Welcome back to Goa

It’s great to be back with you again. Got up in the morning today remembering a very funny incident which happened many years back. I was in college then and was waiting for my train, Kalka Mail to reach Gaya my hometown. Was on my way to Pilani after our summer holidays. It was 4 AM, the train reached on time and I soon settled down on my top berth in an AC 2 tier compartment, courtesy my student pass being a railway employee’s son. When it was time for the train to leave, there walked in this middle aged man with a few cops in tow. What struck me was his height. He was shorter than the shortest person I had ever seen. I crashed soon.

I got down for breakfast and Mr. Cop-in-tow’s first sentence addressed to me was, ‘I am the Member of Parliament from Gaya’. I smiled and then he asked, ‘Where are you from? I replied, Gaya. Oh Goa. What a great place. Me and my family went there last year and we just loved it. And then he went on for the next five minutes talking about the great time they all had, the fish, the beaches,….As he took a pause, I told him “I am from Gaya”. Oh Gaya, I thought Goa and looked at me totally pissed. I was bubbling with laughter inside but just flashed a smile. But that day I told myself. You must go man. Go go, letโ€™s go ๐Ÿ›ซ Goa.

Goa, India

It had been a relaxed evening once again for us yesterday enjoying nature. And some great sea food. There are amazing varieties of dishes available in Goa and they are all very reasonably priced. Shrimps, prawns, crabs, king fish, red and black snapper, squid, tuna, oysters, shellfish, lobster, sea bass, tiger prawns, black and white pomfret and mackerel are some of the fish and seafood that you can enjoy while in Goa. Amongst them the fried pomfrets are one of our favorites.

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Love to have few days during our holidays where we do nothing except lazing around, read books and go for short walks to explore nature. Today and tomorrow will be such days and our Dona Paula resort perhaps the ideal destination to do that. Let me take you around here and let’s relax a while.

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Come let’s now take a walk to Dona Paula beach. The place is named after Dona Paula Amaral Antonia de Souto-Maior, a historical figure in Portuguese India. She was related to the Portuguese Viceroy of Jaffnapatnam, in Sri Lanka. She and her family arrived in Goa in 1744 and she married a Fidalgo from Spain in 1756. Her father was D. Antonio Caetano de Menezes Souto-Maior. They were an extremely affluent family, and the entire property from the present day Cabo Raj Nivas (Governor’s House) all the way to Caranzalem belonged to the Souto Maior’s. Dona Paula was a woman of charity and is known to have helped the villagers and worked a lot for their betterment, so after her death, the villagers decided to rename the village as Dona Paula. Initially the village was called Oddavell.

Dona Paula Beach, Goa, India, Goa is famous for it's beaches
Dona Paula Beach

Dona Paula, Goa, India

Dona Paula, Goa, India

Dona Paula, Goa, India

Dona Paula, Goa, India

Both the days when we were relaxing in our resort we went for a walk to Dona Paula to chill out, enjoy a boat ride, have our lunch and on the second day to visit the famous and one of the most curious attractions in Dona Paula, a whitewashed statue perched on the rocks near the popular ferry jetty.

Sculpted in 1969 by Baroness Yrse Von Leistner, there are different versions to its purpose of origin. According to Goa Tourism Board’s, it is named “Image of India” and depicts the figures of Mother India and Young India, one looking to the East and the other to the West. The Wheel of Ashoka is in the middle half, buried in stone, to represent the ancient culture that nurtured this blend of ideas and emotions. While in the book ‘Walking in Goa’ it is said that the Baroness had actually sculpted statues of philosopher Robert Knox and his wife because she admired him. It is also believed that Dona Paula threw herself off the cliff, when refused permission to marry a local fisherman, Gaspar Dias. The myth says that Dona Paula is entombed in the Cabo Chapel of the Raj Bhawan and is supposed to be seen emerging from the moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace.

