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The New Year Goa Style

From Glitterati to Pychedelia

When it comes to celebrating the New Year, physician there may as well be two Goa’s – or perhaps three or four.  If you’re a Goan marking it the traditional way, mind no doubt you’ll head to a New Year’s Eve ball dressed in your formal best. If you’re a former hippie, one of their New Age counterparts or just a regular tourist, chances are you’ll find yourself at a raucous beach party (check the listings in this edition for some of the best ones). And if neither of those options appeal to you, there’s the five-star resort experience, the night-club crawl and private parties of every kind, from village feast to glittering A-list bashes.

With Goa one of the preferred year-end destination for India’s elite, the coming few days are going to be one big party. While the buzz has it that the flamboyant king of good times Vijay Mallya is not going to be in Goa to host his famous New Year’s Eve party at his swish seaside mansion in Candolim, that’s unlikely to dampen anybody’s party spirits one bit as everybody else descends into Goa to celebrate the end of one year and the start of a new one – with the future pregnant with opportunities, especially after you’ve networked in Goa over the party season.


Try as it might, Goa can never manage to shake off its reputation as the wildest party zone in India. With two mega electronic dance music festivals, FTV shows, and hundreds of other parties, big and small, on shore, on beaches, on hills and on boats and casinos, it’s going to be one big party on New Year’s Eve.

Normally it rains celebrities in Goa around this time. Bollywood superstar Salman Khan makes it a point to celebrate with family and friends at the Taj Holiday Village in Sinquerim. If he’s around, brother Arbaaz with wife Malaika Arora too are likely to be around.

Akshay Kumar and wife Twinkle Khanna are also likely to bring in the New Year at their Anjuna house and they may pop in and chill out at Sunburn in Vagator. Anushka Sharma was spotted shaking her booty at last year’s Sunburn in Candolim. Bollywood fashion designer Rocky S is a Sunburn regular and will be there this year too. That’s not to mention all the celebrities that are sure to show up at VH1 Supersonic 2013, the other major EDM festival taking place this week in our lovely state.

Kishen Kumar of T-Series is also going to be partying at his beachside property at Anjuna – along with a whole bunch of starlets and film, music and TV personalities. Aftab Shivdasani, who owns a house in Nagoa, is also going to be here.

Neha Dhupia is probably going to be there at her pad in Candolim, near Novotel. Says actress Dia Mirza about holidaying in Goa at this time of the year, “I love the place — it’s a really nice escape, close to home and has yummy food. I won’t be partying, just chilling and unwinding at a resort.”

Producer Pooja Bhatt is also likely to be around in Morjim, while the international jet-set celebrity types will probably be partying in nearby Ashvem with Mick Jagger’s daughter Jade’s bunch of friends. Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai along with the Big B too may be in Goa, their favourite place over the year-ending days.


Of course, the place to party is the beach, and there’s a lot to choose from. The idea is to watch the last sunset of the year as the sun sinks into the horizon in a blaze of glory, and then, after you’ve partied all night, to watch the first sunrise of the year as the solar god peeks out from the coconut trees. In between you can dance like a mad man at one of the beach or trance parties or simply watch others dance wildly. This year around 50,000 people are expected to party at the psychedelic hotspot of Anjuna-Vagator, with a whole range of party spots to choose from.

Says Erica, a Swede who’s into the Goa trance music party scene, “Calangute and Baga areas are now swamped by locals. I’d recommend Anjuna beach. The party at ‘Hill Top’ close to Vagator beach is good if you are into trance. One should spend New Year’s Eve on Anjuna beach, hopping from one shack to another, and then head to ‘Hill Top’ at around 1.30 am.”

There are others who prefer the energy of the Calangute-Baga area with its hip party spots. Says Bob, a foreign tourist who prefers partying in Calangute, “If I were you I would party in Calangute. It gets a lot of bad press about being very commercial, but it’s got everything you will want for the best New Year’s Eve celebration: nightclubs, pubs, great restaurants, cool resorts and a great crowd.”

Celebrity or non-celebrity, many come because of Goa’s counter-culture and psychedelic trance scene where you can rub shoulders with back-packers and spiritual seekers from all corners of the globe. Others will be here simply to soak in the festive atmosphere. Many opt for the five-star year-end packages and will simply stay put in their beach resorts, unwinding by the pool, simply lazing around on a beach-bed or getting a special massage at the spas. The five-star resorts will be hosting extravagant New Year’s Eve balls with exotic dancers and lavish buffets.

At the stroke of midnight the sky in the coastal belt is going to burst with sparkling fireworks in a riot of colour and design, besides of course the ubiquitous bombs and crackers which will give a sleepless night to those who don’t want to party – yes, they also are here in Goa.

Yes, there will be many who will choose to stay put at home with family and friends and have a quiet New Year’s Eve, away from the palpable, on-the-ground results of the Goa government’s complete embrace of the tourism industry.

A few notes of caution and advice. If you’re going to one of the north Goa beach destinations to party, make sure you leave before sunset or even earlier. Otherwise you may get caught in the mother of all traffic jams for hours and you don’t want to spend New Year’s Eve stuck in a car or on a bike.

And remember, the best things in life come at a price, so make sure your wallet is stuffed full.