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Friday, 27 March 2020

The Coronavirus Makes It To Goa?



March 27, 2020- Dangerous Discovery

The Times of India made a shocking declaration yesterday that a 55-year old coronavirus suspect was discharged from the Goa Medical College in the morning. They called him back in the evening after his test turned positive. This has put innumerable people at risk. 
This has led to the family of the patient being put in quarantine. All the other people he came in contact with during the day are also being tracked down. It was also surprising that the hospital staff asked the man to return to GMC on his own instead of arranging for an ambulance. A relative drove the patient there and he is also under quarantine. 

Mask, Virus, Pandemic, Coronavirus
Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Opening of Grocery Stores after Lockdown Order

The Goa government had asked for a complete lock down in the state but residents complained about not being able to get their groceries. Goa CM had to reopen the grocery stores so that people could get their milk, bread and other essential items. He stated that Goans could not hold the government responsible if the virus spread, now that they had made such demands. 



Does It All Make Sense?

The lockdown order was an incredibly sensible thing to do. However, people do need their groceries. It is very difficult to manage without essential items like milk and bread. Why couldn't the government arrive at a reasonable compromise? Ensuring that people keep safe distance from each other would be good. Circles or squares could be drawn on the ground to ensure that. Ensuring that everyone who goes shopping wears a mask and carries a bottle of sanitizer could be another good way to help prevent the spread of the disease to a great extent. Another very effective way would be to create an app for the home delivery of essential items. Advise people not to leave their houses. Assure them that the essentials they need will get to them. If they are getting what they need, why would they leave their homes to go shopping? 

Doctor, Medical, Medicine, Health
Image Courtesy: Pixabay


An Important Question

Does everyone understand the gravity of the present situation? Have people in the villages been educated about it? Have there been enough programs on TV to keep the people informed about the virus? Have the churches organized any door-to-door visits to help keep the people informed about what is happening worldwide and how they can help to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19? Pamphlets with the basic information could be distributed in the villages or posters stuck in areas that people frequent. Is enough being done to help prevent the spread of the virus? 


Saturday, 21 March 2020

Has The Coronavirus Scare Affected Goa?

Not Really! Not Yet!

The Locals

The locals are obliviously happy and peaceful. There has not been a single coronavirus case in the state despite the fact that it is a tourist location.

Sunset over River Sal, South Goa


Tourists

However, the number of tourists has decreased considerably and the beaches are bare. Tourists who are already present in Goa are choosing to stay indoors as per the advice from the government officials. So, Goa is much quieter.

Margao Town 


How Has The Present Global Situation Affected Goa?

Tourism has been affected greatly. Tourists from all over the world have been cancelling their trips to Goa. There have been cancellations of hotel bookings too. Domestic tourists have also been afraid to travel. Many have cancelled their holiday plans. The beaches are quite deserted for this time of the year. 

Beach in South Goa


How Is Goa Dealing With The Coronavirus Situation?

The Goan Government declared partial shutdown of the state on March 21st, 2020.
Even though there has not been any case of the virus in Goa, the Government has decided to play it safe and take certain measures to prevent any casualties. The Government has ordered the closure of roadside eateries and stoppage of tourist activities, together with stoppage of tourist vehicles from entering the state. the transport of essential goods across the state to and from Maharashtra and Karnataka will not be stopped, neither will the entry of Goans be stopped. 
Vehicle rentals have been stopped till further notice. Religious gatherings, sporting events and other competitions have been postponed. Government and private bus services will be reduced. Offices have been encouraged to ask citizens to work from home as far as possible or relax work timings. 
Section 144 has been imposed in Goa.
Several preventive measures will be taken till March 31st. 

Sunset at Vaddi Beach

Would It Be Wise To Plan A Trip To Goa Now?

No, not at all. For one, you could be carrying the virus and might infect others. Secondly, you might contact the virus during your visit. So, unless it is absolutely necessary for you to visit Goa, do not plan a trip in the near future. 

How Do You Get Infected With Coronavirus and How Does It Affect Travel Plans?

There are several ways in which you can get infected. These are:

  • Being in close contact with someone who might be infected. (within 6 feet)
It is not possible for you NOT to be in such close contact with people when you travel, unless you are riding or driving to Goa solo and do not stop en route for refreshments. 
  • Through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes in your presence. 
This, too, cannot be avoided unless you are traveling solo. 
  • The virus is also believed to spread if you touch a surface that contains the virus and then touch your face with your hands. 
Travel involves touching so many surfaces. It is very difficult to be so cautious that you remember not to touch anything and keep your hands to yourself. 

