The Butterfly Conservatory of Goa is a spectacular garden area in the Ponda district spread over 4000 square metres designed as a place to stroll and absorb in the serene beauty of nature. In the vast expanses of the garden, one can take a leisurely walk and observe over a hundred different species of butterflies from close quarters.
We all recognize Goa through its pristine beaches, gushing waterfalls, emerald green fields and lush green vegetations. However, we forget that the magnificent forts in Goa add to the charming landscape of the beautiful town. Mostly built by the Portuguese, the majestic forts are a wonderful asset to the heritage of the city. With sturdy fortifications and tall towers, these fortresses stand out high around the coastline. Although comparatively smaller in size than the forts in other parts of the country, these splendid forts boast of exceptional architecture; and hold immense military and political importance. There are 11 forts in Goa, currently - Fort Aguada, Chapora Fort, Corjeum Fort, Fort Tiracol, Reis Magos Fort, Mormugao Fort, Cabo De Gama Fort, Rachol Fort, Anjdiv Fort, Sinquerim Fort and Nanuz Fort.
Tropical Spice Plantation is one of the famous spice plantations in the state where one can get a guided tour of the area. The tour consists of traditional welcome with a delicious drink, an informative site tour and a delicious organic lunch made of the fresh farm produce. The guides are friendly and promptly share tips as they explain the ecosystem. One can purchase local spices too to end their fabulous trip with.
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary is a protected natural habitat that expands over an area of about 40 square miles in the Western Ghats of India. The green zone consists of west-coast semi-evergreen, tropical-evergreen and moist deciduous forests that create a natural habitat for a wide variety of animals and birds. It is home to the Dhangar community and has temples built by the Kadamba Dynasty. The famous Dudhsagar Falls are also located inside the sanctuary making it an grea attraction for nature lovers.
Set amidst the foothills of Western Ghats, this wildlife sanctuary is a protected area, which contains within itself The Mollem National Park, located in Sanguem taluk in Goa along the eastern borders with Karnataka. This is the largest of Goa's four protected wildlife areas. This sanctuary is home to a variety of plants, birds, and animals. The park is also home to a community of nomadic buffalo herders known as Dhangar.
Though people visit Goa for its beaches and the tropical climate, they are mesmerised by the sheer beauty, vibe and radiance of the state itself. One of the major reasons for such a captivating phenomenon is the perfect blend of European architecture with the native Goan alterations. The best way to explore the history of Goa and to be spellbound by the true self of Goa is by the Churches in Goa that await for the listeners to tell their stories. Goa happens to be a haven for architectural enthusiasts with some of the best examples of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Roman and many other elegant styles of architecture engraved in its Historic Churches. There are approximately 20 churches in Goa to keep you occupied.
Goa is perfect for shopaholics. It has such funky and beachy stuff which will surely be a threat to your pockets. You will want everything to be onto your shelters in your house. There are many shopping malls in Goa but the best shopping is done from the stalls near the beaches. From hippie clothing to junk jewellery, from best of drinks to the famous wines, from bamboo to terracotta and brassware work, the markets will serve you with everything you want.
When you think of Goa, things like white sand beaches, the Arabian sea, colonial architecture, lively nightlife and the famous churches, pop into one’s head. Goa has always been labelled as a party destination and is, therefore, very popular among the youth.
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Braganza house, a mansion in South Goa was built in the 17th century that stretches along an entire side of the village square in Chandor. Braganza House is a 450-year-old mansion with decor to complement its beauty. It houses stunning antique handcrafted teak and rosewood furniture, draperies and paintings placed beautifully all around. The ceilings too have been hand painted and give the house a regal appeal. A splendid library with a collection of over 5000 books is located in the west wing of the mansion and draws several visitors every day.
Initially known as Vodlem Ghor, Fernandes House is one of the oldest palaces in Goa. The house was built about 500 years ago and is famous for its historic significance and stunning architecture. The heritage structure is now owned by a member of the Fernandes family. There are 25 rooms in total that have influences of Hindu, as well as European architecture, with several antique artefacts on display for the tourists.
Fontainhas and Sao Tome is a beautiful Latin Quarter located in Panaji on the banks of the Ourem Creek and named after the natural springs nearby. It was laid out on a piece of land acquired by a Goan in the 18th century who had made a fortune in Mozambique. The quarter is now recognised as a heritage site and is famous for its charming Portuguese style houses on the base of the Altinho hills.
If you are curious about Goa's prehistoric souvenirs, then far in the Southern hinterland lies the Usgalimal Rock Carvings. They are nothing but magnificent and beautiful sights that will interest you. You need to drive through the countryside area and take a mini road trip to get here. You get a very scenic and refreshing view of Goa's faraway landscapes which has minimal footfall. When you get here, you can witness the prehistoric rock art and some more than a 100 very intricate carving designs. If you are a keen observer, you can also find traces of earliest human inhabitation in India. The Rock carving which were discovered back in 1923 are a true reflection of the tribal life and art which goes back to being 30,000 years old. Usgalimal Rock carvings are a treat for art aficionados.
Located on the beautiful coastline of Goa overlooking the gorgeous Arabian Sea, Cabo De Rama Fort is frequently associated with the legend of Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshmana lived in the fort during their 14 year exile. It was built by the Hindu Rulers, however, in the 1760s; it was captured by the Portuguese and used as a military base and later as a prison. It, therefore, is also a historically significant monument in the country.
Ever tried trekking through waterfalls? Try it in Goa at the very magnificent and pristine Todo Waterfalls in Netravali, which is a small town in Goa. It's adventurous and offbeat. You can experience trekking and trotting through the dense forest, rocky and mountainous terrains and you can also walk through small streams amidst the enticing natural surroundings. Sounds exciting and thrilling at the same time, isn't it?
North of the Chapora river on the coastal trail to Arambol is where you will find the enchanting white sand Mandrem beach. This calm seaside escape is loaded with all the natural adornments of the coast, an alluring combination of the turquoise blue waters of the Arabian Sea that flows into the Mandrem creek during high tide, which runs parallel to the waterline. Fringes of coconut and palm trees crowd the coastline, which is separated from the famous Arambol beach by a rocky cliff. This pristine beach is the ideal spot to practise yoga on the soft sands for peace and solitude by the sea.
Do these offbeat things in Goa and let us know what you felt in the comments below!