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Goa, a state on India's West coast, is a former Portuguese colony with a rich history. It has a unique mix of Indian and Portuguese cultures and architecture that attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors each year.

Goa is famous for its beaches, ancient temples and churches, and the Goan carnival. Goa has an almost unbroken 70 km coastline of beaches. Anjuna beach is close to the Chapora Fort. Its key attraction is a magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920, flanked by octagonal towers and an attractive Mangalore tile-roof. Anjuna was the second home of the hippies in Goa in the 1960s and 1970s, after other destinations like Calangute got too "crowded" for them. It is still the venue of a flea market held each Wednesday. In the nearby village of Arpora, two colourful Saturday night bazaars are held in the non-monsoon seasons.

Goa has a more than its fair share of museums, art galleries and libraries. You will find many government run museums in Panaji, including the Goa State museum, the Kala Academy, the Central Library and the Goa Science Centre. In Vasco da Gama, you can find the Naval Aviation Museum, a great place to see vintage aircraft.

Global items come in amazing diversity specially at the night markets of North Goa. In Panjim, the 18th June Rd is faster emerging as a lure for shoppers and tourists. Mapusa, while hosting a traditional market each Friday, attracts a number of tourists, especially foreigners. Goa's talented goldsmiths are neatly located in a line at Mapusa's market, and in parts of Margao and Panjim.

The Goan staple diet consists of rice and fish curry along with pickles and fried fish. This can be found on many of the beach shacks. The Goan cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and local flavours. Many dishes such as prawn balchao and Kingfish in Garlic have distinct Portuguese flavour. Kingfish is the most common delicacy, others include pomfret, shark, tuna and mackerel. Among the shellfish are crabs, prawns, tiger prawns, lobster, squid and mussels. Dishes such as Vindaloo and Xacuti, Cafreal will be familiar from Indian restaurant menus, and are originally Goan dishes.

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