Part 1 - My trip to Goa

If you ask anyone which is the most dreamed of holiday in India, anyone would say "Goa". A perfect mixture of nature, nightlife and tropical environment. From clear water beaches filled with exotic activities and themed events with a vibrant mixture of both modern and traditional culture. Goa is the closest dream paradise as you can get. The reason for me visiting Goa is the stress-free life and seafood. My trip is was totally unplanned. I was in two minds if I should or I should not. Finally the date was set and we decided to go for it! We booked train from Panvel in Tejas Express and our stay at Woke hostel, Arpora for a week.

Day 1:

The train arrived at 6:30am sharp at Panvel station. We were excited! It was 8 hours journey. While I was enjoying scenic beauty my rest of the family members were watching movies on Netflix. We reached Karmali station by 2:30pm. The fun started here. We had to wait for almost 1 hour to get a cab. So, here's a tip! When you plan a Goa trip make sure you book a cab from Goamiles (available on Android and iStore). So, finally we got the cab. Our tiredness went off after seeing the scenic beauty of Goa. Woke hostel Arpora is approx. 40 mins from Karmali station and 30 minutes from Thivim station (for Thivim catch Mandovi express or Jan Shatabdi express). We finally reached our destination. My first impression was wow! This place is even more beautiful than it is shown in the picture. We were tired and just wanted to relax, but we were hungry. We heard a lot about "Starlite". This restaurant is close from Woke. We ordered seafood and it tasted awesome! We decided to rest for the day and the next day we decided to visit temples.

Day 2:

The first temple we visited was Shantadurga temple. Part 1 - My trip to Goa

Shree Shantadurga Saunsthan:

Situated 33kms from Panajim, Shree Shantadurga temple has a powerful idol of Goddess Shree Durga who mediated between Shree Vishnu and Shree Shiva and stopped the fierce full war happening between the two. She is flanked by Vishnu and Shiva on both the sides.

The temples of Shree Shantadurga and Shree Mangesh, two of the primary valued patron deities of the Hindu Goud Saraswat Brahmin community are located in Kavlem and Mangeshi respectively within the Ponda district of North Goa. This avatar of Shree Jagdamba Devi which had come to form peace between Shree Vishnu and Shree Shiva, is known as Shree Shantadurga Devi.

The original place of Shree Shantadurga Devi was at Keloshi. From there Devi was shifted to Kavlem during the rule of Portuguese government. This current temple structure of Shree Shantadurga Devi was built during the amount from 1713 A.D to 1738 A.D. Many renovations are done over the years to the main temple and to the temples of other deities besides the Agarshala [guest house] which is made on three sides of the temple.

After Devi’s Darshan, we had a lovely breakfast at the canteen in the temple. Our next stop was Shri Gopal Ganapati Temple (Farmagudi).

Shri Gopal Ganapati Temple (Farmagudi)

About 90-100 years back, a cow herder called Hapo, who was employed by King Soundhekar of Bandiwade, found a 1 foot stone Ganesha idol in the forest. He deified it in a mandapa which was made from coconut branches. Even today, a Gudi is set up here on every Anant Chaturthi.

The first chief Minister of Goa, the late Shri. Dayanand Bandodkar, planned to build temple here. He had the Idol, which was made from metal alloy, consecrated on April 24, 1966.

It is an honest specimen of Indian Temple architecture, synthetizing both the traditional and modern forms. Our next stop Mahalasa Narayani’s temple.

Mahalasa Narayani’s temple:

Shri Mahalasa Narayani’s temple at Mardol is the West coastal state of Goa in India needs no introduction to Shri Mahalasa’s Kulavis and other devotees.

This is her most well-known temple and even though we visit other temples, we cannot avoid visiting this beautiful temple at Mardol once in our lifetime.

Lakhs of devotees and tourists visit this 450-year old temple to solicit blessings of the Divine Deity.

The Mardol temple has some unique features to its credit namely, the tallest Samai (lamp) or the Dnyandeepa, and therefore the Deepasthambha, which is well known all over the world because of it being highlighted in posters of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation; a full-granite Sabha Mantapa, copper roof to the main temple, historic bell with legal sanctity and lots of more interesting things.

A very special feature in Mardol temple is that the appearance of Shri Mahalasa in various Alankaars at various periods, sometimes during various times of the day.

To the keen devotee, she appears as various Gods and Goddesses and Special Puja Offerings are often made to the deity. Later we visited Mangeshi temple.

Shree Mangesh Temple (Manguesh Devasthan)

The Mangueshi temple or the Manguesh Devasthan is one of the most famous of all Goan temples. It's located at Priol in Ponda taluka, about 21 kilometers from the capital city of Panaji. The surrounding area is well known as Mangueshi.

