Despite Goa’s diminutive size, the state is home to an amazing array of fauna, from the blazing kingfishers that fleck the coastal strip’s luminescent paddy fields, to the damselfish and barracuda that shimmer and dance under Goa’s waters, to the water buffalo that wander home come sunset after a hard day’s wallowing. Goa’s wilder expanses host little-seen wonders, such as gaurs (Indian bison), porcupines, wild boar, the occasional pangolin (scaly anteater) or leopard, and troops of langur monkeys, who usually show up to cause some mirth and mayhem. On a riverine trip inland, you might be rewarded with a sighting of crocodiles, otters, and birdlife, whose names alone – Ceylon frogmouth, fairy bluebird – make the trip worthwhile. Goa, in fact, is a twitchers’ heaven: iridescent avian life may even flit casually past your beach-hut balcony, so pack your binoculars and prepare for a spectacular feathery show.
List of famous Wildlife Sanctuaries in Goa -
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary
The Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary at Mollem covers an area of 240 square kilometers and is the largest wildlife preserve in Goa. This sanctuary lies on the eastern border of the state, close to the village of Mollem at the foot of the Western Ghats. The Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is 53 kilometres away from the state capital, Panaji. The sanctuary primarily consists of evergreen forests and deciduous trees.
Within the Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the Molem National Park. Herds of deer and gaurs (Indian bison), clusters of monkeys, Malayan giant squirrels, cobras and pythons are housed in the sanctuary. There are also elephants and tigers, but spotting them could be a tough job. The sanctuary is also home to a few black panthers; and spotting them is not an easy task either.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary lies 10 kms northeast of the Usgao Tisk village in north Goa and is 52 kms from Panaji, and 38 kms from Margao. Away from the coast, the landscape breaks into the dramatic and green foothills of the Western Ghats. These foothills shelter the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary; which is the smallest wildlife reserve in Goa. The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 80 sq kms. The sanctuary is home to the sambar, gaur (Indian bison), the black-faced langur, jackal and wild boar, amongst others animals. Elephants have also been spotted here at times. The Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary houses several species of deer as well.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
At a distance of 60km south from Panaji, is located the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1969. It is the second largest sanctuary in Goa and covers an area of 86 sq kms. The Talpona River flows through this preserve. Getting to the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is a little tedious.
The forested land provides shelter to a number of birds and animals. However, the number of animals in this sanctuary has decreased over the years. Yet one still comes across sloth bears, deer, wild boars, hyenas, and Indian bisons. Reptiles and monkeys too can be easily spotted. Birds like the rufous woodpecker, white-eyed eagle and the Malabar crested eagle form a part of the avian life that abounds here. But, apart from the animal life, the expansive forestland also comes as a welcome change.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Also known as Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary - The sanctuary is named after one of India's most prominent ornithologists, Dr. Salim Ali - the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is spread over an area of 1.78 sq kms. The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located at the western tip of the Chorao Island along river Mandovi near Panaji. It is fully covered with mangrove species. A variety of local and migratory birds can be found on this island.
This sanctuary can be visited any time of the year. However, permission from the Chief, Wild Life Warden (Forest Department, Junta House, Panaji-Goa) is required. One needs to take a bus or a cab from Panaji to the Ribandar ferry wharf and then take a ferry across the Mandovi River to the island of Chorao. The sanctuary is within walking distance from the ferry wharf at Chorao. There are also some private parties who take tourists around in their canoes fitted with outboard motors.
Goa is a land whose major portion is allotted to forests and wildlife. Due to deforestation and extinction of certain species of animals becoming a serious issue, the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are doing their best to preserve their flora and fauna. Presently there are six wildlife sanctuaries in Goa:
Together these wildlife sanctuaries in Goa cover an area of 755 square km2 that is, around 60 per cent of forest area and 20 per cent of the geographical area of the state.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is located 38 kms from Margao. It is more an ideal jungle resort than a sanctuary. It is a big favourite with school children and people who love nature. This wildlife sanctuary in Goa houses mini zoos, sprawling deer park in natural habitat, botanical and rose gardens that attract people throughout the year.
Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary covers around 240 sq kms. Out of this, the forest-clad slopes of the Western ghats and its valleys are the biggest attractions. It is also the biggest of the three sanctuaries of Goa. The sanctuary is rich in wildlife. It is a paradise for bird watchers. There are also many important geological and historical features in this sanctuary.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
The Cotigao wildlife sanctuary in Goa is the second largest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. It covers an area of 105 sq km. It is covered with dense forest. As a result of which a varied wildlife, avian fauna and reptiles thrive and flourish. The ancient Jeevottam Partagal Math too lies near the sanctuary.
Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is spread over 1.78 sq kms. It is located at the western tip of the island of Chorao along river Mandovi near Panaji. It is fully covered with species that thrive in mangrove areas. Varieties of local as well as migratory birds frequently visit there.
Beaches in Goa
Goa and its beaches do not need an introduction. The state is well known for its spectacular beaches that are a major reason behind its successful tourism. Replete with swaying palms, food shacks, flea markets, water sports and nightlife the Goa beaches make for a perfect holiday. Covering almost 83% of the total coastline area of Goa the beaches in Goa offer everything that makes your vacation a memorable one.
The captivating beaches of Goa attract millions of local and foreign tourists throughout the year. Goa is home to both commercial and quiet beaches. The beaches in North are the commercialized ones which are known specially for their nightlife. The South Goa beaches are ideal for relaxing and just lazing around on the sun kissed shores.
Heaven for all kinds of tourists the beaches in Goa over the years have evolved as one of the hottest tourist destination in India. Inviting as they are with their enchanting appearance the Goa beaches are mostly situated around Margao Mapusa and Panaji.
Best Beaches in Goa
Dudhsagar Waterfalls- springing from from a lofty height of 600m is located on the Goa-Karnataka border. It lies at a distance of 60 km from Panaji and 10 km from Colem Railway Station.
The name of this waterfall evolves from the Konkani name for the falls, Dudhsagar meaning 'sea of milk'. This is because froth is formed due to the speedy surge of water from the majestic heights.
In spite of being a perilous spot due to its slippery rocks, it is a popular site for trekking and hiking. The fall looks stunning post monsoon as it ripples with bubbling foam-like water.
The fall overlooks a steep, crescent-shaped edge of a valley covered with beautiful tropical forest. Monkeys, birds, bees, butterflies have carved their own niche amidst the flora of the region and the plunge pool abounds in aquatic life.
The Dudhsagar Falls is one of the most interesting falls of India and the largest and highest fall of Goa. Nearby is the Tamdi Surla Temple built by the Kadambas.
The road to this mighty fall is inaccessible during the monsoon season .The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) runs tours to Dudhsagar on Saturday and Sunday from Panaji and Calangute. You could also take a train to Dudhsagar from Madgaon (Margao) and get there in an hour and half. However during summer, when the level of the water is low, you can hire a Jeep and access the foot of the falls from either Molem or Collem.
Forts in Goa
Goa's Forts are a direct result of Goa's chequered history. Goan forts are very small in size as compared to the other Indian Forts. Nevertheless, the forts in Goa are historic specimens of immense military, political and economic importance.
With a history that speaks of several rulers, the forts in Goa are witnesses and testimonials of the events of a bygone era. Some of the most important of the forts in Goa that have stood the test of time are given below:
The Aguada Fort: Immediately south of Candolim, a long to laterite peninsula extends in the sea west of Reis Magos, bringing the seven kilometer long Clangute beach an abrupt end. Aguada Fort, which crowns the rocky flattened top of the headland, is the best-preserved Portuguese bastion in Goa. Built in 1612 to protect the northern shores of the Mandovi estuary from Dutch and Maratha raiders, it is home to several natural springs. A spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that called there arriving after the long sea voyage from Lisbon, giving it the name 'Aguada' (meaning 'water' in Portuguese). On the northern side, it provides a harbor for local shipping. The Aguada fort, at present, houses the central jail.