Our knowledge of how the virus is transmitted from one person to another is based on the few details that we have learned so far. The disease seems to be most contagious when an infected person is showing symptoms. However, there have been cases of people having the disease and not showing any symptoms at all. The virus is not completely understood yet. Why take a chance and make holiday plans in such a situation? 





Saturday, 7 March 2020

Fun at Benaulim Beach in February

Yes, I went to the beach in February. I wanted to see what it would be like....

BENAULIM BEACH


Benaulim Beach
Benaulim Beach is one of the popular beaches in South Goa. Many tourists have heard of this beach and it is quite crowded. However, it was not as crowded as it usually is, and the shacks were quite empty.
There are a lot of shacks at the beach, and some, a short distance away. There is a big parking area at the beach and one can walk down the road to the bus stop at Maria Hall which is about a kilometer away. There are tons of shops, hotels, guest houses and restaurants along the road.
Another thing that this beach is famous for is bioluminescence. People say that it is a magical experience, and I can quite agree with that, despite the fact that I have not seen it.

Places to Stay
The Taj Exotica is a luxury hotel at this beach. Besides this there are more economical ones like the Beira Mar, Lamour Beach Resort, Palm Shades Spring and OYO 19112 Caphina Tourist Cottages. All these have very good travelers' reviews.

Water Sports
This beach has a lot of water sports too. If you like snorkeling, parasailing and wind surfing, this will be an ideal place for you.

If you walk northwards, you will come to a smaller and more peaceful beach called Sernabatim Beach.


How To Get There
Benaulim Beach is easily accessible by road from the nearest town, which is Margao. There are many buses on this route. Alternately, you can take a taxi or a bike from anywhere in Goa to get to this beach.
                                        
THE PARKING LOT AT BENAULIM BEACH
A Snack at a Shack
We went to the beach around midday and sat in one of the shacks overlooking the beach. Of course the view was enchanting. We ordered our favourite seafood and a tall glass of Mojito to cool us down. The prawns fried in traditional reshad masala were delicious. It was cool and pleasant in the shade of the shack. We were lost in conversation and enjoying the music when we noticed some people enjoying some water sports. We went forward and saw that quite a few people were waiting for their turns.

THE BEAUTIFUL BEACH


The Call of the Waves
As we walked closer to the sea, the hot sun burned our feet and we had to jump up ad down to try and cool down. We had left our sandals at the shack and now regretted doing so. It was low tide and the water had receded quite a bit. The shore looked spectacular with its thick line of coconut palms swaying in the breeze and the golden, white sand against the rushing waves. I ran and dipped my feet into the water and let the waves dance around my ankles. It was a warm, delightful feeling, and one that I had not experienced in a long time. I felt the water flow back with immense energy  that swept the sand from beneath my feet and made huge depressions where I stood. Soon I was standing in a hole with water in it. I ran into the sea, following the tide as it rushed farther away. The waves beat against me, with a fury, as if they wanted to punish me for my long absence from the beach. I lay down, closed my eyes,  and let the water flow over me. It was like a warm rush of contentment. The water lifted me up gently and began to carry me away deeper towards the horizon where the fishermen in their little boats were waiting for their catch. I saw a huge wave coming towards me, so I lifted myself up against the strong currents. I let the wave grab me, and throw me on to the beach again. I had missed this glorious feeling. 
My friends yelled out to me to come and have lunch. They grumbled that it was too hot to be out in the sun at that time of the day, but it really wasn't that bad. Besides, I was having an interesting and amusing time with the waves. I continued going up and down with the waves for some time. I could feel the seaweed tangling around my feet time and again. It was a cool, slimy feeling.

PEDRO'S SHACK
  

A Traditional Goan Meal with Feni
I finally dragged myself out of the water and walked back to the shack where my friends had already ordered lunch and were waiting for me to join them. I enjoyed the traditional Goan fish curry and rice. Some of my friends ordered  feni, but I preferred beer.
Cashew feni has a typical pungent odour and taste that I find repulsive. I have never enjoyed the fruit either. It has an odd taste. But of course, I love the nuts. Interestingly, the cashew nut is actually formed from the ovary and is scientifically the fruit, while what we consume as the fruit, is actually the swollen thalamus. This interesting fruit makes the alcoholic drink that the locals consume. As a youngster, I didn't mind drinking 'neer', which is the fresh juice of the cashew when it is crushed to make the feni. It doesn't taste as odd as the feni. Of course, there is the coconut feni, too, which is extracted from the coconut palm and is stronger. It tastes a bit like vodka. Both, cashew and coconut feni taste better with a tinge of lime, 7 Up or limca.

