Monday, 20 February 2012

Mapusa, Goa

Located 13 km away from state capital Panaji, Mapusa is the headquarters of the Bardez taluka. It is the third largest city in Goa and a major commercial center in the North Goa district. The name Mapusa is supposed to be a derivative of the Konkani words 'Maap' meaning measure and 'Sa' which means to fill up. Legend has it that the Mapusa town has the blessings of Lord Bodhgeshwar who has a temple dedicated to him.

The Mapusa town itself is beret of any significant travel and tourism potential and is more well-known as the gateway to Goa's most fascinating beaches. The scenic beaches of Calagunte, Anjuna and Vagator are situated nearby Mapusa. There are also a number of imposing forts such as the Aguada fort, Reis Magos fort and the 500-year old Chapora fort.

Mapusa is synonymous with its famous Friday market. On every Friday this sleepy town wakes up to a festive atmosphere with people from nearby areas turning up with their products. From sausages to dried fish, from straw hats to spices, a vast array of products is put up for sell by local vendors. Bargaining is the mantra here and you must be able to see through extravagant claims by shop owners. 

Transport

Places to See:



One of the most popular beaches in Goa, the Anjuna beach spells double whammy for tourists. You can scour the famous Wednesday flea market for exotic artifacts or search for nirvana during the trance parties held on full moon nights. The beach is also known for its palm-fringed landscape.



The favorite destination for the majority of tourists descending on Goa. The Calangute beach remains crowded throughout the year and is unrivalled in terms of popularity. The beach boasts of a bustling infrastructure with all the basic facilities like banks, foreign exchange offices, all kind of eateries and medical facilities.

A popular spot on the tour to Mapusa, the Aguada fort is the largest fort in Goa and the best-preserved till date. This massive fort was built in 1609-1612 by the Portuguese to foil the attacks of the Dutch and the Marathas. The four-storey lighthouse inside the fort is the oldest of its kind in Asia. The Aguada fort now serves as a prison.



Located in the Reis Magos village, the Reis Magos fort was built by Sultan Adil Shah in 1490. After the takeover by the Portuguese in 1760, the fort proved to be lynchpin in the fight against invading armies from the neighboring states. The Reis Magos church located at the base of the fort is famous for the colorful 'Festa dos Reis Magos' or the Feast of the Three Wise Men. 

Excursions...........

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Mapusa Excursions

Set amidst an enchanting landscape, the Arvalem waterfalls is a popular tourist hub in Goa. The Arvalem falls produces a breathtaking spectacle with water tumbling headlong from a height of 50 meter. Even though not on par with the more celebrated Dudhsagar waterfalls, the Arvalem waterfalls are definitely worth a visit.

The most famous lake in Goa, the Mayem Lake is a major tourist attraction and a must-have on most of the tourist itineraries. The tranquil waters of the Mayem Lake lend themselves ideally for boating. One can enjoy a ride on the small pedal operated boats for a panoramic view of the serene landscape around. A park located on the banks of the Mayem Lake boasts of an excellent cafeteria and several other stalls.

Acclaimed as one of the six revered temples of Lord Shiva in the Konkan area, the origin of the Saptakoteshwar temple dates back to the 12th century. The presiding deity of the temple is Saptakoteshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that Shiva appeared at this place to grant the wishes of seven holy sages who prayed for seven crore years.



Baga Beach, situated at a distance of approximately 10 km from Mapusa, is one of the most magnificent beaches of Goa. It is considered to be just an extension of the famous Calangute Beach, but is much less crowded than the latter. 

Chapora Beach is counted amongst the most popular as well as the most visited beaches of Goa. It is situated at a distance of approximately 10 km from Mapusa. One of the major attractions of the beach is its boat building and fishing legacy, which seems to be perfectly merged with its booming tourism industry............

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Chapora Beach, Mapusa


Chapora Beach is counted amongst the most popular as well as the most visited beaches of Goa. It is situated at a distance of approximately 10 km from Mapusa. One of the major attractions of the beach is its boat building and fishing legacy, which seems to be perfectly merged with its booming tourism industry. As you walk down the main street of the beach, you will see as many traditional buildings as the contemporary restaurants, bars and stores. This is what makes Chapora Beach different and more attractive than the other beaches of Goa. 

