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Rafting at Valpoi River in Goa @ 1583 Only

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  • Not to be wondered about hearing unusual things regarding Goa which is known as the land of pristine beaches to the outer world. But when you visit this tiny state in India, you will come to know about the beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in Goa which would make you happy without doubt. The tourism sector in Goa is developing their focus on other major parts of the region rather than the beaches and beach based activities.

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    Among them, the most important one is the introduction of the major wildlife sanctuaries to the travelers arriving in Goa. That is a positive sign of exploring the land with more passion and it is a chance to know its interiors on your own. The huge jingles in Goa make way for these wildlife sanctuaries to become a prominent part of tourism. The wilderness acts as a favourite haven for many rare animals and birds along with a unique collection of plants and trees.

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    A visit to these sanctuaries would be making your holidays in Goa eventful and of course creates the best memories to cherish a lifetime. Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary etc are some of the most visited and highly protected sanctuaries in the state. The Western Ghats give the maximum support to the animals reared inside these sanctuaries and the backwaters and rivers in Goa are giving them water and the pleasing ambience to maintain their relation with nature.

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    For people who are really interested to know about the forest ranges and the inhabitants in them must visit these sanctuaries to identify yourself closely associated with each item in the jungles.

    Here are some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Goa:

  • 01Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

    Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

    The smallest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary falls in the Ponda region. Slightly away from the coast, this 8 sq.km long natural reserve lies in the foothills of the lush green Western Ghats.

    A great attraction to school children and tourist Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is a home to a wide range of wildlife like Indian Bison, Sambar Deer, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Giant Squirrel and a variety of deer and snake. Along with the Common Grey Hornbill and Golden Backed Woodpecker, more than a hundred different species of birds reside in this garden.

    More of a jungle resort with Eco-Tourism cottages where nature lovers can stay and explore the diverse wildlife in Goa, the sanctuary even has a zoological park, an expansive deer park,  botanical and rose garden to woo its visitors. The adventure enthusiasts in Goa can also opt for a trek through the reserve to gain insight and enjoy the picturesque natural ambiance.

    Best visited during December and January, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary even houses a small archeological exhibition with many figurines dating back to the sixth century. Allowing the visitors between 9:00AM-5:00PM (except on Thursday), this sanctuary can be easily reached as it is well connected to different parts of Goa.

    Also, check out best resorts to stay in Goa.

  • 02Molem Wildlife Sanctuary



    Molem Wildlife sanctuary is the core area of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. Located in the Sanguem region, it is best explored in between November to March. 

    Barking Deer, Black Panther, Bengal Tiger, Bonnet Macaque, Leopard, Civet and Wild Boar can be easily spotted while strolling around this sanctuary. A heaven for bird watchers, it boasts of recording 120 different bird species like Wagtails, Fairy Bluebird, Drongo, Three-Toed Kingfisher, Great India Hornbill and Golden Oriole.

    With vehicles permitted within the sanctuary, the biggest attraction here is the adventurous jungle safari; the park is also famous for its trekking trails in Goa and bird watching. It is also recommended to hire an experienced guide while travelling through the thick forest.

  • 03Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

    Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary

    A perfect representation of the delicate ecosystem of the Western Ghats, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Canacona Taluka, South Goa. This 105 sq. km. large park is called a tree lovers paradise and is at its blooming zenith is between October to March. Visitors are allowed every day from early 7:00AM to 5:30 PM after a minimal entry fees; however, there are extra charges for carrying camera or any kind of videography devices.

    Covered heavily by thick deciduous trees, it serves as the home to Flying Lizard, Golden-Back Gliding Snake, Malabar Trogon, White-Bellied Woodpecker and Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch. The sanctuary has about eight natural trails ranging from 500m to 5km.

    A Nature Interpretation Centre run by the forest department organizes various treks and walks through the abundant greenery.  For the daredevils who wish to spend a night in the open wilderness, the forest department even arranges for a cot and mosquito nets.  

    Another unique feature is the 25m high watchtower that is balanced entirely atop the trees and provides an exhilarating view of a waterhole where the four-legged residents often visit.

    Visitors can also go for some of the best water sports activities in Goa for more fun and entertainment.

