Nestled along the warm and boundless blue of the Arabian
Sea, Goa is breathless and mesmerizing.
By: Subhasish Chakraborty
I dropped by at my travel agent’s Thali comprising of king fish curry actually knows the source of the
office for my air tickets to Goa. and rice. But before grabbing my water, and I was told by my guide
But I was politely told that there dinner, I wanted to try the vintage - Krish that this particular spring
were no seats available for the Goan wine, Feni, which is made is 700 years old, which is indeed
next 15 days, this being the peak of cashew and about which I had mind-boggling.
tourist season in Goa. Ultimately heard a lot. After a sumptuous Goan
the travel consultant, with great meal, I finally rested for the night. Our next stop was Dona Paula,
difficulty, managed a rail ticket for I left my windows open so as to which is about 7 kms away from
me. I would have to travel to Pune allow the sea breeze in. That night I Panaji city. The drive is beautiful
by train, and from Pune by road to slept like a log. The sea breeze was and there are Portuguese style
Panaji, the state capital of Goa. blowing at full blast and since I was villas/houses on either side of the
a little inebriated with Feni, I felt as road.
The journey was indeed tiresome.
if I was floating in thin air. Dona Paula is a secluded bay that
It was evening by the time my
bus reached Panaji’s Kadamba Bus After a good night’s sleep, I woke offers a magnificent view of the
Terminus. Though I was dead tired, up to the chirping of the birds. I Mormugao harbor. This idyllic rocky
the sheer salubrious air of Panaji tourist attraction lies at the spot
could clearly see the red molten
invigorated me. I hopped into an where the Mandovi and the Zuari
ball slowly rising up across the
auto-rickshaw and straight away Rivers meet the Arabian Sea. It
Miramar beach horizon. It was truly
went to Miramar beach, which is is easily one of the most popular
an ethereal setting, but I could
just 4 kms from Panaji city center, spots on the itinerary of tourists
not spend much time at the beach
and my hotel, Miramar Residency visiting Goa.
since I was scheduled to go on a
was right on the beach. sightseeing trip of Panaji city. We could see a few ferries taking
When the clock struck 9 I thought passengers across the bay. The
My car arrived on time and we first
it was time for dinner. I was hungry more adventurous ones were busy
visited the Boca De Vaca Spring
as well. The bellboy told me that with water sports activities. By
located in the heart of Panaji city.
room service was available. So I The spring is located next to the the way, water scooters, boating,
called up Foodland - the in-house Mahalaxmi temple. parasailing, yachting, windsurfing
restaurant of Miramar Residency and fishing are available in this
-- and ordered a traditional Goan The most fascinating aspect of area.
Boca De Vaca Spring is that nobody
www.CityMasala.com 7 July 2011
There is a romantic
legend behind the
name Dona Paula.
Dona Paula is the
village where the
lady of that name,
Dona Paula de
Menezes is believed
to have loved, lived
and died - a gory
death in the second
half of the 18th
The fishermen of
the area have a
of ghost stories
about Dona Paula.
On moonlit nights,
they say - on pitch
dark nights, say
others - at the stroke
of midnight, she
rises from the sea
and roams the area,
wearing a string of
pearls and nothing
It was 4 p.m. and
Krish, my guide
politely asked me
if I would like to Mulgaonkar and began learning and freshened up, and like every
venture out a little from Panaji city the art of painting with pencils and other Goan, I went out to have my
to a fishing village close by. I readily watercolor. fill of Feni at a local bar.
agreed because it would provide me
with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Namdev Phadte speaks chaste The following day I was to go on
to visit an authentic Goan fishing Portuguese. He had spent nearly a whistle-stop tour of the world
village. Krish suggested we go to 35 years with the Portuguese famous beaches of North Goa. Our
Wadwad where his ancestral house administration at Goa. He first stop was at Fort Aguada. Fort
is located and his father, a painter, nostalgically recalled that in those Aguada is just 10 kms from Panaji.
