Fort Aguada is a very well preserved seventeenth century Portuguese fort and lighthouse on Sinquerim Beach, at the mouth of the river Mandovi. One of the most prized as well as most crucial forts for the Portuguese, Fort Aguada occupies the entire peninsula at the south western tip of Bardez.
Off the beat beaches include Vagator and Chapora in North Goa, with their rocky terrain and penchant for all-night parties and raves. Some of the other nearby beaches are Candolim and Sinquerim below Fort Aguada.
Colva and Benaulim are two villages that are popular with families and middle-aged Europeans and haven' become too commercialization yet. A quieter, hippy dominated area in Goa is Arambol, with a host of yummy eateries and funky trinket shops.
Most visitors tend to look at Panaji as second fiddle to the country's beaches a grave mistake! Panaji lies on the bank of the Mandovi estuary and is a quaint, laidback city to saunter in, mixing flavours of the Konkan with reminisces of the Portuguese plus a host of cultures brought in by foreigners. The architecture of the area reflects it, as its cobbled streets, pretty villas and interesting buildings with balconies and red tiled roofs share space with bleached churches and Latin style red roofed houses by the riverside.To add to the mood is a Baroque church in the middle of it all, on the main square. The Church, Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception, was built in 1541 and heightens the charm of the city. Amongst other churches is the Chapel of St. Sebastian, in the Fontainhas area, a testament to the Goan Inquisition that makes for a dip into history.
For a better look at history and wondrous architecture, Old Goa serves up a handful of churches, buildings and cathedrals, some of which are the largest in Asia. If you are in Goa at the same time as the Feast of St. Francis Xavier on 3rd December, there's nothing like the festivities that abound in Old Goa. The first stop would be the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world for containing the remains of St. Francis Xavier. Simple in construction apart from the richly gilded altars, this cathedral cannot be missed. A handful of museums such as the Archeological Museum, and the Museum of Christian Artalso dot the vicinity. Goa's largest church is the Se de Santa Catarina, constructed in a Portuguese-Gothic style with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. The blending makes it a beauty to behold.
South Goa encompasses Margo or Madgaon all the way to the border of Karnataka, spanning across Colva, Benaulim and Palolem. This area was known for its pristine, virgin beaches, and isolated quietude. With the increase in tourism South Goa has become a lot more populated and commercial than it used to be, though still a lot less than North Goa. If its peace and tranquility you seek, South Goa is the place to be in.
The Cabo da Rama Fort is another worth-a-visit fort. Located at the mouth of the Sal River, it was used as a prison till about 50 years ago.
If you feel like looking at a wildlife sanctuary, stop by the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary which is Goa's second largest and makes for a lovely trek.
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