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    Image Credit: Shahnawaz Sid - Flickr

    Goa, though the smallest state in India, boasts of being the highest visited place in the country. It is the sojourn where the groovy and enchanting clouds meets and greets the mesmeric sands of some of the spectacular beaches in the world. Influenced by the Portuguese essence, Goa showcases a vibrant and charismatic list of tourist places.

    Goa tourist places are known for their vivacity and liveliness. The spark and allurement of the Goa has its own uniqueness and can hardly be found in any other tourist destinations.

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    Here are some of the famous Goa tourist places:

    1) Ancestral Goa Museum / Big Foot

    Photo Credit : Aaron C - Flickr

    One of the most visited Goa tourist places, the Ancestral Goa Museum is also popularly known as Big Foot; making it one of the famous tourist places in Goa. This museum cum exhibition hall is located in the rustic hamlet of Loutolim which is around 10 km from Margao and over 20 kms from the state capital Panaji.

    This historical museum is run and supported by a brilliant artist named Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares. One of the distinguishing features of the museum is that it is open-air and has been successful in depicting the rural life of Goa aptly.

    Some of the best places to visit at Ancestral Goa are the famous art gallery which houses some of the amazing art accomplished by the children from the local areas. The renowned works of some of the famous Indian and Goan artists can also be found in this museum. 

    Additionally, the museum has a handicraft centre where you can purchase some homemade Goan artefacts.  Also, the museum complex is home to a big dance floor, a restaurant serving the local fare as well as a spring, a bird habitat and a rubber plantation among the others.

    Image Credit: Basheer Olakara - Flickr

    The museum is styled as a rural village and one can set their eyes on some of the houses that have been replicated from the olden days as well the everyday places, a normal Goan villager would visit. This includes the market places, liquor shops, music schools and several others.

    However, the main attraction at Ancestral Goa has to be the monumental 14m sculpture of Sant Mirabai which was carved in just 30 days by MJA Alavres, the museum owner as well as a local artist. In fact, the sculpture has been added to the Limca Book of Records.

    At this museum, you will be guided and accompanied by one of the local guides, who are well acquainted with the indigenous information about Goa. While visiting this museum, you can aptly embrace yourself with some souvenirs from the colourful gift shops.

    [Click here for things to do in South Goa]

    2) Chapora Fort

    Image Credit: Sanish Suresh - Flcikr

    This famous fort is situated around 10km from Mapusa, and was built to serve the purpose of a border watch post. However, nowadays it has become a place of interest among tourists in Goa, making it one of the best Goa tourist places.

    The fort now lies in ruins but one can still get a glimpse of the two tunnels that were once the routes for the captured defenders. One can also find a number of Muslim tombstones which dates back to the pre-colonial era. However, one should make the long climb to the fort in order to have the stunning views of the Vagator and Anjuna beaches. Moreover, one can find out many more things to do in Goa with there family and friends.

    Image Credit: Kiran SRK - Flickr

    The fort went through a sort of a revamp when in the hands of the Portugese even as they were set in their mission to extend their borders further north. However, the damage done by the Maratha invaders was quite severe.

    Image Credit: Kaushal Karkhanis - Flcikr

    However, it should be noted that the fort has undergone some monumental changes owing to the series of attacks that it was afflicted by. Therefore, it is sad that the forts can be found in an extremely dilapidated and ruined state, but do not be discouraged as you can still catch a glimpse of the beautiful ramparts that are still standing tall.

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    3) Aguada Fort

    One of the most stunning sights that one should visit in Goa is the Aguada Fort, a historical bastion that is home to several natural springs. These springs were once the primary source of water to the ships that arrived at the Goan shoreline, many centuries ago. It should be noted that this fort once served as a prison, and visitors were restricted from entering the fort.

    Image Credit: mario_ruckh - Flickr

    In fact, it is interesting to note that this fort was one of the first to be marketed as a luxury destination. Owing to the establishment of the Taj Group’s Fort Aguada Resort, this historic fort was converted into a heritage resort, which is precisely one of the most luxurious expensive resorts in Goa.

