Valentine Goa

What better place to celebrate Valentine’s Day than in a cozy Heritage Homestay in Goa’s Latin Quarter of Fontainhas ? 

If you are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Goa, then you certainly won’t be alone. Goa seems to be the No. 1 Valentine’s Holiday destination for Couples this year.

Among Indian cities, Goa seems to be the most popular choice for Couples looking for a quick romantic getaway. Goa has always been one of the most beautiful Valentine’s Day destinations, being blessed with miles scenic beaches with swaying coconut palms, old colonial Heritage Portuguese buildings, delicious cuisine and a easy going, laid back populace.

The Goans themselves celebrate Valentine’s Day with an zest and enthusiasm that is typical of their passionate nature as they express their undying love for one another. Love-struck Couples can be seen at many of Goa’s popular beaches walking happily hand-in-hand. In the evenings and indeed throughout the day, the local Goan restaurants are filled with couples gazing deeply into each others eyes.  

Over the years however, North Goa (especially Anjuna beach, Baga beach and Candolim beach) has become increasingly commercialised, with gift shops, card shops and restaurants doing roaring business in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Large red hearts and big, cuddly teddy bears greet you at the entrances to most shops and restaurants. Not just shops, even bakeries, music stores, coffee shops, theatres, jewellery, watch shops and malls gleefully sport the Valentine look in an attempt to entice couples to show their undying love for each other in material terms.

However, if you want to spend some quality time with your loved one away from the madding crowd, here are a few unique things you can do as a Couple this Valentine’s Day in Goa: 

A romantic walk on Miramar beach

After checking in to their hotel, the first thing that couples usually do is to head to the beach. There is nothing more romantic than walking hand-in-hand across miles and miles of scenic beach. And while other couples fight their way through crowded beaches like Anjuna beach, Baga beach and Palolem beach, you can take a romantic walk on Miramar beach, a short drive from The Mitaroy, Goa. While the waves crash in the background, the few couple on Miramar beach seem completely oblivious to the beauty outside, so taken in are they by the beauty of their partner walking hand-in-hand beside them. And after a while of walking on the beach, the honeymoon couple sit down, close to each other, and admire the expanse of seemingly endless blue ocean.

Champagne Breakfast

One of the most popular things for couples to do on Valentine’s Day in Goa is to wake up leisurely to a Champagne Breakfast. The Mitaroy, Goa is one of the few hotels that offer a complimentary Champagne Breakfast and it truly is a unique experience. Instead of having to fight your way past other couples in larger 5 star hotels and resorts in Goa, allow us to serve you your Champagne Breakfast either in our private garden or in the privacy of your Romantic Suite.  Either which way, waking up to a glass of Champagne is one of the most romantic things couples can do on Valentine’s day in Goa.

Watch a Romantic Movie at the INOX cinema in Panjim

Panjim’s newest and most impressive cinema, INOX is also home each year to the International Film Festival of Goa or IFFI as it is better known. And thanks to public demand, INOX usually has atleast one or two romantic Hollywood and Bollywood movies with just the right dose of romance and drama. So sink into your seats, hold your partners hand and drift away into a magical world of make believe fairytale romance!

View the impressive colonial architecture in the capital city of Panjim (Panaji)

Goa is not just about the beaches. 400 years of Portuguese rule has left an indelible mark on the architecture of Goa and nowhere is this more evident than in the capital city of Panjim or Panaji. After building up a glorious capital city in Old Goa, the Portuguese were forced to flee to Panaji or Panjim to escape the water contamination in Old Goa. The upper class Portuguese set up residence in and around the Neighbourhood of Fontainhas and then set about building up Panjim as a worthy successor to Old Goa. While certain buildings and statues had pure prestige value, other buildings like the high court and the administrative offices also served a bureaucratic purpose. Today, couples can marvel at the Portuguese architectural heritage as they walk past magnificent buildings built in the Portuguese era such as the first Medicine University or the old City Library. Many couples also like to walk hand-in-hand along the Mandovi pier as they watch the twinkling lights of the luxury yachts and casino ships moored in the river.