Dona Paula, Goa, India

Dona Paula Statue, Goa, India
Dona Paula Statue

Dona Paula Statue, Goa, India

Dona Paula Statue, Goa, India, Views from top
Views from top

Dona Paula Statue, Goa, India. Views from top

The Dona Paula Sports Club at the beach offers water-scooter, cycle, and motorboat rides. Other water sports include windsurfing, para-sailing, water-skiing, toboggan ski-biscuit, skibob, sports fishing, snorkeling, harpoon fishing, kayaking, and yachting. You could also have a sunbath and buy cheap seaside goods from local vendors including varieties of hats. There are some good eating joints available offering Goan delicacies and cheap alcoholic drinks.

Dona Paula beach, Goa, India

Dona Paula beach, Goa, India
Our wait for lunch

Our evenings were spent in our private beach at the resort enjoying a bit of the sea, the rocks and the sunset.

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India
Hawaii – The Sea Side Village Retreat private beach

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

Hawaii - The Sea Side Village Retreat, Goa, India

One of the evenings we were off to experience the Casino magic hoping for a good fortune. The only other time I had ever visited a casino was in Sun City, South Africa couple of years back but then I had not played any game and only watched others playing. There are many casinos in Goa with most of them on ships on the sea shore. We went to the hugely popular ‘Casino Pride’ which is a bit cheaper on the wallet. It attracts Indian high-rollers who come to play Teen Patti, and also hosts big poker tournaments and has Bollywood-style live acts. There are three floors, spread over 30,000 square feet, with a 10,000 square foot Weather Deck (great for parties!) and around 40 gaming tables plus slot machines. In addition, there’s a special Kid’s Zone with games to keep the children entertained. We walked out lucky having made a cool Rs 2,500 ( USD 35 approx). Let’s have a look.

Casino Pride in Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's casinos
Casino Pride. Pic-Casino

Casino Pride in Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's casinos

Casino Pride in Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's casinos

Goa is famous for it’s beaches. There are over twenty five beaches in north and south Goa put together. And one can probably spend a month moving from one accomodation to another, one beach to the other and each offering you a unique experience. So today let’s go beach hopping. But I am going to take you to only a few renowned ones, leaving the others for you to come and experience in person when you are here.

Miramar Beach in Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach in Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches

Anjuma Beach, Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Anjuna Beach
Vagator Beach, Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Vagator Beach
Candolim Beach, Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Candolim Beach, Pic-Sunnyfunny
Baga Beach, Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Baga Beach, Pic-Mckay

Baga Beach, Goa. India. Goa is famous for it's beaches

Benaulim Beach, Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Benaulim Beach
Benaulim Beach, Goa, India. Goa is famous for it's beaches
Benaulim Beach sunset

There is more to Goa and a very interesting history. The first settlers of Goa are known to be Brahmins called Saraswats. They were so called because they inhabited originally banks of the River Saraswati in North India. Goa became the part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. It was later dominated by the Satavahanas of Kolhapur. Then it was handed over to the Chalukyas of Badami. In 1312, Goa was under the control of the Muslims for the first time. But they were not fond of the beaches and thus left the place in 1370. To carry Arabian horses for the Vijayanagar cavalry through ships, Goaโ€™s harbors were well known as the major landing place.

The seafaring Portuguese arrived at Goa in 1510 with a target to take control over the spice route from the East. It was an ideal place for them as it was blessed with wide rivers and natural harbors. The Portuguese had an influential control over the state as they expanded their provinces and were there in Goa for quite a long time. Most of the buildings of the city resembles the Portuguese architectural style as they constructed several Churches and Forts during their administration. In the later part of 18th century, the Portuguese were defeated by the Marathas. Trade of the Portuguese came to an end in 1961, after the Indian army entered Goa. After India gained independence from the British in 1947, India requested that Portuguese territories on the Indian subcontinent be ceded to India. Portugal refused to negotiate on the sovereignty of its Indian enclaves. On 19 December 1961, the Indian Army invaded with Operation Vijay resulting in the annexation of Goa, and of Daman and Diu islands into the Indian union.

