36 hours of Tranquility in South Goa

Rising up, I had typically fancied a visit to Goa with my pals. Maybe, this had a lot to do with my love for the movie Dil Chahta Hai. Little did I do know again then that, years down the road, I’d be setting foot on this land and its seashore for a soothing sojourn to attach with myself once more, after months of frenzied working.

I’ve fairly the repute for making impromptu plans, and it was no totally different this time. I booked my tickets for Goa the evening earlier than Christmas Eve, 2021. Since I wished to keep away from the Christmas festivities at Anjuna, Calangute, Baga or Candolim, I ended up exploring South Goa in peace and solitude.

On Christmas, I obtained off at Margao station at 4 within the morning. My first cease can be my good friend’s dwelling in Utorda, a seashore inside strolling distance of its extra well-known cousin, the Majorda seashore. I hopped on to a cab, however not earlier than having a cup of scrumptious, scorching ginger tea from a close-by tea stall. A festive wind gushed into the cab as we sped previous, whereas the views exterior resembled a fairytale land. All alongside the best way, I used to be fairly taken by the small cottages and big bungalows embellished with vibrant fairy lights, vivid stars and the occasional Christmas cribs—scenes that oddly jogged my memory of Diwali.

The primary sight at my good friend’s place was of the dawn on the seashore. Utorda seashore is much less crowded—it’s wonderful if you want the seashore all to your self. Listening to the undulating waves crashing on the shore, with the salty sea breeze caressing my face, I picked a number of seashells on my stroll throughout the pristine seashore. With nobody round, it felt exhilarating and peaceable, all on the similar time.

I went to Balton’s—The Reggae Shack and had a beer, together with some crab curry and white sauce spaghetti. The sight of individuals soaking within the winter solar added a sure sense of calm to the complete setting, whereas, within the distance, I noticed youngsters making sandcastles and {couples} having fun with their Goan drinks and clicking selfies. The mellow numbers being performed within the background, as I sipped on my beer, accomplished the healthful temper.

My good friend and I rented a scooty, after which headed out for Cabo De Rama seashore within the afternoon. Located between the attractive Cavelossim and Agonda seashores of South Goa, Cabo De Rama (a.ok.a. Cab De Ram) is a wealthy slice of Indian heritage. It’s mentioned to derive its title from Lord Rama, and based on native folklore, this was one of many locations the place Rama and Sita took shelter throughout their exile.

By the point we stood on the gate of The Cape Goa resort close to the Cabo De Rama village, the solar had already set. We discovered ourselves quietly marvelling on the purple twilight sky.

Inside, a musical occasion and karaoke session took centrestage within the restaurant and bar of The Cape Goa. Each nook and cranny of the place was adorned with lights and Christmas decor. There was an individual cosplaying as Santa and dancing beside the DJ who dished out staples reminiscent of “Maria Pitache”, “Lodge California” and “Africa”. Within the dimly-lit room, folks danced in teams, as we ordered some prawn and rocket fettuccine to enrich the Christmas atmosphere. The flavours of white wine, sun-dried tomato and chilli made the fettuccine so luxurious and delectable that it was devoured up in a frenzy. I topped it off with some stirring scorching cappuccino to do away with the nippiness. On our method again to my good friend’s home, we went to Al Akbar, a shawarma place on Navelim Street. This place turned out to be our saviour due to its low cost fare—a rarity in Goa at the moment of the yr.

The seashore beckoned me once more after we reached dwelling at 10 pm. With the intermittent tides washing over my toes, I slowly savoured each little bit of the purple wine I had picked up en route. Sitting alone in the midst of nowhere, gazing on the Milky Method above my head, what I felt was as priceless because it was treasured. It was a becoming conclusion to probably the most enthralling nights I’ve ever had.

Subsequent morning, we headed to Lovers Seashore, itself an extension of Betalbatim Seashore, positioned 6 kilometres from Margao. With quite a few pine timber alongside the shoreline, Lovers Seashore is comparatively abandoned with no shacks or motels close by. There have been small crabs crawling throughout the white sand, like swish skaters on white ice. Quickly, nevertheless, we had been on our strategy to Previous Goa.

Set by the river Mandovi, and populated with vibrant Portuguese-style properties, Previous Goa is a visible spectacle. The second you enter, you’re feeling as if you will have been whisked away to a overseas land. We stopped at a tapri (a brief shed) located on the fringe of the river for some tea and native meals. From there, we caught a glimpse of ferries transporting folks throughout the river. How many individuals cross every day, I puzzled.

The sunset view over Old Goa

Previous Goa, the previous capital of Portuguese India, is kind of well-known for its church buildings. The Basilica of Bom Jesus—a UNESCO World Heritage Web site—is a must-visit. It’s mentioned to have the stays of St. Francis Xavier, and the complete place appears charmingly idyllic. Constructed in the course of the European Renaissance interval, it is among the finest current examples of baroque and Portuguese colonial structure. A living proof is the altar of St. Xavier, the place the saint’s physique rests—it’s extremely intricate and detailed, and it made me ecstatic sufficient to make me wish to contact it.

After a visit to a close-by market to gather souvenirs, we left for Miramar Seashore, a bustling space a brief distance away from Panjim, Goa’s capital. It’s a palm-lined strip dotted with shacks promoting native attire, jewelry, thrift items and avenue meals. We devoured some pav bhaji and bhel puri at a stall close by. I additionally purchased some shell earrings and dream-catchers whereas listening to an previous man taking part in a melancholic however extraordinarily melodious tune on the flute.

Thus ended probably the most memorable journeys of my life. Goa’s aura is outstanding—it has one thing to supply to everybody. Pilgrims and occasion folks, vacationers and troubadours, lovebirds and lonely bards—all can discover inspiration in its radiance. Goa is greater than its seashores, church buildings, events and amalgamation of Konkani and Portuguese tradition. It’s a residing piece of historical past that has been etched collectively by folks from various backgrounds who’ve contributed to its legacy. Goa is a spot that’s greater—a lot greater—than the sum of its components. And I lengthy to discover it once more as quickly as I can.

Pictures: Rooplekha Das, besides the place talked about in any other case.

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