Situated in the northern district of Goa, in Bardez taluka at a distance of approxiamately 18kms from Panaji, the Anjuna Beach forms part of the coastline along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian sea.
Not anymore than 4 to 5 square miles, Anjuna is a small village bordered on one side by the Arabian Sea and the overshadowing hill that looks upon the beach. Anjuna is amusingly referred to as the freak capital of Goa. The beach is stunning, with its caressing white sands and the beautifully swaying palm trees. The defining feature of the beach is an unusually rocky formation that pitches dark above the background of the white sand and projects out into the sea. This place was known as the Jewel of Anjuna and is called Ozran.
It was in the late 1950s to mid-1960's that hippies started visiting Anjuna beach and since then popularized the wild rave parties with trance music. It continued till the late 1970's most of which has slowly faded out. Rave parties have now become a covert activity and are generally looked down upon by the local authorities. It would be wise to excersice a word of caution before actually venturing and participationg in the rave parties.
Nevertheless, Anjuna Beach is also a place filled with parties especially, full-moon parties held during Christmas and New Year. Tourists love enjoying the romantic atmosphere with the cool breeze and the everbright full-moon making the evening a very eventful one.
Anjuna attracts a colorful bounty of tourists who cannot resist visiting this charming beach site. One of the other attractions is the Anjuna flea market. The concept of the flea market promulgated in the earlt 1960's and 1970's when the hippies would want to make their way back to their country, they would sell their used belongings for a song. Today the flea market is restricted to Kashmiri, Tibetan, Nepalese and Gujarati handicrafts, clothes, artificial ornaments and other trinkets. You will also find heavily priced ornamental and decorative items. So you have to sharpen your bargaining skills before you venture out shopping out in the flea market.
At the north of the Anjuna Flea market ground, the beach area broadens, running in an uninterrupted kilometre long stretch of steeply shelving sand to a low red cliff. The village bus park lies on top of this high ground, where small cafes, bars and Kashmiri handicraft stalls are lined, making a perfect hangout zone near the beach site. Every lunch hour, tour parties from Panjim also pull-up in here for a beer, before heading home again, leaving the localities and tired tourists to watch the sunset peacefully and relax a bit.
The Anjuna beach as well as the village is lined with good places to eat and drink. Most are simple semi open-air, thatched palm leaf huts, specializing in fish and western food. All serve cold beer, invariably with thumping techno music in the background. On the beach, tourists can buy fresh fruits, including watermelons, pineapples and locally grown coconuts from the local vendors.
The exhilaration of Bungee Jumping from an 80-ft tower and water-sports facilities like paragliding and windsurfing boosts the fun at Anjuna.
Places of Interest
Other places of interest are the magnificent Albuquerque Mansion built in 1920 (flanked by octagonal towers and an attractive Mangalore tile-roof), the Mascarenhas Mansion, and the Chapora Fort.
Best time to visit
Best Time to visit Anjuna Beach is early November till March. During the X-mas and New Year rush, The area is crowded with a large number of tourists from all over India and the world who come in to enjoy the colorful beach parties.
Air : The nearest Airport is Dabolin, 29km away from Panaji and 47 km from Anjuna.
Rail : The nearest Railhead is at Karmali, 11km from Panaji and 29 km from Anjuna.
Road : There are buses every hour to Anjuna from Mapusa. For tourists arriving from Mumbai, Mapusa is the get off point for the northern beaches. Bikes can also be hired that ranges from Rs 250 to Rs 400 per day.
Staying in Anjuna
There are a plenty of guest houses and decent hotels in an around the village. The best option for anybody wanting to stay for a longer time would be to rent out a small portuguese house or rental accomodation that are available in the lanes, that are vividly advertised.
Anjuna Beach Resort, Country Clube De Goa, Don Joao Resort
A brief on the Chapora Fort
The Chapora fort, 10 K.M from Mapusa was built by the Adil Shah of Bijapur on the southern headland of the Chapora River. The red-laterite bastion, crowning the rock bluff, was rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1617 on the same site. The Chapora Fort has another name – Shahpura, (‘town of Shah’), was intended as a border watch post to see various Hindu raiders during the 17th century. It was finally deserted by the Portuguese in 1892, after the territory's frontiers had been forced further north and the Novas Conquistas region. The Chapora Fort has a commanding view of the Vagator beach and is near to Anjuna beach.
Though the Portuguese had won their rule in Goa, the threat from the Muslim and Maratha rulers went on. To protect themselves from this risk, the Portuguese rebuilt the Chapora Fort. However, the Portuguese troops had to surrender to the Maratha ruler, Sambhaj in 1684. But discord boiled over between the locals and the Marathas. Finally in 1717, the Marathas withdrew their force. The Portuguese then took over again and rebuilt the fort. The new structure of the fort was equipped with underground tunnels that ensured a safe getaway in case of an emergency. Even this glory was not for long. Again in 1739 the Marathas captured the Chapora fort. Two years later, in 1741, the Portuguese regained the fort when the northern taluka of Pernem was handed over to them.
It lies in ruins today, although the views up and down the coast from the weed-infested ramparts are still superb. One can still see the heads of the two tunnels that formerly provided supply routes for besieged defenders. Also can be seen a scattering of Muslim tomb stones on the smooth slopes of the hill. These tomb-stones are believed to be relics of the pre-colonial days. The main attractions here are the superb views from the bastion's ramparts, which look north to Morgim and Mandarem beaches, and south towards Anjuna.