With a four day weekend upon us and Tyler in the US for work, we debated which place on our long list of “places we want to see” we should visit. Since Tyler had already been to Goa for work, we decided we would skip the monotony of another weekend in Delhi and take the 2 1/2 hour plane flight south to see Goa.
Goa is located in the western region of India, along the Arabian Sea and is the smallest state by area in India but one of India’s richest. It is the fourth smallest state by population having 1.87 million residents, according to a 2012 census. Goa was attacked and captured by the Portuguese in the early 1500s. The Portuguese ruled Goa for 450 years. In 1961 Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule and obtained statehood in India in 1987.
We had heard that south India was different from north, and we can attest that there is truth to that. Here are a few of the differences we witnessed during our visit:
- Fresh air and cooler temperatures than Delhi (It was 100 degrees when we departed Delhi on Friday). Goa is definitely a tropical location and is known for it’s beaches. The best time to visit is October thru February, as once the monsoon season entirely leaves, the beaches change. During monsoons the ocean is very dirty and has such strong riptides and currents that no one ventures in the ocean except to get those feet wet. Once the “season” starts, a local told me that restaurants are opened up along the coast such as French cafés, German bakeries, etc.
- Religion. Although Goa still has many Hindus and Muslims, the Christian religion is evident. On Sunday morning as we drove about an hour to attend our church in the North part of Goa, we passed MANY Catholic churches and the dress of those attending Christian churches definitely mirrors more of what you would see in the states — dresses instead of just the usual sari or kurta. Unlike Delhi, Goa also closes most of its retail establishments on Sundays. One of the more popular tourist sites is the Basilica Bom Jesus Church that was built in the late 1500s. After attending church we stopped and visited it.
Basilica Bom Jesus — yes I am still in India as we were approached by many Indians to have their pictures taken with us as soon as we stepped out of the taxi at this location. Yes, to the little children, No, to the adult men.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints we try to attend our church when traveling if possible. Definitely a highlight of this trip as we got to meet the locals and find out a little about them. Our taxi driver earned his money finding it for us. On a weekday we could have visited the dentist or hair salon in the same building.
- Cultural Differences. The people were extremely friendly in Goa. The traffic even had some sort of organization when driving on the road. Instead of driving down the middle of the road, or on the wrong side, I found people driving in their lanes.
So after spending a few days enjoying the resort pools, walking along the beach and collecting a few more seashells for my collection, it was great to enjoy the milder weather and just be outside all day. As we headed back to Delhi we were grateful we took advantage of the extra days off of school and saw this beautiful part of India.