Tuesday, 31 July, 2007

Go Goa!

If you've been wondering about the absence of posts on this blog,rest assured, as there's nothing to worry about.It was just that I've been in Goa for the past one week,having a perfectly lovely holiday and even now,I'm not in Nagpur,but in Mumbai(leaving tonight).

OK,so this post is going to describe Goa as I saw it!

The very first thing that strikes about Goa is the lush greenery spread out just about everywhere you look.We'd disembarked at Madgaon and since we had a reservation at the Royal Goan Haathi Mahal Resort,we proceeded directly to the place.The resort is situated in Mobor,very near to the Cavelossum beach.It is a peaceful place and an extremely ideal place to be at if you are going at this time of the year i.e. during the monsoons,coz you can never tell when it's going to start raining.The five days that we were there,we were greeted by the rains every single day,which did spoil the fun to some extent,but then we did not give up and went sight seeing while having a bath(rain bath that is).

The first day,we went to tour North Goa.Our tour included Dona Paula,Panjim city and a Boat cruise.

Dona Paula-

The name sounded really attractive but it was actually not very interesting.At that time we didn't know the history of the place and it just looked like a very boring place to look at the sea.It was much later that we got to know the history when the bus driver on another tour mentioned it.Apparently,it involves a local tale of a rich girl Dona falling in love with a poor boy Paula, and not having the parents' consent, they commit suicide at that place,(hence the name),a Romio Juliet or a Heer Ranjha kind of a thing.

Then we went to the city of Panaji or Panjim as it is locally called.Not really too much to look at or admire there,so let's proceed to the next destination.

We then went for the Boat cruise over the River Mandovi and it was awesome!!The whole scenery is just so beautiful that you feel like letting your camcorder keep running and recording every moment. The cruise lasts an hour and it takes you right up to the edge of the place where River Mandovi meets the sea.It gets quite rocky when you near the sea,and the light drizzle really brightened up the evening,coupled with the songs which drifted up from the lower deck where dancing and partying had been going on.Frankly,I know I wouldn't have had even half as much as fun on the lower deck as I had on the upper one.It was just amazing!!!!!!!

Then we returned to the resort and rested for a while before having our dinner.Almost nowhere in the whole state of Goa will you find a place which serves exclusively vegetarian stuff, and that becomes a BIG problem for rigid veggies.Also one can easily substitute chai in our lives with hard drinks in theirs.Like in every nook and corner of the other cities,one can find a chai ki tapri, here one can find that almost every shop sells these drinks!

Day 2 -
The day was wasted almost entirely,thanks to the rains!We did go the Cavelossum beach but it turns out that it's an extremely desolated kind of a spot,atleast in the half season which in hotel terminology is called white season.There really wasn't much to do,except standing alone on the beach and letting the waves wash the sands from under your feet and honestly, it gets boring after a while!So we didn't really stay for long.But there is a distinguishing feature of the beach and that again,we discovered later.It is one of the few beaches which have whitish coloured sand,and it is supposed to make it look different and more beautiful!Though I really didn't feel so.

Day 3-
This time we were determined to beat the rains and so proceeded without a fixed destination in mind.We went to Madgaon,roamed about a bit in the city and well, the only place that we visited during the day,worth mentioning is the Colungate beach.It is the most famous beach of Goa and people throng to the place in huge numbers,especially during the full season.When we visited the place,there were a tolerable number of people out there but the environment somehow wasn't the same as one would find on say,the Juhu beach or even the Chaupati beach.

Day 4-Wasted!Except that we changed accomodations to Hotel Goa Woodlands in the main Madgaon city,partly due to the extremely high taxi rates to just about anywhere from the resort.The hotel was almost as good as the resort.

Day 5-
This was the day when we actually visited the older version of Goa.We first reached Ancestral Goa,the place where the only house of Portugese architecture has been preserved for public display.It is a 252 yrs old mansion which belonged to Arujo Alvares who was an advocate.Since the nearest court was at Panjim,therefore he judged matters from his own house.The ancient ways of life have been preserved quite well.The history of the place is deeply related to the spread of christianity in Goa.Apparently the Portugese gifted houses of this type of excuisite architecture to the 35 families who converted their religion,about 6 generations back,but that still fails to explain the spread of Christianity to the extent it has spread, to me.The house is now maintained by the 6th generation of his family.It also houses a collection of different types of statues of "Ganesha" to which the present generation still adds.Then we visited the museum Big Foot which has a history attached to it as well,and it is famous as a "wishing spot".There was also the sculpture of Saint Mirabai which has reached the Limca Book of records for being the longest sculpture made out of a single laterite rock.
Then we visited two temples-Shantadurga Temple and Mangueshi Temple,the first one dedicated to the Goddess of peace and the second one to Lord Shiva.
Then we visited the very famous and very ancient church "Basilica of Bom Jesus".It is said to contain the sacred remains of St.Francis Xavier enshrined in a silver casket,entombed in a marble masoleum.It is indeed very huge and a very very ancient place to be at.
Then we visited the Colva Beach,which is second to the Colungate Beach in fame, but has apparently more activity,as I perceived.Maybe it can just be attributed to the Sunday but whatever the reason, this beach was certainly a more lively place.

Day 6-Departure!But we visited Vasco in the morning and the rains once again marred the prospects of visiting the markets,so we did a bit of sight seeing from a taxi,and it so turns out that the city has nothing really interesting for tourists to see.

So this was an extremely dispassionate version of Goa from me.But I would like to mention a few facts.I never imagined Goa to be as it was,thanks to the exposure,coming mainly from movies,serials and books,maybe.So naturally,with such high expectations,Goa was kind of disappointing!

I for example,never in my wildest dreams imagined that Goa was absolutely lush green.Anywhere you look,it's either green or blue.I never knew that Goa was such a major industrial hub.Ports,I knew,but industries,I didn't!There are many many industries which have their plants and factories in Goa,yet there is not even the trace of pollution.I often wondered what the people of Goa did for a living,besides hotels and now I have the answer,Industries!Usually local people are employed in these industries.The people here are quite talketive and helpful,if you know how to approach them.And after every few miles, on the roadside,you can see a small temple kind of structure,just like anywhere else,only with the cross inside.The local population is mainly Christian and the people speak usually Konkani or English or Marathi with a definite Konkani touch,which is a little difficult to understand!

But the next time I am in Goa(yes,there is definitely going to be a next time),I'll be going during the red season i.e. sometime between October and March,preferably December end to be able to experience Goa in it's full vigour,colour and passion!!!!!!

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