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 taking view from this place. AWESOME is the word. These are called untouched natures beauty.
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 Mumbai
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 celebration 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.
Goa’s landscape is remarkably varied, ranging from the thickly forested Western Ghats mountain range on its interior border through lush river valleys to the beaches of its roughly 75-mile-long coast.
Goa is India’s smallest state by a considerable margin, but its pocket-sized charms exert a powerful allure. You feel the difference immediately on arrival – the familiar subcontinental bustle and jostling give way to a measured languor and broad smiles, and the skies clear to a distant horizon. Just 1,429 square miles, with a population of 1.5 million, this is where the crowded cityscapes of urban India give way to coconut groves; the blare of traffic yields to birdcalls and the insistent whisper of sea on sand. No wonder this is India’s most popular resort destination – not just for travellers from Europe, Israel and Russia, but increasingly for India’s growing middle class, for whom Goa is famously summed up by the Konkani word sussegad, meaning ‘laid-back’ or ‘relaxed’.
So much more than hippies
The North Goan beachfront stretches all the way from the Aguada Plateau, which drops to the Mandovi River, to the Tiracol Fort on the Maharashtra border – a drive you can make in about two hours. In between, there’s charter tourism congestion in Candolim, the Indian middle class packing the sands of Calangute, party central for India’s twentysomethings at Baga, and the sprawling luxury villas of India’s rich and famous in Sinquerim.
Further up the coast are the dream beaches of the ’60s hippie trail, the first of which was Anjuna, where a remnant of septuagenarian 'Goa Freaks' (the first European hippies to settle in Goa the 1970s) linger on in a wildly international mix that still retains its alternative vibe. There’s also the more edgy Chapora and Vagator, where cafés are jammed with tokers openly puffing on smokestack-sized chillums under the watchful gaze of well-connected locals.
North of Vagator, the beaches begin to empty out and some are relatively deserted. Morjim, where protected Olive Ridley sea turtles still come to lay eggs on the beach, now hosts a thriving Russian sub-culture. Beyond Mandrem’s unique marriage of swift-running freshwater and ocean surf, all roads lead to the legendary Arambol, where latter-day versions of the first flower children spend months living in thatched huts under coconut palms.
In peak season, your day on the beach here could easily be spent with 10,000 other travellers, with Hebrew as the lingua franca and waiters and hawkers the only Indians in sight. Apart from the beaches, North Goa is also home to some of the most ambitious restaurants in India, including Burmese, Turkish, Italian and French establishments – but there’s always recourse to the inevitable steak and kidney pie and mushy peas so beloved of the Brits who still outnumber all other foreign visitors by a tidy margin.
North Goa’s attractions aren’t just confined to the coast, they extend to hill-hugging cashew plantations that blanket much of Pernem taluka (Goa’s feni-producing heartland), the noisy riot of colours that is Mapusa market in the heart of Bardez district, and the hidden, curiously hybrid Hindu temples of Ponda.
Panjim & Old Goa
Raffish charms and crumbling relics
Despite a real estate boom that has set prices soaring and apartment complexes sprouting on its outskirts, Panjim retains an old-fashioned character that feels quite different from any other state capital in India. The architecture is low-rise, Latinate, with plenty of green spaces, and the riverfront setting ensures a pleasant and breezy atmosphere that feels positively Caribbean. Panjim began to emerge around the late 18th century and by the 1820s had become the bustling administrative centre of the Portuguese Estado da India. Beautiful buildings from this period still crowd many of the old neighbourhoods and give the city its character. In recent years many of these architectural jewels have been restored and brightly repainted in characteristically Goan pastel shades.
The city is best explored on foot. Wander along the Mandovi riverfront, take a stroll under the overhanging street arcades of 18th June Road (named for the day in 1946 when Indian socialist Ram Manohar Lohia called for the Portuguese to be chucked out) and amble through the old quarter of Fontainhas – a Latinate labyrinth of sun-kissed ochre and magenta buildings, pocket-sized balconies and tiny plazas, and trees laden with ripening papayas and guavas.
The original colonial capital, now known simply as Old Goa, is an area of empty avenues and ancient churches. It’s a few kilometres away, linked to modern Panjim by a centuries-old causeway that stretches through backwaters and traditional salt pans, and passes through some of the state’s earliest colonial architecture at Ribandar.
The coast is clear
The original charms of India’s sunshine state are better showcased in South Goa. It’s bigger, less developed, with far more imposing colonial architecture and by far the best beaches. Fifteen miles of shining, uninterrupted white sands stretch from Cansaulim to Mobor with the spectacular ruins of the Cabo de Rama Fort looming over a rugged stretch of coastline further down. In the interior, there are the astounding Mesolithic carvings at Pansaimol, resident tigers in the jungle of Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, and the lush agricultural bounty of the hinterland of Quepem.
Rich farmlands and a billion dollars in annual mining income have so far kept South Goa from racing to replicate North Goa’s party strip, which means it has been relatively untouched by mass-market charter tourism.
It’s also the home turf of fading generations of Luso-Indian grandees – the aristocracy whose mansions still line the streets of Margao, where Portuguese is still widely spoken. These days, the south’s idyllic character is coming under threat from a rash of proposed development. Construction companies and real estate entrepreneurs have snapped up stretches of land all the way down to the Karnataka border, and though it will probably take years to become as hectic as the north, large-scale development looks inevitable. Until that happens, much of the south offers a glimpse of an older Goa, where farmers work the same fields and orchards that their families have tended for centuries. Spectacular rococo and baroque churches gleam whitewashed amid emerald paddy fields. Old colonial-era houses are still meticulously maintained, and locals retain the gracious culture and beautiful manners that still count in Goa.