Discover the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas

Quietly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Panjim or Panaji, the capital city of Goa, is the neighbourhood of Fontainhas, home to The Mitaroy, Goa. The neighbourhood of Fontainhas (which means “little fountain” in Portuguese) is home to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. In 1984, Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone & most of the buildings and churches here date back to the mid 19th century.Fontainhas has a number of designer boutiques where you can shop for Portuguese crockery, glassware, art and clothing. With its narrow winding streets, quaint bye lanes, old heritage houses and distinct Portuguese flair, Fontainhas evokes a nostalgia and longing for the romance of an era gone by.

Visit the location of the tragic love story of Dona Paula de Menezes

The Dona Paula beach and promontory is named after the Portuguese Viceroy’s daughter Dona Paula de Menezes.

This young, innocent girl fell in love with a local Goan fisherman. This match was however, quite unacceptable to the Viceroy who forbade his daughter Dona Paula to ever see her young lover again. Distraught with love and sorrow, Dona Paula could not bear a life without her young Goan lover and threw herself off a cliff into the unforgiving Arabian Sea. Left with nothing but his daughter’s memory, the Portuguese Viceroy named the area Dona Paula, as an eternal tribute to his stubbornness and forbidden romance & love. Today, there is a black stone statue of the young Dona Paula and her Goan lover on a rocky promontory jutting into the sea with a sweeping view of the Marmagoa Port in the background.

The Dona Paula beach and pier is a popular spot for couples to visit on Valentine’s Day. Most couples walk up to the top of the cliff to pay tribute to the stone statue of the young Dona Paula and her undying love. A slightly melancholic yet unique way to spend Valentine’s Day. 

Make love in your own Romantic Suite

No Valentine’s Day is complete without Valentine’s Night! 

After a romantic dinner under a starlit sky, it is time for couples to return to their Romantic Suite, light up a few scented candles, turn off the lights and discover the pleasure of making love to each other till the wee hours of the morning…after all, that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, isn’t it?

Book your Valentine Goa Package now!

  • Complimentary Champagne Breakfast 
  • Complimentary Bottle of Goan Wine 
  • Complimentary Tickets to a Romantic Movie
  • Complimentary Valentine’s Day Surprise on Arrival
  • Complimentary Late Check Out till 5 pm, subject to availability
  • Complimentary selection of daily Goan Newspapers
  • Complimentary bottled Mineral Water throughout your stay
  • Complimentary Hand made Bath Amenities

4 days 3 nights Valentine Goa Package in a Romantic Suite: Rs. 19,000

Please make your reservations well in advance since we are a small Homestay and are often booked out quite early.

India: +91 94480 87708
Europe: +43 680 2303682

mihirnayak@outlook.com

Reminiscing about Goa

In the good old days, four annas could fetch a pao bhajji and tea, hardly any passenger would complain if a bus driver stopped for a shave and even the governor walked to Old Goa for St Francis Xavier’s feast.

Inflation was not a problem then. 1 anna (= 4 paisa) could buy a whole lot of food items and articles. One could have a bread and tea at an anna each and bhajji for two annas. Sugar cost 50 paise per pound (half kg) and jaggery and potatoes, about 3 annas a piece, per pound.

Though the cost of food items and other goods was low and often remained static for years, the people’s poor economic conditions constrained their purchasing power. Most people could not even afford to buy a bicycle and had to walk home after working in the main cities like Panjim. Very few families had cars and a few buses were introduced later in the same decade (1950s). On an average, there was just one or two buses on every route. The first caminhao would leave from Panaji at 7am to Agasaim, taking about an hour to reach its destination, without any regular stops. Any passenger could stop the bus anywhere. 

