Calangute and Baga Beaches

INTRODUCTION

On the shores of the Arabian Sea, under the shade of palm trees, bathes the Queen of Beaches. Calangute. In a green semi-circle, the villages of Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim do their bit to enhance the divine beauty of Calangute. There are picturesque agors (saltpans) at Agarvaddo, Maddavaddo is full of madd (coconut trees), Dongorpur skirts a bottle-green hillock and Tivaivaddo laces the beach. In Gauravaddo lived the gaudds or milkmen ran dairies.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Beach Area

The Calangute Beach has a massive stretch of 7 km.

Best time to visit

Calangute Beach and Baga can be visited at any time of the year, though the monsoon months, which bring heavy rains, are best avoided. The period from November to February is the most pleasant for a visit to this beach.

Origin of Name

Calangute seems to be a distortion of the local vernacular word. . Koli-gutti. , which means land of fishermen. Some people connect it with Kalyangutti (village of art) or Konvallo-ghott (strong pit of the coconut tree) because the village is full of coconut trees. With the advent of the Portuguese, the word probably got distorted to Calangute, and has stuck till today.

LOCATION

Calangute and Baga lie on the shores of the Arabian Sea of North Goa in India. It is encircled by Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim, in the Bardez taluka, and is just 15 km from Panjim, the capital of the state of Goa.

KEY ATTRACTIONS

The Beach

Fun in the sun, sand and sea along with great opportunities for feasting on fresh seafood and feni is what a day on the Calangute beach essentially means. Frolicking families, eager hands making sand castles, colorful crowds surging towards the sea, hippies busy remembering the good old times and the young and old alike lazing on the golden sands are some of the images that characterize this Queen of Beaches. This picture of a perfect tourist haven is completed with shacks and stalls under the shade of palm trees selling everything from fried prawns and beer to trinkets made of seashells. The rainbow hued canvas of Calangute has welcomed everyone to it always though it became popular across the globe only after the hippies discovered it in the . 60s.

The St. Alex Church

As the vast traffic on the CHOGM road reaches the village, the Church of St Alex greets with its two towers and a magnificent dome gracing the façade. The inside of the church is a display of the line and beauty of its architectural style and ornate altars. In 1996, Calangute celebrated the fourth centenary of its parish church.

Kerkar Art Complex

The Kerkar Art Complex, is the one and only of its kind on this beach. It is a popular center for exhibitions of arts and crafts of local artistes. On Thursdays and Fridays, connoisseurs of Indian classical music and dance can be an audience to various concerts.

CLIMATE

Goa has a consistent climate through the year with only meager fluctuations in the temperature. December and January might require light woolens. April and May are warm. The period from June to October brings heavy rain, almost up to 320 cm. The temperature during summers ranges from 24°C to 32.7°C and during winters, from 21.3°C to 32.2°C.

HISTORY OF POPULARITY

Calangute became a traveler. s cliché in the '60s and early'70s. It was the hippies who discovered the pristine surroundings and blissful serenity and golden sands. The hippies also spread the word around and brought hordes of European tourists. Decades later, tourists still trudge down the dusty, weather-beaten roads in search of that idyllic coastal Goa. On this lovely beach, Goans and tourists spend summers, bathing in the quiet solitude of the sea, sun and sand.

VICINITY

Medicinal Springs

The narrow road leading past the Bom Viagem Convent along the cashew-covered foothills, leads to the springs at Mottant. This is an ideal spot for picnics and bathing, as the water is believed to be medicinal.

Baga Retreat House

Overlooking the village and the Arabian Sea, at the Baga hilltop is the Baga Retreat House dedicated to St Francis Xavier. It was known as the Casa de Retiros.

TRADITION AND DRESS CODE

The villages of Goa have a few things in common: they will have at least one church with a square in front of it where, those who can still find the time to do so, meet and exchange news and views when dusk settles on the land. In the morning, however, particularly on a Sunday morning, the older men and women get into dark suits and dresses, the younger women carry scarves to cover their heads, and all go to church. Everyone is welcome into a Goan church, provided one is suitably dressed. At the St Alex church too, the Sunday service is given due importance with the entire local Christian community in attendance.

Contrary to the pictures painted of the hippie days, nudity is against the local norms and traditions and not accepted on the Calangute or any of the Goa beaches. Anybody indulging in or encouraging nudity on the beaches would be a nuisance and a source of embarrassment for the local inhabitants. The law could deal strictly with the offender.

SHOPPING

Saturday bazaar near the new Post Office is an ideal place for good bargainers. The bazaar offers commodities like fish, meat, grocery, textiles, earthenware, household articles and other provisions. Toys and trinkets, piglets, chicken, eggs, brooms and all the traditional, rural produce find their way into the Saturday bazaar.

In the center of Calangute, there is a nice Tibetan market. It offers all kinds of gems and silverwork, wooden statues of the Buddha's and Hindu deities.

Besides, Calangute and Baga have been swamped by Kashmiri traders, putting up Kashmiri carpets, embroidery, and papier-mâché boxes for sale.

Cocoon Art Gallery near Milky Way, Calangute, houses some art pieces along with clothes and jewelry.

ACCOMMODATION

There are plenty of resorts and hotels in Calangute. We provide hotel booking and hotel packages in collaboration with leading hotels of Goa. Contact us if you need the most exciting hotel packages for the state of Goa.

HOW TO REACH

By Air
The nearest airport is at Dabolim, which is 29 km away from Panaji. Panaji is just half an hour's drive away from Calangute.

By Rail
The nearest railway station is at Karmali 11 km away from Panaji.

By Road
Calangute Beach is about ten minutes from Mapusa, and thirty minutes from the state capital, Panaji. We provide all types of road transportation for the travelers wishing to visit Goa. Contact us immediately with your transportation needs immediately.

Water Sports Parasailing, water skiing and wind surfing at the beach starts in the afternoon when the wind is blowing just in the right direction and it goes on till sunset.

Crocodile and dolphin spotting tours

We offer backwater crocodile or dolphin spotting down the Mandovi river to the Zuari river whose banks are thickly forested with mangrove trees. Crocodiles inhabit the swamps in this area. At the open sea at the mouth of the Mandovi River, dolphins can be spotted.

DO's AND DON'Ts

Swimming is dangerous at most parts of the beach because of the strong current. Consulting the lifeguards is a must before venturing out into the waters.

Drug trafficking is against the Indian law. Anybody found breaching the law could be awarded a life imprisonment.