GOA - BEACHERS HEAVEN
A Travelogue :
GOA is a small state and tour of the entire place can be done within a day itself, but if you want to enjoy Goa fully then go slow and enjoy one beach at a time. That way you'll never regret it. Also there's much more to see and do beyond the beaches.
My own Goa experience has been quite a memorable one, and I've been of late itching to go back. Maybe soon I shall....
Couple of years back, I had travelled to Goa with my family. We had taken a bus from Bombay, hence it was somewhat a long journey ( 14-16 hrs or so ). Travelling by bus however has its plus points as you really get to savour the journey while the bus travels through the country side, making occasional stops as well, giving glimpses of the local culture. Our bus started around 4pm so we got to see a little bit of the scenery, as soon it had got dark. ( But our return journey had started in the morning itself, hence that time we got to see more of it, and boy! was it interesting... )
However, if you want to reach quick, then grab a journey by rail or air both of which are well connected to many of the other Indian states. Some romantic and adventurous even choose to bike it all the way!
So, towards morning after travelling the whole night by bus we reached the main Panaji/Panjim bus depot.
We were supposed to stay at a hotel near the Miramar beach. A beach! That uplifted my spirits at once and this one was right at the heart of the main city. Nothing could be more music to my ears. We took a taxi to the hotel which had some type of tie-up with my aunt's bank. It so happens that officials of her bank frequently stayed on that hotel. However, we had one bad news, that we had only 2 days of reservation as the hotel was fully booked. It was peak season then. My aunt asked the reception to increase the days of our booking, but they only doubtfully assured that they'd see if it was possible.
Anyhow, we quickly freshened ourselves, ate lunch and then went to the Beach. After spending a lazy afternoon on the beach, that day, we just roamed around Panjim city itself by the river Mandovi and walked through the many lanes. My aunt was hunting for a special kind of 'Feni' - a local alchoholic drink made of cashew nuts, hence most of our time was spent searching the various liquor shops. And my God! The amount of liquor shops in Goa is simply incredidible, overwhelming! Just like we have our regular paan/baniya shops in every nook and corner, Panjim had wine shop literally everywhere.
And I thought to myself, how much these Goans drank! Phew! Bewdas ~
The next day, early morning, we took the typical tourist bus tours and off we went sight seeing to 'south-Goa' with a tour guide taking us around and explaining the locations, churches and other monuments etc. And yes the beaches too. Almost every location had a beach or the sea near it, so it was simply awesome walking in the waters, collecting sea-shells amidst digesting a bit of history as well.
That day we saw the Dona-Paula, which the guide proudly told us, that was where the famous movie 'Ek Dujhe Je Liye' was picturised at :-) There is a very famous DonaPaula story attached to the location as well.
By evening when we returned, the hotel reception informed us that they were unable to find rooms so we might have to leave that place after all. But we were not done visiting Goa yet. We wanted to spend some more time. So ultimately my father contacted his office and got the keys to some vacant office quarters ( he too worked in a bank, albeit a different one and they had branches pan India )
Atlast, we all breathed a sigh of relief as we got an entire bank flat now, all to ourselves and our holidays thankfully extended by a few more days.
Since, we had now shifted into a flat ( which was well furnished ) we were more relaxed and it felt as if we were living in our own house. That flat too was near the Miramar beach not far from the hotel where we had stayed earlier. Infact, it was situated on a lane just behind the hotel. So, daily evening we spent our time roaming around that area. There was a discotheque near the beach, thronged by tourists which played loud music late into the night. Till late night we'd just sit or stroll on the beach lazily.
I had become so used to this routine that the city almost felt like home. Infact, I almost knew all the streets and shops of that area by heart by the time we were about to leave the place.
But of course we were not leaving as yet, atleast not before we had a couple of more tours in and around the state. We went to a 'north-Goa' trip as well which was similar to the south one. We also had a cruise on the River Mandovi where ethnically dressed dancers and performers, performed throughout the evening with all the tourists cheering them. Some of the tourists even joined in the dance with them. It was just too much fun and entertaining.
( Mandovi is a river that flows into the sea, and the union point is quite interesting to watch! )
Goa is a state with a majority of christian population, hence you'll find it dotted with lots of churches and symbols of the holy cross everywhere. Infact, as soon as you start seeing the crosses in the villages that the bus goes by, you'd immediately know that you've entered Goa.
Goan houses I have noticed, are made of a unique type of brick ( also known as laterite blocks ) that are commonly used, and which are quite unlike the regular red bricks that are used for building constructions.
Some interesting ( must see ) places that we visited in and around Goa * both in north and south * are - Dona Paula, Colva Beach, Loutolim, Goa Science Centre, Shanta Durga Temple, Mangueshi Temple, Miramar, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Francis Xavier, Anjuna Beach, Anjuna Flea Market, Vagator Beach, Calangute Beach, Mayem Lake, Fort Aguada, Panaji Handicrafts Emporium
These days Goa is a must visit for the wide range of water sports activities that are available in its various beaches as well as the music festivals that it regularly holds. It also has a few casinos that are quite popular.
Read more tourism information on Goa - Here | Read Goan Inquisition History - Here and Here
Our Rating Scale is : 1 to 5 = ◕◕◕◕◕ - It was Amazing!
( Images Courtesy : Google )