The network of tarred roads existed only between towns, especially Mapusa, Panaji, Margao and Vasco. Beyond Cuncolim, the national highway was a kutcha road. The village roads were mostly kutcha roads. In Panaji, the Dayanand Bandodkar road along the river front was fully tarred up to Dona Paula, as the governor traveled on it from Raj Bhavan to the old secretariat. MG road, 18th June road, Rua de Ourem and the Altinho road from the old Secretariat were tarred, but most other internal roads were kutcha roads.

The lack of basic infrastructure determined the people’s lifestyles and their night life. The main towns of Panaji, Mapusa, Margao and Vasco had government-supplied power. A pall of gloom and darkness would descend over almost all villages, and even suburban areas after sunset. Villagers used to light torches of coconut leaves and walk home in the dark. Even students were forced to study and do their homework only in daylight. 

Recreational activities were hard to come by. Football was perhaps the only sport given any importance. Cricket was played at the school-level and there were also some amateur teams. In villages, people played loggorio. For children, there were some strange pastimes. A hand-held contraption made of discarded reels of thread, fixed to a cross-shaped bamboo piece kept children busy. One of the reels at the top of the contraption served as a steering to push the wheels around.

The education scenario in the state was rather dismal as well. There were a few high schools in Panaji, Ponda, Mapusa, Margao, Vasco and among villages, Parra and Cuncolim. “The total students answering SSC exams was around 800 to 900, as against an average of 15,000 now and schools were affiliated to the Maharashtra board.

Amost all students, including some from Ribandar and St Cruz, walked to school barefoot. Students from Aldona and Britona availed the launch service. And most students used to go to Bombay for higher studies. 

Today life is very different in Goa. And this has made the Goans lazier. 

But in the old days, things were different. Given the difficulties that the Goans faced, the long distances they had to walk and the limited resources and amenities that they had to cope with; the concept of soscegado was a totally different one. 

Following the footprints of the Portuguese in Goa

Goa Velha sounds like a name from a fado, the famous Portuguese songs of sadness and melancholy. And indeed the state of Old Goa’s precious heritage today only adds to the melancholy. Little remains of the golden era of Portuguese colonial history when Goa as referred to as ‘Ilha Illustrissima ” because of its immense riches.

In 1510, Portuguese soldiers under the leadership of Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered the city on the banks of the Mandovi River. The Portuguese army was supported fervently by the local Hindu citizens who had suffered under the then Muslim ruler Adil Shah and who were hoping for a better life under the Portuguese.

After conquering Old Goa, the Portuguese proceeded to build what would become their most important commercial and trading center outside of Portugal. And with the Portuguese soldiers came the Portuguese missionaries, who proceeded to convert as many natives to Christianity as possible. From 1540 onwards, almost all Hindu temples were destroyed and replaced by churches. In addition, Goa was also the scene of one of the most brutal Inquisitions in the Portuguese empire. 

When in 1565, the seat of the Portuguese viceroy was transferred from Fort Cochin (Kerala) to Goa, Old Goa reached its zenith. Old Goa had upto 300 000 residents and it was even said that “Whosoever has seen Goa, need not see Lissabon”. 

Fast forward to today and most witnesses to the great power of the Portuguese rulers is all but gone. All that remains are some very impressive churches and Basilica. Thanks to some careful restoration of these houses of worship, the ‘Churches and Convents of Old Goa’ is now an important UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the mingling of the sari and the dress, the mingling of modern Indian reality and the old Baroque and Renaissance buildings that forms such a stark contrast and attracts thousands and thousands of tourists, either in bus loads as part of a half day tour or those with backpacks and Lonely Planet’s in their hands. The women in their bright saris contrast against the dark panelled wooden doors of the Basilica and make for a great photograph. 

