Anjuna Beach

Anjuna Beach

India’s smallest state, Goa, has long been a centre of groovy psychedelic activity and a hub for partygoers of all ages and nationalities. This phenomenon kicked off with the departure of the Portuguese in 1961,who had ruled the region for 500 years. With freedom came a minor economic crisis for the Goa locals, however, who depended on the Portuguese for their business. This gap was filled a few years later by the arrival of thousands of young travellers, who boosted the local economy by renting houses and purchasing supplies. As a result, the locals were open and welcoming to their new neighbours, which helped create the conditions necessary for Goa becoming the hip bohemian expat paradise that we all know and love.

Navigating the Hippie Trail

Before there were any flights to Goa or even cheap flights to India of any kind, the overland journey to this region was fraught with adventure and intrigue for many of the hippie pilgrims who made their way here by bus. A popular route in the 1960’s was known as the Hippie or Hashish Trail, which began in Istanbul and wound its way through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and into India. Goa was a logical final stop for many due to its friendly locals, warm beaches, and freely available hashish. After the Beatles’ widely publicized visit to India in 1968, the floodgates of visitors opened, particularly since British nationals had no need to acquire a visa to stay in India as long as they liked.

The Freak Scene

These visitors of the 1960’s didn’t like to refer to themselves as hippies, instead preferring the term “freaks.” Freaks were easily recognized on a surface level by their colourful clothing (or complete lack thereof), long hair, and partiality to LSD and free love. One of the first and most notable arrivals in Goa was an American named Edward Mazmanian, who was born with three fingers on his right hand, earning the nickname “Eight Finger Eddie.” He ended up living in India for 44 years, welcoming other travellers into his home, throwing legendary parties, and becoming a kingpin of the freak scene.

Anjuna Beach

Anjuna Beach in Goa became the centre of the bohemian party when Eight Finger Eddie decided to move to this long strip of northern sand in the later part of the 1960s. Freaks who were finding enlightenment in other parts of India would come to Anjuna to let their hair down a bit. Bongo drums gave way to full on electric rock and roll dance parties, and a legacy of freedom and movement in Goa was born. International travellers still chill out to Goa’s beach trance parties in Anjuna to this day, but this vibe originated in the 60’s with peace, love, and rock and roll.

Although Goa might not still be the hippie haven it once was, it still attracts its fair share of backpackers and vagabonders looking to recreate the experience of days gone by. This combined with the ever-increasing number of holiday-makers and sun-worshippers flocking to Goa’s beautiful beaches and surrounding countryside make it a holiday destination that’s ever-growing in popularity.