You may visit the beach anytime of the day and any day of the week and you will find it full of tourists, both foreign as well as those from India. The beach is picturesque and offers amazing views of the sunrise as well as the sunset. At Chapora Beach, you can take a lazy walk, soak the sunrays or just play around in the water. Another reason that has contributed to the popularity of the beach is that it provides the perfect access to other beaches and tourist places in Goa. The guesthouses situated nearby solve the problem of accommodation also. 

Then, there is the white sand the azure waters of the beach that seem to draw people. Even the food served at the stalls dotting the beach is very delicious, especially the seafood. A number of cafes and restaurants, catering to the demand of western dishes and Chinese dishes, have also sprung up. You can shop for artifacts, antiques and other knick-knacks at the numerous shopping stalls on the Chapora Beach. While there, make sure to visit the Chapora fort, built by the Portuguese approximately 500 years ago............

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Baga Beach, Mapusa


Baga Beach, situated at a distance of approximately 10 km from Mapusa, is one of the most magnificent beaches of Goa. It is considered to be just an extension of the famous Calangute Beach, but is much less crowded than the latter. Infact, it has a number of secluded and peaceful nooks and corners, where one can just laze around and relax. Baga Beach falls on the west coast of Goa, along the mighty Arabian Sea. 

The rock-strewn and wooded headland of the beach seems to be dipped in an air of tranquility. Though a part of Calangute Beach, Baga boasts of much more variety in its natural beauty. It is the pure and untouched beauty of the beach that draws a large number of tourists, from India as well as abroad. There is no accommodation problem also, as a gorgeous retreat house is situated atop a nearby hill. Baga beach is especially popular amongst the foreign tourists. 

They love to indulge in the numerous water sports offered by the beach, along with the fishing trips organized here. The restaurants that have been set up here, said to be amongst the best in Goa, serve as an added attraction. You will find every type of eating joint here, right from the usual shacks found at every beach to bustling pizza corners to the terrace cafes. Even the cuisine offered by them is quite varied. Baga Beach is definitely a place worth visiting in Goa............

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Reis Magos Fort, Mapusa



Built in 1551, the Reis Magos fort is another manifestation of the Portuguese rulers' resolve to defend their territory against invaders from the neigbouring states of Goa. The fort is located at the eponymous village on the northern bank of the Mandovi River. Originally built by Sultan Adil Shah, the Reis Magos fort was annexed by the Portuguese in 1760. 

Along with the Aguada fort situated two miles away, Reis Magos helped the Portuguese thwart the relentless attacks of the Maratha armies. Its favorable location at the mouth of the Mandovi estuary helped the defenders gain an upper hand over their enemies. The fort boasts of massive laterite fortifications studded with sentry towers. 

The Reis Magos fort is one of the well-preserved forts of Goa. After the collapse of Portuguese rule, the fort was used as prison for quite sometime. The Reis Magos church, present at the base of the fort, adds to the charm of the village. Dedicated to St Jerome, the Reis Magos church is well known for the colorful 'Festa dos Reis Magos' (Feast of the Three Wise Men) held on the 6th of January every year............

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Calangute Beach, Mapusa


Calangute is Goa's flagship beach and it plays an irreplaceable role in the state's tourism sweepstakes. Stretching over an expanse of seven kilometers, Calangute beach is known by the sobriquet the 'Queen of Beaches' for its pre-eminence among the scenic beaches that dot the Goan landscape. Due to its extreme popularity, Calangute beach beckons tourists and backpackers from all over the world. 

Before becoming a tourist haven, Calangute was a nondescript fishing village frequented by the hippies in the 70's and 80's. But over the years Calangute has metamorphosed into Goa's numero uno beach destination endowed with a bustling infrastructure. The beach remains choc-a-block with tourists all year around. 

Apart from a host of hotels and guesthouses stretching up to Baga, the village of Calangute offers all modern amenities like post office, banks, foreign exchange offices, all kind of eateries and medical facilities. Die hard shoppers can look for an exciting time in the Kashmiri-run handicraft boutiques and Tibetan stalls selling Himalayan curios and jewellery. 

