Panaji, Dec 31 All roads lead to Goa Saturday as lakhs of Goans and tourists head for beaches, pubs, churches and their homes to usher in the New Year.
The streets of Goa, which is known for its beach parties and a year-long carnival atmosphere, are choc-a-bloc with tourists from all across India as well as the world.
There are long, bumper-to-bumper traffic jams in the coastal areas as young professionals, students and families have found their way here from the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra and urban hubs like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune which are an overnight journey from Goa.
“I come to Goa every year to celebrate New Year. Goa has a great vibe, and it is great to welcome the New Year with it,” Vishal Kriplani, an IT professional from Mumbai said.
Out of the more than two million tourists who visit Goa annually, nearly half a million are foreigners like Tedd Grimms, a retired school teacher from Lancashire, UK.
Tedd Grimms who has flown in from the UK on a chartered flight on a fortnight-long vacation, said he was planning a night-out at the Arambol beach, 40 km from here.
“Back home, it is freezing, but the beaches here are warm and fun. That’s where I am heading. Heard there is a party happening there,” Grimms said, referring to the dozens of beach parties which are organized on Goa’s beaches, several of which are known for the open sale of drugs and narcotic substances.
With a 26 per cent Christian population, churches spread across Goa offer special New Year midnight masses ushering in the New Year, which are invariably followed by formal balls and dances.