Old Goa has a number of Portuguese churches including the Sé Cathedral, reportedly the largest in Asia, the Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Church of St Cajetan. Most famous of all though is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, also known as the Church of St Francis Xavier and home to the sarcophagus of St. Francisco Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuit order. He arrived in 1542 from Portugal and having spent a large portion of his life in Goa, finally died in China. But his body was discovered in such perfect condition that it was possible to bring his body back to Goa where it now lies. 

 Despite all its wealth, Old Goa ultimately had to surrender to its downfall. After several severe cholera epidemics (1534, 1543, 1635) had decimated the population massively (sanitary conditions were not as advanced as they are today), the seat of the Viceroy was moved to New Goa or Panaji in 1835. Most of the Portuguese families moved to the neighbourhood or Bairros de Fontainhas (home to the only fresh water fountain in Panaji) and built impressive bungalows in Portuguese style.  The last religious orders were asked to leave Old Goa and many impoverished locals tore down their houses and sold the building stones to feed their families, thereby further accelerating the decline of Old Goa. 

Although 450 years had passed from the first conquest of Goa until Goa’s independence, the withdrawal of the Portuguese from India in 1961 took a mere 48 hours. Such was the resistance of the local populace that all the Portuguese statutes were demounted and brought to safety. Today, the statue of Alfonso de Albuquerque stands at the entrance of the archaeological museum in Goa Velha, an hommage to the glorious yet turbulent history of this region. 

Goa wants to enter World Heritage list with forest bats

Being included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List is one of the surest ways for destinations to get noticed by tourists and the media alike. 

It was only a few months back, in July 2012 that the Western Ghats (the mountainous region spreading along the Western Coast of India across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) was added to the World Heritage Sites list by UNESCO. However, the Goan part of the Western Ghats was not included in the UNESCO’s list.

There was a huge outcry by Goa’s powerful mining lobby when the proposal was brought up and it seems that the powerful mining lobby managed to thwart the Government’s attempts to include Goa in this prestigious World Heritage List. 

That is why it came as quite a surprise to me to read that the Goan Government would like to enter the Goa region of the Western Ghats in the World Heritage Sites list. 

Making its representation, the Goan State Forest Department has claimed that the forests of Goa are the only home on earth for rare species of wild forest bat — The Giant Indian Mastiff.

This small creature looks rather small and weak, unlike its rather pompous sounding name!

The Goan State Forest Department has claimed in a draft letter yet to be submitted to UNESCO that the Great Indian Mastiff (also known in scientific circles as the ‘Wroughton’s free-tailed bat’ has been sighted in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in the Western Ghats region and steps have already been taken to declare the area a protected region. 

As per protocol, the draft letter must receive the approval of the Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, before being sent to UNESCO. The letter also includes an appeal to declare Goa’s forests as a ‘tiger habitat. 

The increased presence of tigers in the Western Ghats region in recent years shows the potential of these forests to become a protected tiger habitat in the Western Ghats region. 

For Goa to be included in the World Heritage list, the natural heritage must be deemed to be of value to all humanity.

If the proposal is accepted by UNESCO, the forests of Western Ghat will find themselves in the middle of a great amount of attention, from both the media as well as tourists. Not only does a UNESCO Heritage tag ensure a greater number of tourists, it also enables the local State Government to better protect the natural habitat against development pressures. 

Goa has indeed benefited by such a UNESCO Heritage tag in the past, as its Churches and Convents of Goa are already included in the cultural and historical Heritage Sites list of UNESCO. Built during the 16th to the 18th centuries, these historial structures date from Goa’s Portuguese Colonial days and are credited with introducing the Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque styles of art to the Asian peninsula.

Most beach tourists make it a point to at least visit the UNESCO Heritage Site of the Churches and Convents of Goa, known simply as Old Goa, during their stay, usually as part of a half day Old Goa sightseeing tour by bus. 

But as tourists become more discerning, they spend more time visiting and imbibing the cultural heritage of Goa, with repeat visits to both the Churches and Convents of Old Goa as well as the Heritage Conservation Zone of Fontainhas in Panjim.