While enjoying a day in Calangute, one is unfailingly struck by the paradox that the beach itself has nothing much to offer with sand contaminated with red soil and the beach dropping steeply into the sea............

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Anjuna Beach, Mapusa


Anjuna beach enjoys an iconic status for its notorious trance parties and the exotic Wednesday flea market. Throbbing with a multitude of activities, this palm-fringed beach draws tourists and backpackers from all over the world. 

If you love to frolic in the sea and crave for a bath in the azure waters, Anjuna beach in Goa is the ideal place for you. The rocky promontory at the southern end of the Anjuna beach keeps the sea calm and you can safely take your plunge. Anjuna is well known for its famous flea market that burst at the seams with an astounding variety of items ranging from artifacts to imported electric gadgets. The flea market is held on Wednesdays and if you are an old hand in the bargaining game, chances are that you will walk away with a handsome deal.

Over the years, Anjuna beach has earned notoriety for the trance parties held on full moon nights. During the 1960s, the beach became a favorite rendezvous for insouciant hippies hell bent on creating a utopia in this planet. Even now people from distant corners of the globe descend on Anjuna beach to let their hair down amidst the bliss of psychedelic trance music............

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Margao, Goa

Located in the Salcete taluka of South Goa district, Margao is the nerve-center of the Goan economy. The second largest city in Goa after Vasco da Gama, Margao functions as the headquarters of the South Goa district. Apart from being a bustling commercial and industrial center, Margao also boasts of a flourishing tourism culture by virtue of its opulent churches, scenic beaches and stately mansions.

Despite the conspicuous Portuguese influence, Margao was once a Hindu religious center with a number of temples and dharmshalas. The name Margaon is regarded a derivative of Mathgram which literally means 'the village of temples.' After the Portuguese invasion, the temples gave way to the spawning of majestic churches and palaces. 

The present Margao town exudes a quaint charm with its landscape speckled with fine specimens of Portuguese architecture. The main town square known as the Praca Jorge Baretto houses most of the offices and prominent buildings. The Church Square, called the Largo de Igreja, features the Church of the Holy Spirit and other monuments. Tourists traveling to Margao also visit the nearby Colva beach for a tranquil beach vacation. 


Places to See:



Located 6 km from Margao city, the laidback ambience of Colva beach provides the perfect place to unwind. You can either take a leisurely stroll on the golden sand or savour mouthwatering Goan delicacies in the nearby food stalls. With a length of 20 km, Colva is the longest beach in Goa. 

The Church of Holy Spirit


This church is located in the Church Square called the Largo de Igreja. Built by the Portuguese in 1675, the Church of Holy Spirit is a fine specimen of late-Baroque architecture in Goa. The elegant interior of the church contains decorated altars dedicated to St. Peter and St. Michael.

House of Seven Gables
The "House of Seven Gables" or "Sat Banzam Gor" is another prime attraction in the tour of Margao. Commissioned in 1790 by Sebastino da Silva, emissary and private secretary of the Portuguese Viceroy, this sumptuous mansion embodies the grandeur of the Portuguese era. Of the seven original gables, only three remain today.

Rachol Seminary


Built in 1521 as a church by the Portuguese, it became a seminary in 1606 by virtue of an order of King Sebastian of Portugal. The seminary was established to train Goan Jesuit priests to propagate Christianity. The seminary church is dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the patron saint of the Society of Jesus, the order of Jesuits.
Excursions...........

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Colva Beach, Margao


Sprawling over an expanse of 20 km, Colva beach is the longest beach in Goa. Miles of golden sand and shades of palm trees conspire to unfold an enchanting landscape all around.

In contrast to overcrowded beaches like Anjuna or Miramar brimming with locals and tourists, the Colva beach comes as a pleasant surprise with its laidback ambience and relatively sparse crowd. The unspoiled environment can be ascribed to the fact that Colva has been one of the later ones off the block, with the necessary tourism infrastructure coming up only lately.

