Goa

North Goa beaches and more in monsoon on a shoe-string budget !

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From Mira Mar I went to the Town bus-stand, and then I left by bus to a place called Calangute, about 20 kms distant, supposedly Goa’s most beautiful beach. There a Goa Govt. Hotel had dorm beds for ₹ 280 (how sweet !), and aghast with Govt. efficiency, I first strayed north towards Baga beach, but soon retraced my way and set off southwards along the beach to Aguada (where the Taj Resort has, may be ? 5000 dorm beds!) It is a good 10 kms walk on the beach, and on the way I saw a grounded ship, palm thatched resting places of fisher folk, fisher folk cleaning their nylon nets, and in an isolated stretch was brow-beaten by lashing sea winds, when a sudden storm caught up with me, drenching me to the bone. I passed beaches with picturesque names like Candolim and Sinquerim, really fishing villages. By 5pm I was in Panjim Town Bus-stop, and after keeping my bag at the Udupi dorm, I set off again with my camera for Old Goa, where the old Goan Portuguese churches are. However I got to see them only from the outside that too in failing light, and to top it off I ran out of film! Beholding these old edifices before me, I felt for the first time, that it was probably only divine glory that propels men to build such lasting edifices. I decided to attend the Sunday Mass at two of the churches, the next day at 8 in the morning. Back, at the Udupi dorm, I supped on a “sea food” thhali, with pomfret pakoras and oyster curry! The oyster was much too spicy and rubbery like an old boot! Then I chatted with the dorm inmates for an hour and went to sleep with the bloodthirsty bugs!

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Goa calling… Again

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Finally the Gods rescued us and we found a (good) restaurant right on the beach, a perfect ambience and the sea-breeze in our hairs. We ordered quite a number of dishes- mainly chicken as I am unable to ingest the typical seafood like Mr. H or his friends or my friends.

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A Goan Monsoon

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We were driving down to Goa one more time, our fifth holiday in Goa since December 2001. I had booked in Club Mahindra’s Varca Beach resort almost two months ahead. We got the booking easily because it is the end of blue season (slack season) at this time in Goa. Only die-hard Goa lovers go at this time because of the monsoon rains.

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Monsoon Goa

Monsoon Goa

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Upon reaching the hotel, we realized that it would be a disaster to stay at kenilworth and pay money to ruin our holidays so we demanded the hotel to arrange for a room in similar property in Goa. Unfortunately, the weekend being a long weekend, Goa was completely sold out (or atleast, none of the 5 star deluxe hotels/resorts seem to be willing to offer rooms to us)
To add to the grief, while we were on the lookout in the cab, it didn’t stop raining. I wondered if I loved the rain or not ?

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Bonderam – The flag festival of Divar Island, Goa

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A little background on this ‘one of its kind’ festival. The “Bonderam” festival is celebrated on the Island of Divar on the fourth Saturday of August every year. The word “Bonderam” originated from the involvement of flags. “Bandeira” is the Portuguese word for flag. It is stated that during the Portuguese rule in Goa there were frequent disputes between two sections of the Divar village, namely Sao Mathias and Piedade over property issues. These often led to violence and fights in the village. Subsequently, the Portuguese introduced a system of demarcation of boundaries with flags.

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Wanderings in South Goa.

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You are really spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants in Goa. Besides the beach shacks, where you can sit on the sands and gaze out at the sea, sipping on a drink, while waiting an hour or two for your meal to arrive, there are many restaurants inland which also serve excellent food at very reasonable rates. There is a fusion of East and West, Portugese and Indian, meat and vegetables, which makes Goan cuisine unique. Coconut is used liberally, along with other Indian spices in the cooking. ‘Fish curry rice’ is the most common food and available virtually in every restaurant. The different types of seafood on offer in Goa includes pomfret, kingfish, ladyfish, mackerel, tuna, shark, crab, prawn, lobster, squid and mussels. Chicken, pork, mutton and beef dishes are also on offer at all the restaurants, cooked in the popular Goan flavours such as vindaloo, balchao, recheado, xhacuti and caldin.
We had already planned that we would include at least one meal out at a shack or restaurant in our daily sight-seeing itinerary. One precaution we always took was to carry our own drinking water if we did not want to order a drink, or pay for a bottle of branded mineral water.

