“What a beautiful part of the world to call home Gracy, lucky you!” said a well known travel blogger from India, when I mentioned Goa is my home! The statement got me thinking! What is it about Goa? Somehow I can’t figure it out, but strangely others do?  The more I ponder over it, the more it leaves me feeling utterly confused. Hmmm! And when I boldly proclaim to others or my friends about my love-hate emotions for Goa, it comes as a shocker because they’re insanely in love with Goa beyond their breath. The reason behind my statement – well… I don’t know!

So! Today, I finally decided to put an end to my mixed emotions by giving a small tribute to Goa in this blog! Hoping this shouldn’t be too tough for me…  Dear Goa, I promise to be good to you… LOL.

Among all the things to do and all the things that you want to do in a land of ‘Sun, Sand, Sea & Feni’, the whole saga never ceases to end. But, whenever I go home, I go with expectations thinking this time around something will change, Goa will look different in a ultra modern way, simply hoping there would be modern structures displayed around prominent areas, the infrastructure would change that of a high calibre like the other metro cities, the transportation system that would make everyone’s life easy and travel in comfort, or some would prevail over the chaotic traffic. You see, I can’t help myself for imaging this, since, I live in a metropolitan city where everything around keeps changing periodically. But, every time Goa proves me wrong! She stays firm in how she wants be! One thing, I’m sure of, no matter how many seasons passes over Goa, its authenticity is so deeply rooted in the ground it will never change and also the susegad attitude that runs in the bloodstream of every single Goenkar will never change too. The slow paced way of life is what defines my home town.

A few years ago when I was in Goa,  I had the privileged to be a part of a Heritage Walk and exploring and discovering the Panjim city. This per say heritage walk talks about the history that the Portuguese has left behind. Walking through the lanes exposed me to what I didn’t see before – the old bakeries, the old Portuguese homes, the old chapels and structures which still stands strong despite modern way of life taking us over. I’d thought I knew Goa well enough, but again, how wrong I was. My own State home surprised me. I know, I haven’t till now discovered her well. But when I hear from others about its beauty and the way their eyes sparkle with description, makes me want to be a part of it. Yes! Goa, think I should visit you as a tourist and check you out!

People say Goa is really a two-piece destination, which you won’t find anywhere else in India – how true! Once you visit, it gets hard to come out of the hangover. In a way, Goa helps you to get rid of all your inhibitions – the place welcomes everyone with open arms. I can’t agree more with this. There is something about Goa – it’s everybody’s first crush and those memories remains forever etched in one’s mind.

So again, what makes Goa super hot and happening on the world tourism map? This little gem of a State called Goa, proudly sits on the map offering a variations of exposure to all walks of life – right from the colourful Carnival to a dazzling sociable nightlife to a romantic getaway (always a hot spot for honeymoon couples), the lovely mesmerizing landmark beaches  (which is overly crowded throughout the 365 days), fun water sports which is fun for all age groups to sightseeing of the ancient forts, churches, temples and the Portuguese homes (these homes is what adds to the heritage value of Goa), the Ayurveda and yoga retreats (haven for every foreign tourists), the backwaters (they are breathtaking – I love it!), the spice garden plantations, the buzzing night markets (here you’ll get to see people from all over the world, right from strange to weird), the latest additions are music festivals, the list can go on. There is so much to Goa, it just doesn’t end here. Although, these sums up to the fun quotient, there are other on-going stuff that you can also occupy your time with.

Photograph by Saish. Styling by Ethel Da Costa

With so many multi-cuisine restaurants popping up in every corner, the gourmet scene has become very diverse over the years in Goa. But the all time favourite choris pau (pork sausage & bread), fish curry rice, urrak and feni will always remain synonymous with Goa.

And, if you want to get to know Goa in an insightful way, then I would suggest make friends with the locals, blend into their life for a while and get to know their way of living life. The food, culture, habits and their zest will surely amaze you. Goans really know to live up their life the Goa way.  This upbeat and exuberant destination really allows you to explore life to the fullest. Whoever has said Goa is just sun and sand, and meant to relax by the beach with beer in hand is surely unaware that it has lots more to give for wanting you to come back for more. That’s how my home town is! Now, I understand why every tourist out there is crazy about Goa!! My take on this is – everyone should visit Goa once in their lifetime. This little gem of a land is a multi cultured paradise, it gives you exactly what you want by adding value to your money. So, go ahead, add this place on your must visit holiday destination list and you will never regret it. I promise!

And, as for me – Goa is a place that is close to my heart. Goa is where I grew up knowing it. Goa is my home, no matter which part of the corner of the world I might be. If someone asks me – don’t you miss Goa? For me, Goa will always be a part of me, but you see – life was never meant to be lived in one place! All said and done! Hoping on my next visit, I’ll end up making peace with Goa once and for all, by accepting her just the way she is….! Till then…Viva Goa!

About the writer! :Vegetarian and blogger by default. Gracy enjoys creativity and loves photography. A spiritual being seeking the unknown. Keeping life simple!

Photographs by Antonette Gracy

Personal blog: http://agracyd.blogspot.in/

Drop a line @: a.g.dcosta@gmail.com