All these attributes make Colva beach the ideal place to unwind amidst captivating surroundings. Take a leisurely stroll or savour lip smacking Goan cuisine in the nearby food stalls. Or else, scour the host of souvenir shops to take back some memorable keepsakes. Accommodation is easily available courtesy a number of beach resorts and hotels............
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How to Reach Margao

Air
The Dabolim airport is 28 km from Margao

Rail
Margao enjoys good rail connectivity courtesy the Konkan Rail train station located about 3kms from the Margao city center. This station is an important stop in the Konkan Railways and is the main railway terminal in south Goa

Road
There are frequent bus services from Margao to other parts of the state. Interstate and local bus services operate from the KTC bus stand, 3 km north of Margao city. One can also avail of taxi services to visit nearby tourist attractions such as the Colva beach............

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Margao Excursions

Nicest of Places near Margao

Sprawling over a nine acre hillock at Loutulim in South Goa, the Ancestral Goa project is an effort to recreate the rural life of Goa as it had existed in the days of yore.

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. Virtually deserted all the time, one can enjoy complete seclusion in the Agonda beach. Unlike other beaches in Goa, there is a conspicuous absence of the customary souvenir shops and food stalls.

Located in the Canacona taluka of South Goa, the Cabo da Rama fort presents a desolate spectacle of crumbling ruins. Unlike many other forts in the state, the Cabo da Rama fort predates the Portuguese invasion of Goa. Within its ramparts, the moated fort houses the church of Santo Antonio which is in excellent condition and is still in use.

Located on the Goa - Karnataka border, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the second biggest wildlife reserve in Goa. The Cotigao Sanctuary, a designated reserve since 1969, sprawls over an area of 86 sq. km. Avid nature buffs can climb up a 25-meter high treetop watchtower for a view of the wildlife in their natural habitat.

One of the prominent beaches in the South Goa beach circuit, the crescent-shaped Palolem beach is well-known for its sweeping expanse of silvery sand and idyllic surroundings. With the majestic Western Ghats hills rising in the backdrop, the palm-fringed Palolem beach presents an enchanting spectacle.

As you move 2 km further from the Colva Beach, you will come across the magnificent Benaulim Beach. As per Hindu mythology, it was here that the arrow of Lord Parasurama landed on earth, when he was creating Goa. The Portuguese corrupted the original name 'Banali', in Sanskrit, and named the beach as 'Benualim'. 

One of the most popular beaches of Goa, the Cavelossim Beach lies at a distance of approximately 12 km from Benaulim. Not only does it enjoy huge popularity, it is also counted amongst the most beautiful beaches of India. One of the finest places to let your hair down and enjoy to the hilt, the Cavelossim Beach lies between the Arabian Sea and the Sal River.

The soft sands and aquamarine waters of the Majorda Beach lure tourists from various parts of India as well as abroad. It lies at a distance of approximately 5 km from the Colva Beach and claims as much popularity as the latter. Here, the green of the swinging palm trees contrasts beautifully with the blue of the gushing water.

Varca Beach of Goa is situated at a distance of approximately 2 km to the south of the Benaulim Beach. Though the beach is not as popular as the other commercialized beaches in the state, it is not less than any of them in terms of beauty or magnificence. Infact, the low popularity of Varca Beach has resulted in keeping its peace and serenity intact. 

Velsao Beach of Goa is gaining more and more popularity amongst tourists every year. The beach is situated on the southern coast of the state, at a distance of approximately 25 km from Panjim, its capital city. With Bogmalo beach lying to its north and Majorda and Colva Beach lying to its south, Velsao Beach occupies a prime location............

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Velsao Beach, Margao


Velsao Beach of Goa is gaining more and more popularity amongst tourists every year. The beach is situated on the southern coast of the state, at a distance of approximately 25 km from Panjim, its capital city. With Bogmalo beach lying to its north and Majorda and Colva Beach lying to its south, Velsao Beach occupies a prime location. The beach is visited by almost all the tourists coming to any of these three beaches. 

It is also easily accessible from all the other beaches of Goa, called the 'Beach Capital of India'. Velsao Beach abounds in pristine natural beauty. The soft and silvery sands of the beach encourage you to undertake long, leisurely walks. The cool breeze blowing lightly seems to be kissing your cheeks. The air is pure and the surroundings picturesque. The calm and quiet atmosphere of the beach lets you hear the cooing of birds very clearly. 