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Pune to South Goa Road Trip

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At 12.30 pm we crossed over into Karnataka, and paid another toll. Immediately we could sense that we were in a different state. The traffic was much less in Karnataka as compared to the heavy traffic right upto Kolhapur in Maharashtra. The scenery was better, with undulating hills in the distance. There were flowering bushes in the road divider which made the drive more pleasant, and lay-byes with public utilities at regular intervals along the highway.

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Mumbai-Canacona(South Goa)-Bangalore-Mumbai by car.

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After several turns passing through small villages and asking on the way at long last we sighted the narrow NH 17 and turned left onto it toward Canacona. We reached the huge and luxurious Intercontinental Lalit Goa Resort at about 5 pm and checked in after a 9 hour drive from Satara. In retrospect, despite the slow progress, we actually thought we enjoyed the drive through the generous greenery and the suspense which lingered for the better part of the day. We had covered a total of 654Kms.

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Trip to Goa – Part 1

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Google Maps app on D’s phone was most helpful..I was backseat driving legally!! It was quite thrilling going on unknown roads. The roadways of Goa are well maintained thankfully. After seeing the number of churches one comes across in Goa, I have named Goa as the land of Churches! One of the Churches on way to Panaji at Utorda

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Happy Holidays Goa

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Hey this is Vrushali, this is for first time I am writing some thing. Till I came across traveling blogs I use to hate writing I had not even written any essay during my school but don’t know why but feel like sharing it this time after reading you guys.

It was after one year I was going to go on long holidays. may be because of that reason I was over excited I took leaves from office three days before.

At last it was 2nd Feb the day we were supposed to leave BOMBAY. Trip plan was Bombay – Ratnagiri – Goa. I am married to Tamilian and it was for first time my husband was visiting my native at Ratnagiri.

We started at 4 in morning. It was never so easy to get up in morning for office. And we all four were geared up for next five days, my husband Ajay, Sisters Monali and Tejali.. Actually five of use how can I forget my baby Aarnav after all it was his first holiday trip. And he was wide awaked at morning four. We were to catch up my parents at Ratnagiri and head Goa. Traffic was not much other than heavy vehicles. Drive was cozy with old songs and cold breeze. Sun still waiting to pour. We all were hungry and because we had left so early there was not a single hotel or dhaba open it was only when we reached Pen around 8.30 we had our south Indian breakfast, thinking it will be good to be little light. As we passed Pen we came across beautiful peacock right in front of our car. We saw it actually flying. Rest drive thru Raigat district was full of beautiful landscape and Shivaji’s memories. As we were leaving Mahad and heading towards Chiplun color of soil was changing to dark red. Hmmmm I was near to my destination.
We had left Khed Chiplun Sangmeswar with excitement of reaching our destination and were at entrance of Ratnagiri that is Hathkhamba.
As it was already 2 pm we decided to have our lunch before we reach our native home which was now far an hour’s drive. A costal village called Basni. The Food was tasting yaammy may be because we were tooo hungry or because of clean air.

After taking rest at our house we got ready to welcome our goddess MahaLakshim and lord Ravalnath at our home. This is big festival (Shimga) all over ratnagiri where gods from temple visits the houses of devotees in Palkis.

Next day from morning it self was allotted for Rantnagiri Darshan after having good heavy breakfast we left for Gav Darshan we had gone to all the places which we use to visit when we were small

After lunch we planned to visit Ganpati pule which is just 45 minutes drive from our village. We took new Areware road to Ganpati pule and trust me you have to visit here to see the breath taken view from this place. AWESOME is the word.

Reaching ganpati pule was peaceful as it was off season, we could take nice darshan without any haste. And how can anyone forget about wide beach of Ganpatipule .

We really had a good time at beach, it was Aarnav’s first Camel and Horse ride
On returning home we were dead tired and off we sleep.

Next day went resting and chicken barbequing, it was funny as we can’t even think of barbeque at our houses in Mumbia

Next day morning by 7 am we all were ready for goa. It was around 1 pm when we crossed Maharashtra-Goa state border. Police check post. We had booked our stay at Mahindra Varca beach resort near Margoan which was at almost on south end of goa.

We Bridge across Mandovi River to Panaji. And took left towards Margoan. We had quick lunch at small local hotel. And the let me tell you the Prawns fry was amazing
Margoan to Varca the drive was cool as it was not as crowded with tourist as Panaji. It was typical Goan village with lots of churches on every corner and people playing football all over.

