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Goa has enjoyed a prominent place in the travellers' lexicon since the heady days of the 1960s, but the (in) famous hippies have now been replaced by backpackers. The locals are relaxed and friendly, and skirts outnumber saris.

When To Go

The best time to visit Goa is during the cooler months, from November to March. If you arrive in October, right at the start of the tourist season, you'll find the beaches pleasantly empty, but may also find that some of the facilities (such as beach shacks) aren't yet open for business. April and May can be very humid, and swimming becomes less pleasant as the sea gets rougher. Some facilities may also be closed, as most beach shacks pack up after Easter.
Many Goans feel that the monsoon (June to September) is when the state is at its best, when the countryside turns lush and green almost overnight. In terms of tourism, Goa is virtually dead, however, and swimming in the sea is out of the question. The plus side to visiting at this time is that you will have the place to yourself at very little cost. The peak tourist season is around Christmas from 22 December to 5 January, when you'll have to book in advance and pay premium prices. It's a great time to be in Goa - the weather is perfect, the place is buzzing and in typical Goan fashion there are parties most nights


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Goa
is India's smallest state in terms of area and the fourth smallest in terms of population. Located on the west coast of India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, Karnataka to the east and south and the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.

Panaji (Panjim) is the state's capital, Vasco-da-Gama (Vasco) the largest city, while the historic city of Margao still exhibits the influence of Portuguese culture. Portuguese merchants first landed in Goa in the 15th century, and annexed it soon after. The Portuguese colony existed for about 450 years (one of the longest held colonial possessions in the world), until it was taken over by India in 1961

Renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists each year.

Origin of name

The name Goa came to European languages from the Portuguese colonisers, but its precise origin is unclear. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa, as 'Goparashtra' or 'Govarashtra"' which means a nation of cowherds. 'Gopakapuri' or 'Gapakapattana' were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda Purana.

Culture


An example of traditional Portuguese-influenced Goan architecture.

Mangueshi Temple, a Hindu temple in Old Goa.The most popular celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Easter Sunday, Ganesh Chaturthi, Divali, New Year's Day, Shigmo and the Carnival. However, since the 1960s, the celebrations of the Shigmo and carnival have shifted to the urban centres, and in recent times these festivals are seen more as a means of attracting tourists. Celebrations for all festivals usually last for a few days and include parties and balls.

Western English songs have a large following in most parts of Goa. Traditional Konkani folk songs also have a sizable following. Manddo, the traditional Goan music which originated in the nineteenth century, is sung and danced on special occasions. Goa is also known for its Goa trance music. In the year 2006, the AIR FM channel ran a program "Goa Top 10", which listed the most requested tracks of the week. During analysis, it emerged that the song "Faithful" by Lobo had an unusually high, consistent popularity, in spite of not being a fresh track.
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Best Eating Palace in Goa

Martins Corner Betalbatim (Goa)
The most exciting Goan Food in the most exciting setting. The goan sausage pulao is excellent as are each of the sea food dishes. The tongue is a steal at 40 a plate. They also serve jumping chicken if u know what I mean.

Souza Lobo's in Calangute (Goa)

Set in an authentic goan house right on the beach. One can even dance to the live music on the portico or eat at the tables on the beach. Excellent sea food. A shack ambience with the warmth of a home

Venice Gardens in Madgaon (Goa)

This is where a lot of the locals eat. Sea food is the freshest I could find. The tongue is great. Set in an open backyard garden, its a slice of different.

Jackris bakery in Madgaon (Goa)

Located in the madgaon market. Its almost a hole in the wall. You have to try their meat puffs & prawn cakes. Then u will keep returning for more.

Chorizo from mapusa market (Goa)
If u r looking for fresh chorizon (goan version of portuguese sausage) the best place to pick it up is stall no. 4 in Mapusa market. Its fresh & tasty.

Wines to carry home
Pedro Vincent Vaz in Mapusa market is this comfy shop scatterred with antiques. You can get every brand of goan port wine & other alcohol here. Carry home one of the old monk rum bottles shaped as a monk (only available in Goa) as a souvenier

Infantaria in Calangute (Goa)
One of the better places to have breakfast while in Goa. They have a buffet system for breakfast too. Its been in place for longer than the 15 years I've been holidaying in Goa

Florentine near Anjona (Goa)

Their Chicken Cafreal is exported to Bombay during wedding season. Its that famous. Don't go expecting a fancy restaurant. Its a kitchen with some tables attached. Just have the Chicken Cafreal & the Goa bread.