|¤ About Vasco-da Gama
da Gama, 29 km by road southwest of Panjim, sits on the narrow western tip
of the Marmagoa (also known as Mormugao) peninsula, overlooking the mouth of
the Zuari River. Acquired by the Portuguese in 1543, this strategically
important site was formerly among the busiest ports on India's west coast.
It remains a key shipping centre, with container vessels and iron ore barges
clogging the choppy river mouth, but holds nothing of interest for visitors,
particularly since the completion of the Konkan Railway, when Goa's main
railhead shifted from here to Margao. The only conceivable reason one might
want to come to Vasco is to catch a bus to Dabolim airport, of Bogmalo
beach, 8-km southeast. Today, Vasco exudes all the charms of a metropolitan
People from all over India have made Vasco da Gama their
home. The town of Vasco is well planned. It is laid out straight with
parallel roads connected to each other by smaller bylanes. Being a
commercial hub, Vasco is more liked by business class people. It provides
good connectivity and also has a number of good hotels to stay in. However,
if you come to Vasco thinking that there are a number worth visiting sites,
then probably you'll end up a bit disappointed. This is not to say that
there is absolutely nothing at all to see and do in Vasco, but perhaps they
are few and numbered. .
¤ Major Tourist Attractions
of Vasco-da Gama» Bogmalo Beach -
just 8 km away to the south east of the town. The speciality of this beach
lies in the fact that it provides a good combination of serenity and fun.
The beach is not as crowded as its counterparts in Anjuna and Calangute,
nonetheless, there is no dearth of adventure. Moreover, the natural beauty
exuded by hills on three sides is simply magical. Right in the sea water is
the Grande Island around which most of the diving sites are situated. You
can take a splash in the sea water, or go for diving. Alternatively, you can
just walk on the beach barefooted. A little distance before you actually
reach the Bogmalo beach is another beach. The Issoricim or Hollant beach,
albeit its smaller size, can be a much better place if you really wish to
spend a secluded time. And, if you feel like having a bit of adventure, you
can undertake a trek to the Bogmalo beach. » The
Naval Aviation Museum -
This one is probably the only one of its
kind in entire India and one amongst the few in the continent of Asia. With
Bogmalo beach providing a wonderful backdrop, the museum exhibits the
various type of aircraft and weapon system utilised by Indian naval air arm.
A guide will accompany you on your visit and lead to the various sections of
the museum. Simultaneously, this person will also provide information on
various exhibits. While in the museum, make sure that you visit the armament
room, the safety room and the archive hall. The first one of the three
houses numerous bombs and torpedos while the second one displays complete
pilot safety equipments. In this section you will also find photographs rare
photographs of the liberation of Bangladesh in the year 1971. The last one,
the archive hall, has a huge model of the ship, INS Virat along with
photographs of Bagladesh liberation. Other interesting exhibits of the
museum include a Super Constellation and a Sea Hawk. The museum is open from
10 in the morning to 5 in the evening. A small entry charge of Rs 15 has to
be paid. » Mormugao Port -
The port is a
natural harbour and immensely important from commercial point of view.
However, you can also pay a visit to the port because a number of cruise
ship sail in every morning. These cruise ships take you round on a trip to
Goa, passing through beaches, churches and temples. These trips are
basically for few hours since the ship sail out of Goa in the evening. »
Pilot Point -
A little ahead of the Mormugao port, an open space
uphill is wonderful if you wish to catch glimpses of the port actions. »
Japanese Garden -
Still further ahead from the pilot point, at the
zenith of the Mormugao ridge is the Japanese Garden. This garden houses the
remnants of the Fortaleza Santa Catarina. The fort commanded immense
significance during the erstwhile era, however today all it does is to offer
a good view of the Zuari river. Other highlights of the garden are the Shri
Durga Mata Shiv Mandir and a small beach. Walk on the soft sands of the
beach and hear an interesting story related to the temple during your visit
to the Japanese Garden. ¤ Shopping
Emporium (Dabolim Airport), Silk Emporium, Shopping Arcade. But more than
the shopping items, it's the composite shopping experience in Goa that will
leave you mesmerized.¤ Accomodation
Thanks to its
business city status, Vasco boasts a better than average batch of hotels.
Most are plush mid-range places, although there are several no-frills lodges
near the railway station. Best of the budget bunch is available on the
Dattatreya Deshpande Road. One can also try the GTDC Tourist Hostel, off
Swatantra Path near the station, or the hotels situated east of the main
square on FL Gomes Road.
¤ Climate of Vasco da Gama
- The summer season in Goa lasts from March to May. During this period the
weather in Goa becomes moderately hot with temperatures hovering in the
mid-thirties. May is usually the warmest month in Goa. For a summer trip to
Goa, one should bring cotton apparels and be prepared for a rise in humidity
levels towards to the fag end of the summer season.
Winter - The
winter months usher in a pleasant weather in Goa. The winter season lasts
from December to February and this is the peak tourist season in Goa.
Temperatures hover in the lower twenties and the bright sunny weather makes
for a perfect outing in the Goa beaches.
¤ How To Reach
Vasco da Gama
» Air - Dabolim, Goa's airport,
lies on top of a rocky plateau, 4-km southeast of Vasco da Gama. A large new
civilian terminal was recently constructed at this naval aerodrome to
accommodate Goa's rapidly increasing air traffic, but to avoid delays aim to
check in well in advance.
» Rail - Vasco is
laid out in a grid, bordered by Marmagao bay to the north, and by the
railway line on its southern side. Apart from the cluster of oil storage
tanks, the town's most prominent landmark is the railway station at the
south end of the main Dr. Rajendra Prasad Avenue.
Road - Arriving by bus from Panjim or Margao, you'll be dropped off
at the Interstate Kadamba Terminus, 3-km east of the town centre. Local
minibuses ferry passengers from here to the more central market bus stand.