HEALING JUNGLE SPRING
Head deep into the jungle and discover the spectacular Kesarval Spring Goa, nestled amidst foliage and betel nut palms in a deep gorge about 22km from Panaji. Reputed to have healing qualities, it’s a popular spot with tourists and locals alike – and whether or not it improves your health, you’ll definitely come out feeling energised – especially if you douse yourself under the waterfall that cascades into the spring.
On the cusp of Lent, with the prospect of 40 days of relative abstinence to look forward to, Goa’s Christians enjoy one last blow out with this colourful festival that sees elaborate floats and processions taking over the streets – the custom was introduced by the Portuguese and has grown to become Goa’s biggest, with bands, dances and parties every evening. Don’t miss King Momo – the king of Carnivals – on his float exhorting everyone to eat, drink and be merry. And be sure to attend the last day, which features the famous red & black dance in Panjim.
With its centuries’ old colonial Portuguese roots, Goa has one of the richest Catholic cultures on the planet – making Easter a lavish and colourful festival. Over a quarter of Goa’s population is Christian and after observing the 40 days of Lent, their celebrations are intense, with churches bursting at the seams and clergy carrying wooden crosses through the streets – followed by huge processions. There’s feasting galore too – with Vindaloo among the most popular dishes on offer as well as Sorpotel, a spicy pork broth blending Portuguese and Goan flavours – a staple in Christian households across the state.
ALL THAT JAZZ
Few realise that Goa has a thriving jazz scene – you won’t find a great deal online, but the State has more than its fair of if not smoky speakeasy’s at least bars and clubs dedicated to this rich musical genre – from ragtime to swing to big band. Goa even has its very own jazz festival, celebrated each November and featuring local luminaries alongside international acts. Karma has its very own Jazz night too – each Thursday night at WHICH RESORT
POWDER PUFF SAND AT CAVELOSSIM BEACH
For those seeking an atmosphere of tranquillity that Goa enjoyed before it became one of the most famous beach holiday destinations in the world, Cavelossim is for you. In contrast to the bustling beaches of North Goa, Cavelossim never feels crowded – and it is among the most beautiful stretches of sand in southern India, with its white sands contrasting with stark black rocks. There’s still lots to be enjoyed in terms of water sports and tasty food served from pretty beach shacks. Or you could just head down to the end of the beach, which is particularly peaceful. You might even get lucky and spot some dolphins!
OLD GOA – VENICE OF THE EAST
Once the Portuguese capital in Goa, Old Goa was once one of the wonders of the world – known as a Venice of the East thanks to its extravagant Gothic architecture and grand colonial buildings – a legacy of Goa’s former status as one of the world’s foremost trading posts with monks, seafarers, traders and missionaries passing through regularly. By the middle of the 18th century however, Old Goa had been abandoned thanks to successive outbreaks of malaria, cholera and typhoid. It has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring important architectural sites like the Basilica de Bom Jesus.
THE FLOATING CASINO ROYALE
India has fairly strict gambling laws and in Goa this means that the only casinos are to be found in five star hotels or offshore. Casino Royale is the state’s biggest floating casino and gaming enthusiasts can find a myriad ways to gamble their hard-earned cash – from blackjack to baccarat, pontoon to roulette – plus one arm bandits and other gaming machines. The hardcore head to the VVIP gaming room, where the big bucks are burned!