still lives there. days the Portuguese Government This magnificent fort was built by
had brought cameras to shoot a film the Portuguese to keep a watch over
So off we zipped towards the sleepy on Goa but alas there was nobody enemy ships. There is a lighthouse
fishing village of Wadwad, leaving with the skills to operate those built by the Portuguese adjacent to
the narrow lanes and by-lanes of cameras. the fort. From the northern ramparts
Panaji. Wadwad is just 8 kms away of the fort you can see the turquoise
from Panaji, and the drive was With the passage of time, the
blue Arabian Sea right below. The
beautiful. We encountered a steep Portuguese in Goa somehow came
Governor’s residence, Caboraj
hill, and once we crossed that, we to know about Namdev and he was
Niwas can be clearly sighted on a
reached Krish’s place. soon summoned to shoot the film
clear sunny day.
on Goa on behalf of the Department
His father who is all of 75 years of Tourism. The film was made in A little distance away from Fort
came out to greet us and offered me the Portuguese language and was Aguada is the queen of all beaches -
a glass of Coconut water. And then extensively sold in Portugal. Calangute. The moment we reached
we started our conversation. Calangute we could sense the
After the Portuguese left India, he
Krish’s father, Namdev Phadte ethereal laidback ambience of this
started working from his modest
nostalgically recalled that he world famous beach made popular
home at Wadwad as a painter.
went away to Mumbai in 1944 for by the flower children. The streets
Today because of his hard-earned
higher studies. In those days he are narrow and on either side of
reputation as a painter he is often
used to travel by ship. His passion the road we could see a number
requested to paint portraits of people
was photography and he got an of departmental stores, cyber
from Goa as well as foreigners who
opportunity to work under the cafes and traditional Goan open
tutelage of the well-known Parsee air restaurants. Foreign tourists on
photographer, Nusarwanjee. He After an eventful day, I finally got motorbikes were zooming past us,
came in contact with Raghubir back to my hotel at Miramar beach probably going towards Calangute
www.CityMasala.com 8 July 2011
www.CityMasala.com 9 June 2011
beach where there was much the opinion that Arambol beach was clothes and souvenirs.
activity. by far the most spectacular beach of
The breaking wave height at Arambol
North Goa and very quiet - not many
Calangute beach is about 4 miles is 0.8 meters; the foreshore slope
tourists venture towards Arambol.
long and covered with palm trees. in September is a moderate 1 in
It used to be a hippy hangout Arambol is indeed stunning. It has 30. Judging from the number of
during the 60’s and 70’s. Even a charm of its own. What is more, swimmers in the water, they felt
there is no commercialism. It is at that this was a safe beach.
today, the beach is unchanged
the center of the longest stretch of
- pristine, serene, golden sand After spending close to two hours
Goa’s northern strand stretching
and sun. The beach is filled from the mouth of Tiracol River to at Arambol chatting with friendly
with sun worshippers and their the mouth of Chapora. Backed by tourists at the beach shack and
children. Fresh seafood is on sale endless glasses of Feni, we returned
swaying palm trees, it offers rocks
everywhere. to Panaji. By the time we reached
in some parts, sand for the most
Miramar Residency it was pitch dark.
part, and a fresh water pond close
After breakfast at Cafe Pedro, we
started our onward journey. By to the sea. The sand on the beach is I was totally immersed in the
afternoon we had covered Baga, soft and white and very popular with romance of Goa. The more I traveled,
Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and foreigners. A beach shack called the more I fell in love with the
Mandrem beaches. We didn’t spend itself a Menzes Moa’s Corner and laidback Goan lifestyle. In Goa life is
much time at any of these beaches a board proclaimed “Scuba Diving unhurried. There is no rat race, and
because we found them to be a little School”. The approach road to the the Goans abhor competition and
too crowded. My guide, Krish was of beach is lined with shacks selling pressure cooker situations. Here in
www.CityMasala.com 10 July 2011
Here in Goa, life is one big party.