To understand the culture and history of Goa a must visit place is The Big Foot. It’s an educational center for preservation of Art, Culture and Environment. Let’s look at the Legend of Big Foot. Blessed with a deep sense of duty and unending goodness, a wealthy landowner by the name of Mahadar always helped the poor. Greedy neighbours wishing to take advantage of his good will kept on asking him for help till one day fleeced of all his possessions and destitute with the loss of his wife, he made do with what he got. The Gods seeing this good faith asked him for a boon, he asked for a small place to stand and pray. He was given a hot rock where he stood on one foot and prayed. Seeing his devotion the Gods took Him to heaven leaving his foot print behind with a boonโ€œ Anyone praying with a pure heart, will be blessed with luckโ€.

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India
Big Foot

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

Big Foot, Goa, India

It was a wonderful learning experience and this place took us back years into the culture and traditions of Goa. Goa is also famous for spices and a visit to Spice Gardens should not be missed out. ๐ŸƒLet’s go.

Spice Garden, Goa, India
Spice Garden

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

Spice Garden, Goa, India

You could round off your trip with an Elephant ride through the garden followed by a sumptuous vegetarian meal at the sit in restaurant inside the complex.

Goa, a wonder destination. Just some tips for my reader friends coming from outside India. Avoid guides, you have all information on your fingertips through internet anyways. Do not spend late nights at beaches as booze is cheap and you may have some pleasure seekers always there who have consumed a little bit more. Also avoid public transport like buses and auto rickshaws and instead use your own hired cars, if it is after 10 PM.

Goa. There is much more. But you need to be here to experience it.

Come to Goa. Experience a different India. Experience India Beautiful ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ



  1. Ben Butler says:

    You always show us the most beautiful places. I would really love to experience Goa for myself one day

  2. brianne manz says:

    Not only did I enjoy all of your photos (which were beautiful), the history is wonderful to hear about. Your post was not only enjoyable but informative. Thank you.

  3. Snehal says:

    Awesome photos ๐Ÿ˜ we will be going to Goa soon! ๐Ÿ˜€ by the way I am wondering if the big foot really exists ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Funke olotu says:

    I love how you write these things, as if you’re carrying us on a journey. you make me want to travel all the time

  5. Blairvillanueva says:

    Wow that is a gorgeous beach in Goa. I’m feeling so jealous now that you guys have travelled to Goa. Hope we can visit too.

  6. Mary Edwards says:

    I hope to travel there some day. It looks so relaxing. A cold drink and good book with that backdrop looks awesome

  7. You took the BEST photos. I really feel like I was there only now Iโ€™m itching to really experience this myself!

  8. Heyyyy! I love that beach! I wanna go to Goa as well!

  9. I would love to go there someday! You always travel to the coolest places!

  10. NILANJAN BASU says:

    Wonderfully written. I went to Goa so many times but your article made me love Goa. Also the pics were beautiful and both boudi and you were looking great.

  11. Heather says:

    As always, love seeing your pics and reading your words. Thanks for sharing it through your eyes!

  12. KeshiaRichmond says:

    Gia seems like a great place to visit time and time again!

  13. Becca Wilson says:

    This does look like it would be such an amazing experience. I would love to be able to take a trip there!

  14. Tiffany La Forge-Grau says:

    I do not think I could ever tire of Goa. I could spend weeks in the tropics.

  15. emman damian says:

    I want to travel to Goa! I havenโ€™t been on this side of India. Looks fab!

  16. Eileen M Loya says:

    Any place near a body of water is always beautiful for me, and Goa seems to be a great place to explore! I would love to walk the beach and just relax my mind! Hopefully I could visit someday!

  17. That food looks amazing! Would love to go someday!

  18. Elizabeth | Tiredmom Supermom says:

    That water looks really inviting! I would go for a swim in this beautiful place.

  19. Anna says:

    I was there many years ago and didn’t had the pleasant experience with local people. Hope it has changed now!

  20. Heather says:

    You do such a great job with your pics! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Joanna Clute says:

    Being there in person is definitely the best way to experience any place. Sounds like a place I’ll definitely have to visit soon!

  22. Vanessa Delia says:

    Goa sounds like a very enchanting place to visit. i would love to see it in person one day.

