Goa Carnival – India’s own Mardi Gras

The Goa Carnival is an annual festival held from 6th to 9th February every year. This four-day carnival is a festival of dance, music, theatrical performances and various forms of entertainment. The history of the festival lies in the colonial era Goa when it was a Portuguese colony, and the colony of Goa developed their celebration to be held before Lent, which is a Christian time of giving up all luxuries and extravagances, hence the Goa carnival became a form of indulgence with celebrations before Lent.

In the present-day Goa, the Goa Festival influences a mix of Goan and Portuguese cultures. The Goa carnival is a ticket-free, open to all festival which attracts hundreds of thousands of domestic and international visitors annually. The entire State of Goa is decorated in bright colours, with significant celebrations taking place in Panjim, Margao and Vasco da Gama with a wide array of festivities, street performances, theatrical displays, fire-eaters, musical bands, dancers, acrobats and the most important, food. Food is such an essential part of the Goa Carnival that, it is kicked off by a Food and Cultural Event n the 8th February every year followed by an opening ceremony the next day.

Goa and the Goa Carnival provides travellers with a wide array of options, before, during and post the Goa Carnival. Some of the most recommended activities for travellers during the Goa Carnival are.

Goa Carnival is the most famous festival in the state and has been celebrated since the 18th century

Attend the Parade

The Goa Carnival parade is India’s answer to New Orleans Mardi Gras and Rio Carnival. The parade has a variety of performances such as dancers, musical performances, people wearing insane masks, and experience the blend of local Goan and Portuguese cultures with decorated float parades, sports competitions, fashion shows and parties, authentic Goan sea-food etc.

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Relax by the Beach

The State of Goa runs parallel to the Arabian Sea and is known for it beautiful and tourist-friendly beaches equipped with shacks for tourist where they can eat, drink and relax. Some of the most beaches of Goa include the Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, Colva Beach, Anjuna Beach, Palolem Beach, Arambol beach, Morjim Beach, Vagator Beach, AgondaBeach, Candolim Beach Dona Paula Beach and many more.

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Indulge in Water Sports

Almost every beach in Goa is equipped with water sports activities such as windsurfing, scuba diving, parasailing, jet ski, water scooters, windsurfing, dinghy surfing, swimming etc. with many private operators handling water sports in each beach of Goa. Dona Paula Beach is famous for its windsurfing and travellers can scuba dive at Grande Island and Candolim beach and swim and witness underwater marine life and diver can also observe many wrecks of Portuguese World War II-era vessels and ships.

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Cruise on the Mandovi River

Many cruises are operated on the Mandovi River by the government and private operators who offer day-time, sunset and moonlight cruises. Travellers can witness various landmarks in and around the coastal region of Goa. There are also special boat tours available for crocodile and dolphin spotting.

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Gamble at India’s only Floating offshore Casino

Goa is one of the very few states in India that permits gambling with many casinos in 5-star hotels and the most famous Casino in Goa, the Casino Royale Goa, which is a huge boat anchored in the Mandovi River and is equipped with over 50 gaming tables and 30 slot machines. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week but the major entertainment at the casino starts after8 p.m..

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