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Our travel to Goa, the party capital of India: 24 February – 2 March 2021

April 19, 2021

And an unforgettable travel it was .

24 February 2021

Departed for Goa by Indigo Airlines Flight 6E 2024 from IGI T2 New Delhi leaving  @ 11.50 AM.  Arrived at Dabolim International Airport @ 14.30 hrs .

Found the terminal very crowded as a result of dozens of flights landing at the airport from different destinations. Proceeded to the Hotel via Laxmi Travels provided cab [ 45 minutes’ drive] . Hotel Vivanta by Taj [ VbT] where we had reserved our accommodation, also sent a hotel cab to pick us up which was waiting in the basement in the Airport Terminal but as the battery of the phone went dead, the driver was unable to contact us  !

Arrived at the Hotel to a warm welcome by the Hotel GM Ashok Vasudevan and his team with a cool drink . Room very well furnished and washroom provided with all requisite amenities.

Full marks to the Housekeeping team led by young Manager Pradeep .  

RIVER CRUISE  

Took  the 5.45 PM Sunset cruise , buying tickets from Laxmi Travels Agency’s Office near Customs House @ Rs 950 p.p. for VIP seats .

Enjoyed an evening sail on Paradise ship along the Mandovi River, packed with entertainment, Goan folk songs  and dance performances, giving us the real feel of Goa’s traditional culture . The panoramic views of  Panaji from the top-most deck of the cruise as the ship passed by beautiful old  buildings incl: Goa Legislative Assembly , made it an unforgettable experience.  

Returned to Hotel by 8.15 PM in time for dinner by hailing a cab parked on the street [ Rs 200 ] . And a grand welcome dinner it was, to mark our 45th marriage anniversary . A private room all to ourselves at the Chinese restaurant Tamara with F&B Manager Soujesh  himself present to take care and suggest different mouth licking dishes , cooked to perfection . The dining table was decorated with rose petals arranged in  letter 45 with a chocolate cake that was cut by us , with pictures being taken by Soujesh – who made a short video as well .

A chocolate cake , a bouquet of rose flowers ,  a basket of fresh fruits and a nicely made up bed with rose petals sprinkled on it awaited us when we returned to our room to retire for the night .

25 February 2021

9:30 AM : Drive to Aguada Fort  : At one point in time this formidable and impregnable Portuguese fort in India , still has crumbling ramparts which talk of majestic times. The upper part of the Fort houses a lighthouse, gun powder room, bastions, and a large underground moat for freshwater storage. The name Aguada comes from the Portuguese word for water agua. The fort was a place for ships to replenish their freshwater supplies. Visitors should ideally plan to spend 45 minutes here .

Admission fee: Rs 20

Fort Aguada overlooks the vast breathtaking imposing river Mandovi’s confluence with the Arabian sea

Sinquerim beach , adjoining the luxurious Taj Fort Aguada property was our next stop , but found the approach road under repairs .

After spending some time at Condolim beach , returned to Hotel for rest as we found the weather rather hot .

In the evening , covered Vagator beach , about 22 km from the Panaji. Vagator beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa that is enclosed with soft white sand and speckled by huge black rocks, coconut and palm trees. It is famous due to its dynamic cliffs and its secluded nature. This beach is divided into two beaches named as Big Vagator and Small Vagator. Facing towards the right side of sea, there is North Vagator Beach (Big Vagator) while on the left is Ozran beach (Little Vagator). The view of the sunset through the rocks is quite marvellous. It is a part of 30 km stretch of beach seashore along the west coast of Goa.

A visit to the Vagator beach is a must for all tourists

Driving 3.5 kms from Vagator beach , we spent some enjoyable moments at the very well illuminated Thalassa in Siolim for light snacks and drinks . Awesome ambience and full and full of diners .

Chatted for a while with its delightful Greek owner Ms. Marikety Grana . Returned to Hotel by 8.00 PM. in time for dinner at the Latitude [ see picture below taken from the the 4th floor ].

26 February 2021

Dona Paula Beach : Currently under renovation . So we just took 2 pics of the skyline and departed . Water sports activities are the highlights of this beach . The Beach is named after the daughter of one of the Viceroys of India, Dona Paula de Menzes.

According to the legend , Dona Paula was the young daughter of Portuguese Viceroy Don Antonia Caetano de Menezes, and fell in love with a local Goan fisherman. When the Viceroy found out about their affair, he became very angry and forbade his daughter to meet her lover again. Extremely sad and upset, Dona Paula couldn’t think of life without the fishermen. She felt unbearable pain and immense sorrow without him. When this pain become insufferable, she decided to end her life. In the name of her immortal love, she drowned herself in the Arabian Sea. This way, a true love story came to an end and become a historical reminiscence.


When the Viceroy knew that he had lost his beloved daughter, he was overwhelmed with sorrow and grief. Left with nothing but the memories of his innocent daughter, he decided to name the Arabian Sea area “Dona Paula”. This place is a tribute to an eternal romance and love, and gives a message that, if you are ever going to love someone, it should be like Dona Paula’s, pure and heartwarming.

Miramar Beach : A 2 kms long beach, within 3 kms of VbT . You need to cover close to 250-300 metres walking on the sands from the road to get there . Here lies the Samadhi of Goa’s first Chief Minister Late Dayananda Bandodkar.

The beach sits on the confluence of the Mandovi River and the Arabian sea, offering splendid oceanic views.  Miramar Beach was originally called Porte de Gaspar Dias by Portuguese settlers in Goa, but the name was later changed to ‘Miramar’, meaning “to look at the sea.”

The silvery stretch of white sand is girdled by blue oceanic waves on one side, and a string of palm trees on the other. The beach is a perfect destination for picnics, barbeque parties and casual meet-ups alike, and is popular among both families and honeymooning couples. In winters, a large number of migratory birds, including plovers and gulls, can be spotted here.

