Goa India: Explore Shop, Play

Bordering on the exotic Arabian Sea, Goa is a favorite for those who love to party, while its over 400 years of Portuguese rule have given the area a different flavor from the other parts of India. Beloved by visitors from India and around the world for its beaches, history, and shopping.

By Shruti Dada (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0
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With its rich history, Goa provides visitors with everything from World Heritage Site to local architecture and art. The Bom Jesus Basilica, started in 1594 and complete in almost 10 years later, is considered the best example of Baroque architecture in Goa. The church is called "Bom Jesus" meaning "good Jesus" or "infant Jesus" and holds the physical remains of St. Francis Xavier. The Basilica also contains a modern art gallery with paintings depicting various Biblical scenes

Fort Aguada (Portuguese for the place where water is collected) was constructed in 1612 to guard against invaders. Today Fort Aguada is more a tourist destination than an active defensive structure. It was named after the spring within its walls that provided fresh water to the ships who passed by.

For an art-filled exploration head to the Museum of Goa. Their mission is to "take art to the masses" making its paintings, sculptures, installations and various types of interactive art accessible to all.

The Houses of Goa is another fascinating museum, both for the design of the building and the exhibits inside. Built on a traffic island in a triangular shape the building was designed by award-winning architect Gerard da Cunha. Inside are photographs, displays, and exhibits on Goan architecture.


Saturday Night Market is a popular open-air night market famous for its great shopping and food stalls. Items of bamboo, fiber art, and macrame are perennial favorites as well as other home decor items. Want to go Friday night instead? Try the Mapusa Friday Market. Find it at the Mapusa Municipal market. For mid-week strolling, the Flea Market at Anjuna is open on Wednesdays. Of course, there are plenty of shops offering fashion, art, and handcrafts as well.

Praveen from Bangalore, India - ParasailingUploaded by Ekabhishek, CC BY 2.0,
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Play in Goa means the beaches and water activities. Popular beaches include Calangute and Baga.

Calangute is considered the more lively (and crowded) beach filled with bathers, strollers, and shoppers. Lined with shacks, cafes, and resorts, the beach also offers water activities like parasailing, banana ride, and jet ski rides.

Just a bit further north, Baga is a smaller and less crowded beach but a fine location for water sports as well.

Photographers will want to stop at Vagator -- called the most photographed beach of Goa, it curves around the bay and offers views of Chapora Fort (now in ruins).

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December 6, 2017

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