  • 04Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

    Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary

    Located at the Sattari Taluka near Valpoi town, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in biodiversity and is being considered to be promoted as one the Project Tiger Reserves due to the presence of Royal Bengal Tigers. Highly renowned for spectacular waterfalls like the Vazra Sakla and the Virdi Falls in the Chorla Ghats region, this biodiversity hotspot has been termed as an area of high endemism by Conservation International. 

    The animal lovers can treat their eyes with a glimpse of Indian Gaur, Barking Deer, Sambhar Deer, Ruddy Mongoose, Asian Palm Civet and Black-Faced Langur. However Leopard, Sloth Bear, Black Panther, Dhole, Mouse Deer, Jungle Cat, Indian Pangolin and the endangered Slender Loris are a rare sight in this sanctuary. 

    Also awarded the title of an International Bird Area, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary also houses a number of   White-bellied Blue-flycatcher, Malabar Parakeet, Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, Malabar Grey Hornbill, Rufous Babbler, Grey-headed Bulbul and Crimson-backed Sunbird. Best time to plan your visit to the wildlife in Goa is in the months of November to March when the humidity level is comparatively low.


  • 05Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary

    Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary

    The newest addition to the enchanting wildlife sanctuaries in Goa, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Sanguem Taluka of Eastern Goa which covers an approximate 211 sq. km of the enchanting Western Ghats. It derives its name from the Netravali or Neturli, an important tributary of the Zuari River, which is also an extremely significant source of fresh water in the region.

    Along with a spectacular array of wildlife and terrain, this sanctuary also has some of the most enchanting forest coverage with moist deciduous woods fused beautifully together with semi-evergreen and evergreen patches. This rich and diverse abode of the wilds also boasts of its stunning range of fauna that includes Panthers, Cobras, Giant Squirrels, Great Pied Hornbills Slender Loris and the rarely found Malabar Tree Toad.

    A perfect haven for birds and butterflies it is also the home to avifauna like Nilgiri Wood Pigeon, Grey Headed Bulbul, Great Pied Hornbill and butterflies like Black Rajah, Gaudy Baron, and Malabar Tree Nymph. Best visited in the months from October to March, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary attracts lots of nature lovers with its scintillating forests along with numerous waterfalls and perennial streams.

    Some of the best scuba diving packages in Goa can be checked out here.

  • 06Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary

    Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary

    Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary, a 240sq.km of protected area located in the Western Ghats, in Sanguem taluka, is the biggest of all the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. Along with being rich in flora and fauna, it encloses numerous temples from the Kadamba Dynasty and the famous Dudhsagar Waterfalls.  

    The domain is also home to Dhangar nomadic buffalo herders. The unspoiled vegetation constituting of tropical evergreen and semi-green forests together with moist deciduous forests along with numerous perennial water streams makes Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary a perfect habitat for a plethora of birds and animals. 

    Mammals like Panther, Barking Deer, Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Bonnet Macaque and Sambar can be spotted along with birds like Blue Mormon, Common Jezebel, Common Mormon and Plain Tiger.

    Open all through the week from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM, this sanctuary is best visited in between November and March. One can leisurely stroll through the sanctuary along with an experienced guide, but for the adventure enthusiasts, there are various exciting activities in Goa like jungle safaris, forest trails, and night safaris.

  • 07Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

    Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary

    Located at the western tip of the Chorao Island along Mandovi River, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a mangrove swamp, which is an ornithologist's paradise. Named after the most popular ornithologist of India, Dr. Salim Ali, this sanctuary is a sheer delight for anyone who has a fondness towards rare and exotic birds.

    Open all throughout the year, you can enter this avifaunal paradise after a prior permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden of the Forest Department with minimal entry fees. Boat rides within the sanctuary take the visitors to some of the areas that are often visited by the colorful dwellers of the park. Moreover, one can plan a trip with family and friends to visit best places in Goa

    The variety of local and migratory bird species found here are Eagles, Drongos, Kingfishers, Kites, Myna, Curlews, Sandpiper, Redshank, and Hoopoe. To get the most out of this trip plan the visit either in the early morning and late evening. 

