Day 3 : Old Goa – Old is gold – history comes alive!!
As per our initial itinerary, we had thought we will cover old Goa and south Goa beaches for the day. But as per hotel manager covering both in a single day would be difficult as the south Goa beaches Colva and palolem were very far from the place we stayed. So he suggested us to drop it , instead go only for Old Goa trip for the day. I was initially not happy with his suggestion and told we will enquire some other place. But later agreed to his plans as even DH was convinced with itinerary . End of the day i too realized, following his guide was the good thing that we did.Our whole day was planned so well .The itinerary for the day included visiting few churches, temples,Panaji and finally a Sunset cruise on the Mandovi river.To cover all these the driver had suggested us to leave the hotel by 8.00 AM.
As planned we left by 8.00AM and from North Goa we drove straight to Panaji .The drive to Old Goa was lovely passing through some quaint little villages,farms, streets dotted with Portuguese architecture.. crossing narrow and winding road we didn’t realize when our first spot came . We reached Basillicca of Bom Jesus church :
It is one of the oldest churches in Goa, as well as in India, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.In addition for its spectacular architecture, this church is also famous for housing the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier which lies in a silver casket, partially exposed ( and my daughter was very eager to see the Mummy !! )Its one of the must visit churches,when you are in Goa.Towards the exit , there was a light and and sound show, where they tell you the story of St. Francis Xavier . We liked it a lot,presentation was too good. But photography was not allowed there. Entry to that was Rs 15.
From there we also visited Se cathedral and archaeological museum which is adjacent to Basillicca of Bom Jesus church , just few foots away. Photography is not allowed inside the museum.
It took us almost 2.5 hours to cover all these places in detail.
Next we drove straight to St.Augustine church , which is also close to Basillicca of Bom Jesus church.We didn’t spend much time over there as there was nothing much to see except ruins. Clicked few snaps and headed towards our next spot.
After visiting the few historical heritage churches, it was time for us to visit few Goan temples.We drove towards Ponda.Ponda city in Goa is the place where Hinduism is at its maximum When we reached this part of Goa, we were fully surprised !! Does this part also come under Goa ?? People there dressed different, they were traditional, they were all Hindus,feel was entirely different. Our driver was excited to show us one particular temple Gomantak Tirupati Balaji Padmavathi temple. He just loves visiting it and after we saw the temple we realized why. Very clean and green surroundings and there is a certain calmness that you experience as you sit inside the temple.
From there our next stop was Mangeshi Temple :
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Sri Mangueshi Temple located in Ponda is a major Hindu temple visited by many devotees . Got to know that Great Singer “Lata Mangeskhar” is from this place .The temple is beautiful and well maintained .Overall good.
From the car parking , you have to have to walk some distance to reach the temple and all along you have numerous shops that sell fancy things. But considering Goan hot and humid weather at 11.30 AM , we were attracted to only kokum juice and kokum soda.Both were too good. Try it .
Our next stop from there was Mahalasa Narayani Temple. Its just a few steps away from mangeshi temple.I think this temple is very famous among locals.It was too too crowded and there ws a long queue. So we just took a snap from outside didnt see the idol .The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mahalasa(Lakshmi).
Moving ahead , we covered two more temples , Shantadurga Temple ,Mahalakshmi temple
I do not know the legend surrounding each temple.I enjoyed the beauty and architecture of each temple which was unique and cleanliness in each temple was beyond comparison. We proceeded towards our next spot ,Sahakari Spice plantation .
This spot was again our drivers inclusion in the itinerary .The entry fee to the visit and tour is about 400 Rs per person. it includes welc
ome tea, a unlimited buffet lunch and a guided tour of about 45 minutes.Guided tour of a spice plantation explaining the various spice harvesting was interesting and informative.The area which they they take around the visitors and tourists is about 5 acres. the rest of the spices are grown in the 25 acres and the visitors are not allowed in this area.The welcome was traditional with a garland ,tika and few ladies performing a traditional dance. I felt it was more to attract foreigners. Also food was ok ok. My expectation after paying 400 rs was high .You get a complimentary a small pkt of mixed spices and a few sipes of Fenny.Overall i would say not one of the must visit places.But spending time over there was relaxing and refreshing. It was a much needed break to escape the humid weather.
After getting refreshed at spice plantation , we were happy that the weather had improved a bit.We headed towards Panji for our next destination , Dona Paula bay /Beach .
Though its called dona paula beach , its not actually beach, a famous place with a grt view of the sea!A very clean and good spot to go.The place is noted for location for many hindi movies like “Singham”, “ek duje ke liye” etc. I enjoyed sitting in the benches and enjoying the breeze there.Don’t miss sipping various flavors of lime soda available there.Good place for photography and t shirt shopping. But don’t forget to bargain.
It was almost 5.00 PM. We had to reach to the evening cruise by 6.00 PM. Before that we had to visit Miramar beach and do some shopping at Panaji. Some how we had to squeeze time and cover all. We hurried to our next spot , Miramar beach .
Its a beach in Panaji and nothing when compared to the beaches we had visited in North Goa. We didn’t even feel like getting into water. It doesn’t have anything that defines a Goan beach. You can easily skip this spot.
Good for us that there was nothing much to do at Miramar , we got some time to shop and roam around in Panaji city. Brought few dresses, kokum syrup and cashews.By the time over shopping was over , it was exactly time for us to move for our last spot of the day, Evening cruise at Mandovi River .The taxi driver took us to river cruise in panaji by our taxi driver. it had a fee of rs 150 per person.Several boats sail from the jetty. It lasts about an hour on river Mandovi and usually would be jam packed by Indian tourists.It had 3 decks, disco club at ground floor,snack bar at middle and the top was the happening place.There was a DJ who played an awesome collection.The cruise also has a cultural show with traditional Goan and Portuguese dance performances..Also audiences were given an opportunity to get up and dance to some great beats. we including the kids thoroughly enjoyed tapping our feets on the dance floors for the latest hits. views from the cruise is also awesome.You get to see so many sparkling casinos, other cruises.I was so confused , what to see, just keep on gazing outside the cruise or enjoy the performance.Goan music, goan breeze and the goan cruise , the atmosphere was so mesmerizing.Overall the it was worth the money and recommend not to miss this..
Our day 4 , as planned was for relaxing and spending some time in pool and beaches.Our return journey was booked and left Goa in bus at 7.00 PM and reached the next day to Bangalore at 10.00 AM. With this our memorable,adventurous trip had come to an end.We have returned to our home at Bangalore with loads and loads of good m
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