Velsao Beach is just the place to relax and unwind yourself. The villages situated near the beach will serve as your perfect window to get a glimpse into the rural life of Goa. Velsao Beach offers magnificent views of the sunrise and sunset, so make sure to be there at both, dawn as well as dusk. You can go for swimming, play around in the water, have leisurely walks or just lie down and enjoy sunbathing here............

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Varca Beach, Margao


Varca Beach of Goa is situated at a distance of approximately 2 km to the south of the Benaulim Beach. Though the beach is not as popular as the other commercialized beaches in the state, it is not less than any of them in terms of beauty or magnificence. Infact, the low popularity of Varca Beach has resulted in keeping its peace and serenity intact. This makes Varca the perfect destination for all those tourists who are looking for a place to escape from the mundane tensions of the daily life. 

The beauty of nature, combined with the melodious gushing of the aqua waters, makes the experience of visiting the beach a memorable one. The palm-thatched houses of the fishermen, which line the Varca Beach of India manage to give it a different look altogether. Adding to the splendor are the black lava rocks that seem to be dotting the landscape. Lining the edges of the beach are the wooden fishing boats of the local fishermen. Varca Beach is quite cleaner than the other renowned beaches of Goa. 

With its virgin and spotless beauty, it has started attracting more and more visitors. Other major attractions of the beach comprises of the Dolphin-watching trips, organized on a regular basis. You can also indulge in relaxing and rejuvenating activities at the beach, like sunbathing, yoga, meditation, etc. A number of hotels as well as resorts are available nearby, for accommodation purposes. However, if you want to get a feel of the lifestyle of the Goans, it is better to rent room from the villagers............

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Majorda Beach, Margao


The soft sands and aquamarine waters of the Majorda Beach lure tourists from various parts of India as well as abroad. It lies at a distance of approximately 5 km from the Colva Beach and claims as much popularity as the latter. Here, the green of the swinging palm trees contrasts beautifully with the blue of the gushing water. Majorda Beach is counted amongst the most magnificent beaches of Goa and never fails to receive it share of visitors, locals as well as tourists, in any year. 

The beach is also significant from mythological point of view. It is believed that Lord Rama was kidnapped when he was a child and brought to Majorda only. The legend further goes that when the Lord was searching for His wife Sita, who was kidnapped by the evil Ravana, He came to Cabo-da-Rama, located at the southern end of the Majorda Beach. The beautiful amalgamation of nature and mythology further adds to the attraction of the beach. Connectivity-wise also, there is no problem as Majorda Beach is situated in the vicinity of the Dabolim airport.

Even Margao Railway Station and the main bus stand are situated nearby. Majorda Beach is a storehouse of fun. If you are an early riser, make sure to enjoy the beautiful view of the sunrise, from the beach. In the daytime, make sand castles, collect shells, go for swimming or get yourself tanned. The seafood available here is quite varied and the taste is just awesome. The Majorda Beach Resort sprawled across the beach will provide you with the best accommodation too............

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Cavelossim Beach, Margao


The Cavelossim Beach lies at a distance of approximately 12 km from Benaulim. Not only does it enjoy huge popularity, it is also counted amongst the most beautiful beaches of India. One of the finest places to let your hair down and enjoy to the hilt, the Cavelossim Beach lies between the Arabian Sea and the Sal River. The blooming paddy fields, cascading Sal River and silvery sands of the beach combine to present a picture-perfect sight. 

You can just laze around, have long walks, indulge in swimming or even go on Dolphin trips and sunset cruises on the River Sal. Infact, dusk is the best time to enjoy the beautiful locales of the Cavelossim Beach. You can also collect the small and pretty seashells that keep on coming to the shore. In case you are looking for some adventure, just go kayaking or enjoy catamaran sailing. Even the nightlife of the beach is quite pulsating. Last but not the least, it is very famous as a romantic getaway also. 

