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Goa welcomes one and all with its idyllic lifestyle, lush mountain ranges, the magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of its temples, churches and old houses have all made Goa a favorite with travelers around the world. Delve into the past or laze around in the present; the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ can spoil the traveler with choices. There’s a wealth of history in this former Portuguese colony of Goa, plus an abundance of beaches, for sun worshippers and tranquility seekers. It is also the land of mangos and mangroves. Goa is a "Tourist Paradise" and has been a holiday destination since colonial times, when British troops and officials used to travel here from across the country for a spot of ‘rest and recreation’. It is a paradise for tourists and a haven for beach lovers - a charming place where the waves relentlessly thrash against the magnificent coastline, the clean white expanse of sand stretches from the rolling dunes of the Sahyadri mountain ranges to the turquoise of the Arabian Sea; the wafting aroma of a variety of mouth-watering delicacies pull you in, the melancholy strains of ‘fado’ occasionally stir the bougainvillea-scented breeze, and the party never seems to stops. Although tropically located, Goa has a coastal climate and remains pleasant throughout the year. Considering that there is so much to explore in Goa, it is best to hire a taxi or cab for sightseeing to ensure comfort and convenience. This is also the best way to experience Goa. The drive along the Western Ghats makes the journey exciting and promising. Since, everyone wants to relax when on a vacation to Goa. The abundant sundry parties of Goa are bound to intoxicate which makes it safer not to drive, but to be driven. Ideally one should hire a cab for the entire journey from the various car rental options that are available and keep it for the entire trip as an added convenience. Tourists travelling from Mumbai to Goa can book car taxi’s via mobile smart phone devices or online portals, saving time from waiting in long lines. Tourist can also travel via taxi at Mumbai airport to Goa. Further afield, the mega cosmopolitan cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mangalore and Pune can conjure something quite different, with charismatically immense shopping centers, long strips of Indian restaurants, world-class amusement and theme parks, and yet proffer traditional charm aplenty. Travails by road from these cities usually make for memorable road-trips.

Places to Visit

The Basilica of Bom Jesus: Constructed in the 16th century, this magnificent edifice enshrines a silver casket containing the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The public viewing of the remains of the saint, still never ceases to lure huge number of devotees, from all over the globe. The saint is considered to have miraculous healing powers. This Jesuit church is one of the oldest churches in India, having marble inlaid with precious stones comprising its floors and elaborate gilded altars. It is also rendered as world heritage site by UNESCO. This is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be among the best examples of the baroque style of architecture in India. There are many other grand churches in Goa that people can visit on the same day by hiring a car so it is easy for them to go from one place to the other.

Old Goa: Located in the north district of Goa, it was constructed in the fifteenth century by the Bijapur Sultanate. It was the capital of Portuguese India. Once the ecclesiastical wonder of the Eastern world the remains of Old Goa are covered in the list of world heritage sites by UNESCO. It is roughly ten kilometers away from Panaji. One can shiver in the shiver in the shadows of grand cathedrals, or get lost in its old world charm. The roads can get crowded on weekends, especially in the ten days leading up to the ‘Feast of St Francis Xavier’. Architecture enthusiasts can purchase the useful guide ‘Old Goa’ (available from the archaeological museum for Rs.10), which is published by The Archaeological Survey of India.

Beaches of Baga, Vagator, Anjuna, Sinquerim and Calangute: These beaches are among the most popular. They are relevant all through the year. Treat yourself to the unique goan cuisine, or sample the local beach food. Observe the hip and the hippies at Anjuna's riotous Wednesday market. Shop for, cheap clothing and textiles, different produces and souvenirs. Get a slice of small-town India. Midrange tourists can take advantage of the comfy new hotels. Although, much less mellow than in the heady days of the early sixties, there are still some fabulous full moon parties held in Anjuna. The pristine beaches offer various water-sporting activities as well.

The Union territory of Goa is comparably a vast region. Mumbai to Goa car rental services are the most affordable and convenient modes to travel and explore the sun kissed charms of Goa.

Things to Do

Goa Carnival: The carnival celebrations were initiated when Goa was the solitary Portuguese colony in India, almost 500 years back. The culture of riotous celebrations, were initially popular even in ancient Rome and Greece, which later became famous in Spain and Portugal as well. Hence when Goa was colonized by the Portuguese, the carnival to Goa was born. The carnival is full flared Goan affair with hints of Portuguese. It is also one of the most important and awaited event. The entire state of Goa gets decked up with colorful streamers and ribbons. Preparations for the carnival start from early December itself. The revelry includes entourages of fire-eaters, acrobats, clowns, jesters, dancers, brass bands and revelers who parade down the main street of Panaji. Music, dance and short play depicting the tradition and culture of Goa also features in the revelry. The Goa carnival starts 8th of February.

Feast of St. Francis Xavier: The feast celebrates the public viewing of the remains of St. Francis Xavier’s mortal body at the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Processions and services rope in the feast celebrations, in Old Goa; on 3rd December. The feast of the patron saint of Goa is celebrated on the day he died in 1552. The feast is attended by pilgrims from all over the world. Stalls selling sweetmeats, toys, clothing, etc line the streets, with their goods and produce.

New Year’s Eve: Rhapsodic and exuberant celebrations on the 31st of December, in the form of all-night street parties and beach parties ensue. Some of the best music artists from around the globe are roped in to perform during this period.

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