Goa on the west coast of India is known to many as the hippie Mecca. But the beautiful beaches are no longer reserved for dropouts and old hippies but are also becoming increasingly popular for package tourism. You want to travel to India for the first time, but shy away from the stark experiences? Then it is the right destination for you and places to visit in Goa other than beaches.
It is lined with excellent beaches and is home to wonderful ancient churches and temples, busy cities and sleepy villages. Goa is also a place with beautiful old houses, made in the Portuguese colonial style, but strongly influenced by Indian characteristics. These whitewashed buildings dot the countryside – some live, some do not, some are solidly alive, others are barely standing. The Goa houses are made for large families, which started in a purer colonial style but then, slowly, adapted to India.
Some of the places to visit in Goa other than beaches are described below:
1. Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus, a church dedicated to the worship of the little Jesus, also houses the remains of Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa and one of the founders of the Jesuit order. The church was built between 1594 and 1605 by the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Batista Foggini in the old part of Goa, formerly the capital of the Portuguese colonialists.
It is made of red stone mined in the area. The bones of the saint, known throughout the Catholic world, are kept in a silver coffin located in an ornate marble tomb to the right of the altar. Every ten years, the public can marvel at the remains, except for one arm that can be seen in Rome.
2. Fort Aguada
It is one of the largest and impressive forts. The most vital part of the fort is that it is strong enough to survive attacks by enemies from the land or sea or from both sides. One of the characteristic features of the headlands of Aguada are the lighthouses built in 1864, which are considered to be one of the oldest and first lighthouses built in Asia. This is one of the top places to visit in Goa in India.
Another important aspect of Fort Aguada was the small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Good Journey. The name comes from ships that anchored at this location after a long journey and replenished their stocks before embarking on another journey.
3. Dr. SalimALi Bird Sanctuary
The Dr. Salim Ali bird sanctuary is 5 km from Panjim, on the island of Chorao, near the Mandovi River. This sanctuary is named after the Indian ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali. The smallest bird sanctuary in India, it extends over an area of 1.8 square kilometers. The sanctuary houses around 400 species of birds, both local and migratory.
The sanctuary is blessed with a lot of streams of water and tributaries that overflow. The sanctuary houses a great variety of resident birds, such as eagles, kites, kingfishers, egrets, parrots, cormorants and herons. It serves as a center for migratory birds, Coots and Pintails during the winter season.
4. Se Cathedral
The Cathedral of, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Catarina, was built to commemorate the conquest of the city to the Muslims. Today it is a World Heritage Site.
It is considered to be the largest church built by the Portuguese around the world and its influence, as the seat of the bishopric, extended from Mozambique to China. It was enlarged in 1552, and in 1619 it acquired the approximate form that is now known. In the original building, there were two towers, but one of them collapsed in the eighteenth century, never to be erected again.
Among the relics of this Cathedral is a baptismal font that was used by the St. Francis Xavier himself to baptize some Goans converted to Catholicism.
5. Chapora Fort
One of most beloved fortresses, Chapora Fort gained more popularity after he appeared in the Bollywood movie, DilChahtaHai. Dating back to 1717 and the Portuguese domain, this fort was built instead of an old fort in the same place after the Portuguese-Maratha war.
Now, in ruins, the fort was an attempt by the Portuguese to strengthen their fortress in the territory of Goa and prevent further conflicts.
6. Anjuna Flea Market
The weekly Anjuna Wednesday market is as much a part of the Goa experience as a day at the beach. More than three decades ago, it was conceived and created by hippies who smoked giant joints, meeting to compare experiences on the exciting Indian circuit.
Sell pairs of Levi jeans or handmade jewelry to help finance the rest of their stay.
7. Shri Mangueshi Temple
The Temple of Shri Mangeshi is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered the most important temple of Goa; it belongs to the typical style of the architecture of the Hindu temple of Goa.
It is very distinctive with its white towers, which welcome at the entrance despite being small and exquisite.
8. Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, North Goa
The Bondla wildlife sanctuary is the most popular and famous wildlife sanctuary in Goa. The wildlife sanctuary of Bondla, the smallest of Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries, extends over an area of 8 square kilometers and is located 3000 feet up in the lush foothills of the Western Ghats.
It is a popular place for both tourists and schoolchildren. A wide variety of animal life can be found here. In addition, Bondla also provides sanctuary to leopards and dancing bears. Another attraction in Bondla is the Hindu carvings that were found when building the sanctuary garden.
9. The Latin Quarters of Panjim
While some buildings may be somewhat discolored, there is no denying that the labyrinth of narrow winding streets in the Latin Quarter of Panjim, or Panaji, as it is also known, is full of charm and atmosphere.
This neighborhood, which dates back to colonial times, has retained its character over the years with its whitewashed churches and colorful heritage houses.
