Calangute Beach, Mapusa - Goa
About the beach
In a semicircle, under the shade of palm trees basking
golden in the glory of sand is the 'queen of beaches', Calangute. Nine
miles from the Goan Capital Panaji, the beach is spread four miles
along the Arabian sea. On the north is hamlet of Baga and to the south
is Candolim village. Take a break from the parties of Anjuna in the
calm solitude here and you will be mesmerized forever.
It was hippies who first discovered Calangute in late 1960's and there on spread word about the beach. 1970's saw tourists from Europe coming in large numbers. The beach was even quite popular among the movie stars back then. Shashi Kapoor rented a house here and Raj Kapoor got inspiration for his blockbuster film 'Bobby' here. Over the decades the hippie culture has vanished but not the popularity of the beach. Round the year there are hoards of tourists coming to Calangute for that perfect escape from their hectic schedule.
The name Calangute according to locals is a distortion of the local vernacular word 'Koli-gutti', which means land of fishermen. Others say it has derived from Kalyangutti meaning the village of art, and still others say it came from the earlier name Konvallo -ghott because the village is full of coconut trees.
Things to see and do
At Calangute, its heavens. Just let your hair down and experience the magic spell drown you in the calm serene solitudes. Its another world. While some laze around, others can get adventurous with water sports. And once here you will catch glimpses of the old seaside village vadoos.
At the beach
You can do what most people do, let the Calangute
embrace you. Tan yourself spreading on beach or go swimming. Calangute
is a reasonably safe place to swim though one should keep at least
three hundred meters away from the mouth of the river. Children can be
seen here making castles out of sand. Watch the sun go down as you
laze on the beach. Take a fifteen minute walk from the main beach
front area and you will come in a hawker free zone. Sights of rows of
wooden boats and teams of village fishermen hauling nets in a high
tide can be seen here. Together the sun, sand and sea set the mood for
that perfect holiday. And while at beach you will not miss hundreds of
stalls of sea food. Gorge on the prawns or the lobsters. Sea food is
available in abundance. There are options for vegetarians also. The
shops on the beach will remind you of a city's market place. There is
a Cafe Coffee Day, Malini Ramani's boutique and an Oxford bookstore to
name a few.
Nightlife of Calangute is in contrast to that of Anjuna. The bars close around ten pm, though few hippie joints still remain open. There is hardly any night life here, so if you are one of those party animals, Calangute is not the place for you.
This is for that not-so-laid-back crowd. Calangute is one of the few beaches where water sports are available. There are more than a dozen of water sport operators along the beach. You can go for para sailing, water surfing, water skiing or banana and bump rides depending upon which you find more thrilling. There are some boat operators offering dolphin and crocodile spotting trips, island trips and fishing expeditions.
A bazaar is held here every Saturday near post office and promises good bargains. Fish, meat, grocery, textiles, pottery and other provisions are all available in the market. There is also a Tibetan market and Kashmiri merchants also frequent Goa with carpet, embroidery works etc.
Church of St. Alex celebrated its fourth centenary in 1996. This parish church is a must see in Calangute. It has a two towers and a magnificent white dome and ornate altars. Another local attraction is the Kerkar Art gallery. It displays works of art and craft of local artists. The gallery once in a week also hosts a night of Indian music.