15 Hidden Places in Goa that Tourists Don’t Even Know Exist
Anyone who has been to Goa will attest to its vibrant aura and exciting nightlife, both of which center around its wonderful beaches. The state enamors all by the relaxed attitude towards life in general, a slow pace which allows you to absorb the beauty of every moment in a leisurely manner.
Goa also boasts fabulous churches and magnificent forts that are evidences of its rich heritage, culture and history. However, irrespective of how many times you may have been here, there is something new worth exploring and checking out with every visit. This blog brings you the 15 hidden places in Goa that tourists don’t even know exist.
1. WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn
WelcomHeritage Panjim Inn, nestled in the heart of Asia’s only Latin Quarter of Fontainhas in Panjim, holds the distinction of being Goa’s first classified heritage hotel. This Catholic home was built by Francis Assis D’Silveir, a respected and successful gentleman. Careful renovations and restoration in this hotel ensure that it retains the elegance and charms of the bygone era.
However, what makes this property unique amongst the other heritage hotels of India is the obliviousness of most people regarding its interesting past. Feel the old world charm here as you walk through the rare collectibles and antiques at the Art Gallery.
2. Cumbarjua canal
This is another place that most of the tourists in Goa are unaware of. The Cumbarjua Canal is a narrow stretch of salty water which is extends to about 15km in length. It connects the two rivers of Goa, namely the Mandovi and the Zuari. The marshy banks of the canal form a delicate ecosystem, and is one of the best places for watching crocodiles in the state.
The island of Cumbarjua was a no man’s land between the Portuguese and Bijapuri territories. Therefore, the crocodiles that are found here were brought into these brackish waters about a hundred years ago in order to prevent invaders.
You may also find some amazing Goa tour packages here:
3. Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, sprawling over an area of 240sq. km, is the largest wildlife preserve in the state of Goa. This place is a treat both for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts as there are various hiking trails traversing this enormous tract of land. The area here is mostly covered with pristine vegetation and consists of west coast tropical evergreen forests.
Upon visiting this sanctuary, one also comes across several species of herbivorous animals like spotted deer, hog, mouse deer and barking deer. Among the 120 bird species found in this place, the most common is the Ruby throated Yellow Bulbul, which is also the state bird of Goa. Apart from the exotic variety of flora and fauna found here, this sanctuary also consists of other attractions like Dudhsagar Waterfalls, Tambi Falls and Devil’s Canyon, besides others.
4. Netravali – Bubbling Lake
The Netravali Lake, situated in the tranquil and serene village of Netravali has gained eminence due to its bubbles. What is so fascinating about this lake, you may ask? Well, when you visit this mysterious lake with Goa tour packages, you will be startled with the sight which greets your eyes.
This lake witnesses the rise of bubbles in certain areas of the lake in a continuous manner. This phenomenon appears all the more stranger when these unexplained bubbles appear to respond to certain sounds and rise faster with each clap. For the local people here, this lake holds special significance. While some claim that the bubbles are the work of the local deity, others claim that they are due to the presence of carbon or sulfur dioxide gas.
5. Chorla Ghats
Goa is home to several natural treasures which remain hidden from the eyes of the people. Chorla Ghat is one of them. Situated on the intersection of the borders of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, it lies to the northeast of Panaji.
This place is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty and is a part of the beautiful Western Ghats which are as eminent for their gorgeous waterfalls, biodiversity and a few rare species. Enjoying an elevation of about 800m, it’s draped in clouds during the monsoon. Here, you come across several small waterfalls, with the major one being Vazira Shakira Fall.
6. Casa Severina
Casa Severina, located in Calangute, is a commendable attempt to recreate the glories of the past and showcase the past splendor of vernacular heritage, culture, ethos and architecture. You can experience the charms of this gracious residence with honeymoon tour packages. Indeed, it is a treat of true Goan Art de vive hospitality. Its owners, Mr. Joseph Sequeira and Mrs. Feliciana, sum it up well when they say, “Come in as guests…and leave as family.”
The Casa, or the hotel, is a tribute to their grandmother Severina. When it comes to luxurious indulgences, the family has put every effort to ensure every bit of it. The rooms recreate the romance of the Spanish sonata with classical furniture and fine paintings. The romance of the bygone era comes to life here. Walk through the gardens with their enticing fountains, viewing gazebos and wishing wells.
7. Harvalem Falls
If you are looking for a fun filled week in Goa, you should head to the Harvalem Falls. These splendid falls, located near Mapusa in North Goa, is a prominent tourist attraction in Goa during the monsoon season. The waters here fall from a height of 50m, making it an ideal picnic spot or a fun trip with family and friends.
