is really a state on India’s West coast, can be a former Portuguese colony using a rich history. Spread over 3,700 square kilometres having a population of approximately 1.4 million, Goa is small by Indian standards. It has a unique combination of Indian and Portuguese cultures and architecture that pulls an estimated 2.5 million visitors on a yearly basis (including about 400,000 foreign tourists).
Since the 1960s, Goa has become attracting a steady flow of visitors — first the hippies and returning expatriate Goans, then a charter tourists (beginning from the Germans in 1987), pilgrims visiting Catholic and Hindu shrines, those opting to be in in Goa for their home, people choosing medical treatment, plus a growing volume of those who attend seminars and conferences in Goa.
The best time of the year to check out Goa is mid-November to mid-February once the weather is comfortable, dry and pleasant.
Goa’s links with Portugal
Apart in the consulates you’ll find cultural organisations active in Goa, using the Portuguese again being most active.
Fundação Oriente includes a large presence in Fontainhas, the Latin quarter of Panjim, and sponsors cultural events that add variety to Goa’s cultural scene. However, it faced some major problems if this was first setup. Goa’s uneasy parting of how with its former Portuguese rulers, and lingering ultra-nationalism amidst a bit of freedom fighters might be seen as several of the reasons. The Fundação is subsidising a book-publishing plan that’s helped created more Goa-related titles as to what is otherwise a smaller but colourful niche for books coping with tiny region of South Asia.
For a situation which features a lot of people passing through, Goa has nearly fourteen days of holidays on a yearly basis. Government offices have a very five-day week (closed Saturday-Sunday). Panjim closes early (around 20:00) each evening, and shops here could employ a fairly longish siesta break (from around 13:30 until about 15:30). Goan shop owners take this siesta break seriously, no business is conducted during this period. Bars, restaurants along with other shopping centres are definitely more buyer-friendly.
Major public or special holidays are about Christmas, Republic Day, Id-ul-zuha, Gudi Padva, Good Friday, Independence Day, Ganesh Chaturthi (both days), Gandhi Jayanthi, Dussehra, Diwali, Id-ul-fitr, Feast of St Francis Xavier, Goa Liberation Day, Mahashivratri, Holi and Id-e-milad. Banks may remain open during local religious celebrations.
Expect a large influx of tourists and locals surviving in other states during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi plus the Carnival, which can be celebrated at the outset of Lent from the Christian calendar. It is advised to create bookings for trains, buses and flights just after conception if you intend on see the state throughout these times.