Goa Carnival

Panjims Goa Carnival was traditionally a four-day event of feasting and celebration before lent, a season of fasting and abstinence. It has now become a cosmopolitan event run by Goa tourism. It falls in February, though the dates change every year.

The opening events are held along the picturesque banks of the Mandovi River. Parades and floats pass down the waterfront, in a merry whirlwind of musicians, masked dancers, outrageous costumes, drunken revellers, family floats, competitions, skits, food stalls, competitions, skits, food stalls along the Mandovi. Thousands of tourists and locals come early to find themselves vantage points and there is general celebration in the air. In the evenings parties and concerts flourish.

Portuguese language is widely spoken in Goa.


Travel Tips

Since the festival begins in March, tourists are advised to travel to Goa around 2-3 days before it actually begins in order to enjoy the other attractions in the area. Reservations in hotels should be made at least 3-4 months before the start of the festival to ensure that tourists get to book a hotel room as there could be huge demand during this particular period.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
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Things to do

This famous festival cum carnival was first started in Goa in the year 1961. It was initially celebrated by one of the famous rulers in the area, King Momo. Since Goa is known for its Portugese heritage, the festival also helps to celebrate the rich history and legacy of the place. However, the festival is now celebrated by people from different castes and creeds from various parts of India. During the festival, people usually abstain from consuming meat. During the early days, the festival was usually only celebrated by the locals but now there are people from various nationalities and religious backgrounds that come together to celebrate.

Since it is celebrated just before the start of the period of Lent (a period of abstinence from meat and other indulgent items before the festival of Easter in Christianity), people take the opportunity to indulge in eating meat and consuming dairy products which is forbidden during Lent. During the colonial period, the festival usually started with a role play between the masters and their slaves. The slaves would play the role of their masters and cover their face with white plaster which was the cause for much amusement and enjoyment.

There are various kinds of celebrations which one can enjoy during the duration of the festival including dancing, singing, drinking and eating, among other forms of merriment. Most of the major streets in the state come alive with dances, the sound of guitars strumming and lively processions among other attractions. The streets are also decorated with vibrant colours and floats which add to the festivities.

The carnival celebrations do not only take place during the day time. In fact, a number of acrobats, dancers and fire eaters, among others throng the streets of some of the main cities in Goa. The celebrations also continue through the night and are characterized by fun activities that are full of life and energy. Since the festival also celebrates the Portugese culture, doses of Feni and a range of delicious food add to the amusement and fun that the carnival is known for.

Getting Around

Goa has plenty of public and private options for travel, depending upon the budget and preferences. Hired transport options include pe-booked taxis, auto-rickshaws, taxi bikes or pilot cars, scootys and bicycle rentals, as well as privately booked chauffeur driven cars.

Places to Stay

The heritage inn hotels are the citys best way to absorb the Panjim atmosphere. Among the other hotels there are happening bar and a spectacular view of the river and the sea from its upper floor.

Most Celebrated Places

The places which are popularly known as the centre for these celebrations include Panjim, Mapusa, Margao and Vasco da Gama.  However, the other areas in the state also make it a point to celebrate this festival while enjoying the carnival atmosphere.

How to Reach

  • Located at 29kms of Panaji, the Dabolim airport has different flights that operates between Dabolim to all other major cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvanathapuram
  • Part of the Konkan railway network, there are different trains that operates between Panaji and major cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. The next nearest railway station at 30kms is Vasco da Gama.
  • There are several buses that plies from the neighbouring states to Goa. The main bus terminal is known as Kadamba. You will also get different private operators to different destinations.

Surrounding Attractions

If you are interested for a swim, there a beaches a plenty, and for those who wish to take a small trek, can also walk around in the nearby hills.

Other than Christmas, the carnival season is another such time when Goa comes alive and it is best to be there.

Altinho hill is at the centre of Panjim, and rises gently from the river and sea fronts. It was originally a long ridge called Oiteiro de Conecao or Hill of Conception. The tree-lined heights and quiet winding lanes of Altinho offer spectacular views of the city and its waterfront.

Joggers park laid out with a jogging trasck and pretty landscaping. The Jogger's park has two main roads leading away from it. The one is going east takes you to Bhatlem and Mala and a Maruti temple which is lit up at night.

Emergency No.

Police: 100

Fire brigade: 101

Ambulance: 102