The Sunburn Festival is a loud, eclectic place to exhaust yourself. Feel the bass boosted, electronic music flow through the cables under your feet. Rhythmic sounds in sync with your heartbeat, open air dance floors and a raging stream of glow sticks invade. The stalls selling snacks, rock climbing walls and a fashion show at Butter all gear up to diversify your rave experience at Vagator Beach.
The inexplicable stretches the imagination beyond its limits, but of these one is the fancy we take with the ruined, the destroyed, the abandoned, the deserted and the sunk. Our whys go unanswered, yet there is satisfaction in swimming through the rusted portholes, and sinister joy in scaring the unsuspecting fish. First timers are also welcome to grab diving garb and plunge into the waters of the Arabian Sea.
For most people who come to Goa looking for the party lifestyle, it comes as a shock that so much of it is still undeveloped or rather, untouched. As you head deeper into the backroads, the pristine air gives way to the inimitable scent of cashews. And as the scent grows stronger, the roads narrow and turn till you find yourself puttering into a cashew farm. The surprise at the end of the tunnel? Cashew liquor, Goa’s prize, right at the source.
Locals believe that a kitchen without coconut milk or Kashmiri chillies is in dire need of a pick-me-up. Get your hands dirty as you learn to fry the regional staple – fish. Seasoning the delicacy with authentic Goan spices you see the lines between borders blurring and the various Arabian, Portuguese and local influences come to the fore. Who would’ve thought cooking could be such a cultural eye-opener?
This little town has been around for centuries and is a little piece of Portuguese divinity on the Goan coast. Named after a fountain that gushed from the foothills of nearby Altinho Hill, the village is a treasure trove of delicate porcelain plaques with blue lettering, tiny roosters and dolls mounted on rainbow colored walls. An evening spent walking through the tiny lanes trying to get to the source of the fountain is an evening well spent indeed.
At the ruins of the Church of St. Augustine, the towering belfry façade reaches towards the sky like the hand of a man grasping at the final vestiges of life, while all around it, the remains are overgrown with weed and moss. Walking through such Portuguese monuments, in Old Goa, it is clear to see the origins of Goa’s solemn temperament, a quiet resilience in the face of destruction.
You wouldn’t think the brackish waters of Cumbarjua could ever be attractive, but the Mugger Crocodiles would disagree. These large reptiles haunt the cloudy waters, lying in wait with their open mouths, jagged teeth lining the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom. A true-blue Crocodile Dundee experience awaits the brave few who would board a traditional boat and set off in search of the little Muggers.
The smell of freshly painted wood accosts the senses in a jungle that’s too close to the beach to be truly considered wild. Sitting under the shade of coconut fronds and scraping fine wood, moulding a guitar with your bare hands all seems surreal until you strum the strings for the first time. Music is food for the soul, so go ahead and nourish the soul.
The boisterous side of Goa is generally shrouded in simplicity and hippie minimalism, but aboard the floating casinos just off the coast, ostentation is the order of the day. Twirl ivory white, polished chips that glint under the neon lights between your fingers and gamble to your heart’s content. But be wary – some of the other players may be more cunning than sharks in the sea.
What is it about Goa that lures us all into its bosom? It definitely has something to do with the seamless ease with which all cultures are accepted and even imbued. You can have a Portuguese experience, a hippie experience and now, a Kerala-style experience. The quaint houseboats designed completely out of natural fibres and wood is more than just a sustainable mode of transportation; it moves you to a completely relaxed state of mind, with the cool backwater breeze to keep you company.
It’s hard to tear your eyes away from the thumping, beach-party-all-night lifestyle of Goa – even to go shopping! That’s why the kind folks at Arpora have a flea market set up every Saturday, where you can sip on daiquiris and listen to a live band while you peruse the flowing beach gowns or sun hats for sale, that only Goans make so well.
Click for a quick taste of the region!
Colva, Benaulim, Majorda and Varca are the quieter beaches on the block. You’ll find the honeymooners walking hand in hand, but you’ll also see some of the prettiest churches in Goa on this side of the state.
The beaches of Anjuna, Baga, Candolim and Arambol are perfect for markets, yoga, paragliding and other watersports. If you’re looking for the exciting side of Goa, this is where you want to be.
The Margao of the past, this town is now most popular for all your sea adventures – diving, snorkelling.
Margao is the central hub from where you would typically branch out in all directions. If you’re a beach bum head West but if you identify as a naturalist, your place is deeper into the state. But stay if you are a shopaholic who just can’t get enough of anything!
The capital city of Goa is distinct in its terraced fields and petite house with red-tiled roofs, which is how it earned its name – ‘the city that never floods’. You can also catch the shimmering reflection of the lights from cruise boats and floating casinos bouncing of the calm waters of the Mandovi here.
If you take back only memories of beaches and all-night parties from, we’d have to say your experience here was quite l...Read More
Beaches, World Heritage Sites and cosmopolitan cities give you a sense of endless possibilities here. The iconic India Ga...Read More
In the home of the Asiatic Lion and Mahatma Gandhi, it is little wonder that the quiet pride of Gujaratis emanates everyw...Read More
If you’re looking for a wholesome experience to satisfy all your curiosities at once, look no further than Central Indi...Read More