Goa is not just about beaches.
Historically too, it has a lot to offer.
Goa is well known for its magnificent
whitewashed churches, temples and
mosques, which are centuries old.
The ten-kilometer drive to Old Goa
or Velha Goa is an interesting one.
The most famous churches of Old
Goa lie to the right and left of the
road from Panaji: the Basilica of
Bom Jesus and the Se Cathedral.
The Bom Jesus was constructed in
the year 1594 and completed by
1605 by the Portuguese. In this
church, three architectural styles
have converged -- Corinthian
(Greek), Doric (Roman) and Ionic
(Italian). The dead body of Rev.
St. Francis Xavier is still preserved.
Every 10 years the body is opened
to the public for 45 days starting
from 25th of November to the 10th
of January. Probably the body of St.
Francis Xavier will again be open to
the Christian world in 2004.
Across from the church of Bom Jesus
is the Se Cathedral. Se Cathedral is
the biggest cathedral in Asia built
by the Portuguese in the year 1650.
Legend has it that St. Catherine
was a beautiful Egyptian lady. But
she was a nun. The king of Egypt
wanted to marry her but since she
was a nun she refused to marry the
king. So later on, the king captured
her and killed her brutally. The sheer
brutality of St. Catherine’s killing by
the king of Egypt is visually depicted
in the main altar.
The importance of Se Cathedral
is the Miracle Cross. The cross is
still preserved and people who are
sick or are suffering from incurable
diseases still take away small pieces
of the wooden cross to place on the
mouth of the patient.
I have always been fascinated
by Indian architecture and my
admiration for the South Indian
temple architecture is immense.
Here in Goa, I never imagined
I would be able to witness the authentic Goan ambience inside the Kempinski hotel is that it is a compact
very best of fusion architecture, hotel. As we sat in the lobby facing 5 star luxury hotel spread over 75
wherein the famed South Indian the stunning beach I was told by acres of impeccably landscaped
temple architecture blended so Mr. Pascal Dupuis (the manager) topography offering the very best of
harmoniously with Goa’s very own that the Leela Kempinski Goa was Indian hospitality with a tinge of the
Portuguese architecture at the a landmark hotel with an exclusive fabled Goan warmth and generosity.
magnificent Leela Kempinski hotel. 12 hole, par 3 golf course and ever
since its inception the hotel has As we made an informal round of
Since I was invited to visit this endeavored for sustainable tourismthe hotel’s plush interiors, I was
magnificent hotel, we headed impressed by the hotel’s impeccably
practices by gainfully involving the
towards Mobor beach via the locals. appointed suites – Lagoon Suite,
beautiful Goan countryside. I was Lagoon Deluxe Suite, Royal Villa,
simply stupefied by the sheer The unique feature of the Leela the Club Suite and the truly opulent
www.CityMasala.com 11 July 2011
air purifiers filter smoke, bacteria, mold, toxic fumes, upholstery are often treated with formaldehyde resin
and hydrocarbons released from cooking, pollens, to prevent stains. Similarly, the plywood or the board
odor, dust, and dander. You can choose a portable objects are also coated with formaldehyde. Look for
model which runs through your central heating and natural alternatives such as natural, cotton and wool
air conditioning system. There are two other options that are free of harsh chemical treatment.
as well, one that operates both independently or the
other one which works with the central unit. They can Find replacement for wall to wall carpeting
be purchased from home improvement stores. Get an Synthetic carpeting is made from acrylic, polyester
air purifier that has HEPA filtration. HEPA means “High
and nylon which give off toxic gases like benzene,
Efficiency Particulate Air” and captures 99.97% of all
formaldehyde, toluene, zylene and styrene. Instead of
particles. You may also install special furnace filters
that are designed to remove 90% or more of allergens the carpet consider area rugs made from cotton or
and particles. cotton-wool blend. Natural wall to wall carpets are also
available in the market. You may opt for ceramic tile,
Clean ducts and vents in central heating/air
hardwood or natural linoleum for flooring.
