Easter is a popular Christian festival. We all love the Easter Eggs, don't we? From treasure hunt to collecting candies, Easter makes everyone happy and joyous.
But, did you know that Easter is preceded by 40 days of fasting and chastity. It is a time when people repent for their sins and abstain from all material pleasures. Lent starts from Ash Wednesday and ends on the day before Easter Sunday. The day before Ash Wednesday is celebrated in all its pomp and glory as Mardi Gras. It literally means Fat Tuesday in French.
Mardi Gras is celebrated as a carnival to reflect the pagan culture of medieval Europe. The glitz and glam carnival is also celebrated extensively in Goa for four long days. It starts on Fat Saturday and ends on Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.
Goa had been a Portuguese colony for approximately 400 years. Goa got independence from the Portuguese rule on 19th December, 1961. The carnival was introduced by the Portuguese and it is still celebrated in all its extravagant pomp and show.
I bet you have been making the Goa trip plan since your college days. The ultimate haven for the fun loving party animals has something for everyone.
Well, the best time to live your "Dil Chahta Hai" moments is definitely during the Carnival. The four days of unlimited fun and fervour is popularly known as the "Viva Carnaval Goa".
The Carnival starts in the capital, Panaji and proceeds towards the other cities of Vasco, Mapusa, Ponda and Margao. Thus, everybody in Goa gets to be a part of the festivities.
The aesthetically enticing environment is extremely romantic. You must definitely visit Goa during this time for that perfect romantic getaway. You can always book a couple-friendly hotel to relax and get ready for the day.
Nevertheless, it is a wise decision to stay only in hourly hotels because you must travel from one city to the other to make the most of the carnival.
The festival is led by King Momo and ends with his coronation before the dawn of Ash Wednesday.
The vibrant Carnival float parades are a display of the rich Goan heritage and culture. Many modern and social themes are also visible. The parade is hosted in a different city everyday. Hence, book hourly hotels and travel Goa along with the carnival.
There are plenty of activities being held everywhere during this time. From sports competitions to dance events, there is something in store for everyone. You absolutely cannot miss the beach parties at the ultimate beach destination of India. So, bring out your masks and shake a leg at a party.
As you would travel one city to the other there is a lot of activities you can participate at each place.
The major attractions of Panjim/Panaji are:
- Basilica of Bom Jesus
"Bom Jesus" literally means "Holy Jesus" in Latin. Among all the surviving churches in Goa, this is the oldest one. The remains of St. Francis Xavier is preserved in the church. If not for history, you should visit the church for the Portuguese architecture inside the church.
2. Church of our lady of the Immaculate Conception
The church consists of three shrines of Mary, Crucifixion of Jesus and Our Lady of the Rosary. It was initially built as a chapel and expanded over time.
3. Fort Aguada
Fort Aguada is a 400 year old majestic fort. It is a reflection of the mighty Portuguese empire. It was built in the 16th century and also consists of a lighthouse and a jail.
4. Goa Archaeological Museum
If you love history, then this is the perfect place for you. From archaeological relics to stamps, the history of the Goan culture has been preserved beautifully in this museum.
5. SE Cathedral
SE Cathedral is built in the memory of St. Catherine of Alexandria. The church is structured in the beautiful Portuguese-Manueline style of architecture. The "huge golden bell" is a notable feature of the church.
There are plenty more tourists spots in Panaji. But, as the Carnival is hosted by another city you must visit the attractions of those places as well.
Some of the major attractions of Vasco are:
- Cansualim Beach
Though horizons look pretty at every beach. But, it is particularly serene at Cansualim Beach. Do remember to reserve a sunset for this beach. The golden sand and palm trees accentuate the tranquil environment.
2. Kesarval Waterfalls
The waterfalls is in nature's lap and provides a scenic view. This is a serene place for all the peaceful souls. The adventure lovers can indulge in the water sports. But, everyone would definitely love a swim in the falls.
3. Naval Aviation Museum
This is the only naval aviation museum in India. It was built in 1998 and a must-visit for everyone.
As you traverse around Vasco, you must book hotels only to rest and get ready when required. Booking a hotel for an entire day can be unnecessarily expensive.
Some of the major tourist attractions in Mapusa are:
- Sri Kalika Temple
Goddess Kali is worshipped inside the temple. The idol of the goddess is sculpted in the Kadamba style. Artists perform regularly at the stage in the temple.
There are many churches and tranquil beaches in Mapusa to visit.
Margao is another city which hosts the carnival. The city is both the cultural and commercial capital of Goa. It is historically known that proper habitation in Goa started in Margao. The beaches and churches in Margao are very pretty and captivating.
Goa can be that perfect romantic getaway. So, surprise your better half with a trip to the carnival. Enjoy the harmony and the love in the air.
Goa Carnival has something in store for everyone. So, plan your family trip without worrying about your little ones or aged parents. They would surely enjoy the Carnival and other activities.
In case you do not want to be on the road during the carnival you can always book a dayuse hotel and enjoy the display from your room with your loved ones. This is the peak carnival season, so it is sensible to book hotels by the hour. They are also extremely hospitable and you do not need to be worried about the safety of your tiny tots.
The Carnival is a one-of-a-kind experience and you must break a leg there for an experience of a lifetime.
If you loved the carnival, then you must visit Goa during the Hill Top Festival as well.