India’s smallest state Goa looks almost like a grain of dust on the map. It is located on the western coast, surrounded by the much larger states of Maharashtra and Karnataka – and yet unfolds its very own charms. The Arabian Sea stretches along the coast of Goa and there are numerous fantastic bathing beaches a la picture book. Until recently, hippies and dropouts were particularly attracted, but more and more package tourists are discovering the captivating beauty of this region.
It takes about twelve hours by plane to get to Goa from europe. The stopover takes place in Doha, then we go straight on to the long-awaited paradise, which after all has its own international airport. Qatar Airways is one of the most prominent airlines heading for this destination. A couple of hours a go we were in Germany and are already now at India’s beautiful coastline: Prepare for a tropical climate that rarely lowers temperatures below the 25-degree mark throughout the year. The monsoon begins around mid-June and continues until the end of September / mid-October, followed by the dry season. You are best advised to start your trip sometime between mid-October and March,then it has rained out and it doesn’t get quite as hot. In April and May, the mercury rises to 35 degrees or more – that’s just something for the hard-boiled. The water temperature is the hit, however: it is between 25 and 29 degrees all year round. During the monsoon season, however, it is better to stay on land, because then the wind and waves rage so much that even good swimmers get into trouble.
The strong Portuguese influences are hardly to be overlooked in Goa, the present Indian state was firmly in the hands of the colonialists until 1965. In the capital Panaji, a downright Mediterranean-looking neighbourhood has emerged. However, the rather exotic menus of the numerous cafés teach possible doubters something better: Here it is really fun to have a drink or a delicious snack and get into the rich Indian cuisine! Panaji, by the way, is popularly called New Goa, which contains a clear indication that there must also be an Old Goa. And in fact: Velha Goa means just that! The 5,000-inhabitant town on the banks of the Mandovi River is the old colonial capital, but long before that, the ancestral natives of the country settled here. Once up to 300,000 people lived in this architecturally imposing place, but today it is a UNESCO-protected cultural heritage that the jungle is gradually recapturing. The most beautiful and largest buildings will continue to be used and hopefully not abandoned to decay.
A very special natural spectacle has settled in the district of South Goa: The Dudhsagar waterfalls impress their visitors with a total height of 310 meters, the water falls down cascadingly and forms raging swirl pots again and again. During the monsoon, the amount of water rises immeasurably, but even in the dry season the cases give a really worth seeing picture. The natural highlight is located in the middle of a reserve called The Bhagwan Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary, where wild leopards, bison and elephants roam. A wonderfully romantic railway line winds its way from the coast to the picturesque highlands, crossing the Dudhsagar waterfalls on a massive stone bridge and giving off a fantastic photo motif. The cases themselves are surrounded by an ancient Indian legend, immortalized in the name of the place: Dudhsagar means as much as “milk lake”, and it was precisely this drink with which a beautiful princess hid her nudity after bathing. The enchanting lady, according to the legend, regularly went to the waterfalls to splinter naked in it. She liked to drink sweetened milk, and when a prince of the way came, she poured the white liquid over her body and covered herself with it, until her servant rushed in with the clothes. Surely this beautiful story also has something to do with the milk-white spray of clear water, which unfolds magnificently, especially in the rainy season.
The mini-state has another special attraction to offer: some of India’s few legal casinos have settled here; Almost anywhere else in the country, roulette, poker and the like are strictly forbidden. Currently, passionate players can look forward to 14 active casinos in the region, which also offer typical Indian entertainment: Try out the Andar Bahar or the Paplu, which is played almost like rummy! But even the world classics find their place in Goa’s casinos, who wants to do without his enjoyable game of blackjack in such a place? This strategic challenge brings with it every amount of pleasure, both for the local Indians and for tourists from all over the world. About half of all venues in the region are on a ship, so-called floating casinos. Casino Royale, named after the James Bond film,, is particularly popular, it is located on the Mandovi River near Panaji. The casino offers six different decks and a huge selection of different games, from the obligatory slot machines to classic board games to the elegant live tables. In addition, there are some VIP rooms on offer, for those who like to go out with large sums of money. If you have a lot of money, you will end up with your private helicopter on the specially equipped platform – but guests who come on foot or by car are not looked at wrongly.
Most holidaymakers want to enjoy the dreamlike beach feeling that this part of India offers them. Here you can find all kinds of beaches: from the deserted bay to the wild party beach to the typical surfer beach! Calangute Beach is more attracted to the sociable species of man, here one bar follows the next and the party life never seems to end. In such a place, new contacts can be made excellently and even one or the other hot flirt is within direct reach. The beach of Anjuna regularly serves as a colourful hippie market, here you have the chance to make up for the 60s and 70s and dress like a hippie from top to bottom. Perhaps in the same breath a whole new way of life arises, freer, independent and just supercool! The beach of Benaulim, on the other hand, offers a colourful, exotic environment; it represents the middle section of a 30 km long, magnificent strip of sand that adorns the coast of the southern Goas. This beach is so spacious that everyone finds a lonely place for themselves. All around, numerous bars and restaurants invite you to enjoy their culinary delights or have a cool drink. There would be dozens more dream beaches to mention, but the place is not enough at this point. Simply go on site in search of your perfect place of well-being on this heavenly coast that leaves nothing to be desired!
Finally, we would like to mention the countless yoga schools that you will find in this region. Especially on the coast they are hard to miss, they offer many different courses for newcomers and advanced. There are even some hotels specialising in yoga and ayurveda that offer their own workshops, spa treatments and massages. So you will definitely take home an important souvenir: complete relaxation to the very heart!