After our check in at Hotel we had a good dip in well maintained swimming pool. The hotel was very well maintained and upgraded. There were many foreigners checked in.

Dip in the pool was very relaxing and refreshing. The hotel property was Built in characteristic Goan architectural style, the resort is a heaven for luxury lovers with its exquisite decor, luxurious comfort and breathtaking views. The air conditioned rooms and suites with attached balconies make it a perfect place to sip on a drink, relax and get cozy. You can also enjoy a Goan siesta and spend the day in peace and tranquility.

We retired to the bed early as drive from Ratnagiri to Goa was really tiring. Next day early morning I, Aarnav, Ajay and Baba went for walk on beach, it was Stretches of silver sand washed by a rush of blue waters and fisher men’s gathering their catches from the longest fishing nets I have ever seen. Breeze was giving great motivation and feel of newness. After hogging breakfast of bread and butter. We were ready for Holi celeberation arranged by Hotel and let me tell you It was for first time my Mom ever played Holi, It was funny with perfect music, colors, appetizers, drinks and dancers, not to forget foreign dancers as well

Rest whole day went lounging on the deck chairs, on beach or just hang out at two swimming pools. Our next plan for evening was Para gilding which was one of the major reasons we had gone to Goa. Since the Para gilding available at resort was over charged we planned to go to famous and crowded beach of Goa and that’s Calungut.

This beach is heart of goa as it is full of tourist. It was different from Varca beach as Varca has all sophisticated crowd and people who come for just quite holiday in goa. Whereas Calangute is place for hyper active people there were people all around the beach enjoying waves, boat rides, banana rides, speed boats etc..

On reaching and after few bargaining we got the best deal for para sailing. We were ready with our safety jackets on. It was for first time we were going to do this. We took a boat from shore to reach the speed boat in middle of sea. Ajay and Teju were first one to go. ohhhooo on seeing them leaving the boat with a tug and parachute I was feeling very nervous. Then it was my and Mona’s turn, and on leaving the boat with the hard pull of wind it was just wowww feeling in my stomach. Hey I was in air flying it was mind blowing. I could see the sun setting far some where, fair of people on the beach. What I can say is it was one of my best experiences. And there, in next 2 mins I was down on boat, still shivering.

Thanking the goan guys on the boat we return on shore to Aarav Mom and Baba who were busy eating bhel and chips. After this adventure my husband propose to take us for dinner at some place which he had visited last time he came to Goa. But how can I forget my husband is not at all good with roads and this restaurant he had visited around four years back. Not to my surprise he didn’t knew the Name of restaurant, name of place or any kind of land mark, what he remembered was it was near some jetty and the road goes from Panjim city. We almost drive for 45 mins in search and had almost given up the hope and we were planning to go to any local restaurant now as it was already 8. And while driving we came across the direction broad saying Dauna Paula 2 Km. After almost lot of quarreling to see not to see, we planned to check out and there it was my husband at last found the restaurant he was searching, the name was Sea Pebble bang opposite the monument . Thanks to my Baba who said lets go to Dauna paula. Don’t let the entrance to sea pebble put you off – despite it looking empty / shabby, the restaurant is hidden away the other side of the small headland / hotel right on the sea front and is a really great spot for watching the sunset. We walked to a candle-lit table by the sea. I have to say it was enchanting on the beach with the candles on the tables. Food there is probably the nicest we had in Goa. The Surmai Fry was yummy.This being the last night at goa we had fallen for beer and Breezer. Back to hotel was again drive of one hour. None of us knew when we went deep in dreams.

Morning heart was full of good memories of the trip and we all ready of Mumbia life running for collage, work, bus, trains.
We checked out of hotel at 9.30 and on reaching Panji We shopped for few Kuju gifts for friends and heavy breakfast of 3 onion uttapa, puri bhaji, Batawada, meduwada, 2 dosas tea oh my god we were eating as if it was our last meal. With no place in our stomach we left Goa. On return trip we planned to take NH 4 from Sawantwadi- Amboli- Nipani- Kohalpur Pune Mumbai. Our return Drive was all full of excitement with halt at kholhapur for lunch of specialty “ache masoor”.
At last we were in Mumbai at 11 at night had our dinner at thane. Till now Ajay was dead tried driving whole day. But with full of good memories
It was a prefect holiday time spend with the people we love.

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