    Besides being the hub of the party and beach lovers, Goa is also a hotspot for the wildlife lovers. Be it for those who adore the colorful birds or those who prefer to witness wilderness amidst the jungle beasts, wildlife in Goa or the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa are the idyllic options!

Wildlife in Goa

Attractions

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Dona Paula Beach

A lover’s paradise, the name of the location got its designation after a tragic love story, making the place more interesting and catchy. This former village is a heaven on earth that provides picturesque spots and huge space for sunbathing while relaxing in the calm beaches adjacent to clean blue waters.

Travellers love to be here to indulge in water sports like parasailing, kayaking etc. and gets the adrenaline rush at beaches like Dias beach and Dona Paula beach. Moreover, the markets for shopping are also vibrant and gets shiny names of food and drinking spots to attract visitors. For a perfect stay, one can also book their own resort or hotels here which are also loaded with amenities and good services.

Location
: 6 km from Panaji city.


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Temple of Bodgeshwar

Welcome yourself to one of the most enchanting pilgrimages centres, which is additionally an unbeatable place to visit in North Goa. Well settled in Mapusa, the temple is situated within the lush green environment and contains a small shrine within dedicated to Kanakeshwar Baba or Bodgeshwar, locally known as Bongini.

Famous for fulfilling the desires of its devotees, it also gets a flock of people searching for peace and a calm mind. Every year, a cultural festival also take place in the month of December of January and the location gets thronged by locals as well as tourists.

Location: Mapusa at Calangute - Mapusa Road.

Entry Fees: No fees required for entry.

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Basilica of Bom Jesus

The oldest withstanding Church of Goa, beautifully built under the influence of Portuguese architectural style, is one of the best places to visit in Panjim. The lovely marble floor embellished with valuable stones adds up to the charm of the magnificent church.

The cathedral of the Church holds the remains of St. Xavier's in a silver casket which is elegantly decorated and, worshiped by his devotees. Famed for its amazing architecture, this ornate structure survived since the 16th century.
The locals believe the remains are eternal and, have obscure healing powers which in turn makes it one of the most attractive places to see in Panjim.

Location:
Old Goa Road, Near Gandhi Circle, Goa 403402, India

Timings: 
All days of the week except Sunday (9:00 AM - 6:30 PM)
               Sunday (10:30 AM - 6:30 PM)

Entry Fees:
Free

Distance from Panjim Bus Stand:
Approximately 11 km

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Fort Aguada

 Pulled up with a dark bricked stretch within the sea waters, Fort Aguada invites the visitors even from far to take a walk in, take a peek into the sea differently and get clicked in a movie style. The architecture of the fort is in royal Portuguese style and its vastness within the fortress is just grand.

One can witness the confluence of Mandovi river in the Arabian sea from here and the fort is a witness to the same since years. Embrace the old construction and military architecture here along with the lighthouse that stands tall. If the fort is not visited on a Goa trip, the trip is just not done right.

Location: At the southern tip of Candolim beach

Timings: Fort Aguada is open all days from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM

Entry Fees: Good news! There are no charges to visit this ecstatic location. Visit it like a free bird.

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Se Cathedral Church

One of the most striking churches in India is the “Se Cathedral” located in the Southern part of Goa. This magnificent church exhibits excellent artistry of the Portuguese-Manueline style with beautifully arched interior and an impressive courtyard. Previously, the cathedral had two towers but one of them collapsed in late 17th Century and was never rebuilt.

This cathedral is dedicated to St.Catherine, who belonged to Alexandria and there are six panels where her life scenes are beautifully carved. The most prominent feature of this cathedral is the huge “golden bell” which is one of the best bells in the world. This 250 feet high cathedral is a frequented spot and is visited by the tourists as well as locals. The tranquility and serene aura of the cathedral makes it a must visit spot in the list of places to visit in South Goa.

Location: 
Velha, Goa 403402

Timings: 
7:00 AM - 6:30 PM

Entry Fee: 
Free 

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Shantadurga Temple

“Pious Aura” this is what you will witness at this magnificent temple situated at the foot of Kavlem village in Ponda Taluka. This temple is devoted to goddess “Shantadurga” who is worshiped as the “Goddess of Peace” and, it is one of the most prominent and, large temples in entire Goa.

