We’ve been coming to Goa for years, initially with friends to party like everyone else and later with each other to chill and vegetate for a few days on a quiet beautiful beach.
The beach has always been central to our holidays here, the soft sand, the vast open sea, beautiful sunsets and the beach shacks where one can idle away endless time listening to music and sipping on a cocktail. It’s the overwhelming image of Goa that one has, it is the Goa we know best and apart from a couple of short trips into the Chorla Ghats in North Goa we haven’t really explored the state. So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to go a little offbeat in Goa, and experience and understand everything that the state has to offer other than its iconic beaches, shacks and party zones.
Driving down from Bombay in the little blue Brio, we start our journey in southern Goa, which is full of thick forests, spice plantations and wildlife sanctuaries, ancient Hindu Temples, interesting caves and rock carvings and cute little Portuguese era villages with unexpectedly stunning mansions.
From there we journey northwards to the vibrant and quaint Latin quarter in Panjim, the only one of its kind in India, the staggering Churches of Old Goa, a bird sanctuary on an island and more traditional Goan Portuguese homes and villages to explore.
We are staying in one such old restored Portuguese house which should be exciting. Since we are here during the start of the famous Ganesh festival, we plan to visit one of the smaller villages that has been celebrating their lord in the same manner for centuries all centered around a 400-year-old house and the local family that traces its roots back to the 16th century.
At some point we will probably hit up a beach for a lovely sunset and a cocktail, because what is Goa without that, but the idea really is to really experience everything else this tiny little state packs in and showcase the ‘other’ side of one of India’s most loved places.
None of these places are truly unknown, we’ve realized that Indians are excellent travelers and explorers, but not many know the stories behind the Portuguese homes or the Hindu Temples, and while we travel we hope to bring you these stories so that your next visit may be just a little new and different.