Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Gujarat to Goa - A Photo Story

Goa - It's 3702 square kms of pure adrenaline, where the sun, the sea and the sand never go on a vacation.

But then, for me and my family, it was the Holy churches, Home-stay concept and the Carpet of greenery turned out to be the ultimate showstoppers. (Talking about churches and greenery, Goa and Kerala could be referred as twin sisters. They are so much alike in terms of food, climate, churches and the greenery around. The moment we entered Goa I became extremely nostalgic.)

Ajit Navelkar's house in North Goa - the place we stayed in for 4 days 





Aryan and Ayaansh relaxing on a sleeper chair inside the living room 

One of the two bedrooms


We were in Thivim, Goa from January 23, 2017, to January 27, 2017,  and we loved every bit our stay at Ajit Navelkar’s Villa. We had booked his house online through Airbnb, and I tell you, it was worth every penny spent. My younger one liked the house so much so that he nicknamed it as our “Doosra Ghar.” 

The Dining Area

By the way, our Doosra Ghar was huge. The living room was spacious and lovely.  From the wooden lamps to the lighting arrangement to the perfectly synced wall frames and the wooden furniture, almost everything was perfect. The bedrooms were equally spacious and likable.  Though our train was 5 and half hours late, the sight of the room took our fatigue away and we decided to hit the Goa roads immediately. The itinerary was prepared in advance by Ajit. So we knew the places we were headed for beforehand.  

So let’s start with our journey:

Day 1: Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chruch of St.Francis of Assisi and The Miramar Beach


St. Augustine Tower 

Our tour started at around 2 pm on Ajit’s Toyota Innova, as we touched Goa late, and our first stop was St.Augustine’s tower. This place falls en route to the churches we had planned for the day. We couldn’t spend some time here though I wished to because the sun was right on our head, and my family was already tired from the train journey

The Dead Body Of St. Francis Xavier stored in a coffin @ 

The Basilica of Bom Jesus 


Next point: The Basilica of Bom Jesus, built by Portuguese from 1594 to 1606. The church holds special significance for Christians because it holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. It’s one of pilgrimage sites for Christians world over and especially those who live in India. Goa being a tourist destination, this church sees people from all faiths, besides Christians. In India, the second pilgrimage center for Christians is at Velankanni. You can see Hindus and Muslims in good numbers, admiring the beauty of the basilica. Two more churches surround the basilica. That means you’ve got loads to see and absorb here, especially the Gothic architecture. Don't rush through things. Spent some time here.

However, one thing to remember here is to hire a guide who stands at the entrance. Pay a hundred bucks and you will be guided all through the castle. It's worth it, I tell you. Otherwise, you will just roam around the place and know nothing about the Chruch’s history. Why I am telling you this is because most don't want a spend a 100 Rs. more on hiring a guide.  

Plus, there’s an art gallery as well attached to one of the churches here and Portuguese graves (more on this in a minute).

One of the two churches that stand adjacent to the Basilica 

What's more, there is two Christian souvenir shops as well right opposite to the Basilica. Even if you don't plan to buy anything there, it's worth a look.

From here you can take a ride to Miramar beach. It’s not big as the other popular beaches of Goa, but then, the beach is good in itself and most importantly, it's in close proximity to the church and so you can reach here without wasting much of your time.

Taking a slight detour here to mention the best part of our trip:

Ajit Navelkar our local host 

Every morning, Ajit, the owner of the villa,  was ready with his power-packed plate of morning break-fast. It consisted of toasts, butter, a mug full of hot milk and tea, cold drinks and, yes, of course, the freshly made omelets, which prepared us for a tightly-packed schedule, which comprised visiting different ancient churches, beaches, flee market, waterfalls, and so on. (An insider tip: you don’t have to shell out on lunch if you happen to have Ajit’s breakfast. It’s that heavy :D)  

Most importantly, we could relax and sleep well at night at his gorgeous villa after being out all day under the sun.
  