  23. Tiffany La Forge-Grau says:

    I bet you had a blast again! Goa looks like an amazing place to visit!

  24. Elizabeth O says:

    I haven’t heard this part of India but looking through the photos and reading your experiences makes me wanna visit there one day. Love your adventures!

  25. I wish I were able to visit half of the places you do or even a third! Goa is no exception. My family loves the beach and some of these photos looked like you were in Southern California. How beautiful they are. The spice gardens look amazing as well and I can only imagine how great it smells in there. I wouldn’t think of that side of the world to be like the tropics but once again I am proven wrong! Goa it is!

  26. Very good post and great experiences of Goa. The picture of mackerel makes me hungry.

  27. Your posts give me wanderlust every time! I would love to experience the places you write about…thank you for sharing them, so we can experience them vicariously!

  28. fourcolu says:

    Goa Daman and Diu the portuguese enclave for 500 years and the haven for hippies and now more the israeli hipster hangout. I love the way you described the food, culture and the history behind Goa. Thanks for doing justice to a great place

  29. Francisca Garreton says:

    This coastal time looks like the perfect place to relax and have a quiet time with your loved ones! Thank you for sharing this little piece of paradise in India!

  30. Lindsay Rae says:

    Once again reading your posts give me inspirationtion for travel and adventure! Goa looks absolutely beautiful and it does make me want to visit. Casino Pride sounds very cool and it looks as though it would be a blast to spend an enchanted evening out at!

    Thank you for sharing your adventures with us, it is always a pleasure to read about your experiences!

  31. Candace says:

    Amazing shots! The beaches look so beautiful.

  32. All I can say is that are you kidding me? All these pictures and fun pack in one trip? Man you are living the life!
    Thank you for the informative post and insight.

  33. Star says:

    You seem yo have such beautiful weather on your trips, making your photos outstanding. The beaches and sea food look amazing. I haven’t seen such an array of seafood selections. I gotta say… the casino ship looked quite amazing, too.

  34. Goa is truly beautiful and rich in culture. I love the Land of the Big Foot. The statues look so life-like. Beautiful flora and fauna, and the beaches are gorgeous.

  35. tcleland88 says:

    I’m impressed that there’s a Kids Zone on the casino boat. There is so much to do in Goa.

  36. I always know Iโ€™m going on an amazing journey with you when I read about your travels and see your pictures. This was no exception! Goa looks incredible, and clearly steeped in history. Which is another wonderful part of your blog. I learn something every time. Did you experience the elephant ride? I would love to do that and see an elephant up close like that!

  37. Ivan Jose says:

    I would prefer the sand at the beach to be finer but the sights are stunning, nonetheless. Goa is beautiful!

  38. I like that you share stories of the rich history of the places you go as well. I know Iโ€™m naturally curious so I would want to know why those statues were there.

  39. So much to do in Goa. I love the yard in that hotel you’re staying at. It offers such a green spot to just relax and have some juice. Now I miss some beach vibes.

  40. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    The floating casino is something I would want to experience. Goa is truly beautiful! The beaches seem to be calling my name!

  41. Mijia Eggers says:

    I haven’t been there. Do you need to have any vaccinations there? Are you used if eating in the local restaurants?

  42. Michael David Oyco says:

    I want to go to the beach soon! Summer here so looking forward to visit any beach the soonest possible time lol

  43. Anagha says:

    I had been to Goa. I won’t mind going there again. There is so much to explore and it has got different historical places too.

  44. aisasami says:

    I have been enjoying your series about Goa as it seems like a really peaceful and great to visit. I never been to this place but I would love to visit if I have a chance to visit that region.

  45. Looks like you guys had a beautiful time. I love all of the amazing pictures that you took and I am in love with the water. I grew up by the beach in California and it was great.

  46. Hi There!

    I’ve been to Goa a couple of times and travelled other parts of India, I’ve just started my blog and am about to get onto writing about my times in India. Would love if you could follow me ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Thanks for the very detailed guide. I’m planning to visit India next year. I’ll definitely use your blog posts as my guide.

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