Monday, December 10, 2018

Goa trip - Day 1 - Assagao, Vagator beach, Mapusa Hanuman temple

On way to Goa, somewhere in north
Karnataka, as seen from the train.
Goa is the smallest state (by area) and the richest state (by per capita GDP) in India. It is globally renowned for its beaches and natural beauty. It was a Portuguese colony for over 450 years, from 1510.

On way to the hotel from Margao railway station, in a cab
Not many, including Indians, know that Goa continued to be under Portuguese rule, for as many as 14 years after India won Independence in 1947. After Portugal repeatedly rejected Indian demand to leave, India had to send the military and annexed the State in a 36-hour battle called Operation Vijay, in December 1961.

Vagator Beach
Though the Portuguese left, the State continues
to have their influence, which makes it culturally a bit different from the rest of the country. Wild parties are common, and a carefree ambience generally pervades the coastal belt. In a sense, it's the Vegas of India. What happens in Goa, stays in Goa!

Vagator Beach
A trip to Goa has been long-pending. And finally, it was happening. On November 29, we, my wife and I, alighted at the Margao station around 6.15 am.

We had breakfast at a restaurant in the railway station and booked a cab from the pre-paid taxi counter. We reached our hotel (which was around 40 km away) in Assagao, Bardez sub-district, around 8 am.

The lush green landscape and the undulating roads and the quiet streets reminded me of the small towns in my home state of Kerala. This was a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle (even early in the day) in Bengaluru.

The cab driver was a deeply religious person but was driving at a very high speed. I was at times a bit worried and was tempted to tell him to drive slowly. I could see he was drawing a cross and saying a prayer every time we passed a church.

Vagator Beach
The check-in time at the hotel is 2 pm. So we kept our luggage in the cloakroom; freshened up and had breakfast.

One good thing about Goa is that you get cars and motorbikes on rent. That makes moving from one place to another easy and inexpensive. I checked the rates: Rs 400 a day for a
motorbike; if it's for more than a day, then it's Rs 300 a day. It's Rs 1,500 a day for a car. I hired a motorbike for four days. We were to leave on the fifth day.

Fountain in the park in Mapusa
It was 10 am. It wasn't difficult to decide where to head first. A beach, where else?! We chose to begin our tour with the Vagator beach, which is the northernmost beach in the Bardez region of the state. Being early in the day there wasn't much crowd. Clear waters. Gentle waves. Spent about an hour and a half there. Had some snacks in one of the beachside restaurants, and later lunch on way back to our hotel.

Rajasthani folk songs at hotel's poolside restaurant
At the resort, we had a single bedroom house all to ourselves. It was on the ground floor. We would have been happier if it was on one of the upper floors. But, that was okay, since the overall ambience and the environment of the hotel premises was so quiet, peaceful, and refreshing.

The day was the second death anniversary of my father. Traditionally, we go to a temple to pray for his soul. In the evening around 6 pm, we went to a Hanuman temple in Mapusa, about 5 km from the hotel. This is a very old temple, built in 1843. It has a very impressive architecture with marble floors.

A Rajasthani dance at hotel's
poolside restaurant
There is a park nearby, where we spent some time. There were about 20 people, young and old. Some chatting away, others on a brisk walk around the park. Some children were running around. A small illuminated water fountain kept the children entertained.

The ride back to the hotel through narrow and quiet roads (some of them dark with no streetlights) was an experience in itself.

We were back in the hotel around 8 pm. At the poolside restaurant, there was folk music and folk dance performance by artists from the state of Rajasthan. That was really good.

(Goa Trip - Day 2)

13 comments:

  1. Good to know more about Goa. Keep writing. One day we too would like to visit!

    Destination Infinity

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rajesh. A few more parts will follow this one.

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  2. Sounds like a nice vacation destination. Sorry about your father.

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  3. Oh, I enjoyed your write-up. Sorry about the loss of your father, as well. I never knew any details about Goa before. Thank you for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Darla. A few more parts of my Goa travel jottings will follow.

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  4. What a lovely place. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

    I wish you and your family peace as you remember your father.

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  5. An interesting read.The temple's picture also I expected. Felt like visiting the place.Nice.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments. Nice to know that the blog post triggered an interest in you to visit the place.

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  6. Thanks for information.i really like your blog and information keep it up and i m also waiting for your next blog ...... goa tour packages Goa Honeymoon Packages

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