THE CASHEW FRUIT


A Unique Walk 
It was time to digest our heavy meal, so we decided to walk down the beach. I loved the way the sand crunched beneath my feet. I could see the tiny sea creatures running into the little holes they had made along the beach. They were waiting for the tide to come in again. There were thousands of little shells on the sand. I picked up a big shell and examined it. A crab peeped at me from inside. He had a good look at me and then crawled back into his shell. We walked on, till we reached the next beach, which was relatively very quiet. Then we turned back. In spite of our broad rimmed hats and sunglasses, the heat had made us uncomfortable.  But the cool, sea breezes struggled to make us feel better. With the breeze, came the smell of fish and salt that I loved so much.
We walked back to the guest house where my friends were staying.

SHELLS BY MY FEET

Cute Guest House By The Beach
We walked to the guest house through a private pathway from the beach. There were cute and colorful little cottages spread around. It's called Costa's Montage. Each cottage is overlooking a pool. The cottages were fully furnished too. They had beds, tables and chairs, a couch, a fridge, gas connection, etc. It was like a home away from home. For forty thousand a month as rent, I thought it was quite economical. There was security with a gate and a guard there too. I really liked the place. There was ice cream in the fridge so I helped myself to some of it. My friends invited me to join them in the pool, but it was getting late and I had chores to do, so I decided to head back home.

COSTA'S MONTAGE

THE POOL



All I had to do now was to use the app Goa Miles and call a cab for myself. Using a cab from this app is so much cheaper. I am so thrilled with the fact that Goa has an app-based taxi service now. I tell everyone about it to popularize it as much as I can. I want to see it succeed. 

Back Home Again
My aunt had dinner waiting for me. I had a nice hot shower, followed by a delicious dinner that consisted of bakri (Goan Bread), fish cutlets, tambde bhaji (red vegetable), and ladyfinger cooked with a splash of coconut. 
As I lay down, I could feel myself rocking in the ocean with the waves. My skin was hot and sunburnt, but I didn't care at all. It had been such an exciting and eventful day!







Monday, 30 December 2019

Top Yoga Retreats in North Goa and South Goa





Meditate, Meditation, Peaceful

CAPTURING PEACE AND TRANQUILITY
AT A BEACH

Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

Goa is a state on the West Coast of India. It borders the Arabian Sea. It is famous for its beaches, churches and spice farms. The warm, tropical climate and happy, pleasant people make it an even better retreat.
Being in a place like Goa, creates a feeling of serenity. You feel relaxed. Being at a beach with the warm, inviting waters shimmering in the sunlight and beckoning to you eagerly, can add a bit of euphoria to the serenity. The white, crunchy sand, the swaying palm trees along the shore, the cool sea breezes, the gentle waves caressing the shore, the tiny sea creatures that suddenly emerge with the tide, the little, sparkly shells that line up against the shore, all make your beach stay amazingly magical.
Add to all this by indulging in a little yoga to help you relax some more, and eat healthy, home- cooked meals while you're there. Your holiday in Goa will end up being much more than you ever bargained for!

Yoga in Goa

Yoga has become popular on the beaches in Goa as it is the perfect place to attain the relaxation you desire. The surroundings are peaceful with the sound of the waves beating against the shore and the wind blowing through the palm trees, the captivating sunrise and sunset, the crunchy, squeaky, sand below your feet, and the seagulls diving into the water ever so often.

                         Beach, Yoga, Athlete, Sportive, Skinny
The Sounds of the Waves Fill Your Soul With Peace..
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

Yoga

The meaning of the word 'yoga' is 'union'. Yoga is a spiritual discipline and tries to unite self with the almighty. Raja Yoga is the true yoga which combines self and the divine. The branch of Raja Yoga is Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga dwells on bodily postures and thus, in keeping a healthy body, we are able to unite with the Almighty easily. Yog is a Sanskrit term which means union of human systems with the consciousness of the mind.
Yoga offers practical methods that allow you to control your body and mind. Very often we are not able to utilize the true energy of the body for various reasons like tiredness, stress or disease. Yoga helps in breath control that can help the mind attain better control of the body.
You will learn low impact physical postures, relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, and meditation.
Yoga has been known to benefit people with depression and anxiety disorders, coronary heart disease, and cancer. it is also used in substance-abuse programs.
Yoga leads to better physical health, control of the mind and finally realization of self.
More About Yoga


Some of the Best Yoga Retreats in Goa

Depending on whether you choose to live in North Goa or South Goa, here are some of the best Yoga Retreats that you can choose from!
South Goa is quiet and peaceful, while North Goa is busy and crowded.
NORTH GOA V/S SOUTH GOA

South Goa


1. Anand Yoga Village at  Palolem Beach, South Goa. 
This place has lovely beach huts to stay in, and offers a daily yoga program together with delicious, healthy food. You would need a seven-day stay if you want to really benefit from it. The yoga lessons are suitable for all ability levels. 