The best of Goa
For a journey back in time
Old Goa was once one of the world’s great cities – bigger than London – and home to grandees, adventurers and slave-traders. Its surviving churches and convents are designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (see Regions: Old Goa).
For India’s only Latin quarter
Wander the narrow lanes of Fontainhas (see Regions: Panjim), a charming area full of beautifully maintained Indo-Portuguese houses, chapels and public shrines.
For a glimpse of the grandees
Take a peek into the gorgeously detailed world of the South Goan aristocracy at the Figueiredo Mansion at Loutolim (see Regions: South Goa).
After Goa’s liberation in 1961, land reform took back these vast agricultural holdings and dismantled the feudal system that supported the grand estates. Many of the palacios survive in various states of disrepair, with absentee owners now in Portugal or Canada. Of the surviving grand mansions, the gorgeous Figueiredo Mansion (House No. 376, Loutolim, donations accepted), a 15-minute drive from Margao, is the most beautiful home open to visitors. Owned by a pair of septuagenarian sisters, Georgina Figueiredo and Maria de Lourdes de Albuquerque, the house retains much of its former grandeur, with magnificent collections of antique furniture and porcelain. One wing, the Heritage Inn (0832-277-7028, firstname.lastname@example.org), is open for paying guests.
Or you can sample a taste of the grandee way of life with a full Indo-Portuguese meal in the formal dining room, complete with liveried service and century-old family crockery.
For the wilderness experience
Spend a night at one of the most beautiful eco-tourism resorts in the world. Wildernest (0831-520-7954, www.wildernest-goa.com) occupies a stunning location in the Western Ghats, at the lip of the Mhadei Valley (see Regions: North Goa).
For the art of the ancients
Visit one of the greatest Mesolithic art sites in the world and one of the most accessible. Awe-inspiring rock carvings cover a riverside shelf of laterite rock at Pansaimol. You can walk right up to them to feel the ancient grooves under your fingers (see Regions: South Goa).
Goa's best beaches
For idyllic lazing
Once deserted, most of Palolem is now firmly on the beaten track, but its smaller adjunct Patnem is a good place to get a taste of the idyllic experience that put Goa on the global tourism map (see Regions: South Goa).
For following the hippie trail
The legendary paradise beach of the 1970s hippie scene, Arambol retains an edgy counter-cultural atmosphere (see Regions: North Goa).
For getting back to nature
Morjim and Ashvem are a half-hour drive from the tourist hub of North Goa, but a world away in atmosphere. A few protected Olive Ridley turtles come here every year to lay eggs, fending off most major construction in the process (see Regions: North Goa).
For an escape from the tourists
The last undeveloped beach in North Goa, Keri remains a long and almost empty stretch of sand, where you can sit blissfully alone in the shadow of casuarinas trees (see Regions: North Goa).
For watching locals at play
Miramar beach in Panjim isn’t safe for swimming but it is impressively broad,
and well-situated at the mouth of the Mandovi. Crowds of Indian tourists and Panjim residents head to the water to watch the sunset in a pleasant, convivial atmosphere (see Regions: Panjim).
Goa's weather & climate
Goa has a tropical climate, with average temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees Centigrade from November to April, and up to 40 degrees with high humidity in October and May. The Goan monsoon lasts from early June to late September, with the heaviest rains in July.
Over 20 direct flights make the short hop from Mumbai to Goa each day. Jet Airways (www.jetairways.com) and Air India (1800-180-1407/www.airindia.in) offer impressive service and inflight meals, but you might find better deals from Kingfisher Airlines (1800-1800-101/www.flykingfisher.com); GoAir (1800-222-111/www.goair.in), Indigo (1800-180-3838/www.goindigo.in) and SpiceJet (1800-180-3333/www.spicejet.com). For easy booking, metasearch websites like www.cleartrip.com and www.makemytrip.co.in crawl through various airline websites and present all available flights and on a single page. Book at least a week ahead in the peak winter season.
Dozens of bus services make the 12- to 14-hour trip from Mumbai to Goa each day, from decrepit decades-old coaches to comfortable modern Volvo behemoths with air-conditioning and reclining seats. Go for the latter. Paulo Travels (022-2645-2624 Mumbai, 0832-243-8531/8537 Panjim, www.paulotravels.com) is the biggest coach company, with daily services. Return fares range from Rs 700 to Rs 1,400.
Trains chug into Goa five times each day from Mumbai. The 11-hour trip offers magnificent views of the Ghats and the lush riverine plains of the Konkan coastline if you travel in the daytime, or you can take a sleeper overnight and be there fresh in the morning. The major stops are Tivim for North Goa, Karmali for Panjim and Margao for South Goa. You can book online (www.konkanrailway.com/www.irctc.co.in) but it can tend to be a little complicated. In peak season berths can be hard to come by, but there’s a ‘foreigners’ quota’ for one-way tickets (buy on the day of travel or the day before).
Directorate of Tourism Rua de Ourem Patto, Panjm. 0832-222-6515. Open 9.30am-1.15pm, 2-5.45 pm.
Goa is a malaria risk area. Always consult your doctor before travelling.
For more information about malaria visit the NHS websites www.nhs.uk/conditions/Malaria (for an overview) and 'fitfortravel' www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk (for advice and risk areas).
All foreign visitors to India require a visa except for citizens of Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives. There is no provision for granting visas upon arrival in India and you should apply to the Indian embassy or high commission in your home country. Visitors planning to stay over 180 days must register with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office within 14 days of arrival.
Time Out guidebooks
For more information, pick up a copy of our guidebook 'Mumbai & Goa', available from the Time Out shop, at the discounted price of £8.99.