10. Shantadurga Temple, Ponda, South Goa
Temple path in Goa? Old? Really? Yes, there is a lot of history in Goa if you pass the beach belt. Goa has been one of the oldest living regions in the world.
Remember that I wrote about the oldest known labyrinth in the world that can be seen in the riverbed in Pansoimol and on the ancient caves in Arvalem. This time, let me take you to the southeast of Goa in the city of Ponda, which houses many ancient temples in Goa.
11. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1968 as the second largest national park in Goa. This wonderful kingdom of wildlife is found in the Cancona region (CanconaTaluk), just 10 km from the city of Chaudi and the Palolem Beach complex.
The closest city to Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is Poinguinim, which is 2 km from the main entrance to the Park. All the buses that go by there stop there, but it is better to have your own car or at least rent it.
12. Kuske Waterfall
The visit to Kuskem Falls will be very interesting for those who like to travel, adventures and hiking. The waterfall is about 12 km from the entrance to the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park. You will have to climb through the dense and unsafe jungle vegetation to Kuskem Village, which is very close to the Kuskem Falls.
It is better (and strongly recommended) to take the service of the local guide: there is no doubt that you will reach the waterfall without any problem. The best period to visit the Kuskem falls is the monsoon season: the vegetation in this period recovers the rich and succulent color and looks very fresh. During the summer the waterfall dries up.
13. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
The Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the main attractions for nature lovers and wildlife lovers, as well as being the perfect place for a short relaxing and adventurous getaway. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is a very popular forest reserve in Goa among wildlife lovers. Netravali has been declared a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of Goa to protect its range of Western Ghats.
Netravali is connected to the Madei Wildlife Sanctuary and the two parks cover an area of 420 km2, of which Netravali has an area of 211.05 km2, which provides a very rich and varied variety of wildlife. Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is located between Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary to the north and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary to the south.
14. Dudhsagar waterfalls
Dudhsagar is the fifth tallest waterfall in India and a sight to behold. Located on the border of Goa-Karnataka, the Dudhsagar falls are within the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mollem National Park, at a distance of 47 kilometers from Margao.
The hills of the Western Ghats, the surrounding deciduous forest and the torrent of water that falls from a height of 1020 feet or 310 meters, makes Dudhsagar a must-see in Goa.
15. St. Mary’s Catholic Church
The church of Santa Maria is one of the best Romanesque and Renaissance Italian churches in Brisbane. It was built in 1893. St. Mary’s Catholic Church is the best place to do prayer, healing, and festivity.
The parish of St. Mary is a Eucharistic society centered on Christ in which populace of numerous cultures adoration God and motivates each other to live the Gospel communication.
16. Butterfly Conservatory of Goa
This small butterfly sanctuary, 5 km north of Ponda, houses more than 100 species of butterflies that fly free (not enclosed) in a small plot of forest.
It is a work of love for the owners and it is worth taking a look if you are visiting nearby spice plantations.
17. St. Augustine Tower
The ruins of the church of San Agustín in old Goa, which stand out gloriously among all the other well-kept complexes and whitewashed churches in its vicinity, are attractive and attractive.
Being excavated to life and preserved for use, it tells stories from days gone by.
18. Dona Paula
Dona Paula is a small beach located about 5 km from Panaji. The beach has an adjacent jetty that is famous for the view it offers of the Arabian Sea. There are a lot of water sports activities that take place here. The pier is frequented by young tourists and local students from Goa University and other nearby universities in Panaji. The road to the pier is full of shops selling clothing and souvenirs. The beach offers a great view of the port of Marmagoa in Vasco that is located at the mouth of the Zuari River.
On a small hill overlooking the beach, there is a statue of Donna Paula, a lady from Portugal who supposedly committed suicide here. An exciting breeze blows over this place and the view is very picturesque. Most of the people visit the dock of Dona Paula and the beach has been recently ignored by tourists. In fact, most tourists are unaware of the fact that Doña Paula also has a beach. In addition to enjoying the great view from the top of the hill, tourists can simply relax on the benches enjoying the sea breeze and the sunset.
19. Reis Magos fort
Standing, proud and supervising and protecting the Bardez taluka, across the river from the capital city of Panaji, this fort was one of the first bastions of the Portuguese rulers against the invasion of the enemy. The structure exudes majesty and grandeur and, although it is not the largest fort in Goa, it still has respect and admiration.
Previous to leaving for the prestigious and much larger Fort Aguada, and situated at the smallest point of the mouth of Mandovi, its clever construction and planned location made this fort almost unassailable and was a significant asset for the Portuguese settlers.
The fort has also been repaired skillfully in recent years and partially restored to its former glory. It is clearly visible, with its distinctive reddish stone walls, from Panaji, which stretches across the Mandovi River from there.