Top 10 things to do on your Honeymoon in Goa

Goa has always been one of the most beautiful honeymoon destinations in the whole of India, being blessed with miles scenic beaches with swaying coconut palms, old colonial Heritage Portuguese buildings, delicious cuisine and a easy going, laid back populace.

And most Honeymoon Couples that stay in one of the Honeymoon Suites at The Mitaroy, Goa – often ask for a list of things to do while they are on their honeymoon in Goa.

That is why I decided to blog about my Top 10 list of things to do as a honeymoon couple on your honeymoon to Goa:

1. A romantic walk on the beach

After checking in to their Honeymoon Suite, the first thing that honeymoon couples usually do is head to the beach. There is nothing more romantic than walking hand-in-hand across miles and miles of scenic beach. And Goa does have a wide variety of beaches to offer. From the busy beaches in the north to the untouched beaches in the south, honeymoon couples are spoilt for choice. While the waves crash in the background, the honeymoon couple seems completely oblivious to the beauty outside, so taken in are they by the beauty of their partner walking hand-in-hand beside them. And after a while of walking on the beach, the honeymoon couple sit down, close to each other, and admire the expanse of seemingly endless blue ocean.

2. Champagne Breakfast

One of the most popular things to do on a Honeymoon is to wake up leisurely to a Champagne Breakfast. While we serve a complimentary Champagne Breakfast at the Mitaroy Goa Hotel at a time of your choice, most hotels in Goa usually offer Champagne on the menu. Combined with freshly pressed orange juice, waking up to a glass of Champagne is one of the most romantic things honeymoon couples can do on their honeymoon in Goa.

3. Listen to the music of legendary mandolin player Emiliano

The O Coqueiro restaurant and bar is one of the most romantic restaurants in the whole of Goa. O’ Coqueiro (pronounced as o-co-ke-roo) means Coconut tree in Portuguese. The O’ Coqueiro restaurant is housed in a sprawling, old Portuguese-style ancestral bungalow right on the Mapusa – Panaji highway in the small village of Porvorim. Rather plain by day, in the evening the lighting and greenery give it a romantic atmosphere that is hard to describe.

Every Friday, Emiliano and his band play a medley of Portuguese, Goan and Hindi music that keeps your feet tapping through your meal. The O Coqueiro restaurant and bar is also home to the Chicken Cafreal, a delicious Goan chicken dish with a delicious dark green gravy, eaten either with Basmati rice or Goan paav bread.

4. View the impressive colonial architecture in the capital city of Panjim (Panaji)

Goa is not just about the beaches. 400 years of Portuguese rule has left an indelible mark on the architecture of Goa and nowhere is this more evident than in the capital city of Panjim or Panaji. After building up a glorious capital city in Old Goa, the Portuguese were forced to flee to Panaji or Panjim to escape the water contamination in Old Goa. The upper class Portuguese set up residence in and around the Neighbourhood of Fontainhas and then set about building up Panjim as a worthy successor to Old Goa. While certain buildings and statues had pure prestige value, other buildings like the high court and the administrative offices also served a bureaucratic purpose. Today, honeymoon couples can marvel at the Portuguese architectural heritage as they walk past magnificent buildings built in the Portuguese era such as the first Medicine University or the old City Library. Many honeymoon couples also like to walk hand-in-hand along the Mandovi pier as they watch the twinkling lights of the luxury yachts and casino ships moored in the river.

5. Discover the Latin Quarter of Fontainhas

Quietly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Panjim or Panaji, the capital city of Goa, is the neighbourhood of Fontainhas, home to The Mitaroy, Goa. The neighbourhood of Fontainhas (which means “little fountain” in Portuguese) is home to the last surviving Portuguese families of Goa. In 1984, Fontainhas was declared a UNESCO Heritage Zone & most of the buildings and churches here date back to the mid 19th century.Fontainhas has a number of designer boutiques where you can shop for Portuguese crockery, glassware, art and clothing. With its narrow winding streets, quaint bye lanes, old heritage houses and distinct Portuguese flair, Fontainhas evokes a nostalgia and longing for the romance of an era gone by.

