The most comprehensive beach resort in the country, Goa's coastline provides endless sun drenched crescents of sand. Parasailing, yachting, windsurfing, and deep sea diving are some of the more popular water sports. In addition, every sort of accommodation fringes the beaches, from deluxe resorts to budget lodgings. Inland, 451 years of Portuguese rule has imbued Goa's towns and villages with a unique culture. Whitewashed chapels and churches that dot the landscape are surrounded by sleepy villages and rice fields.
Panjim, the capital city, and Margao, an important town, have private houses and government buildings that date back to Portuguese times. Old Goa, now deserted, has a collection of Goa's largest churches: Se Cathedral with its Iberian exterior, Bom Jesus which enshrines the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier and the starkly beautiful Convent of Saint Monica are a few of these. Mapusa, a market town, comes alive every Friday with a quaint pavement bazaar.
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