    Image Credit: ddasedEn - Flcikr

    Thus, the fort is a must visit for anyone planning to visit Goa in the near future; it will be well worth the time and effort spent. These features make this fort one of the more famous tourist places in Goa.

    4) Alorna Fort

    This 17th century fort is also a famous landmark in Goa and is frequented by quite a few visitors right through the year. It is also considered as one of the oldest forts in Goa as well. The fort is located at least 30 kilometers from the historical town of Mapusa.

    Constructed by the famous Bhonsles of Sawantwadi in the early part of the 17th century, this fortress encountered and survived the mighty attacks of the Marathas in the past. The fort offers some of the most stunning views from its perch, giving visitors a great view of the surrounding area. The river and land can also be viewed from the fort, thereby making it among the famous Goa tourist places.

    However, over the years there have been efforts to renovate the fort by the archaeology department. These efforts will soon come to fruition as the fort is all set to undergo a facelift. In fact, most of the tourists who visit the fort were vocal in their opinion to renovate the fort as it has been in a ruined and dilapidated state for a longer span of time. The Alorna Fort has also lacked the maintenance that is required for a heritage site.

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    5) Abyss Marine Aquarium

    Abyss Marine Aquarium

    Most people are aware of the fact that Goa is world renowned for its wonderful beaches, culture and churches. Amidst all the popular Goa toursit places, one of the marine aquariums called ‘Abyss- The Underworld’ is gaining popularity among the tourists.

    This large-sized aquarium complex is situated on the Verna-Goa National Highway, which is around 18km from the state capital Panajm. At Abyss, visitors can expect to find a wide variety of stunning marine fishes as well as a model of fishermen and their families, making it one of the best tourist places in Goa.

    It should also be noted that Abyss is the first of its kind aquariums in Goa and is therefore one of the most important tourist attractions. A home to over 60 different species of fishes, this aquarium is also one of the best maintained aquariums in the country.

    In addition to the main aquarium, there are also small open aquariums which allow visitors to view the fishes from a closer point. Some of the aquariums comprises of rare and exotic species of fishes. The aquarium is a huge attraction among children who are quite taken up by the colourful variety of fish.

    Some of the marine life on display at Abyss includes lobsters, parrotfish, starfish, lionfish, sea cucumber, catfish and the finger star. Some of these species are the inhabitants of the coastal Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep Islands, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, China as well as Pakistan. The marine life at Abyss is controlled by virtue of scientific and technical equipment which have been specially imported from different regions of the globe.

    6) Arvalam Waterfalls

    The Arvalem Waterfall cascades from a height of 50 metres and is considered as one of the most stunning spots to visit when in Goa. The waterfall is located around 2 km from the town of Sanquelim and around 8 km from the other small town in Bicholim; both being found in the northern part of Goa.

    The Arvalem Waterfall offers some of the most picturesque and naturally beautiful views and thus it has earned the fame of being one of the prime picnic spots in Goa. The Rudreshwar temple can also be found close to the waterfall. This temple is considered sacred to the Hindus who believe in giving release to the soul of a dead family member after 12 days since the person’s death. 

    After a visit to the temple, you can always stand on the staircase and catch a look at the stunning waterfall which looks equally resplendent from a distance. The gorgeous Arvalam waterfall stands around 24 feet tall and has a small lake at the bottom, which is perfect for swimming during the summers.

    It is important to note that the best time to pay a visit to the waterfall is just after the end of the monsoon season. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery as well as a variety of fruit-bearing trees, which makes for a beautiful sight.

    One of the other added attractions of visiting the waterfall is the presence of a few ancient caves which can be found in the vicinity and is a favoured destination for movie and commercial shoots. The Goan government has also undertaken the initiative to build a park for visitors to relax and unwind and enjoy picnics while taking in the breathtaking view of the waterfalls.

    7) Arvalem Caves

    Image Credit: ZeePack - Flickr

    Despite being world famous for its electrifying and groovy beaches, it is interesting to note that Goa also has quite a rich cave history. A perfect example of the rich cave history of Goa lies with the Arvalem Caves. These particular caves are situated in the small town of Bicholim which forms a part of North Goa.

