29 Mar 2015

Mystical Goa

Goa homestay

Goa is truly a treasure trove and not just because of its famed beaches. Goa beaches are, no doubt, the major attraction but there is much more to Goa than the surf, sand and sea. The brochures pointed at the major hot spots i.e. the Bom Jesus Basilica, churches and convents of Old Goa, Tiracol, Mormugao fort and the like.

However, when I explored the real Goa, the one that speaks of the enduring traditions and customs of this former Portuguese colony, I was delighted. And all the credit goes to my dear hosts for they introduced me to numerous wonders which I could not have experienced had I opted for the usual hotels in Goa. I chose a home stay for my Goa tour near the quiet Olaulim River.

The beautiful cottage was surrounded by paddy fields and tiny hillocks, that gave me a blissful experience every day. I was taken around the village on long relaxed walks, at times cycling alongside my host-cum-guide, on their shopping trips. The beauty of the quiet town was splendid and mesmerizing. The gentle breeze beckoned without disturbing my meditative trance. The architectural marvels stood tall in the form of temples, mansions and chapels. My eyes feasted to the hilt and when it was time for my stomach to have its share, I was served excellent Goan cuisine by the hostess. Cooked in the traditional style on wood-fire, with locally grown spices, it was a soul-stirring delicacy. And to add to the flavors of the sumptuous meal, they accompanied it with fresh fruits and wine.

Coming to the adventure days, the canoe rides were exciting and beautiful at the same time. Alongside the river, around the hills, hornbills, storks, egrets, storks and other avian species were crooning and cavorting. They were magnetic in their myriad colors and characteristics! Set to capture the spectacle, I took out one whole day just for the lovely birds. Armed with my binoculars, camera and of course, my sweet host, I was out in the forests, capturing the fantasy. The day over, now it was time for some shopping and for this, what better than the Anjuna’s Wednesday Flea Market.

Completely worth the haggling and jostling, since it was too crowded, I managed to crack some cool deals. Left with some more time, I was thinking of some other plan when the Star’s shop caught my eyes. It offered to teach you magic tricks in two minutes. Gave it a shot and yes, I have learnt an amusing trick.

As the time to pack my bag beckons me, I wonder how much unaware I was about the riches of this mystical place. Well, this trip to Goa was nothing short of a dream , courtesy the lovely homestay and its hosts and will always be etched in my mind. And I also promised myself that I will come back to Goa again to let my mind, body and soul drift in the mystical powers of this place.

The next time you are in Goa, try a homestay. Visit Goa Homestays for some suggestions.

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