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Why is it so difficult to think of Goa beyond its beaches? Even when I were to close my eyes a month back and think of Goa I too would think of beaches – pristine blue with golden sand and perhaps a bottle of Goa’s favourite chilled beer King’s. However, my last trip to the land changed it all. Here is my Travel blog story on Goa beyond the beaches.

Imagine walking through a lane in Goa with Portuguese houses all around you, and chatter in local Konkani and Portuguese filtering out of windows. The doors of these homes are open and families are happily wishing each other with cakes and hugs. If you are wondering this would be a typical day in colonial Goa in 1895, think again. The old world charm of Goa is not lost, not yet. It lives on in areas away from the overcrowded beaches, shouts of drunk men check women out and unlimited empty bottles of beer thrown around. If you have seen all of this, and want to explore something new in Goa – discover the Old Goa, discover Goa beyond beaches, alcohol and trance parties.

Goa for Christmas and stayed with an Indo-Polish family in an old Portuguese house. And this was perhaps my best ever trip to Goa. I did visit the beach, but that was just a tiny part of the trip. I did so much more, things that can easily get overlooked if you spend all your time at the beach.
This is a quick guide on how you can spend days in Goa, exploring it’s real way of life, it’s churches in tiny villages, it’s iconic Portuguese houses, street photography and of course, some unusual food.

Divar Island

River Mandovi flows through Goa and drains into the Arabian sea right next to Panjim. The river is beautiful and all along surrounded by a thick foliage of mangrove. Just before the river meets the sea, there is an island which had historically been a very important part of Goa.
The name of this exotic little island is Divar. Divar in native Konkani means small.

Before the island became an important symbol of Catholicism, it was an prominent Hindu pilgrimage center. Portuguese targeted the Brahmins on the island first for conversion, and that have rise to the community of Roman Catholic Brahmin.

Much before the present day Panjim became the heart of Goa, Divar was the capital of Olf Goa. It houses three key churches from Portuguese era, the most important of which is the Divar Church.

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Vijay Nanda

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