                         Yoga, Fitness, Exercise, Health, Body

I Strike A Pose and Find Delight,
For I Have Been Trying With All My Might...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay


2. Kashish Yoga at the Palolem-Agonda Road, South Goa.
This place is suitable for a three-day stay. The program helps you to focus on your inner strengths and become aware of yourself. It teaches you some good yoga techniques too. At the end of the program, you will feel rejuventaed and happier. 

                          Yoga, Stretching, Pose, Fitness, Girl
My Senses Awake, My Soul Seems Alive,
For This I Have Come So Hard To Strive...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay



3. Little Cove Yoga Holiday Retreat
This retreat is at Cola Beach. You will have healthy Indian meals and spa treatments with your yoga programmes. They have yoga classes in the mornings and pranayama and meditation in the evenings. You can be entertained with the traditional dances that take place there and take complimentary cooking classes. Most of all, you can relax in your beach cottage with a panoramic view of the ocean.   

                        Woman, Relaxation, Portrait, Recreation
Warm Sunshine, and Fresh Air,
Make Such a Wonderfully Exotic Pair!...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

4. Rasa Retreat
This yoga retreat is in Varca, South Goa. The professional trainers will take you into the garden or to the beach for your yoga lessons. They also have group cooking sessions to help you learn how to cook healthy food. They have two yoga and meditation sessions daily, with a lot of free time to explore the neighborhood. This is a four-day session. You will get three nights' accommodation with healthy meals.

                          People, Woman, Yoga, Meditation, Fitness
I'm Relaxed and Joyful,
With Peace, my life is full...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay


5. Karashir Moll Yoga and Meditation Retreat
This retreat is at Agonda Beach. The sessions include six days of practice, with two yoga classes per day. There are also meditation sessions every day with a proper guide. There will be pranayama, chanting and philosophy lessons as well. You will get a six-night stay with three meals. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced practitioner of yoga, you will find your stay here to be very relaxing.

                             Beach, Sunset, Yoga, Meditate
 Gentle Waves Caress My feet
Where Peaceful Thoughts Come to Meet...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

6. Bamboo Yoga Retreat
This is at Patnem Beach. There are two long yoga sessions a day. They have lots of meditation and diners by the beach to make your stay more enjoyable. There is a spa for those who need some extra relaxation. They have deep tissue massage, Kerala foot massages and head massages. They also have Reiki, Shiatsu for those who are interested. 

                           Yoga, Girl, Beach, Sunset, Summer
Breathe In The Salt and the Sea,
To Feel Confident, Wild and Free...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

North Goa

1. Purple Valley Yoga Retreat
This place is famous for its Ashtanga yoga. This place is at Anjuna Beach. This yoga course lasts for two weeks. There are six yoga classes in the mornings and four in the afternoons. There is a restaurant for you to have a meal, and you could also have a nice massage if you like. All this will make your holiday a tranquil one for sure.

                      Coast, Exercise, Fitness, Lifestyle
Amidst The Blue of the Sea and the Sky,
I Let Out a Happy Sigh...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay


2. Vedic Valley
This retreat is located about half a kilometer from Morjim Beach. It is surrounded by thick forests and the atmosphere is peaceful and charming. Besides yoga sessions, they offer massages, Vedic rituals, Panchakarma therapy, and seminar facilities. You will get comfortable accommodation as well. It is operational all year round. You can take part in seminars and workshops too.


                          Relaxation, Yoga, Meditation, Nature
The Sight of The Vast Ocean Fills Your Senses With Awe
And Makes Life Worth Living For!...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

3.  Satsanga Retreat
This retreat is close to Anjuna Beach. They have yoga workshops that you might like. They also serve healthy food so you can have a fitness program all around. You can learn to cook the food too. You can relax further with the Ayurvedic massages that they offer. They also offer spa treatments. There are fifteen rooms with attached baths. 

                        Yoga, Balance, Zen, Beach, Ocean
The Sun, the Sand and the Sea..
Where Else Would I Rather Be?
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay


4. Ashiyana
This retreat is in Madrem. You can detox and pamper yourself at this cute and comfortable resort. There is a swimming pool, Turkish sauna, and six treatment rooms for different therapies. There are day spa packages and elixir programs. You can choose between budget huts that face the sea and luxurious suites and eco- lodges by the side of the river. The tree houses are enchanting. 

