Monday, 20 February 2012

Canacona, Goa

Located at the southernmost region of Goa, Canacona beckons tourists with its picture-postcard locales and sun-kissed beaches. One of the five talukas that constitute the South Goa district, Canacona is snugly ensconced between the lofty hills of the Sahaydri range (Western Ghats) on one side and the azure waters of the mighty Arabian Sea on the other. The name Canacona is thought to be a derivative of the word Konkan.

Tracing its roots, the Canacona region was part of the dominions of the Kingdom of Soonda, itself a remnant of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire of Hampi. When part of the kingdom was vanquished by Hyder Ali of Mysore, the king surrendered the remaining territory to the Portuguese. Canacona was annexed to Goa in 1794. 

Despite the wealth of virgin greenery and idyllic beaches, till the 1990s Canacona was virtually untouched by the bustling tourism culture thriving in other parts of Goa. Of late Canacona tourism has gained momentum with beaches such as Agonda and Palolem holding their own against other illustrious counterparts such as Anjuna and Calangute. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, acclaimed as the secondd largest wildlife reserve in Goa, is endowed with verdant forests and exotic wildlife species. 

Places to See:

Acclaimed as the second largest wildlife reserve in Goa, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary was set up in 1969. The sanctuary is better known for the lush green vegetation than wildlife species. The Nature Interpretation Center in the sanctuary was started by the forest department to impart knowledge to tourists regarding wildlife. 

Also known as the Cape Rama fort, this fort derives its name from Ram, the prince of Ayodhya in the epic Ramayana. The fort was occupied by the Portuguese from the king of Soonda in 1763. Even though most of the Cabo da Rama fort is in a state of dilapidation, the beautiful church of Santo Antonio located inside the fort is still functioning. 

Built by the ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj in 16th century, the Mallikarjun temple was later renovated in 1778. The Mallikarjun temple is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is particularly famous for a number of colorful festivals observed on auspicious occasions. During the annual zatra, the idol is taken out in procession and bathed in the nearby sea. 

One of the major beaches along the coastline of South Goa, the Palolem beach is renowned for its photogenic surroundings. It is a fishing beach and also popular as a dolphin spotting location. The Palolem beach featured in the film 'The Bourne Supremacy (2004)' where it is shown as the Indian residence of the protagonist Jason Bourne. 

Sprawling over a stretch of three kilometers of golden sand, the Agonda beach is a haven for the loners, the ones always carving for solitude............

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