In earliest times the temple was located at Kushasthali (presently known as Cortalim). In the course of the Portuguese rule, a number of Hindu temples were destroyed in Goa.

To avoid a similar fate, the devotees of God Manguesh removed the linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) from the original temple and transferred it in the middle of the night to the present location at Priol which was under the control of Adil Shah.

To avoid an identical fate, the devotees of God Manguesh removed the linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) from the main temple and transferred it in the middle of the night to Priol which was under the control of Adil Shah.

The shifting of the deity happened in the year 1560. The area surrounding the temple was given to the temple by Ramchandra Sukhtankar a central officer within the Court of the Peshwas after procuring it from the Raja of Soundem.

Since the time of shifting, the temple was rebuilt and renovated twice during the reign of the Marathas and yet one more time within the year 1890. The last renovation occurred within the year 1973 when a golden kalash (holy vessel) was fitted atop the tall dome of the temple.

The temple architecture is a mixture of Hindu, Christian and Muslim influences and is lit up in magnificent lights during the annual Jatra which is held in January. The deity is taken out in a palanquin and paraded in huge chariots during the festival which is attended by thousands of devotees.

We decided to call have lunch after visiting temples and we had it in a local restaurant close by to the temple Om Sai Sagar Pure Veg Family Restaurant. We were wondering where to go after lunch since it was hot summer and the temperature was almost 37c-38c so we decided to visit Old Goa Church (known as Basilica of Bom Jesus) before calling it a day.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Old Goa and stands to be the oldest Church of Goa.

The construction of the church was completed in the year 1604 and stands as an epitome of the Portuguese colonial architecture and Baroque architecture.

It is located in Bainguinim, about 10 km from Panjim, and attracts several tourists from all across the world. The church is known to hold the relics of St. Francis Xavier, who was known for his phenomenal insight and therapeutic healing powers.

Located in Bainguinim, about 10 km from Panjim, and attracts several tourists from all across the world. The church is known to carry the relics of St. Francis Xavier, who was known for his phenomenal insight and therapeutic healing powers.

Even after 400 years of burial, the remains are said to be in in good condition and is taken out every decade. It is, in fact, one among the Seven Wonders of the World of Portuguese origin.

We decided to call it a day and headed back to our hostel and relax.

Day 3:

After taking blessing from God and a nice breakfast at Woke, we headed to the mystic beaches of Goa. Since we had less time to be in Goa we decided to divide our trip in two parts. Today, we decided to visit beaches in South Goa. So are you ready to travel with me?

The first beach we visited Agonda Beach

Agonda beach:

Agonda beach is that the perfect beach in Goa for anyone who wants to relax. This seemingly endless perfect beach stretches for nearly two miles which is lined up with shacks and huts, some simple and a few fancy. Hawkers aren't allowed on the beach, so be assured that you would remain refreshingly undisturbed.

Agonda beach is in South Goa located 43 kilometers (26 miles) from Margao and 76 kilometers (47 miles) from Panjim. Palolem beach, which is the most popular beach in South Goa, is merely 10 minutes further south.

The closest railway stations to Agonda are Margao, on the Konkan Railway, and native railroad station Canacona (also referred to as Chaudi). Canacona is 20 minutes south of Agonda, and therefore the journey costs around 300 rupees in an auto rickshaw. Margao is about an hour north of Agonda, and costs around 800 rupees during a taxi. On the other hand, Goa's Dabolim airport may be a bit over an hour and a half north. A taxi from the airport will cost 1,800-2,000 rupees, counting on whether you would like air-conditioning. You will find a prepaid taxi counter inside the arrivals terminal before you exit the airport.

Many things to do at the beach like chilling, swimming, walking, eating, shopping (you'll find the standard stalls selling clothes and accessories), and just generally doing nothing are the most activities at Agonda. Boat trips are possible to Butterfly beach and Honeymoon beach for those that are up for it.

Animal lovers will find it worthwhile to go to Animal Shelter Agonda, where injured and mistreated animals are being taken care of.

If you would like to venture further afield, Cabo de Rama Fort is an offbeat attraction about 20 minutes north of Agonda beach. The road there's really scenic, and the ruins of the Portuguese fort are interesting to explore. Allow a few of hours there then drop into The Cape Goa for a bite to eat. This outstanding boutique resort is nestled into the rock on the side of a cliff. The restaurant serves a variety of yummy Indian and western dishes, and therefore the view is to die for!

If you are looking for party places on Agonda beach, you're likely to be disappointed. It's much too chilled out. However, south Goa's biggest outdoor dance club isn't far away! Head to Leopard Valley on the Palolem-Agonda Road to bop the night away. It's open during the tourist season from mid-November until March. Fridays are the most party nights there.