                        Yoga, Exercise, Body, Healthy, Fitness
There Is Peace That Fills My Heart 
Right From The Very Start...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay


5. Swan
Swan Yoga Retreat is in Assagao. This center is run by people from the Bihar school of yoga. They have daily yoga classes, together with tantric fire rituals, puja and devotional chants. The eco-friendly cottages are cozy and quite spacious. This center is surrounded by fruit and nut trees in a tranquil little village in Assagao. 

                         Yoga Stand In Hands Silhouette
There Is Peace and Joy The Air
And  Magic Everywhere...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay.

6. Yoga Magic Eco Retreat
This place is at Anjuna Beach. It is situated amidst coconut palms and rice fields. That makes the atmosphere even more peaceful. You will get to stay in Rajasthani hunting tents. There is a yoga temple shaped from mud, clay and cow dung. You will have your yoga classes in that temple. They also have a swimming pool and artists and musicians. 

                   Yoga, Legs, Girl, Sports, Yoga, Yoga
I Found What I Was Looking For...
Peace, Comfort, Happiness, and More...
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay.


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

First Time in Goa? ...Here's What to Expect!

BETUL BEACH, SOUTH GOA

On Entering Goa

As soon as you step out of the plane, train, bus, or car, you will be greeted by the cool sea breezes that try to lessen the discomfort caused by the high humidity and the warm, tropical climate. The weather in Goa is almost the same throughout the year. Winters are slightly better before sunrise and after sunset. 

You will suddenly find yourself surrounded by porters and taxi drivers. It may be difficult to get past them, but you must! Find your way to the nearest pre-paid taxi service. That is your best option. Travelling in Goa is expensive. Find out what the charges are going to be, before you get into the taxi. If you do not have much luggage, or are traveling alone, consider taking a bus. They take longer to reach your destination, but are far more economical. Besides, travelling by bus in Goa is an experience in itself. If you are going to the north of Goa, here is the cheapest way to travel from Dabolim airport.

Soon you will be on your way to the hotel that you booked in advance. If you haven't booked one already, consider these budget hotels near Calangute Beach. When you look around you, you will see fields on either side. Goa is very green and fresh, especially during the monsoon and just after the monsoon, in October. The roads are narrow, but well-maintained. You may see cows walking along and some stray dogs playing in the fields.

GOA-JUST AFTER THE MONSOON

What Are Your Plans?

Almost everyone who visits Goa, does so to spend time at the beach. The beaches are clean and lovely. The water is warm and inviting. You can lie on a beach bed under a colorful beach umbrella and read your favorite book, or just listen to the sound of the waves and the sea gulls. You can walk along the beach and admire the flora and fauna. There are plenty of beach shacks where you can enjoy a drink and eat some delicious sea food. Don't forget to try the squid rings fried in rawa, or the stuffed crabs. Stuffed papads also make an interesting snack. Sea food is at its best in Goa. The fish is in plenty. You could try something different like red snapper, or enjoy the reshado stuffed mackerel which is traditional to Goa.

RESHADO MACKEREL

SQUID RINGS

Then, if you like, there are a variety of water sports like scuba diving that you could try. You will find the beaches full of different options. Take your pick.

You could go on a dolphin viewing trip, or just go on a cruise out to sea to watch the sunset over the ocean. Some of these cruise ships have entertainment for visitors. There are magic shows for the children and Goan folk dances performed by various artists.

Another exciting thing that many people try is trawling fishing. You can go fishing in the ocean all day, or you can go fishing on the rocks in the shade of the tall palm trees with your picnic basket. There are many thrilling places where you can do this. My personal favorite is in the south of Goa where the sea forms an estuary into the land at Betul.

A FISHING VILLAGE IN BETUL, SOUTH GOA

There is also evidence of bioluminisence at some beaches in Goa. You could make a trip to these beaches and try to spot it. It is a magical experience, as reported by those who have witnessed it.

There are beaches that are popular and crowded, some that are peaceful and quiet, and also some secret and unheard of beaches that you might want to explore. In fact,  many of them are in South Goa, which is less explored than the north. South Goa is very different from North Goa. If you have the time, do plan a visit to the south. You will be pleasantly surprised.

You could stay in a beach tent on Palolem Beach which is far south. It is a beautiful beach which is situated in a cove. This makes the waters ideal for swimming. Although it is fairly crowded, it is a nice beach. The Silent Noise Party is worth experiencing at this beach. You can go to all the nearby beaches like Agonda Beach to see the Olive Ridley Turtles. Agonda Beach is quiet and serene.

