Play Poker in the Sunny State
From white sandy beaches to the lovely blue-green waters of the Arabian Sea and of course some of the tastiest cuisine this side of the country, Goa has long been one of India’s favourite tourist destinations. And it is in this beautiful state, that you will come to take part in the most exciting tournament poker experience that is the India Poker Championship (IPC). The IPC takes place in the Spartan Live poker room onboard the new and luxurious Big Daddy Casino which moored on the Mandovi River.
Goa in brief
Goa is a former Portuguese colony which it had been for over 450 years so not surprisingly there is a mix of Indian and Portuguese influences in this state from the way they dress to the food they eat. There are just under 2 million residents in Goa and the state gets more than 2.5 million visitors from all over India and the world every year. The tourist influx began in the 1950s and 60s with the hippie movement taking hold. Many expat Goans also returned to visit their homeland as did the Europeans from the late 80s onwards. These days, Goa hosts everything from music festivals to conferences and seminars and of course the Carnival which takes place every year and is celebrated across the state.
The state has in recent years become even more of a tourist destination which gets visitors around the year unlike in the past when people avoided Goa during the monsoon season. The best time of the year however, to visit Goa is mid-November to mid-February when the weather is more pleasant than other months. Goa’s state language is Konkani. Most Goans speak Konkani, English, Hindi, and Marathi. Portuguese is also known by a small segment.
A Capital Idea
Panaji or Panjim as it is also called is the capital of Goa where the administrative offices of the state are located. Panjim is important not only from the governance perspective but also because it is increasingly becoming a melting pot of a city, which is trying to set itself up as a multicultural avenue for many events and meets which will attract people from across the country and the world. The charm of the capital also stems which the River Mandovi which flows through the middle of the city. It is on this river that several floating casinos are located which attract plenty of gaming enthusiasts through the year.
See the Sea
One of the biggest draws for any visitor to the sunny state are the beaches which dot the coastline from Mandrem beach in the northern most part of the state which touches Maharashtra to down south all Palolem beach, which lies close to the Karnataka border. Traditionally, people who want to party and have a good time at the beach shacks tend to head towards the popular North Goa beaches of Candolim, Calangute, Baga and Anjuna. If you are looking for a quieter, chilled out time at the beach then head to South Goa’s popular beaches like Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Mobor and the afore-mentioned Palolem for relaxing time.The more popular beaches also offer lots of water sports activities for those who are interested or you can choose to laze the day away drinking a nice cold beer and munching on delicious sea food at one of the many shacks along the beach. Aside from the beaches, there are plenty of churches, cathedrals, temples and even historic forts which one can visit across the state. You can also visit popular night markets and Tibetan markets where you can take in some interesting sights and sounds, have a few drinks, eat some great food and of course do a whole lot of shopping for typical Goa trinkets.
Get those Kajus
Now you cannot come to Goa and not partake in one of its most popular offerings – Cashew nuts! From plain to salted to masala and a ton of other variants, cashews or kaju as they are called in the local language are eaten as a snack and used in cooking as well. Cashews are also involved in yet another popular Goan product i.e. Feni, a distilled alcoholic spirit. Another variant of Feni is made from palm toddy which is called Coconut Feni. If the 45% alcohol content of Feni is not something you think you can handle, perhaps you’d want to give Urak a go. This is milder version of the cashew feni which undergone further distillation and is quite a popular drink amongst locals and visitors although urak is seasonal in nature being distilled from the summer months of March to May.
So whether you visit the sunny state for poker or tourism (or both!), there is something for everyone in this beautiful state. A hard night of grinding at the tables can be nicely complemented by a few hours swaying in a hammock overlooking the calm waters of the ocean. However you choose to experience Goa, it is almost always a memorable experience.