Cabo de Rama Beach

Cabo de Rama Beach, also known among local citizens as Cab de Ram, is one of the most beautiful wild beach in the South of Goa. Locals consider the Beach to be one of the top beautiful places in the country. Situated at 28kms from Margao, 19kms from Agonda beach and a couple of kilometers from Cabo de Rama Fort.

The water in Cabo de Rama is blue with rich green hue. In north of the Beach a small river, which can effortlessly be crossed in ford, starts its peaceful running. A strip of palm groves stretched alongside the beach, from the waves in a short distance offers the tourists a really pleasant setting for picnics. That’s why it's not surprising that this place became a favorite for college and family picnics for southern-Goa citizens from the nearby areas.

It's comparatively safe to swim here but still you must to be very careful because it's possible that you may stumble into sharp reefs or get into strong currents. There are no lifeguards at the beach, same like no tourist infrastructure too.

With stomach growling, stopped at The Red Crab Sea Food Restaurant. Beautiful place, good food and refreshing breeze from sea made a perfect lunch for us and recharged us to cover couple of beaches before we head back to hostel. So who’s next? Is what we asked each other? And then Majorda Beach came up to our mind.

Majorda Beach:

Located in South Goa, Majorda Beach is one among the prettiest beaches of Goa. Geographically, this beach lies in the middle of Utorda Beach and Betalbatim Beach. Featuring a mix of peace and calmness, the golden sands and tall swaying palms symbolize the authenticity of this beach. The minute you begin walking towards the waterfront, you will find the golden sand drifting slowly towards the ocean.

Along its stunning coastline, there are many small beach shacks that are located close to one another. It's here where you get to taste the authentic flavors of Goan style seafood. Most of them are owned and run by the Russian community. So, don't worry if you are searching some spicy Russian delicacy. As a complementary service to the food you have ordered, you get a chance to avail their sunbed and overhead umbrella facility. So, if you’ve got a superb book to read, don't forget to bring it along.

As the climate here remains pleasant for most a part of the year, you get a change to try adventurous things here. Parasailing, banana boat ride, dolphin spotting, water skiing, speed boat ride, and lots of more exciting adventures are just expecting you to land here.

You have the option to either hire a taxi or drive in your private vehicle. Panjim is located at a distance of 28.9 km from Majorda Beach. This distance can be easily covered in 30 – 35 minutes. If you prefer a taxi ride, you will be charged around 900 to 1100 INR per trip. On the other hand, a self-drive will cost you 200 to 300 INR as fuel charges.

Goa International Airport is located at a distance of 22.6 km from Majorda Beach. It would take around 25 to 30 minutes to travel in either direction. There are three options to get between Goa International Airport and Majorda Beach –

  • Hire taxi would cost you 800 to 1100 INR per trip;

  • Self-drive would cost a Fuel around 150 to 300 INR;

  • Towncar can cost 1800 to 2500 INR per trip.

Butterfly beach:

Get the best of your vacation at Butterfly Beach which is north of Palolem Beach in Southern Goa. Enjoy your loneliness, far away from the rest of world and also experience the wonderful aquatic life out in open at the front of the beach.

To reach here, you will have to mount a ferry from Palolem or Agonda beaches as this beautiful and semi-circled beach isn't approachable by the other means. For wider and punctuated experience, you may want to choose a ship ride too. And if you're feeling too thrilled, you can try trekking round the thick forest surrounding this beach.

Popularly referred to as Honeymoon Beach as tons of honeymooners and couples come here for a secluded vacation. You can spend your day together with your partner by enjoying a picnic with wine. Here at the beach, during low water period, witness nomadic Sea urchins, redfish, goldfish, and sea cucumbers. This is often a matchless sight that you simply won't get to explore anywhere else in entire Goa. Moreover, on one side, millions of butterflies dance and harbor over this beach and on the opposite, you get to catch a glimpse of dolphins in the middle of the ocean.

You won’t get an immediate ride to Buttery Beach. For this, you need to hire a cab from Panjim to Palolem Beach. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes approximately for covering one spot to a different during this journey. After you reach Palolem Beach, get on a ship ride to Butterfly Beach.

You can enquire about a shuttle from Goa International Airport which will reach Madgaon. Then, choose a bus ride to Palolem Beach. This commute is simply preferable if you are tight on budget because it takes two hours on the road. Otherwise, you would be ready to reach Palolem Beach within an hour and thirty minutes with a taxi on rent.

That concluded our day as we headed back to the hostel and rest to explore another day at Goa. Do keep reading my Part 2 and the conclusive trip to Goa and don’t forget to share experiences or ask questions about Goa in the comment section.

Have you got the best of Goa? If yes post in your favorite images and don't forget to tag #pinakinsbroadway and #travelwithpinakin


Browse our Gallery Part 1 of my visit:

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