Cavelossim Beach is also like a paradise for shopping lovers. You can easily find a rich collection of Indian crafts at the shops lining it. Accommodation facilities are also easily available at the beach. The best time to visit the amazing Cavelossim beach comprises of the months of November to March. The soft sands of the beach seem to be covered with black lava rocks at certain intervals. Cavelossim beach is quite neat and clean and has a number of shacks offering appetizing Goan cuisine and seafood............

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Benaulim Beach, Margao


As you move a few km further from the Colva Beach, you will come across the magnificent Benaulim Beach. As per Hindu mythology, it was here that the arrow of Lord Parasurama landed on earth, when he was creating Goa. The Portuguese corrupted the original name 'Banali', in Sanskrit, and named the beach as 'Benualim'. Benaulim Beach abounds in natural beauty as well as serenity. It is the perfect place to forget all the worldly tensions and indulge yourself. Though a fishing destination, it is still left largely unexplored by the domestic tourists of India. 

However, the beach gets a lot of local rush and Goans can be found strolling around its shores in large numbers, in the evening as well as on weekends. The best way to reach Benualim Beach is to go by bus, which drops you approximately one km away, and then walk down. Fringed by palm trees, this beach is well known for the 'Dolphin Cruises' it offers to the visitors. The price of these cruises is pretty reasonable and there are also bright chances of spotting the beautiful creatures in the water. 

Just like the other beaches of Goa, Benaulim Beach also has a string of snack joints, serving delicious food. The village of Benualim is as popular as the beach is. Its rosewood furniture and exquisite carvings are renowned throughout the country. There are a number of tourist spots near the beach. One of them is the 'Church of St John the Baptist', which lies on a hill just beyond the village. The major attractions of the church include its exquisite architecture, based on the type Goan Christian style, and the Feast of St John the Baptist (Sao Joao)............

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Ancestral Goa, Margao


Sprawling over a nine acre hillock at Loutulim in South Goa, the Ancestral Goa project is an effort to recreate the rural life of Goa as it had existed in the days of yore. Essentially a miniature Goan village, Ancestral Goa is the culmination of the dream and singular efforts of Goan artist, Maendra J. Alvares, who wanted to create a project that would preserve the heritage of the land and contribute to Goan tourism.

A kaleidoscope of Goan rural life, Ancestral Goa depicts the day to day activities of a typical Goan village and also hosts a number of art galleries and artifact centers. This unique project achieved fruition in April 1995 after months of meticulous research, planning and hard work by artist Alvares and his team. 

The chief attraction of this open air museum is the "Legend of the Big Foot". "The Legend of Big Foot" revolves around a footprint that was discovered on a rock and the footprint is believed to bring good luck for those who stood upon it. The laterite sculpture of Saint Mirabai in Ancestral Goa has been cited in the Limca Book of Records as the Longest Laterite Sculpture in India.

Apart from a glimpse into the myriad facets of Goan life, you will also be treated to authentic Goan delicacies. Country taverns within the precincts of the village sell cuisine such as Goa's famous traditional bread Undo and the country liquor feni made from cashew nuts............

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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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Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Canacona


Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the second biggest wildlife reserve in Goa. The Cotigao Sanctuary, a designated reserve since 1969, sprawls over an area of 86 sq. km. The Talpona river meanders through the thick vegetation and serves as the perennial water source for the sanctuary.

The Forest Department has set up a Nature Interpretation Center in the sanctuary to impart knowledge to tourists regarding wildlife. Avid nature buffs can climb up a 25-meter high treetop watchtower for a view of the wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Flora
The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary stands out for its wealth of verdant forests and luxuriant green canopy. The vegetation in the sanctuary is mostly moist-deciduous type, with sporadic patches of semi-evergreen and evergreen forests.

Fauna


If you are in search of a sanctuary teeming with a plethora of wildlife species, Cotigao will disappoint you. The sparse animal population consists of Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Porcupines, Panthers, Hyenas, Wild Boars and Indian Bisons. The common winged visitors include rufous woodpeckers, white-eyed eagles and the Malabar crested eagle............

