Entering Goa feels like stepping into such a different world that you have to pinch yourself. It is a small coastal state with just under 2 million people; the sky is clear and large, and the air is clean, with the ocean always close by on the west and a small mountain range to the east. Goa was a Portuguese colony until 1961, and local religion, customs, and way of life reflect this influence with white washed churches from the 1800s, and ubiquitous five-point star lights in every home and establishment, side by side with Hindu temples. I was especially captivated by the star lights. At night, you can see hundreds of them glowing against the darkness in every colour imaginable.
It's definitely not the '70s anymore- most of the hippies are long gone- and while Goa still has some laid back, long term beach visitors, raves with Goan trance music are happening less here than an explosion of packaged tourism and a hot real estate market, particularly for the British, Russians (there is a surprising amount of vodka and Versace), and more recently, the newly wealthy from India, seeking vacation homes. This is a place to relax on the beach, and in a delightful twist, a place where cows rule that beach.
For more photos of Goa, please check my flickr page.