Location : 6 km east of Margao in South Goa
Main Attractions : Church of Our Lady of Merces and Shack Cafés
What To Do : Beach combing, Colva Walk
Best Time To Visit : December To February
Colva Beach , Goa
They say it is hard to find solitude amidst a bustling shoreline. The beauty of Colva Beach only lies in the gap between this myth and reality. Being South Goa's main tourist beach at a distance of mere 6 km from Margao, this pristine patch of golden sands attracts thousands of beach-holidayers round the year. But, despite the crush of the crowds, Colva Beach retains its charm. It's always deserted in the morning, thus designing a perfect canvas for sunrise. Even after the hordes descend, fly high or raise their voice to overpower the ebullience of the waves, if you take the pleasure to walk half a kilometre up or down the beach, you can have a great deal of solitude. This sun-kissed land of solace also sees massive crowds in October, as devotees from every corner of India come to seek blessings of the Infant Jesus at the Colva church. And on the other side, the Colva Beach also flaunts of a peerless nightlife and exquisite shopping experience. With its something-for everyone air, this long stretch of solitary sands and shifting fruition easily qualifies as the most versatile beach holiday in Goa.
The beach itself has a plenty of shacks and is crowded with vacationers in the high season. Grab a table in the sea-facing shacks on either side, get your fenny (local drink of Goa) and stuffed 'papad', and enjoy the breeze and the view. It may sound irksome, but luxuriating amidst Goan sands with the flavour of fenny is indeed a lifetime experience. If you want to swim, you need not have to think twice. Afterwards, walk north along the beach towards the fishing boats lined up on the sand, for a glimpse of Goan fishing village life. You can see kids playing with shells and women hauling their first hunt of the sea. Tourists can find lots of boatmen on the beach who offer dolphin-spotting trips and island tours, negotiate charges with anyone you see organising such activities on the beach. Dancing dolphins on the bubbling waters is indeed an adventure to rejoice. If you want to shop a bit, the road leading to the Colva Church is an excellent option. One can find exquisite pottery from the northern districts of Goa, embroidered work from Kashmir and good leather handbags available at a much economical price.
Inside View of Colva Church , Goa
A holiday trip to Colva Beach is not complete without a visit to the famous Colva Church. Dedicated to Our Lady of Merces (mercy), this hallowed house was first built in 1581 and was later rebuilt in the 18th century. The greatest article of reverence, however, is not the patron saint of the church, instead it is the divine statue of the menino (infant Jesus). Discovered by a Jesuit priest, Fr. Bento Ferreira on the coast of Mozambique, the statue is said to have miraculous powers! Plan a vacation tour during October and you can be a part of the grand procession Fama, a festival that attracts thousands of believers to the church. Each year on the second Monday of October, the statue is taken out of the church vault and dressed ambrosially for veneration. After being taken round the village in a procession, the statue is returned to its alcove for devotees to adore and ask the Infant Jesus for favours.
The Colva coastal walk is said to be the ideal walk for the visitor in love with rural Goa and seeking more than just sand and sun on Colva Beach. Take the narrow road northwards, from the Colva Church crossroad towards the village of Betalbatim, named after the local deity Betal or Vetal. You can find every Christian house in this lane portraying a stone bearing a cross at the front door. It is the relic of a ground-breaking ceremony wherein a sliver of gold, freshly-minted stone with a date on them and few other tokens are buried. Right across the street is a pretty house (meio sobrado) with handsome wooden railings. Ask anybody and you will come to know that it is referred to as the half-storeyed house in architectural parlance. Ironically, such a house is set on a plinth so high that it is almost like a double-storeyed house, with a wide array of steps, giving the house an illusion that it is a very important house! After a good deal of foot hunting, enjoy a plate of fish curry and rice at the Fork & Spoon Restaurant on the road to Utorda.
Colva beach is 6 km due east of Margao and about 39 km north of Panaji, the capital of Goa. The road from Margao goes past the main post office and Our Lady of Merces Church before reaching a crossroad (Char Rasta). Go straight where the road ends in a broad circle, Colva Beach. You can find a car parking on the left. The tourist office and many hotels and shops are clustered on all sides of the circle and just beyond on either side. The nearest airport is the Dabolim Airport, situated at a distance of 26 km from the city centre. The nearest railhead is the Madgaon station, nestling at a distance of 8 km from downtown. Tourists can get numerable autos and taxis from both these places. If you are coming from Panjim, drive down NH 17 to Margao via Bambolim. A road goes right to Colva at the roundabout next to the city bus stand opposite Kamat Hotel, just before you enter Margao.
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