Goa comprises a glorious rainbow of beach locations and undulating countryside. The rustic grandeur of picturesque Anjuna, however, outshines the entire lot. Sun and sand, hillocks and paddyfields, heritage mansions, a grand church, several chapels, roadside shrines, temples and other attractive landmarks charm domestic as well as international tourists. Simple, friendly and hospitable people add to the phenomenon that attracted the Hippies and ‘flower children’ with their music parties and flea markets. In their wake, swept in further hordes of people from every country to convert Anjuna village into a tourist paradise. The Flea Market flourishes still, trance parties may be in or out, quaint shops thrive alongside modern stores, banks, ATMs and cyber cafes, cabs and motorcycle taxies. There’s plenty of world cuisine to sample, and houses, lodges and hotels to stay at. The beautiful twin beaches of soft white sands, rock formations and palm trees beef up the exotica. The shoreline has a rocky promontory, the ocean currents are not very strong and the beaches are ideal for swimming and water sports.
Things To do Within Anjuna
Anjuna Flee Market
The Anjuna Flea Market is a kaleidoscope of cultures and colours marking every Wednesday by the sea at the southernmost tip of the sands in Anjuna. Inclined to buy or not, no visitor can miss the spectacular Flea Market, nor any local can ignore for the sheer size and range. Rajasthani clothing, imitation jewelry, dainty souvenirs, antiques, books, food stools, music from everywhere, tattooing, body-painting. The Hippies had begun the disposal outlet for their knick-knacks ones has grown into Goa’s unique Flea Market, a rendezvous for friends, acquaintances as well as rank strangers.
The Vagator beach is certainly the most beauteous of Goa’s beaches. The promontory overlooks sands, exquisite rock formations, Anjuna beach to its south and the ruins of the historic Chapora Fort to the north. Picture perfect Vagator is a picnic beach and quite safe for swimming. Of late, water-scooters and boats are available at the water’s edge. There are quite a few restaurants, hotels and lodges besides shops nearby.
Chapora Fort & Fishing Harbour
Erected around 1617, served as a watch tower once over the seas and in 1872 had five cannons overlooking Morjim and Gudem and the entrance of the bay. It changed hands with the Bhonsles once. In course time, it lost its importance and the walls crumbled. The ruins have since become a place of attraction for the visitors and for Bollywood movie producers to shoot movies. Over the years Chapora has become a busy fishing harbour where boats return from the fish from the sea every evening, when locals gather to collect their needs and wholesalers pack trucks for landlocked places outside Goa.
The palatial castle-like house of Dr Manuel Francisco Albuquerque at the Anjuna-Vagator road, is an architectural replica of the Royal Palace of the Ruler of Zanzibar, whom the good Goan doctor served as a Physician. It’s certainly the most splendid mansion in Anjuna, which also possess some of the 18th century houses including the one belonging to the Gama Pinto house, Mascarenhas house in Mazalvaddo, Rebello house in Chinvar, Lulu’s house behind the church, etc.
Churches & Chapels
By far the most magnificent architectural masterpiece in the village is the Church of St Michael, the Archangel, founded in 1603 by the Franciscans. The church did undergo renovation a couple of times and eventually what stands magnificently today is the one bearing the Mannerist Neo-Roman style. The Church of St Anthony came up much later at beach-side Vagator. There are equally beautiful chapels and shrines in almost each of the thirteen wards of the village.
Among the outstanding shrines is the Miraculous Cross, which has innumerable steps which lead one to the top of the hillock behind the St Michael’s Church. From the chapel, one gets a beautiful bird’s eye view of the village and its sprawling fields below.
Mulkacho Fator at Grande Chinvar is another historical monument in Anjuna, but one reminding of the violent past during the conversion period. It was erected in 1634, but now lies in two pieces, which people light candles and joss-sticks.
Bhumika Temple along the Anjuna-Calangute road is the oldest Hindu temple in Anjuna. In its vicinity lies the temple of Vetal.
There two high schools imparting English education in Anjuna. The Sacred Heart of Jesus High School got a new building at Tembi around 1979, and it is the school which is visible from our the Rose Garden compound across the windswept ground. St Michael High School was established at Vagator around 1891.