Serene Goa

Goa’s 63 mile long coastline offers a long expanse of exotic beaches. The water is always lukewarm and the sand is soft to touch. The beach is studded with tiny sea shells and starfish. I found it best to enjoy the beaches early in the morning at dawn or around sunset because during the day time the heat is almost unbearable.

The beach is studded with shacks offering visitors both North Indian and South Indian cuisine as well as plenty of seafood.DSC02684 DSC02725 DSC02734 DSC02735 DSC02688

Unless you are staying at one of five star hotels don’t expect to find the shacks to be glamorous. Personally I loved their rustic beauty. I was never disappointed with the food and the amazing scenery for pennies on the dollar.DSC02903

A local shack

A local shack

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A vendor at the local supermarket

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Bananas sweet as sugar

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I enjoyed going to the local market with my dad and we bought a variety of fruits like passion fruit, pineapple, kiwi, gooseberries, dragon fruit, raspberries and many more.  The Goan soil is so fertile it is a haven for fruit and vegetable lovers. Goa grows bananas (sweet as sugar), papayas, coconuts, cashew, sugarcane, bamboo, rice, Pineapples, chilies, betel nuts and much more. The locals also sell homemade coconut oil. While coconut oil is said to have many therapeutic qualities one does need to be conditioned to its smell. Some people may find the smell to be offensive. I am into all kinds of organic beauty products and found coconut oil to be an excellent hair conditioner. I applied it at night and washed out my hair the next morning so I would not reek of coconut oil during the day. The results were very satisfying ;)

Given below are pictures of Tambdi Surla a 12th century Hindu Temple one of the oldest temples in Goa, India. The temple is situated in thick forest and there are small villages surrounding the temple. When I visited Tambdi Surla last year (2014) I was greeted by a flutter of butterflies at the very entrance of the temple. The sight was absolutely unforgettable. It was so sudden and unexpected that I could not even take a picture. This year I was especially looking out for the butterflies but did not find any. I did catch a quick glimpse at these birds flying away the moment our car approached.

Shown here are pictures of St Michael Church Orlim Goa one of the oldest churches in Goa. I loved the austere beauty and serenity of this church. Every second Sunday of October, the little village of Orlim in South Goa brightens up with festive fervor at the St Michael Church. The village feast brings together a crowd of around 2000 locals who attend the service and pray to their patron saint. This year, October 13 will see the feast of St Michael celebrated with joy.

Varca is one of the most touristy beaches in Southern Goa. But in the morning you can have the beach almost to yourself. If you are lucky, you will be able to catch dolphins playing by the shoreline. There is a row of wooden fishing boats seen on the beach that belong to the Christian fishing community.

Popular beach resorts in Varca include the Radisson White Sands Resort, the Club Mahindra Varca Beach Resort, and Serenity Residency. On the way back there are plenty of small stores where you can shop for clothes, Indian Jewelry, carved furniture, brassware and other souvenir type items if you so choose. Be prepared to bargain. As far as clothes are concerned I found some name stores such as Fab India and Biba to have the best quality products. I enjoyed the Tulsi Chai Masala and sampled some of the beauty products at Fab India (I am a bit of a skin care fanatic and always try out local beauty products everywhere I go!)

Here are some pictures of Miramar Beach, one of the most populous beaches in the capital of Goa: Panjim. This beach is situated at the confluence of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. Boat rides offered at very reasonable prices will take you through a pleasant boat ride where you may be able to capture some beautiful coastal scenes as well as water life.

While Goa is beautiful because of its rich history, beautiful beaches, exotic cuisines, lush greenery it is not void of faults. Be prepared to see a lot of trash and waste carelessly discarded by people all over the state. I was surprised to see that the beaches did not even have a single trash can to allow people to discard their waste. I also noticed that visitors carelessly throw their beer bottles on the beach which is a big safety hazard. The government is implementing a much needed  “Swach Bharat” (Clean India mission).

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Trash discarded carelessly by streets is a common site.

But if you are open to an adventure and an exotic vacation on a tight budget then definitely consider beautiful Goa as your next stop; a haven of natural beauty, a vibrant culture, peace and spirituality.DSC02837_2015

Daily Prompt: Be the change

Portrait_GandhiThe concept of change and evolution has always resonated with me. Life, in its most basic form is nothing but evolution. The ability to adapt with the changing environment and times is therefore key to growth and success. But the vision to rise above one’s humdrum life and envision change for the betterment of humanity truly identifies a liberated and enlightened mind. In my own personal experiences I feel that the journey is far more precious than the destination. To me the awareness to will a change and take conscious efforts to execute the change is more important than being able achieve it.

When Mahatma Gandhi first visualized a happy and a free India independent from the shackles of the British rule he became the agent of change. His vision and the depth of his resolutions ignited the Independence movement of India and united an otherwise divided country which had been left economically shattered by the oppressive rule.

Often the catalyst of change is nothing more than a fleeting will to change. This fleeting will when powered by vision and depth of emotion can become so insurmountable that it can put one of the biggest powers at its knees.

John_Locke's_Kit-cat_portrait_by_Godfrey_Kneller,_National_Portrait_Gallery,_LondonTake John Locke for instance; the English philosopher and physician who influenced the Revolutionary movements in so many countries including America. He had views that were so revolutionary in their times that all through his living years and until his dying will he denied authorship of his own papers.  Today the concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is not just a phrase (a phrase influenced by John Locke’s theories) in the declaration of Independence but an important Tenet for American socio-economic and political life.

A single powerful thought alone can be the catalyst for change.  When like-minded people meet and share their views, thoughts multiply like a nuclear reaction and revolutions are formed. Therefore it is important to fully appreciate the value of thoughts as well as the power of an individual. Never say, “What can I do alone”? Chances are you alone are more than enough to bring about the change most would not dare to dream of.

Daily Prompts: Ice, water and steam

When you think of versatile elements, water is probably one of the most versatile elements that come to mind. Not only does it have completely different temperatures and behaviors in each of the three different forms; ice, water and steam but water takes the shape and color of any container it is contained in.

What’s more the quality of stationary water is distinctly different from the quality of running water. Water collected in a closed place with no movement will collect dirt and eventually start to smell while moving water with plenty fish stays clean and will have a life-giving effect.

Not only are we humans changing like water and weather but our moods are constantly changing as well. When we are happy the world looks beautiful and the future seems so promising but come a bit of hardship and our perspective changes. We become sad, disgruntled and frustrated; performing simple tasks looks like a gigantic effort. When we are in love with someone we feel this huge windfall of emotion towards the object of affection. When rejected by the same object of affection we feel rejected and the same emotion of love turns into hatred.

Such seesaw of emotions is really not as incredible or uncommon as it sounds. The concept of “Mind over matter” is put to test.

They say love makes the world go round, but sometimes I wonder if that is really true? Love like hatred is a powerful emotion as is greed, competition and avarice. Powerful emotions whether negative or positive carry a lot of mental muscle. These emotions are manifestations of the same mind and possess the same depth of emotion. I wonder if it is the play of all of these elements that makes the world go round? Where would trade and economy be without greed and avarice? How far would countries and companies develop without competition? And how often have we seen lovers turn into enemies when they feel dejected and unappreciated? In truth so much around us including ourselves is constantly changing and evolving. This thought brings me back to Einstein’s famous discovery that “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed” but it can be rearranged in space or the entities associated with it may change shape and form. As humans our bodies and minds are no exception to this rule. In effect we are all like Ice, water and steam.ecology