These require regular attention and cleaning just Get non-toxic products
like what you do for the rest of your home. These air Choose non-toxic cleaners, soaps, detergents and air
passages can collect dust, vapors, mites, bacteria, fresheners. There are a lot of natural products available
fungi, smoke, toxic chemicals and vapors and many in the market. You can find a few at Green and good
other pollutants. store www.greenandgoodstore.com. Another site which
Stay away from artificial fresheners talks about the eco-friendly products manufactured by
There are various ways to make the home smell better Indian and foreign companies is ecofirms.org. You can
in natural ways. find one near you and see the earth friendly products
they carry. Opt for earth friendly products as far as
Opt for natural furnishing
possible when making everyday choices.
Most furnishings in our home are made out of synthetic
material which is a source of toxins. The fabrics used in
Presidential Suite. While the that’s the best time to romance at flights from Mumbai. One can reach
Lagoon Suite is conspicuous by its the Leela Kempinski Goa. As the Mumbai by Indian Airlines, Jet
traditional Portuguese ambience, dim lights came on at the hotel’s Airways and Kingfisher etc… from
the Royal Villa with its master exclusive Riverside restaurant, which Mumbai and take a connecting flight
bedroom and an exclusive guest is located in a truly idyllic setting to Goa.
room was the very epitome of royal – by the banks of the shimmering
indulgences complete with Italian Sal River, everything was perfect – There is another alternative:
marble bathroom, sunken baths, the locale, the ambience, the food From Mumbai you may travel by
Jacuzzi, exclusive living and dining (authentic Italian) and the starlit Konkan Railways to Goa (Karmali /
rooms, a private pool and terrace night sky. The only thing missing Margao).
that offers uninterrupted views of was my girlfriend. Accommodation:
the golf course and the bay.
We settled for an early dinner as we In Goa you will find a wide range
Being a Travel Writer, I have been had to reach Panaji for our journey of accommodation starting from
fortunate enough to visit some of home. We were ushered in to the very budget to 3-star, 4-star, 5-star
India’s most opulent hotels but here laidback “Susegado”, which means and 5-star deluxe. Many domestic
at the magnificent Leela Kempenski relax and live a little in Portuguese tourists prefer government
Hotel in Goa, I was completely and this idyllic restaurant does live accommodation and so Goa Tourism
bowled over by the sheer richness up to that adage every bit. I feasted Development Corporation (GTDC)
of the artistic heritage that was a on the day’s freshest catch from the has set up hotels and resorts in all
blend of Indian and Portuguese. sea and being a fish-eating Bengali, the tourist spots of Goa. The rates
I kept things pretty simple and truly are competitive without being too
And when it comes to cuisine, I
savored the Tiger Prawn curry with extravagant.
make it a point to gobble only the
local delicacies and here at the Leela For further information and
Kempinski’s signature restaurant – I was now coming towards the end reservations, please free to
“Jamavar” that offers both Indian of my blissful Goan vacation. But contact:
as well as local Goan delicacies, I the best part of being in Goa was Goa Tourism Development
found the Prawn based dishes to be that I was unhurried. There was Corporation Ltd,
of a very high quality. The best thing no tension and no stress. Simply a Trionora Apartments,
about Jamavar is that it is never laidback style of living which helped Dr Alvares Costa Road,
too crowded and what impressed me recharge my batteries for the
me the most was the elaborately rough grind of city life. Panaji, Goa- 403001
decorated wooden screens and rare Tel: 0832 2424001/ 02/ 03
old-fashioned Jamavar shawls. Fact File: Fax: +91-832-2423926 / 2420779
Getting There: Dabolim Airport in Email:
On the advice of Mr. Pascal Dupuis,
we waited for dusk to descend, for Goa is well connected by regular firstname.lastname@example.org
www.CityMasala.com 14 July 2011