On the north side of the fort, a rampart of red-brown laterite juts into the bay to form a jetty between two small sandy coves. This picturesque spot is known as Sinquerim Beach. Fort Aguada Resorts, among the most expensive hotels in India, lords over the beach from the lower slopes of the steep sided peninsula.
Goa State museum
One of the Panaji attractions, the Goa State museum is equally popular with the history freaks and general tourists. The Goa State museum in Panaji was officially inaugurated on 29th September, 1977. Later on a new complex was built in Patto, which was opened in the year 1996.
The twelve galleries of the Goa State museum houses historic and wonderful artifacts. The name of the galleries of Goa State museum are given below:
Christian Art Gallery
Contemporary Art Gallery
Environment and Development Gallery
Gallery for other displays
Goa's Freedom Struggle Gallery
Banerji Art Gallery
Menezes Braganza Gallery
Religious Expression Gallery
The Sculpture Gallery boasts of some priceless inscriptions that date back to the 4th century. Intricately carved sculptures made of stone and bronze are the main attractions of this gallery. The Numismatic Gallery is a must visit for the history loving people and people interested in numismatology. The gallery has collection of coins from different ages.
A must visit for the art lovers and the religious inclined people also, the Christian Art Gallery houses outstanding wood carved statues and paintings of Christian saints. The Banerji Art Gallery is named after the ex governor of Goa - S.K. Banerji. This gallery exhibits some exceptional sculptures, ancient seals and terracotta works. The Goa State museum organizes several cultural competitions and programs throughout the year.
Goa is a verdant natural paradise bounded on the one side by the foothills of the Sahyadri range and on the other by the Arabian Sea. Goa, a tiny green land surrounded by azure waters on the West Coast of India, with its natural picturesque beauty, attractive beaches and famous architectural temples, majestic churches, grand parties and festivals and its rich Anglo-Indian heritage is a great attraction for all tourists. It is called the pearl of the east.
Besides the awe-inspiring and strikingly beautiful beaches, Goa is also gifted with lakes, waterfalls and springs of unmatched beauty. They are located far from the madding crowds, away from the coast, in the interiors.
There are three prime waterfalls of Goa which emerge from great heights and ripple through the rugged terrains. These three rippling cascades of silvery water attract hordes of tourists who prefer blissful solitude of isolated nature rather than the fun and frolic of crowded beaches.
The Nehru Stadium, Margao is named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime Minister of India. It was originally known as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda. It is one of those cricket stadiums in India which have acquired international fame as a multi-sport complex.
The Nehru Stadium in Margao in Goa was built in the year 1989. The stadium can accommodate around 27300 spectators. Swimming Pool End and Church End are the names of the two ends of the stadium. Equipped with floodlights and the latest communication facilities, the stadium has both turf and grass type pitches.
Temples in Goa
The temples in Goa are like most Hindu temples in India. Each of the temples in Goa is based around a deity which is the centre of worship. However, the architecture of the temples in Goa is a little different because of historical reasons.
The basic design of all Hindu temples is organized around the central shrine or the 'Garbagriha' (the 'sanctum sanctorum') that houses the main deity. A 'Shikara' (tower) arises from the main shrine and is traditionally pyramidal shaped. There are usually two or more smaller shrines enshrining other deities known as 'Parivar Devatas' around the entrance to the Garbagriha.
Goa gives place to a number of temples and pilgrimage spots. Among these the most popular ones that one should visit when on a avisit to goa are as follows:
Shri Bhagvati Temple
Shri Chandranath Temple
Shri Mahalaxmi Temple
Shri Mahalsa Temple
Shri Mangueshi Temple
Shri Naguesh Temple
Shri Shantadurga Temple