Day 2: Dudhsagar Waterfalls and Spice Gardens


Dudhsagar Waterfalls

It was 85 km ride from our Goa home. Ajit had packed some good number of wafer packets and cold drinks to ensure that we stayed hydrated for our entire journey. Once we reached a particular point, we had swap places with yet another vehicle (Sumo), which would go through the water and help us reach the waterfalls.  We were told the Toyota we were traveling wouldn’t take us to the waterfalls, because the terrain is treacherous and the vehicle has to pass through the water.

On Our Way To The Waterfalls

But then, the trip turned out to be tiring. The Sumo dropped us at a particular point and from there we were on our own. We had to walk a few km's before the actual waterfalls arrived. And carrying Ayaansh in our hands all the way was not that easy.  He was cranky all the time. Once we reached, the rocks turned out to be pretty slippery. Maxin, my husband almost fell in the water when he entered the water wearing his shoes. So keep your shoes and socks off to get a strong footing inside the water.

Sumos' drive through the water to take you to a particular point at

 Dudhsagar Waterfalls

The place was really enjoyable only if we could take a dive and feel the water around you. With my 3-year-old son at hand, it seemed a little impossible. So all that we could take with us from Dudhsagar was the long trek towards the waterfalls and how we enjoyed putting our legs inside the shallow puddles in the nook and crannies.  

Word of Advice: Avoid this place if you kids are too small. You will have to carry them in your arms all the way, which makes the trip really tiring. Also, keep bisleri bottles handy. The trek is long. 

Dropped Spice Garden trip because of Ayaansh. Nope, we didn’t have the energy to carry him in our arms and walk anymore.


Day 3: Dolphin Point, Aguada Fort and Baga Beach

Dolphin Point

View of Aguada fort from Dolphin Point


This day was the best of all three days we had here in Goa. Dolphin point was super good. We managed to see a bunch of Dolphins diving in and out of the water.

Ayaansh having a fun time at Baga Beach


But what takes the cake was Baga Beach. My younger son went beserk, seeing the water and all.  Oh My God, Oh My God, you should have seen him enjoying. Soaked to the head, he was displaying swimming antics and all. This image of his will be etched in my memories forever.

Aguada fort


And yes, the Aguada fort, under the hot sun, we couldn’t really appreciate the ancientness of this place. Built my the Portuguese there’s a jail and all here.

Day 4: Portuguese Graves 

Nothing much. It was up to us to decide on the itinerary. So we decided to take it easy. Visited Basicila of Bom Jesus once again, the art gallery that lies in close proximity and the 116 Portuguese graves that we missed visiting on day one. (The graves are located in close proximity to the Basilica) That was it.  And we headed back to the villa.

116 Portuguese graves inside a chruch

We thought it was better to pack our bags and spent some time at the villa than going around and wetting our clothes at the beaches.  Anyway, we had made up our minds on visiting Goa once again. 

The Last Day Selfie


Takeaways



Dress Code: Shorts, Capris, jeans tops, beachwear, anything and everything will do...avoid behenji style of dressing. People are cool here. No one is gonna stare at you. They are used to beach wears with Russian and European tourists flooding the beaches and other places in swarms.

Food: Target small tin -thatched shops. The food is cheap there and they will customize it as per your preference. For us it was Rohit - this tin-thatched shop was within 200 meters of our home.

Junk Jewelry: You will find them at beaches, specifically at Dolphin point. But bargain is the catchword here. I got one. Wanted a few more but then had to keep a leash on my wishes. Am I not a Spartan lifestyle follower?

Hit the beaches and heritage spots asap. Even if you are tired, spend some time on the beaches. It will get you recharged.

I didn’t have enough of this place.  It’s more than a week now and thoughts of Churches, beaches and all still linger.

Last word: Plans of vacationing in Goa, stay at Ajit Navelkar’s house/villa at least for once. Be assured, you’ll never regret the stay, even for once. Anyway, you don’t have to take my word for it. Go ahead and check out other reviews on Airbnb as well. By the way, all speak the same :D.

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your lovely trip and pics.

    My Fatehpur Sikri Trip link:
    http://rakeshkirachanay.blogspot.in/2017/01/nawab-islam-khans-tomb.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks...sure to take a glance at your Fatehpur Sikri Trip

      Delete

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