Best time to visit Goa is November to February. But monsoons are really beautiful with lush greenery around. Being off season time you can get good bargain deals. Hence March to September is the off season period.
Goa was the ideal base for the seafaring Portuguese, who arrived in 1510 aiming to control the spice route from the East. Jesuit missionaries led by St Francis Xavier arrived in 1542. For a while, Portuguese control was limited to a small area around Old Goa.
The Marathas (the central Indian people who controlled much of India at various points in time) almost vanquished the Portuguese in the late 18th century, and there was a brief occupation by the British during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. However, it was not until 1961, when the Indian army marched into Goa, that Portuguese occupation finally came to its end on the subcontinent.
Today, Goa has one of India’s highest per-capita incomes, with farming, fishing, tourism and iron-ore mining forming the basis of its economy.
Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. It is also the smallest Indian state.
Most Goans are fisherman by profession. The population of Goa is mostly Hindu, with them making up 65% of the population. Christians are the next having a population of around 30%. The Muslims and other religions make up the rest of the population. People are fun loving, and celebrate festivals with great spirit and enthusiasm. Try their different varieties of sea food and Goan fenny. They are very hospitable and never leave an occasion to entertain their guests. Afternoons are usually lazy as the temperature soars up, hence all shops willbe closed and people will be indoors enjoying their siesta (nap).
Fairs and Festivals
Feast of the Three Kings held in 6 Janat Chandor,Goa
Shigmotsav (Shigmo) or Holi occurs in March. It is celebrated all over India and is called the festival of colours.
Sabado Gordo Feb/Mar, Panaji A procession of floats and street parties on the Saturday before Lent.
Carnival held in March all over Goa this four-day festival kicks off Lent; the party’s particularly jubilant in Panaji.
Fama de Menino Jesus 2nd Mon in Oct, Colva Colva’s Menino Jesus statue is paraded through town.
International Film Festival of India Nov, Panaji Film screenings and Bollywood glitterati everywhere.
Feast of St Francis Xavier held on 3 Dec in Panaji and Old Goa, A celebration of Goa’s patron saint; once every decade (the next one is 2014), the saint’s body is carried through Old Goa’s streets.
Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (8 Dec, Margao, Panaji Fairs and concerts are held, as is a beautiful church service at Panaji’s Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
Goans are meat and fish eaters so try their sea food specialities. Get yourself their local delicacy rice with fish curry in (fried mackerel in coconut gravy). Other fish delicacies include Kingfish (very popular) and others include pomfret, shark and tuna.
The Largest church in Old Goa is the Se Cathedral and is also the largest in Asia
There is a Friday market in Mapusa from 8am to 6.30pm. On Wednesdays there is the flea market at Anjuna.
Backwood camps in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, 70 kms from Panjim is a good place to visit to watch birds and butterflies. Know more www.backwoodsgoa.com
Boat cruises are popular here, John's Boat trips are well known. Overnight house boat cruises, snorkelling excursions etc are available from Rs 600/- to Rs 5.000/-. Know more at www.johnboattours.com
Food Corner hunt - Martin's Corner in Majorda, Carved rosewood furniture at Benaulim, Holy fish & Sun and Moon at Colva, Betty's place in Mobor beach, Beach Queen in Calangute, Bobby's Shack in Candolim, Shiva Palace and Shamila's in Vagator beach, Madhu Shack in Agonda Beach, Sai Hotel cafe in Mapusa market for pav bhaji and sal pav, Bistro beach shack on Baga beach for eve barbeque, DeMello's Shack at Candolim,