Although small in size, Goa packs a punch when it comes to offering tourists with a complete experience. Gone are those days when people only visited Goa for its nightlife, or laid-back life. Today, the state has grown as a tourist destination, and it now offers its guests with fabulous holiday experiences. From fancy hotels, to comfortable, affordable accommodation, gastronomical experiences, and adventure activities, Goa has it all. But, if anyone wants to really immerse themselves in Goa’s rich culture, the way to do it by visiting the state’s many attractions that date back to 100s of years ago.
Goa might have a fab nightlife, but when it comes to religion, the state has a rich lineage, whether Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or any other religion, Goa has religious structures that will leave you awestruck. The temples in Goa date back to 100s of years ago, as do the churches and mosques. Beautifully constructed, these structures are great to see and explore, while some of them have tours, and entry fees, there are others that one can visit free of cost.
Some of the best religious sites to visit in Goa are the Manguesh Temple, Priol, The Reis Magos Church, The Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the Namazgah Mosque in Ponda. There are a ton of other religious sites to see in all of Goa, you can use a map to find these places, or ask a local guide for help.
While visiting a religious site in Goa, it is best to dress appropriately, and maintain decorum, avoid shouting, moving about and respect culture and time of worshippers. Some religious places do not allow photography inside its premises, it is best to respect this rule.
Relive Goa’s glorious past at the many museums in the state. If you are keen on learning about Christianity in Goa, head to the Christian Art Museum in Goa, art buffs can visit the art gallery on the first floor of the Bom Jesu Basilica, while those interested in learning about Goa can visit the Goa State Museum or the Ancestral Goa Museum.
Visit a Cashew Feni Cellar
Goa is well known for cheap alcohol prices, but if you want to have great fun, savour the state’s favourite drink Feni. Earlier, you could only get Feni from a local distiller or a few local liquor stores, but now that the state has its first Cashew Feni Cellar, you can get genuine Feni in a variety of flavours.
The Cazulo Premium Feni cellar is a great place to learn about how Feni is distilled. Tours are held regularly, along with tasting and food pairing. The cellar is located in South Goa, you can find admission hours, cost, and directions here.
Visit a Whiskey Distillery
Image source: Paul John Whiskey distillery
If you thought that Goa only made Feni, you’re mistaken, the state has its own whiskey brand that is making headways overseas and on Indian shores. Paul Johnson is a new, yet big brand in the luxury liquor space, they have a variety of whiskey variants that you can sample and purchase at the distillery in South Goa. Daily tours are available, it is best to pre-book on their website, as seats are limited. One can opt for just the tour or for a better experience, a tour with a whiskey tasting session.
The Famous Dudhsagar Falls
For adventure and nature lovers, a visit to Goa is incomplete without a trip to the Dudhsagar Falls. Heaven for trekkers, these falls are majestic, beautiful, and a great spot to test one’s fitness. The best time to visit is post-monsoon when the waterfall is at its peak. While visiting, please be careful, as some parts of the trail can be dangerous for amateur trekkers.
Spice Plantations in Goa
At the Spice Plantations, you’ll get to see how major spice plantations, look before they have been processed for consumption. There are tours available daily, and one can even do a bit of organic farming. For organic farming, one will have to take special permission from the plantation authorities. Some even offer elephant safaris and host welcoming sessions for guests.
These are only a few experiences that a tourist can enjoy in Goa, there are plenty of other experiences such as dining in Portuguese mansion, water sports on the beach, scuba diving, and even driving around pristine villages. But if you want to experience the true Goa, these are the places to see.