    It is important to note that the Arvalem caves are ancient rock cut caves that give us a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of Goa. These caves date back to as early as the 6th century and are steeped in the rich historical legacy of the area.

    These caves are more commonly referred to as the Pandava Caves; since they derive their name from the Pandavas of Mahabharata. The legend goes that the Pandavas took refuge in these caves during the period of exile. Therefore, the five compartments and Shivlingas present in the cave complex backs up this fact.

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    However, there are some who believe that these caves have Buddhist origin sowing to the presence of a large Buddha statue in the complex. The caves’ architectural style also resembles the Buddhist way.

    There has been no confirmation however of the true origin of these caves. Though the caves’ architecture is done quite simply, yet it is very appealing and spectacular as well. The walls of the caves have no paintings on them and are quite plain and beautiful. Also, the rock structure has been carved into late rite stone. The mysterious looks of the caves are one of the key reasons for its allurement. The famous Rudreshwar temple in addition to the Arvalem waterfall in the area gives tourists, more of a reason to come and visit the caves in Goa.

    8) Anjunem Dam

    Iamge Credit : Rossipaulo - Flickr

    Considered as one of the famous Goa tourist places, the Anjunem Dam is situated around 10 km from the small town of Sanquelim, a remote part of Goa that offers some of the best scenic beauty. The area surrounding the dam is quite stunning as one can view nature in all its glory and can also catch a glimpse of the vibrant flora and fauna as well. The dam was constructed in a sylvan valley. This peaceful location is perfect for a picnic with family and friends.

    There are quite a few hotels with good accommodation for the tourists wishing to spend a few days touring the surrounding areas. The Irrigation Department of Goa has also constructed quite a few rest houses near the dam. This area is also home to one of India’s best eco resort – Chorla Ghat. The best time to visit the dam is during or just after the monsoons. However, the pristine ambience of the place makes it one of the most sought after destinations in Goa that can be visited all through the year.

    9) British Cemetery in Goa

    British Cemetery in Goa

    Just outside the Raj Bhavan in Goa there lays a180 year old cemetery, which is also one of the most popular places to visit in Goa. This cemetery serves as the only evidence of the British forces who once occupied the fortress. The British occupied the state of Goa for a period of 14 years from 1799 to 1813.

    It should be noted that this famous cemetery was built in the year 1802 with the sole purpose to serve the British garrisons that were stationed at Fort Mormugao as well at other forts in the vicinity. There have been many visitors in the past, who have visited the cemetery and have also testified the maintenance of the cemetery.

    The cemetery has a huge and equally massive laterite stone wall which acts as a boundary and it is still well-maintained without the need for much refurbishment. The cemetery also has entrance gates that are arched and lofty and are quite symbolic of the architecture of the period.

    10) Dudhsagar Waterfall

    Image Credit: Cajetan Barretto - Flickr

    The Dudhsagar Waterfalls is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of Goa. Located close to the Goa-Karnataka border, this enchanting waterfall is around 60 kms from the state capital. It is considered as one of the best Goa tourist places. It is also one of the largest and highest waterfalls in India.

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    The waterfall got its name from the Konkani name which literally means ‘sea of milk’. With an enthralling backdrop, the Dudhsagar Waterfall ranks as one of the popular sites for hiking and trekking. In fact, a considerable amount of tourists come from all parts of India and the world to admire this majestic waterfall.

    The waterfall overlooks a steep valley which is covered with tropical forests and is home to various species of birds, flowers, monkeys, bees, butterflies and other flora and fauna. While visiting the waterfall, you can also visit the Tamdi Surla Temple which is located nearby to the waterfall site. The temple is visited by pilgrims all through the year and therefore attracts millions of devotees.

    The best time to pay a visit to the falls is just after the end of the monsoon season. However, it should be noted that the road leading to the falls is inaccessible during the monsoon season owing the presence of landslides in the area.

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