You may visit Goa several times in a lifetime, but you can never get enough of the coastal paradise! That’s the charm of Goa which is equal parts cool, cultured and tranquil.
Moreover South and North, with their contrasting vibes and landscape, soothe every kind of soul. Having been to North Goa a couple of times, we decided to stay away from the crowd, and head to South Goa this rainy season. Stretches of paddy fields, gorgeous and kingly Portuguese mansions, historic villages ample greenery and pristine beaches made sure we revelled in solitude and the natural beauty around.
CYCLE TRIP TO THREE KINGS CHURCH
We never miss an opportunity to cycle through small villages, plantations and dirt roads every time we arrive at a new destination. How else can you interact with the locals, soak up the local way of life and give your muscles some good exercise – all while being on the go!
The most satisfying way to explore a destination is getting around on a bike. It’s faster than walking, and a lot more intimate than driving. The best parts? Since you’re not stuffed in an air-conditioned car, you get the breathe the fresh air around. You can take a halt whenever and wherever you want to, and Cansaulim in South Goa gives you ample opportunities to do so. With lush green rice fields and coconut trees on both sides of the narrow path, all you want to do is stand and stare at the stunning monsoon landscape and watch the locals working in these verdant fields.
We cycled all the way from Salcette to the haunted Three Kings Chapel and it was quite the joyride, except for the 1 km uphill stretch right before the chapel. After reaching the top, we had our little picnic organised by the hotel. The staff had packed us some chicken sandwiches, cookies, fruits and juices; the healthy evening snack helped us refuel all the energy we had lost during the steep, uphill ride. We decided to get back after watching the colours of the Goan sunset. It was indeed an evening to remember!
LAZING ON THE BEACH
South Goa has ample exotic beaches where you can sunbathe with utmost privacy. There are days when all you want to do is spread a mat, slap on some sunscreen, and take a nice nap while letting the time pass by. Or even read a book. Virgin beaches of Goa are ideal for such lazy days.
We spent some quality time at Utorda beach which is popular with holidaymakers from the surrounding plush resorts. With stormy skies, clear waters, light-coloured soft sand and the sound of the waves crashing the shores, this virgin beach is also a great spot for morning walks and jogs.
VISITING A 450-YEAR-OLD MANSION
Goa is home to some very old heritage Portuguese houses. These houses were built soon after the Portuguese took over Goa in the early 16th Century. Over the years, many of these homes have dilapidated while many have survived the test of time to tell their historic tale to the world. One such house is the Menezes Braganza Pereira mansion located in the Chandor area of South Goa.
You enter the home and you feel like you’ve entered a completely different era. It’s a time travel experience. Antique rosewood furniture, Belgian mirrors, chinaware from different parts of the world, unpolished silver items, vintage lighting – they all showcase the beauty of the bygone era. For us, something that was strikingly interesting was their personal chapel with a beautiful altar. The ballroom with huge Belgian chandeliers that were earlier lit up with candles, and the bedroom – with its pista-coloured walls and old-world charm – are equally gorgeous.