This was my first trip with my twin daughters; hence I packed my stuff very carefully keeping in mind all their needs. Since my twins are just one and a half years, I chose the hotel also carefully so that I do not have problem in bottle sterilizing and other stuff like that. My motto of this trip was to relax and rejuvenate, I needed a break from my monotonous life. It was after an year that I was travelling anywhere so I was a bit scared about the trip which is very unlikely of me.
The flight from Delhi to Goa takes just 2 hours and hence it was an easy journey. Though my kids got quite irritated sitting at one place, but somehow my husband and I managed. I always prefer visiting places in off time but never thought of visiting Goa in off season. However, this trip proved to be an amazing trip despite of off season. The beaches were less crowded and calm. And though it was a monsoon time, it was not humid. On the flip side, there were no water sports and night market, since Goa was flooded with water.
Here are some reasons why one can travel to Goa in off season and that too in Monsoons-
The first and most beneficial part of visiting Goa in off season was it was cheap. The flight ticket from Delhi it was just 8k per person for round trip, which in peaks season varies from 15k to 25k per person. And it is not just about flight tickets even the hotel we got was super economical. A luxurious suit with a huge balcony overlooking a swimming pool and beautiful garden to sit back, sip coffee and enjoy rain. The rates were actually 50% less than the normal rates.
The first beach which we visited was Baga Beech. Most popular beach of Goa and nearest from our hotel, it offers something for everyone. It is a picturesque beach with parties, music, beach shacks, karaoke, good food and is easily the most happening place in Goa. Just adjacent to Baga beach, the Calangute beach it is a bit crowded yet beautiful sea beach. Famous for its nightlife, Calangute is has lots of famous pubs of Goa including the Tito’s and others on the Tito’s lane are located closeby. Next day we started with Candolym beach followed by Anjuna Beach. Personally my favourite was Anjuna Beach, it was peaceful and serene. It is a perfect beach to spend a peaceful evening with family.
3) A drive to South Goa
Though we would have preferred walking, but since we had two kids with us and rain was unpredictable, we chose a drive to South Goa. We were completely mesmerized by the peaceful yet enchanting beauty of South Goa. On one side of road there is a beautiful sea and other side is dotted with incredible houses. These houses of Portuguese era have been well preserved by the natives. These houses have the most beautiful colours and textures and are just captivating. The cool breeze of sea on my face and the sight of of these engrossing houses just made the drive one of the most beautiful drives of my life. My kids also loved the whole drive. They loved the refreshing breeze.
We also visited Dona Paula which is located just 6 km south-west of Panaji . Famous for the shooting of Singhum film, our taxi bhaiya thought that this is the best place he is showing us. It was a high tide so it looked quite beautiful, but the place was too crowded. We also visited Colva beach and Palolem beach. The Palolem beach proved to be my girls favourite though I do not know the reason why they liked this beach only. The two reason I could think of is it had lots of dogs and by this time they were fed up of being scared of huge tides. Whatever be the reason this is the only beach where they enjoyed to the fullest so much so that we had to stop them to go near the tides. This beautiful beach is located in Canacona and about 40 minute drive from Margao. This beach is one of un-spoilt stretches of sandy shores. The inhabitants here are the local fishermen and visitors who stay in the shacks. I bought some handmade anklets from them.
4) A ride to ship/cruise trip
Our super excited taxi bhaiya also took us to a ship ride along the Mandovi river. The Goa Tourism operates a range of entertaining hour-long cruises along the Mandovi River aboard the Santa Monica or Shantadurga . It includes a live band and that performs on Goan folk songs and dances. There are also twice-weekly, two-hour dinner cruises and a twice-weekly, all-day backwater cruise, which takes you down the Mandovi to Old Goa, stopping for lunch at a spice plantation and then heading back past Divar and Chorao Islands. All cruises depart from the Santa Monica Jetty next to the Mandovi Bridge, where you can purchase tickets.
We went to one hour trip. The most beautiful sight in this one hour trip was that there was a point where Mandovi river meets Arabian sea. Though the ship took a uturn from there I can see the change in the waves, it was a beautiful sight to see. For the first time in my life I have seen the confluence of river and sea.
5) Beautiful Churches and Fort
The most beautiful church we saw was Basilica of Bom Jesus, a remarkable church built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It is a part of UNESCO World heritage Site and it also referred as St. Francis Xavier’s Tomb. This grand church is built out of black granite in an amalgamation of the Doric, Corinthian and composite styles.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus preserves the holy remains of Goa’s patron saint Francis Xavier, who died on a sea voyage to China in 1552. Once every 10 years, the body is allowed to be viewed by the people who visit this holy place. When we went the body was resting in peace in a beautiful wooden coffin inside a corner of church where photography was prohibited.
We also saw the “Three Kings Church” known to be the most haunted place in Goa. Legend says that it is haunted and the story is that once upon a time there were three Portuguese kings living in Goa. They often used to fight to gain power in the land but they were tied by the Portuguese diplomacy between rulers policy. One of the kings (King Holger Alvunger) one day invited the other two kings in his place and poisoned them to death. He himself fell out with the public and committed suicide by consuming poison. King Holger’s place is the current Three Kings Church in Goa, where there have been reports of sightings and general unrest.
However, the place is very scenic. It is worth climbing the hill and getting here since one can get a breathtaking view of surrounding lush green regions and the Arabian Sea, and if you go there before sundown you will be able to enjoy a peaceful sunset. The Three Kings Church is one place to enjoy peace and pleasing natural beauty.
Another historical place is the grand Fort of Aguada at the shore of Mandovi river. It was constructed to protect old Goa from the attacks of Dutch and Marathas. A central jail and a lighthouse built during the 19th century are also located near this fort. This is presently serving as the Central Jail. Aguada Fort boasts of the first ever light house in Asia.
I am not a person who loves rain, but still I fell in love with rain here. It seemed that I have used green filter in my eyes as all I can see there is greenery. In fact if I have to define my first visit to Goa in two words then it is- ‘Green Goa’. So, all those who loves rain must visit Goa in monsoon to see how the droplets from the sky embellish the place and makes it green, rejuvenating and pristine. It comes alive in a lush green tropical vibe and everything feels fresh, wet and clean.