The divine shrine was initially situated at, Cavelossim but during the demolition period of the Portuguese in the mid 15th century, the celestial being was relocated to Kavlem. The vibrant combination of the maroon, white and peach give the temple an enchanting old-charm look.

Apart from these, Nayan Manohar Deepstambh is another point of attraction which is beautifully lit during the festivals and at that time, the beauty has no boundaries.

Location: 
Kapileswari - Kavlem Rd, Donshiwado, Ponda, Goa 403401

Timings: 
5:00 AM - 10:00  PM

Entry Fee:
Free

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The Church of Mae De Deus

This bright white building and Neo-Gothic architecture are so impulsive that just mesmerizes its beholders. One will surely get awestruck with the impact of peaceful beauty, settlement within the greenery and the aura it presents right from the first look to the same.

Right from the exteriors to interiors, the church is certainly one of the best places to visit in North Goa. Interestingly, it houses the miraculous statue of Mae de Deus which brought the church back to life post its ruin state. With imposing interiors and carved ornamentation on ceiling and walls, the church magnetizes not just the religion followers but also those who love to praise the reality on the ground.

Location: Chogm Rd, Saligao

Timings: Gate to God’s own home opens up every day from 9.00 AM to 12.30 PM and from 3.00 PM to 5.00 PM.

Entry Fees: Absolutely none!

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Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

Sitting, right in the middle of the hillock this mighty church has three shrines of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary and, Crucifixion of Jesus. Being the first church to built-in Goa it holds utmost significance in its tourism and, adding up to the most attractive places to visit in Panjim.

Previously, it was just a chapel in the early 15th century but, with time and tide, the chapel went through many transformations and, led to this massive structure which is elegantly built with influences of several architectural styles.

Location:
 North-Eastern Side of Central Square, Panjim 403001, India

Timings: 
All days 10 AM - 12:30 PM and 4 PM - 5:30 PM

Entry Fees: 
Free

Distance from Panjim Bus Stand: 
Approximately 1.6 km away.

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Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife century came into existence in the year 1999 under the Wildlife Act. The Sanctuary lies on the Western Ghats in the northern part of the Panjim city. Sprawling over an area of 240 sq km, it has rich flora and fauna which attracts the tourists. One can witness bewitching scenic views at this splendid Sanctuary which is the largest protected wildlife. 

Here at this sanctuary, you can come across numerous variant of animals like Pythons, Cobras, Slender Toris, Jungle Cats, Elephants, avian Birds, and many more rare species. One can even hire a jeep to explore every nook and corner of the diverse sanctuary.

Location: 
NH 4A, Caranzol, Goa, 403410, India

Timings: 
8:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Entry Fee: 
Rs. 20 per person for Adults
                  Rs. 10 per person for Children
                  Rs 30 per Still Camera
                  Rs 150 per Camcorder

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Casino Royale Goa

This place will “blow your mind” as here casino floats on water. Deltin has modern and classy casinos which are undoubtedly the most happening ones. There are numerous floors sprawling over an area of 40,000 square feet with various sections to keep people engaged of all ages. With 123 gaming tables here, you can play all sorts of gambling games be it Poker, Teen Patti, Black Jack, and many more variants.

While you enjoy the gambling, you can also savor exclusive liquors at the whiskey lounge with amazing hand-rolled cigars. The casino provides all the top-notch amenities and, is the ace in the field of the casinos. Undoubtedly it is one of the most happening places to visit in Panjim.
One can also relax in VIP gaming suites where one can stay as well as play. The highlighting feature of the casino is that it is the only place with a dedicated poker room.

Location: 
Noah's Ark, RND Jetty, Dayanand Bandodkar Road, Panaji, Goa 403001

Timings: 
Open 24 hrs

Entry Fees: 
Monday to Thursday    Rs 2500/-   
                    Friday to Sunday
         Rs 3500/-

Distance from Panjim Bus Stand: 
Approximately 1.6 km away

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St Xavier’s Church

This is one of the most frequented sightseeing places in Goa famed as the prominent landmark for the Catholics. This extrusive church holds the incorrupt body of Saint Francis Xavier and, was built in the year 1605. After a few years of being built in 1622, the body of Saint Xavier was brought here and laid in a glass mausoleum. It is one of the most charming places to visit in South Goa which has showcased modern art in the gallery and, the structure exhibits a jaw-dropping baroque style of architecture.

