Photographs by Viraj Thakur
Photographs by Viraj Thakur
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.
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.
A local shack
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).
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.
Here is a glimpse of Goa in Monsoons. Thanks to the rains, nature has OD’d (overdosed) on colors. These pictures were shared to me by my sister who recently visited Goa. I thought these pictures suited perfectly for this week’s Photo Challenge.
Photos courtesy Viraj Thakur