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Cabo da Rama Fort, Canacona


Located in the Canacona taluka of South Goa, the Cabo da Rama fort presents a desolate spectacle of crumbling ruins. Also known as Cape Rama fort, this ancient bastion is steeped in mythological legends. The fort derives its name from Rama, the protagonist of the epic Ramayana, who, accompanied by his wife Sita took refuge here during his exile from Ayodhya.

Unlike many other forts in the state, the Cabo da Rama fort predates the Portuguese invasion of Goa. Possession of the fort changed hands many a time as dynasties fell and rose during the ages. In 1763 the Portuguese claimed the Cabo de Rama fort after defeating the Raja of Soonda and renovated it subsequently. The present ramshackle structure with turrets and rusty cannons is a remnant of the Portuguese.

Apart from scattered ruins here and there, the Cabo da Rama fort does not hold any attractions. Within its ramparts, the moated fort houses the church of Santo Antonio which is in excellent condition and is still in use. The western side of the fortress, where the cliffs drop sharply to the sea, provides a panoramic view of the surrounding areas............

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Mallikarjun Temple, Canacona


Mallikarjun temple is renowned for its colorful festivals observed with pomp and pageantry. Built by the ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj in 16th century, the Mallikarjun temple was subsequently refurbished in 1778. The temple is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the location of the temple was the place where Lord Shiva united with his consort Parvati after a long period of separation.

The unique feature of the temple architecture is as assembly of exquisitely carved wooden pillars inside the temple building. The six pillars in the mandap are decorated with scenes from the Puranas and epic of Mahabharata. Elegantly carved silhouettes of dwarpals (doorkeeper) stand guard on either side of the door leading to the inner sanctum of the Mallikarjun temple. 

The Mallikarjun temple enjoys a unique niche among the Goan temples for a host of ritualistic festivals. During the famous annual festival or Jatra, the idol of the deity is taken out in a procession to the nearby Kindlebag beach and the deity is bathed accompanied by other rituals............

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Palolem Beach, Canacona


One of the prominent beaches in the South Goa beach circuit, the crescent-shaped Palolem beach is well-known for its sweeping expanse of silvery sand and idyllic surroundings. With the majestic Western Ghats hills rising in the backdrop, the palm-fringed Palolem beach presents an enchanting spectacle. The scenic beauty of the beach fetched it an appearance in the film 'The Bourne Supremacy' (2004) where it is shown as the Indian residence of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon).

Compared to some of the prominent beaches of North Goa, the Palolem beach is relatively secluded in nature and sparsely inhabited. Palolem is a fishing beach and one can see fishermen venturing into the high seas in their fishing boats. There is an abundance of Dolphins in this area and enthusiastic tourists often hop onto fishing boats with a hope of spotting them. 

The Palolem beach has yet to acquire a proper tourism infrastructure and one can come across a few shacks selling seafood snacks, souvenirs and beachwear and sarongs. For accommodation, one can scour the beach huts or the handful of guesthouses scattered around............

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Agonda Beach, Canacona


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. Virtually deserted all the time, one can enjoy complete seclusion in the Agonda beach. Fringed with a shady curtain of lovely palm trees, one will have only the seas and the sand for company here. 

The all prevailing solitude is augmented by a soothing silence, intermittently broken by the crashing of roaring sea waves. Unlike other beaches in Goa, there is a conspicuous absence of the customary souvenir shops and food stalls. Adventurous souls looking for some nocturnal adventure can hire a tent and camp for the night.

The nearby Cabo da Rama fort is a major attraction for tourists descending on Agonda beach. The fort, now in a state of ruins, houses the beautiful church of Santo Antonio. The village of Agonda is typical of a small fishing village and is surrounded by about 120 acres of forest............

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How to Reach Canacona, Goa

Air
The Dabolim Airport is 62 km away from Canacona. You can take pre-paid taxis at the airport to reach Canacona

Rail
The Canacona railway station falls on the Konkan Railways network and is located at the center of the district, close to the tourist attractions of the coast. The railway junction of Margao (37 km) to the north is the closest major rail station. 

Road
National Highway 17 connects the town of Chaudi, headquarters of Canacona, to Margao and Panaji. This highway runs all the way to Mumbai. To visit different tourist spots in Canacona bus services & autorickshaws are available............

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