6. Visit the location of the tragic love story of Dona Paula de Menezes

The Dona Paula beach and promontory is named after the Portuguese Viceroy’s daughter Dona Paula de Menezes.

This young, innocent girl fell in love with a local Goan fisherman. This match was however, quite unacceptable to the Viceroy who forbade his daughter Dona Paula to ever see her young lover again. Distraught with love and sorrow, Dona Paula could not bear a life without her young Goan lover and threw herself off a cliff into the unforgiving Arabian Sea.

Left with nothing but his daughter’s memory, the Portuguese Viceroy named the area Dona Paula, as an eternal tribute to his stubbornness and forbidden romance & love.

Today, there is a black stone statue of the young Dona Paula and her Goan lover on a rocky promontory jutting into the sea with a sweeping view of the Marmagoa Port in the background.

The Dona Paula beach and pier is a popular spot for honeymoon couples to visit. Most honeymoon couples walk up to the top of the cliff to pay tribute to the stone statue of the young Dona Paula and her undying love.

7. Visit Goa’s only bird sanctuary

The Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is Goa’s only bird sanctuary and one of the most romantic spots in Goa for honeymoon couples to spend an afternoon.

Named after the famous ornithologist Dr Salim Ali, the scenic and serene atmosphere of the Sanctuary make it a perfect spot for honeymoon couples to while away their time, whispering sweet nothings in each others ears or just gazing fondly at each other while listening to the natural bird calls in the background.

8. Discover the remnants of Goa’s Portuguese Heritage Homes

The Braganca House in Chandor is one of the last remaining Grand Portuguese Heritage Homes.

In the centre of the small, sleepy village of Chandor in south Goa lies a 450 year old sprawling Portuguese mansion named Braganca House. For honeymoon couples looking for a peek into the lives of the landed gentry of the Portuguese era, the Braganca House is probably your best bet. From the ceiling tiles hand-painted by Chinese artists, to the oyster shell windows and the exquisite porcelain plates from Macau adorning the walls.

In the magnificent ballroom, with its Italian alabaster marble flooring and crystal chandeliers from Venice, honeymoon couples can let their imagination take them back to the days when the aristocratic couples of old Portuguese Goa glided elegantly across the marble floor.

9. Trace the history of Goan Houses at the Houses of Goa Museum

Designed by the famous Goan architect Gerard da Cunha, the Houses of Goa Museum is a strange ship like structure situated in the middle of the road in Bardez, Goa.

The Houses of Goa Museum is a collection of household articles and trinkets that depict the history and heritage that is unique to Goa. Honeymoon couples can take a look at unique items like a rare hat stand, old French windows and rare postcards of Goa dating back to 1900s.

According to Gerard da Cunha, “Goans, who were people who were converted, were looking for a new identity, and thus embarked on the experiment in architecture, to produce something unique and unseen anywhere in the world”.

Da Cunha’s landmark museum provides a ringside view!

10. Make love in your own Honeymoon Suite

No honeymoon is complete without the consummation of the marriage itself. While it is nice to discover the local sights and sounds of Goa, most honeymoon couples at The Mitaroy, Goa come back to their Honeymoon Suite in the evening to freshen up for dinner.

After a romantic dinner under a starlit sky, it is time for honeymoon couples to return to their Honeymoon Suite, light up a few scented candles, turn off the lights and discover the pleasure of making love to each other till the early hours of the morning…after all, that’s what a honeymoon is really all about, isn’t it?

Honeymoons are special, once in a lifetime experiences and rest assured, we will take special care of you and make your honeymoon something you will remember for the rest of your lives!

Please make your reservations well in advance since we are often booked out quite early.

Click Here to Book your Tailor Made Goa Honeymoon Package Now!