In Focus


Team DF | Goa

The state of Goa is known best for its beaches, churches and cheap liquor. Tourism is its primary industry. This relatively small state, situated on the western coast of India, between the borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka, is better known to the world as a former Portuguese enclave.
European tourists mostly arrive in Goa in the winter months. Tourism, the backbone of Goa's economy, registers an annual spurt during five months towards the end of the year i.e., October, November, December, January and February before trickling off almost to a naught during the rest of the year.

Apart from its beaches, churches and cheap liquor, Goa has a lot more to offer. The Patto Bridge, the Latin Quarter and...the nearly 30,000 year-old rock carvings at Usgalimal are reasons to visit Goa even after the 'season' is over.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus located in Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. Reis Magos is a village famous for two of Goa's famous structures; the Reis Magos Fort and the Reis Magos Church -- the first church in Bardez.

This Fort, surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portuguese turrets, was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of the Mandovi estuary. Restoration work on the fort began in 2008 and the fort is now converted into a cultural centre.

The one image of Goa that stays in public memory is that of the St Augustine tower in Old Goa. The 46 m-tall tower served as a belfry and formed part of the facade of a magnificent Church. Out of more than twenty churches which once existed in the old city of Velha Goa, only ten remain today. ...And, of these, four are actually chapels.

The churches were located on and between seven hills around the Velha Goa region. The Tower and Church were built in 1602 by the Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1587.

Garbage remains Goa's biggest scourge. If the state has to achieve its right potential as a world-class tourist destination for the discerning traveller, the garbage dumped along the countryside needs to go. Also, residents will have to exercise civic sense. You just can't dump garbage into the sea.


The Fairytale Bridge

The Old Patto Bridge, built between the years 1632--35, is also named Ponde De Linhares after the Portuguese Viceroy Conde de Linhares, during whose tenure this major developmental activity was carried out. The Patto Bridge is a symbol of Goa's heritage and a legacy left by the Portuguese.

Shades of Portugal in the lanes of Panaji

Fontainhas or Bairro das Fontainhas, as called in Portuguese, is an old Latin Quarter in Goa's Panaji. One can witness a distinct Portuguese influence here. There are narrow streets, old villas and buildings painted in lively colors. The quarter, earmarked as a heritage zone, gives a peek into how Panaji was during the Portuguese rule. The Latin Quarter should be given the recognition it deserves and, if projected well, could ensure a regular flow of tourists throughout the year.

History...On The Rocks

In 1993, local villagers discovered mysterious rock carvings on the laterite shelf at the bend in west-flowing river Kushavati outside the village. They lay on the banks of river Kushavati, in South Goa district. These engravings exhibit the earliest traces of human settlement in India.

These petroglyphs (rock art) are approximately 20,000 years to 30,000 years old and belong to the Upper Paleolithic or Mesolithic era. The spot, that lies about one km down from the main road between Rivona to Neturlim, is an archaeological wonder.

Goa will stand to gain immense mileage if Usgalimal is promoted as a prime tourist spot complete with directional information and state-guided tours. Goa has a lot more to offer tourists than its beaches, churches and cheap liquor.

You could:
* Book a room at a lodge in the Latin Quarter.
* Take a walk on the Patto Bridge while at it.
* Go for a ride straight into South Goa, follow the Kushavati River and see the age-old petroglyphs which need to be preserved.
To do this, you don't need to go in any particular season. Do it.

(Disclaimer: 'Go...Goa!' has been produced by DraftCraft Productions in public interest, in good faith and without prejudice. It can be copied or distributed freely. However, anyone doing so should use it 'as is' without any change and retain creative attributions)