SUNSET AT PALOLEM BEACH

You could explore the other beaches in South Goa that are less popular and very peaceful, like Cola BeachFatrade BeachVaddi BeachBetul BeachMobor Beach, or my favorite Sernabatim Beach. But if you want complete privacy, there are some extremely private beaches.

FISHERMEN AT VADDI BEACH
pic: Reena Colaco

However, there is a lot that you can do in Goa, besides being on the beach. The beaches and water sports are not the only attraction. So, do get off that beach, and experience it all. 

For example, Goa is known for its exciting nightlife. So, you can let your hair down and enjoy some fantastic music amidst beautiful settings.
Don't forget to visit the churches. Most of them are many years old and are architectural marvels.
Enjoy a hot air balloon flight.
Go to a thiatr. (local theatre)
Check out the ancient rock engravings or visit a museum.
Pay a visit to the world's first feni cellar. Feni is the local alcoholic drink in Goa.
There are waterfalls, springs, canals, lakes, caves, parks, etc.

DUDHSAGAR WATERFALLS

An important question at this point would be 'How many days are you spending in Goa?' I would say that at least three days are needed to give you the feel of Goa. These are the ten best places to visit while you are in Goa. 
You can go around Goa on your own, in your own transport, or you can book a sightseeing package. If you are planning on using your own transport, hire a car or a two-wheeler. You can also use public transport but I wouldn't advise that for sightseeing. You will end up spending most of your time in the bus.  

Eating in Goa

Goan food is different from other places in India. It is spicy and full of coconut. Try a little at first if you have a delicate stomach.

There are many great eating joints all over Goa. You can eat at the shacks on the beach, but it is more expensive than eating at a restaurant away from the beach.
There are many places to eat at Margao. Margao is a town in South Goa. It is crowded and great for shopping too.

Another wonderful option is to eat at riverside restaurants, which is a peaceful and serene experience. I prefer eating by the river rather than by the sea because the sun is not so scorching. I love watching the tiny schools of fish swimming in the still waters during the day. I love watching the lights of the stars mingle with the reflection of all the lights from the restaurants in the waters during the night. There is something enchanting about it.

VIEW OF RIVER SAL FROM ONE OF THE RIVERSIDE RESTAURANTS IN ASSOLNA

If you want a traditional Goan meal in a traditional Goan setting, there is an old Portuguese house called Palacio do Deao where you can eat delicious, traditional Goan meals in the balcony overlooking a river.

Also, try some street food which is unique to Goa. The streets come alive after dark, with carts selling delicious snacks by the street lights. Try the rass omelette ( omelette in curry)and the sausage pav ( spicy Goan sausages stuffed in local bread). They have a lot of other options too.

Staying in Goa

You could stay at one of the five-star hotels and enjoy extreme luxury, or you could stay at a beach shack. You could stay on rent with a local, or you could book into a hotel. Hotels closer to the beach are more expensive. Consider staying a little away from the beach and hiring a car or two-wheeler to go around Goa. There are luxurious hotels, and inexpensive ones. It all depends on your budget and what level of comfort you are accustomed to.
There are several beach villas in Goa which are expensive but prove to be economical if you are with a large group of people. You can be very comfortable at one of these. 
For inexpensive places to stay, try Furtado's beach Resort, Hotel La Flor or Star of the Sea Resort. 



Places of Interest


CABO DE RAMA FORT ENTRANCE


The People

The people are warm and friendly. They will be always ready to lend a helping hand. Many of the older people are traditional and superstitious
In order to fit in with the crowd, dress decently. You can walk around in shorts and a tee shirt, or a short dress. But your clothing should  not be tight and revealing. Most of the Goans wear dresses or skirts and blouses. 
Goans begin their day by going to a church for mass. After that they go about their daily routine. Everything comes to a standstill at 1 pm. That's the time for a siesta. You will not find any shop open between 1 pm and 4 pm. Then again, there is a lot of activity till 8 pm, after which, people return to their homes for the night. 
Every feast is celebrated in pomp and splendor, like the feast of St Francis Xavier. Church activities form a major part of everyone's lives. Weddings and all other special occasions are also celebrated in pomp and splendor. When a funeral takes place, snacks and drinks have to be distributed to the people who attend it. 


My Life in a Village in South Goa

AN ANCIENT GOAN HOUSE

I wake up in the morning to the sound of cocks crowing and birds singing in the trees. It's a cool morning, even though it's 32 degrees Celsius. The high tiled roof keeps the house cool. A cat jumps on my bed from the edge of the wall and makes himself comfortable there. I get out of bed, leaving the cat there to enjoy his morning nap. He has just returned from his night out with friends. 
Soon, my aunt has breakfast ready. As I sit at the dining table, I hear the vegetable vendor at the door. My aunt goes out to buy the necessary items. The vegetable vendor is followed by the fish cart and the bread man. I rush outside. I love the freshly baked, hot pav and bhakri that is made at the local bakery. Then I hear the church bells ring. My aunt declares that someone in the neighborhood just passed away. I ask her how she knows that and she says that it is because of the way the bells were rung. The day goes on.

