September 27, 2021

India: Goa, a dreamer’s paradise

Goa is a lush land bordered by the Arabian Sea, an Indian port that has been the dream of Westerners for more than five centuries. Its sandy beaches stretch for miles and have long attracted travelers from all over the world.

The first Westerners to settle there were the Portuguese in 1510. And they were attached to it for more than four and a half centuries. Even when the rest of the Indian peninsula freed itself from British rule in 1947, Goa remained Portuguese. But in 1961, India launched a lightning offensive with 30,000 troops and annexed Goa in just 48 hours. A page of history that still divides the local population today.

From the end of the 1960s, Goa became – with Kathmandu (in Nepal) and Bangkok (in Thailand) – one of the destinations at the end of the famous hippie track: a paradise with a simple life that can be reached by hitchhiking and sometimes never quit. Its beaches then began to be populated by Westerners ‘Peace and love’.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the region attracted some 7 million visitors each year. Much less hippies now, but mass tourism which is also interested in the vestiges of Portuguese colonization.

Indians come here to recharge their batteries in the sun – far from their busy lives and the polluted and overcrowded big cities of the subcontinent.

Goa finally derives its fame from its sleepless nights and influenced parties, which drag their electronic rhythms into the morning.

Report by Diya Gupta and Thomas Denis.