Tourists flock to Goa as summer heat peaks

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Panaji: Thousands of tourists are flooding beaches across Goa amid peak summer and weeks before they are closed during the monsoon.

The coastal state is witnessing a rush of tourists, especially from neighbouring Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala.

On Wednesday evening, the lifeguards at Colva beach in South Goa were seen warning people against venturing deep into the water as the crowd swelled on the seafront.

Sandeep P from Kerala said he was visiting Goa for the first time. “I had heard about the beaches here, now I can experience them. They are really beautiful and full of people,” he told said at Colva beach.

    Asked about the difference between the beaches in Kerala, another tourist destination, and Goa, Sandeep said, “Kerala too has good beaches but there are no people there.”

Indore-based Raja Bhatia, another first-timer, is in Goa with his friend Mani Bhatia and their families.
    “We chose to be in South Goa as it is more peaceful here. After spending a day here, we now want to visit North Goa’s beach belt which is known for its nightlife,” he said.
    Asked what drew them to Goa, Bhatia said, “It is relaxing here. There are beaches and life here is easy. It is a much-needed break for everyone.”

Local resident Avinash Naik too was on Colva beach amid the huge crowd. 
    “We are from Goa itself and come here once a year to bathe in saltwater. The saltwater has medicinal properties,” he said.
    Naik lives in a village near the famous Tambdi Surla temple in South Goa, which is a part of the Sahyadri Hills, a bit far from the coastal side.

Another tourist, Maruti Yeshwantappa Lokre from Karnataka, said he is in Goa for two days to meet his son, who works in Margao town. 
    “We plan this holiday every summer wherein we can have a family reunion and also be on the beach,” he said.

The ballooning crowd on beaches is keeping busy the lifeguards of Drishti Lifesaving Agency, which the state government has contracted.
    “We keep appealing to people to move out of the deep water. Some stretches off the beach are dangerous. They are properly marked with red flags but many tourists don’t listen (to us),” said a lifeguard.

Access to beaches in the state will be restricted after the arrival of the monsoon.
    The beach shacks, among the major attractions in Goa, will be dismantled after the rainy season starts.

Mathews Crasto, a shack owner from Colva, said that the business was “not that great” during this tourist season.
    “Some shack operators have already started winding up their business. We will also wind up in a few days,” he said

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