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Exhilarating, Beautiful and Enchanting Goa!!!
Jan 12, 2010 02:08 PM 7855 Views
(Updated Jan 12, 2010 05:44 PM)


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The sun soaked in the sea and sands of Goa beckon a thirsty traveler(pun intended) from around the world, including yours truly! I have been to Goa at least four times but this was my first visit after eight long years. Yes friends, the wait was excruciating for the sun, sand and the beer lover…that I am. This trip was quite different from my earlier trips to Goa since this was a family trip(we were seven family members) and was during the rainy season of July 2009. While traveling with family can be fun, it significantly reduces your option to explore the wild possibilities that a bachelor can imagine!

We took the quintessential aam aadmi’s mode of transport – the train. The journey across the rain bedecked green plains presented an opportunity to amateur photographers like me, to explore the scenic beauty of the surroundings. It was a treat to tread this beautiful paths en-route to Goa.

I had booked rooms at Calangute Residency which is located bang on the entrance to Calangute Beach. I had ensured to pre-book the rooms one month in advance from Mumbai. The hotel has beautiful and well maintained garden and lawn. We were pleasantly surprised to note the hotel had a swimming pool, though it was quite small. The room rates are very reasonable at approximately 1200/- non air conditioned rooms.

Since I had planned a trip for three days, it was absolutely essential to get the basic scheduling of sight seeing in order. I had booked a Scorpio for the three days to revisit and explore Goa.

The regular flow of local and international tourists in Goa has ensured a steady availability of wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines in the nook and corner of Goa. Coastal cuisine peppered with Konkani style curry is a delicacy with fresh Crabs or fish and Goa has plenty of such mouth watering restaurants.

Souza Lobo at Calangute beach and Ritz Hotel in Panjim is by far the best restaurants for fish in Goa. Both these restaurants can be a bit heavy on your pocket but it sure leaves a lingering taste in your buds. Star Bar and Restaurant at Ribandar Goa is a highly recommended sea food restaurant which dishes authentic local cuisine and it does not pinch your pocket.

1) Basilica of Bom Jesus & Se Cathedral - The calmness and heavenly peace at these churches rests a troubled soul!An auspicious way to begin exploring Goa is by seeking heavenly blessing at Bom Basilica and Se Cathedral located in Old Goa. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The paintings and the carvings depicting various aspects of Christianity is a treat to watch. These churches provide a glimpse of the magnificence of European architecture prevailing in 16th century.

Indians are well known to disregard the official dictat and rule of law and this is amply evident in these two churches. Photography is strictly prohibited in the Church. Your informed guess is as good as mine when you find individuals(read Indians) clicking photographs in church to be gently reprimanded by the church custodians.

2) St. Augustine Chapel - We are grateful to the driver who took us to this chapel as we had not planned to visit it as it was not recommended by travel expert. The ruins of St. Augustine’s Chapel built in 1602 on the Holy Hill at Old Goa, is an imposing 46 meter high structure preserved by the Archeological Survey of India.

3) Mangeshi Temple - The temple of Shri Mangesh along Goa's Panaji-Ponda road is set amidst natural beauty and pleasant surroundings. It is an example of the peaceful and co-existent nature of differing religions and societies in Goa. The drizzling rains had transformed the surrounding landscapes and enhanced its beauty reflecting the radiance on the temple.

4) Baga & Calangute Beach - By far these two are the best beaches of Goa in terms of location, scenery and night life. Tito’s and Mambo’s are the party spots you will not want to miss in this life. Though expensive, these beaches offer the most variety of Water sports to be found in Goa. Sunbathing and lazing on the beach with a chilled beer is a great way to while away your time at these beaches with plenty of foreign tourists for company.

5) Sinquerim Beach - Sinquerim beach is the first beach among the array of beaches which dots North Goa. This beach is surprisingly quite as compared to other beaches in Goa. If you are lucky enough, you may spot a photo shoot of an upcoming model in the ramparts of the fort like structure which protrudes into the sea.

6) Fort Aguada - You cannot miss the signature of Portuguese architectural influence in Goa and nowhere is it stamped well than at Fort Aguada. Built in 17th century, it fort provides a spectacular view of the Madovi River and its coastline. Surprisingly, the fort is well maintained by the government.

7) Vagator Beach - Vagator is 30 minutes drive from Calangute beach. The view of the beach and the sunset from a vantage point above the cliffs is breath taking. Photographers have a ball of time capturing the scenic beauty of this beach.

l sport to an otherwise memorable trip. The rains coupled with strong winds ensured that we could not fully prospect the beautiful beach let alone taking a dip in the vivacious beach.

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