a bottle of feni in their hands
Goa teaches its visitors many things, but most of all it disarms people into letting go and enjoy doing pretty much nothing. The people here give the place its allure. Day begins with fishermen off to sea dressed in lungis or sarongs in colourful boats with a song in their hearts. Once they get back their women head to the markets, dressed to kill in low cut blouses, provocatively draped saris and bewitching nose rings. They tease the buyer into spending more or end up selling a couple of sardines less in broad daylight hustles!
If you do take the touristy route, chances are that you come away with lovely beach experiences and even a few Yoga poses taught by firangi residents of the place. However, if you take the trouble to get to know the locals you will discover people who want to show you the real Goa and its people.
You will understand that a true Goan loves his siesta and when it’s time to close shop in the afternoon no amount of shopping will tempt him to stay open! Go inland into the many villages and hear the guitar strains from the houses, discover strange festivals with ritual jumping into wells done in much fervor invoking Moses and his baptism.
Old Goa and its churches, the capital city Panjim and its Promenade along the Mandovi River offer interesting sightseeing. Explore the Portuguese stronghold in the coastal Fort Aguada with splendid views out into the sea. North Goa has all the famous beaches like Baga, Calangute, Anjuna, Vagator, Arambol, Miramar and Morjim to name a few. Go bargain hunting in the flea markets in Calangute and Anjuna, find Ayurvedic treatments, Yoga resorts and more.
Catch the ‘Mardi Gras Carnival’ if you are on a visit in Feb-March, dress in strict red and black colours on the third day of the festival and take part in the street dancing and watch floats go down the road to the town square. In Nov-Dec take part in the ten-day ‘International Film Festival of India' considered to be India’s Cannes when celebrities flock to Goa. Around the same time wander into heritage homes opened to the public with galleries of artefacts in what is called the ‘Fontainhas Festival of Arts’. Other music festivals include the Sunburn Festival that takes place on Dec 28-29 at Candolim Beach. Beach parties, that too overnight beach parties seem to have been made for Goa!
South Goa is much quieter with Margoa as its main town and around here is where you find people who choose to stay for good in Goa. The beaches like Colva and Palolem are sleepy but with white sands, swaying palms and blue waters with a lot less people compared to the ones in North.
This tiny state has other interesting sightseeing in Cotiago Wildlife Sanctuary, Ponda, Dudhsagar Falls, Spice Hills, Bondla Wildlife Sancutary and numerous churches and temples with their many festivals.
Try both cashew and coconut feni, though the coconut one smells much better. If hot spicy cuisine is not an issue try Vindaloo, Sorpotel, Xacuti and Goan fish curry with rice. With all the floating population here, which sometimes overtake the residents in numbers one can find every possible cuisine, fine dining and wines.
Monsoons in Goa are mesmerising and beautiful even though everything on the beach closes up for the season, the tourists leave and Goans simply relax with no worries whatsoever. The rains make the place so enchanting that it's like a lovely secret revealed!
Goa is equally the backpackers' playground and that of the rich. You will find resorts, homestays, boutique hotels and hostels in plenty. In fact, with delights and vices alike it is simply hard to resist falling for the charm of Goa, and you may never leave!