Kms from Panaji. is the most popular holiday resort in Goa and known as The
Queen of Beaches. Excellent accommodation facilities are available, particularly
at the tourist resort and cottages. Calangute lie on the shores of the Arabian
Sea of North Goa in India. It is encircled by Arpora-Nagoa, Saligao and Candolim,
in the Bardez taluka.
Being a popular holiday resort, the small houses amidst the coconut groves behind
the beach are always in constant demand. Calangute seems to be a distortion
of the local vernacular wordKoli-gutti, which means land of
fishermen. Some people connect it with Kalyangutti (village of art) or Konvallo-ghott
(strong pit of the coconut tree) because the village is full of coconut trees.
With the advent of the Portuguese, the word probably got distorted to Calangute,
and has stuck till today.
Seemingly not all that long ago, Calangute was the beach all self-respecting
hippies headed for, especially around Christmas when psychedelic hell broke
loose. If you enjoyed taking part in those mass poojas, with their endless half-baked
discussions about `when the revolution comes' and `the vibes, maaan', then this
was just the ticket. You could frolic around without a stitch on, be ever so
cool and liberated, get totally out of your head on every conceivable variety
of ganja from Timor to Tenochtitlan and completely disregard the feelings of
the local inhabitants. Naturally, John Lennon or The Who were always about to
turn up and give a free concert.
Calangute's heyday as the Mecca of all expatriate hippies has passed. The local
people, who used to rent out rooms in their houses for a pittance, have moved
on to more profitable things, and Calangute has undergone a metamorphosis to
become the centre of Goa's rapidly expanding package-tourist market.
It isn't one of the best Goanese beaches: there are hardly any palms, the sand
is contaminated with red soil and the beach drops rapidly into the sea. There
is, however, plenty going on, especially if you don't mind playing a minor role
in this stage-managed parody of what travelling is meant to be about. Try heading
off the beaten track unless you need a bit of R 'n' R to recover from life on
the road, or want to mix it with the Simons and Sandras of this world who are
visiting India to pep up their winter suntans.
The best time of the year to visit this area is between September and March.
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