This waterfall has fascinating history. It’s said that it was here that the Rajput mercenaries, known as “Ranes”, were sent to settle by the British government. This was also the site of their revolt in the 19th century. A beautiful park, located in close proximity, offers you magnificent views of the waterfall in Goa. Arvalem rock cut caves, carved by Buddhist monks, and Rudeshwar Temple, can be found nearby.
8. Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary
Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, located in the island of Chorao in the Mandovi River, is one of the smallest protected areas of Goa. It has been named after Dr. Salim Ali Moizuddin Ali, a respected and famous ornithologist of India. It provides a wonderful insight into the unique ecosystem of the mangroves. This sanctuary is host to a number of common and uncommon species of marsh dwelling birds and animals.
A well-equipped Nature Research Center present here provides an important insight into the ecosystem here. A three storied watchtower which provides the opportunity of bird watching at three levels, is also present here. You can also enjoy a boat tour organized by the forest department during the high tide.
9. Querim (Keri) beach
The beaches in Goa are renowned for their nighttime parties and merrymaking. However, if you are looking for a beach that offers perfect tranquility and serenity, head to the Querim Beach. The northernmost beach of Goa, is home to swaying palms and casuarina trees.
This white sandy beach also offers magnificent views of the ancient Portuguese fort, known as the Terekhol Fort. A ferry service transports you to Terekhol every 30 minutes. If you decide to munch on some snacks while strolling or hanging out, check out the few shacks and restaurants lining the beach. A few thatched huts also serve the purposes of accommodation.
10. Sinquerim Fort
Sinquerim Fort, located at a distance of 18km from Panaji, overlooks the Sinquerim Beach and divides the shoreline in two. The fort, constructed in the year 1612, is an extension of the Upper Aguada Fort. During the 16th and 17th century, ships set anchor next to the fort.
During the time of its construction, the sole purpose behind constructing the fort was guarding Goa against the Dutch and Maratha invaders, while serving as a meeting point for vessels coming in from Europe. It’s a wonderful place for getting some panoramic views of the surroundings.
11. Fort Tiracol
Fort Tiracol is one of the best preserved forts of Goa, and also one of the most imposing. What makes the fort worth visiting apart from the beautiful views is the fascinating history. Standing at the confluence of the Tiracol River, it offers awesome views of the confluence of the sea and river waters, as well as providing a bird’s eye view of the Kalacha and Querem Beach.
There are also many churches in Goa, and one of them can be found in the premises of this fort. The construction of the church in the fort was on order of the conquering general, de Almeida. The church was originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity but later became the church of St. Anthony. Masses are still held in the church on Mondays.
12. Pequeno (Bat) Island
Pequeno Island in Goa, which is also known as the Bat Island, is an incredible place for those seeking adventure sports and fun. This island consists of a small rocky beach along with a small stretch of green. The island is a great place for snorkeling.
The island has access to bright coral reef. Therefore, its an enchanting experience to come across the various sea creatures and sea plants while snorkeling in the island. Apart from these, hundreds of colorful shoals are your partners while swimming with you in close proximity like, parrot fish, hawksbill turtle, sea cucumbers etc.
13. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
The vegetation of Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is so dense that light is hardly able to penetrate the ground here. Spanning over Canacona Taluka in the south of Goa, it consists of mostly moist-deciduous type of vegetation, along with semi-green and evergreen patches.
Get the chance of spotting two species of monkeys, a couple of wild boar along with the Gaur, which makes appearance occasionally. It’s best to visit this sanctuary between the months of October and March. There is also a 25m high treetop watchtower to enjoy fascinating views of the animals who come to visit the waterhole during dawn and dusk.
14. Hollant Beach
Hollant Beach attracts a large number of tourists, perhaps because its the only beach in Goa when one can witness a spectacular sunrise. This lovely beach lies in the south of Goa, along the foothills of the Western Ghats.
Meanwhile, the beautiful beach looks further attractive during the high tide. As the waves rises to join the waters of an adjoining stream, it looks a beauty beyond words. There are also find several shacks serving delicious food here.
15. Arvalem Caves
Arvalem Caves, also known as the Pandava Caves, date back to the 6th century BC. While some believe that these caves were creations of the travelling Buddhist monks out of a single laterite rock, however others believe that these chambers have connection with the mythological five Pandava brothers.
The caves consist of five compartments. The simplicity and rustic nature of these caves make them quite special. Shivlings, carved out of granite, stand on pedestals within these compartments. Moreover, the walls of these caves are devoid of any carvings of intricate designs.
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