Goa is a city of ironies! Although it is the smallest state of India, Goa is the most sought-after tourist destination in India by all ages, and distinctly by young men and women from India and abroad! Goa resides in the heart of those who want to visit it, and in the cherishing memories of those who have toured the historical city and have been amazed by various historical monuments than just booze and beaches.

Its a long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 17th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is also known for its beaches, ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to those in laid-back fishing villages such as Agonda.

Churches in Goa are an important legacy of it being an erstwhile Portuguese colony. Old Goa is home to the massive, Portuguese-style Se Cathedral and the baroque Basilica of Bom Jesus. Built across centuries, these architectural wonders were more than just a place of worship; they hold a place of historical or cultural significance as well. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier is preserved here in this Basilica and hence revered by many. It also is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In Panaji, the capital, the Latin Quarter’s winding streets contain galleries, cafes and colonial-era Portuguese-style homes. For shopping, visitors flock to Anjuna’s famous flea market and Mackie’s seasonal night bazaar. On the coast, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary provides a look at a native mangrove ecosystem. Goa’s interior features small villages, quiet retreats, waterfalls and jungle trails.

One of the most popular beaches in Goa and also the largest beach in North Goa, Calangute beach is among the most recommended tourist places in Goa and popular with both domestic and international tourists. It is also the busiest and commercialized beaches in Goa and during peak seasons, this beach is swamped with people from all over the world. Popularly known as the ‘queen of beaches’, it easily tops the list of top places to visit in North Goa.

A well-preserved 17-century Portuguese fort, Fort Aguada is located on the Sinquerim Beach in North Goa. Built as the chief defence of Portuguese against the Dutch and Marathas, it was the most prized and crucial fort of the Portuguese. The fort is ringed by thick battlements and a deep dry moat. 2 things worth visiting inside the fort are the 13-metre high lighthouse built in 1864 and a vaulted cistern capable of storing ten million litres of fresh water. From here fresh water was supplied to the ships that stopped there.

Yet another tourist attraction for history as well as movie buffs is the Chapora Fort. Popular as the place where the Bollywood flick “Dil Chahta Hai” was picturised, the Chapora fort stands at the mouth of the Chapora river as an old guard.

The long-running International Film Festival of India which features productions from around the world is a paradise for cine-lovers and is revered by them.

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