The best time to visit Bom Jesus Basilica is December, as in this month you can experience the traditions, cultures and a lot more at Christmas time.

Location: 
Off National Highway 4, Velha Goa, Goa 403110

Timings: 
9:00 AM - 6:30 PM

Entry Fee: 
Free

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Fort Aguada

Showcasing the glory of the Portuguese empire this fort stands overlooking the Arabian sea. Built in the early 16th century to keep an eye on the enemies this fort give breathtaking views and, is one of the most majestic places to visit in Panjim.

The mystifying structure is more than 400 years old and still, its majestic beauty remains intact. It also houses a lighthouse which was built to guide the ships and, another part is the Aguada Jail which is one of the largest jails in Goa.
The location of the mighty fort is strategic so that it provides great defense from the rivals.

Location:
Fort Aguada Rd, Aguada Fort Area, Candolim, Goa 403515

Timings:
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Entry Fees:
Free

Distance from Panjim Bus Stand:
Approximately 15 km

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Naval Aviation Museum

Get awestruck by the amazing collection of The Naval Aviation Museum where you can witness the true essence of Military. This amazing museum is a must visit tourist place in Goa and lies in the vicinity of Vasco da Gama.

Here, one can see real Helicopters, Aircraft, Fighter Jets and learn about their history. The museum is a combination of two parts, one is the outdoor regions which exhibits the evolution of the Indian Naval Air Arms and, another is the double-storey indoor gallery. The Naval Aviation Museum is the only of its kind in Asia. The outer region is a large park which has 13 aircraft in total namely, Sea Harrier, HAL Chetak, Westland Sea King and many more such decommissioned aircraft.

Location: 
Bogmalo Road, Dabolim AP Vasco da Gama, Mormugao, Goa 403806

Timings:
Tuesday - Sunday(9:30 AM - 5 PM)
               Monday(Remains Closed)

Entry Fee: 
Rs. 20

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Goa Archaeological Museum

This “Architectural Marvel” showcases the artifacts of the Portuguese rule in India, with eight unique galleries exhibiting different slices of the pre-historic era of Portuguese sways. The most significant of these are deemed to be the paintings of the long-dead Governors and, Administrators of Goa.

To add up to the amusement of the visitors, the museum also has a remarkable collection of stamps, religious artifacts, and other such hidden gems. This is a perfect place to dig up the history of the Goan culture and styles in the early ages.

Location: 
EDC Complex, Patto, Panaji, Goa 403001

Timings: 
9:00 AM- 5:00 PM

Entry Fees: 
Only Rs 5/- per person

Distance from Panjim Bus Stand: 
Approximately 9 km

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Casino Pride

Another amazing casino life could be experienced at Casino Pride which has its anchor tied down in Mandovi river. The casino boat has the best of the facilities and services having well-trained staff, delicious meals and a good range of drinks.

Moreover, the charm of the boat gets an upgradation with the performance of skilled dancers, acts by celebrities, people counting their winning amount while enjoying offers on unlimited drinks.

Entry Fees:
Rs 1500 on Monday-Thursday and Rs 2000 on Friday-Saturday

Timings:
Open 24x7 to all its guests.

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The Grande Island

“The Grande Island” also known as the Ilha Grande is one of the most amazing discoveries in Goa. The Island is a house of Palm trees, jaw-dropping marine life experiences, and extraordinary sunsets.

The Island is not only for the adventure buffs but is also a perfect destination for couples looking for a less crowded place with amazing facilities. One can indulge in sight-seeing, snorkeling, sea walk, swimming, and many more aqua activities. The outstanding activity which can be witnessed here is, Scuba diving which gives you a picture of the underwater kingdom making it one the most amazing places to visit in South Goa.

Apart from these, one will also have instances when they can delve in dolphin sighting which is an amazing experience and cannot be experienced everywhere.

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