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Goa Carnival - The Celebration of Portugal Tradition

Goa is India’s smallest state and is renowned for holing pretty beaches ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to those in laid-back fishing villages like- Agonda, steller nightlife, world-heritage listed architecture. The beautiful Goa lies in the Konkan region. Panaji is the state capital of Goa. The state Goa is divided into North Goa and South Goa. Apart from wonderful beaches, Goa is famous for its nightlife. The juxtaposition of beaches and parties is the main attraction of Goa’s nightlife. Several bars and pubs dot the stretches along the beach in Goa that is accompanied by food stalls, and souvenir shops. 

North Goa is renowned for holding nightlife hubs, beaches, flea markets, and beach shacks, whereas South Goa is renowned for holding luxurious resorts, and laid-back beach vibes. Visit the two famous beaches of Goa- Baga and Calangute in North Goa and South Goa- Agonda, and Palolem. 

Plan a trip to Goa between November to February when the weather is salubrious and very apt for exploring places and beaches. The temperature during these months ranges from around 20 to 30°C and is also the peak tourist season here. One can even plan a visit during the monsoon season which is from June to September if one loves beaches during rains. Avoid the summer season which is from March to May as the temperature ranges between 25 to 35°C making the weather extremely hot and humid. Adventure enthusiasts can head towards Goa in the month from December to January which is much ideal time to indulge in adventure activities like- trekking, and water sports activities like- scuba diving, parasailing, dinghy sailing, swimming, jet skiing and banana rides. 

How to reach

By Air

The nearest airport is the Goa International Airport which is located at Dabolim which is around 30 km away from Panjim. A Domestic airline like Jet Airways, Air India Spice Jet and IndiGo provide daily flights from prominent cities like- Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Most of the international flights to Goa arrive via Mumbai. After reaching the airport one can easily hire taxis to reach their desired destination.

By Road

Several long-distance inter-state luxury and budget buses run from prominent cities like- Mumbai Pune, Bangalore, and New Delhi to Goa. The State-run bus service- Kadamba Transport is also a good option. The other prominent state bus services- Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh also have daily buses that go to Goa. One can even avail of the super deluxe AC and Volvo buses for a comfortable journey. Several buses to and from Goa operate from Panjim, Margao, Chaudi, and Mapusa. A road trip to Goa is one of the great options. Visitors usually drive from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune to Goa. There are a total of three National highways that pass through the state- NH 4A, NH 17, and NH 17A. The roads are well-maintained and the view is amazing. 

By train

The state of Goa has around six railway stations out of which Madgaon Station is the biggest one. Visitors usually get down at Madgaon or Vasco-da-Gama in South Goa and Thivim in North Goa for Mapusa and other beaches. There are other small stations- Pernem for Arambol, Karmali for Panjim, and Canacona for Palolem. 

What is Goa Carnival

Goa Carnival is a grand festival organised before Lent that is meant for fasting and penance among the Catholics, 40 days ahead of Easter celebrations. This beautiful Goa Carnival is celebrated in Panaji, Vasco, Mapusa, and Margao. Goa Carnival commemorates the 450-year-old presence of the Portuguese in Goa. The festivities during this Carnival include- dancing troupes, revellers wearing masks and costumes, live music, sports competitions, floats and parades, and food and drinking. 

Goa Carnival takes place every year in February or March. This festival is purely for those people who crave some energetic vibes with a fine blend of culture and adventure. This annual festival of Goa is a riot of colours and energy spreading positive vibes all around by dominating the streets with beautiful dance and music performances. The residents of Goa believe that Goa comes under the rule of King Momo during the carnival season where the King Momo preaches to eat, drink and make merry. The astonishing parades float across the stunning cities of Panjim, Margao, Pondam Vasco, Curchorem, Mapusa and Morjim.  

How it originated

History has it that the Goa Carnival was started in the 18th century by the Portuguese in Goa to celebrate the beginning of Lent. Lent is a season of abstinence, fasting and prayer. So this Grand carnival is to celebrate the last lavish meals before entering the fasting season. It was highlighted after the end of Portuguese rule in Goa in the year 1960. 

Highlights of the Goa Carnival 

Goa Carnival is a lively and exhilarating carnival that is famed for its colourful processions and vibrant energy. This grand carnival begins with an incredibly grand procession that is headed up by the Carnival King Momo. The Balloons are bobbed up in the air to initiate the procession as it starts.

The huge street celebrations occur all over the Goa state with astounding parades full of colourful costumes and large incredible floats. Lots of extravagant dance and music performances are held with great enthusiasm. Some sports competitions are open to all free of cost. Some short gigs and plays are performed by the locals to exhibit the Goan culture and their love for fun and great spirit. 

The key highlights of the parade are the horse-drawn carriages, beautifully decorated bullock carts and pretty ornamented floats. Some performers showcase traditional dance performances in gaudy costumes and play electrifying music live in the procession. Khell or Fell is the popular one-act folk play where the exciting colours are used and the Intruzachim Geetam or Fella- Geetam are beautifully performed by the walking singers that walk around and sing and are accompanied by local musical instruments. The rustic drums- Dhokas are the major attractions of the mainspring or director of the play who narrates during the act. 

The Goa Carnival ends with the famous colour-coordinated dance where the women are dressed in red tops and black skirts and men in red shirts and black trousers while dancing in the procession. The Goan food that is available in the Goa carnival holds the rich and varied cultural heritage of Goa and thus it is truly unique and has a diversity of flavours and tastes in it.  

Goa Carnival Parades

The Goa Carnival hosts parades in four beautiful cities- Panaji, Margao, Vasco, and Mapusa. It usually begins on Saturday evening with a procession headed by King Momo. The key highlights of the Parades are the balloons, horse-drawn carriages, decorated bullock carts, and floats. The parade features great dancers, musicians fire-breathers, jesters, acrobats, clowns, and brass bands who perform as they parade down main streets. The 4-day grand carnival festival in Goa travels across the state performing and creating good vibes.

It starts from Panaji through the pretty Margao to the quaint towns of Vasco and Mapusa. This grand carnival goes through lanes and alleys of unknown towns. It is all about celebrating on the streets of Goa, dancing, watching vehicles festooned with flowers and feathers, watching people’s faces that are covered with masks and watching the crowing of King Momo. Enjoy the colourful festivity and watch the masked men and women thronging the streets, the stunning fashion shows, fancy dress competitions, food and live music. 

Dates of Goa Carnival 2021

Goa Carnival 2021 will be held on 13th Feb 2021 and will end on 16th February 2021. So grab the fantastic opportunity to attend the Goa Carnival 2021 and make your trip a memorable one. 

Ticket and fee for Goa Carnival

There is no ticket or fee for attending the Goa Carnival but yes there is a 100rs fee for participating in the red and black dance. People of all ages can take part in it. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to get drenched into the most happening Carnival of Goa wear your Goa Carnival mask and join the crowd. 

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