THE BHAKRI MAN

Lunch is a full-course meal, beginning with soup and ending with dessert. It is laden with sea food. I love the traditional fish curry and the boiled rice that is characteristic of the place.

DRIED FISH SALAD
RAWA FRIED FISH AND PRAWNS

After lunch, we all retreat to our rooms for a nap. When I wake up in the evening, there is a hot cup of tea and some local biscuits waiting for me on the table. Then my aunt takes me along with her for some litany, to say the rosary at the cross, to attend a church service or to visit a neighbor or relative.
By the time it gets dark, we are all at home. The windows and doors are closed to keep the mosquitoes away. Incense is lit and placed before the altar. We all go for our baths one by one. Now we have a geyser. In days gone by, the bath water was heated in a huge vessel outside on a wood fire.
Dinner is grand once again. It begins with soup and ends with dessert. Sometimes there is an interesting dessert option. If there is a wedding coming up in the village, the family members of the bride or groom distribute traditional Goan desserts like godshe ( Dal and jaggery) or a sweet called Dosh.


DOSH
GODSHE
By 9 pm, the lights are out and we are all in bed. 

Tips To Make Your Visit to Goa More Pleasant

  • Wear clothes that will keep you cool. Here's a Guide to Dressing in Goa
  • Carry clothes that will keep you cool (cotton or terry cot clothes like shorts, tee-shirts, dresses, pants, etc. ) MY ADVICE IS TO KEEP AWAY FROM JEANS. (They stick to the skin and make you more uncomfortable.)       A Guide To Packing For Goa
  • Carry your sunglasses in your handbag. 
  • Keep a broad -rimmed cap at hand.
  • Apply your sunscreen before you arrive. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Reasons to Visit Panaji (Panjim) and Places to Stay

Earth Day, Goa, Panaji, Panjim, Streetlight, Indian

                                 View of the River Mandovi (Picture Courtesy: Pixabay)

I am always fascinated with the riverside promenade in the above picture. I love walking along it and admiring the view. I sometimes sit at a riverside restaurant and sip a fresh lime soda. I take a deep breath. The smell of the salt and the sea fills my soul with joy. Far yonder, I can see the casinos lined up. There are other boats too. I remember the time when the bridge in the picture was not yet constructed. A ferry would take people across the river to the places farther north. I remember going for a dance at the other end of the river where the hills are. I look towards the road. It is well-maintained and lined with trees. This part of Panjim is calm and peaceful. 



En Route to Panjim

A Brief Description of Panjim

Panaji (Panjim) is the capital of Goa. It is on the banks of River Mandovi. The city is beautiful with its cobblestone streets and old Portuguese villas. The city has terraced hills and a seven-kilometer long riverside promenade which makes it even more beautiful. The avenues are lined with gulmohar and acacia trees. The offshore casinos make the city even more interesting. Panjim was built with stepped streets during the Portuguese rule. It is the oldest civic institution in Asia. 
Panaji gets its name from two words, panjani and khali, which mean boat and small creek respectively. The word Panjanakhani was inscribed on copper plates in 1059 CE. 
The tropical monsoon climate is prevalent here. It is hot in summer and equable in winter. The monsoons last from June to September. The rains are very heavy. 
The heart of the city is the church square with the municipal garden and the Portuguese baroque Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church built in 1541.

Church, Panjim, Panaji, Goa, India, Portuguese, Old

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church, Panaji (Picture Courtesy: Pixabay)

Other interesting places of tourist interest are:

1. Adil Shah's Palace
This is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Panaji. It was originally built by Muslim ruler Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur. It is known as the secretariat. It was his summer palace and had a salt water moat and fifty five canons.

2. Institute Menezes Braganza
This is a cultural institute. It was established in 1871.

3. Mahalaxmi Temple
This temple is about 182 years old. The original deity lies in a small box in a wall of the temple which faces the more recent idol of the goddess.

4. The Jama Masjid Mosque
The mosque was built two centuries ago. The exterior of the mosque is plain but the interior is made of Islamic style white marble.

5. The Chapel of Saint Sebastian
The chapel was built in 1818. It contains a relic which is a crucifix which stood in the palace of inquisition in Old Goa.

6. Fontainhas and Sao Tome
Fontainhas is a heritage quarter in Panaji. This place has a different aura from the rest of Panaji. It is calm and quiet. The narrow streets are bordered by Portuguese style houses with overhanging balconies.

7. Miramar Beach
It is a small beach close to the main road. There are food stalls along the road and is ideal for evening walks. The beach is not one of the beautiful, clean ones.

8. Hanuman Mandir
The temple is situated on the hill. It is beautifully lit up at night and can be sen from a distance.

9.Kala Academy
This is a centre of various forms of art. A large number of activities and programmes are organized here.

10. Goa State Museum
The museum was established in 1977. It has on display, many stone sculptures, wooden objects, carvings, paintings, manuscripts, etc. 

Other Attractions Close To Panjim

Dona Paula, The Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, and the National Institute of Oceanography at Dona Paula that specializes in Marine Science research. 

Things to do In Panjim

1. Heritage Walk Around the City
Panaji has a colorful history so a heritage walk would be interesting. 

2. Enjoy a traditional home cooked Goan meal
The meal is served in the home of  Goan at Miramar. 

3. Walk around the city enjoying Goan cuisine
This is a two-hour walk to enjoy delicacies like peda, local chats and xacuti. 

4. Enjoy a Sunset Cruise
This is ideal for those who love night life.

Places to stay in Panjim

1. The Mandovi
This hotel has a great location. Rooms are priced at around Rs 3500 a night with breakfast included. There is also a free pickup and drop from the airport, bus stand or railway station.
Make My Trip Discounts on this hotel

2. Casa Menezes
This hotel has very good reviews. A free breakfast is included in the price of Rs 3400 per night. It has a swimming pool and is a great choice for group stays.
Make My Trip Offers on Casa Menezes

3. Ocean Heights Homestay
This hotel also has excellent reviews. The cost of a room is about Rs 1300 a night.
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4. Bella Villa
This cozy hotel is situated in Dona Paula, about ten minutes from Panjim. It is a beautiful bungalow. the cost is Rs 684 per night. It is one of the cheaper Dona Paula hotels.
Dona Paula is a great stay option if you're visiting Panjim. It is in the suburbs of Panjim. There is a beautiful love story surrounding the place, which is picturesque. It is a romantic place. The little beach offers a lot of water sports.
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5. OYO Home 9355 Exotic Stay
Here is another reasonable staying option. The cost of a room is about Rs. 846. It has good reviews. It is in the heart of Panjim and housekeeping and air conditioning is available too.
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6. OYO 2863 Hotel
The cost of a room is about Rs 819 per night. This hotel has excellent reviews. Breakfast is included.
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Here are some more staying options with reviews and discounts 






















Tuesday, 4 June 2019

6 Budget Hotels Near Calangute Beach that Have Excellent Reviews (4/5 and above)


Here are six budget hotels that are close to Calangute beach and have excellent reviews from guests who have stayed there. The prices range from Rs 1000 to Rs 3500. These hotels are ideal for those who do not want to spend too much on their stay. Each hotel has its special features so you can read through what they are offering and then make your choice based on what your needs are. 


1. KINGSTORK BEACH RESORT
This hotel is located on Holiday Street. 
The price is approximately Rs 2000 a night. It has excellent reviews based on location, cleanliness, service and value. They offer free breakfast, laundry service, and they have a swimming pool. 


2. RENZO'S INN
This hotel is located on Adventure Street.
The price is approximately Rs 2000 a night. This hotel also has excellent reviews based on its location, cleanliness, service and value. There is a swimming pool with a poolside bar, free internet and baggage storage. Car hires are possible from this hotel. 

3. KISMAT MAHAL
This hotel is in Gauravado and is centrally located. 
The price is approximately Rs 1000 a night. The reviews are almost as good as the first two hotels. They have free internet, a bar and restauarnt, 

4. HOTEL BONANZA
This hotel is located in Khobra Vaddo. 
The price is approximately Rs 1300 a night. The hotel has excellent reviews. There is free internet, baggage storage, children's television network, children's activities and airport transportation. 

5. RESORT LAGOA AZUL
This hotel is located about 2.2 km from Calangute, in Little Baga, Arpora.
The price is approximately Rs 3500 a night. There is free breakfast provided, and they have an outdoor pool. There is also a SPA. Free internet and bicycle rentals are also provided by the hotel. 

6. HOTEL SILVER SANDS SUNSHINE
This hotel is located in Candolim, about 2.5 km from Calangute.
the price is approximately Rs 2000 a night. apart from free high-speed internet, this hotel has an indoor pool, offers free breakfast, and airport transportation, and has fax and currency exchange.