SE Cathedral . Or Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina, is a famous landmark in Goa , exhibiting Portuguese – Manueline architectural style .

This 16th-century masterpiece took 80 long years to finish and is one of the largest churches in the world. The Cathedral attains to the west of the great square called Terreiro de Sabato and has its face turned to the east. A flight of steps approaches its beautiful courtyard.  It was consecrated in 1640 and was built to honour the triumph of the Portuguese over the Muslim rulers of the city.

Owing to such a magnificent aura and the glory, Se Cathedral has been stated as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is known as the largest church in Asia, and also has a giant bell and its elegant architecture makes it a majestic white beauty. Se Cathedral also endures the honour of being the seat of the Archdiocese of Goa. Se Cathedral is home to the historic “Golden Bell” which is famous around the world as it is the largest bell with a rich sound.

It is located right opp: Basilica of Bom Jesus. We engaged a guide who tooks us around the huge complex which also comprises of a Museum in an adjoining building .

Basilica of Bom Jesus . The Church has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage .The Church completed its construction 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. Even after 400 years of burial, the remains are said to be in good condition and are taken out every decade. It is, in fact, one of the Seven Wonders of the World of Portuguese origin.

‘Bom Jesus’ is a word of Latin origin and translates to ‘Holy (or Good) Jesus.’ The rooftop of the church is triangular, and is inscribed with the initials ‘IHS’, which translates to the Jesuit emblem meaning ‘Jesus, Savior of Men.’ 

The façade of the Church constitutes a main altar flanked by two more altars. The main altar is decorated with a statue of St. Ignatius Loyola overlooking and protecting Baby Jesus. The surroundings are frolicked with paintings and carvings directly from the Bible, and it also has a gallery that inhabits oil paintings belonging to the years 1973 and 1976. 

Evening : Passed by Church of Our Lady Mary Immaculate Conception – a grand white coloured structure perched high on some 100 steps [ closed by the time we reached there ! ] . The colonial Portuguese Baroque style Church was first built in 1541 as a chapel on a hill side overlooking the city of Panjim. It was eventually replaced by a larger church in the 1600s as part of Portuguese Goa’s religious expansion

The architecture of Mary Immaculate Conception Church close to the main shopping areas of Panaji takes your breath away in amazement

18th June Street : Shopped for high quality cashews and pistachios at Zantyes and spices including cardamon /cinnamon from S G Enterprises close by , on 18th June Street .

Azulejos de Goa – Famous for Portuguese design hand painted ceramic mugs and tiles .

A short visit to Azulejos de Goa /Centre for Indo-Portuguese Arts [CIPA] located on D B Bandodkar Avenue in Panaji turned out to be an unexpected highlight of our stay in Goa . It was set up by an enterprising young man named Orlando de Noronha post his travel to and stay in Portugal some 23 years ago . Apart from this business, Orlando has recently started a small cafe adjoining the shop in a bid to revive the original Goan food delicacies . Orlando presented an original Goa carnival tile based on a sketch prepared by the famous Goa based cartoonist late Marlo Miranda .

Spent some time at Shri Maruti Temple which is situated on top of of the Altinho hillock overlooking the Fontainhas district in Panaji, It is dedicated to lord Hanuman, the Monkey God and enshrines Lord Hanuman as the presiding deity.

The Maruti temple is beautifully lit up at night and as it is brightly lit , the temple is easily visible from a distance. One can approach the Maruti Hanuman temple by following the old Margao road that runs parallel to the Qurem creek. At night you can view the illuminated City from the top .

27 February 2021

11 AM:  A pleasant meeting with Hotel GM Ashok Vasudevan that lasted 30 minutes when we exchanged notes of common interest . I conveyed to him our sincere appreciation of the courtesies extended to us by the very efficient VbT staff in all Departments .For our holiday travel towards the end of the year . Mr Vasudevan suggested that we consider visiting Rajasthan [ Udaipur – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer ]  instead of Andaman & Nicobar Islands that we were planning to .

5 PM: Taj Convention Centre and Resort : Met Mr Sameer Khabesia, Senior Manager in charge of events ,  as per appointment arranged by a senior staff of Vivanta by Taj upon my request to VbT General Manager to discuss the possibility of hosting an international conference in 2022 .

At the Taj Convention Centre and Resort

Sameer took us around the various facilities that the property is equipped with to be able to host Conferences up  to 500+ attendees with ease and efficiency . It is located very close to Dona Paula Beach and is able to draw on facilities available with adjoining Cidade De Goa in case of need .

Visited Shri Radhakrishan Temple in old Goa which has deities of Mahalaxmi , Ganesha and Radha Krishna . Shopped for sarees at Nita Sarees started by an enterprising woman, originally from Mumbai .

28 February 2021

9.30 AM: Checked out from the Hotel after thanking the staff on duty and paying tips to the very courteous security staff . Proceeded to Colva , S. Goa via a cab arranged by VbT Duty Manager Vishwajeet @ Rs 809 .

We were pleasantly surprised to see Housekeeping Manager Pradeep following behind our car , barely 5 minutes after our departure , simply to present expensive gifts in the form of  Ayurvedic skin care creams . That was a gesture that I am going to rememebr for long .

Checked in at Club Mahindra Accacia Palms  at 11.45 AM after a comfortable drive that took us about 45 minutes and allotted room No 409 in “Stork” block at the end .

Although the premises are nice and well maintained, no comparison with facilities available in the Club Mahindra resorts that we have stayed at before – in Coorg and Mussoorie for instance , perhaps because of the fact that this is a licensed/franchisee property not owned by Club Mahindra itself .

The day being too hot , cancelled the scheduled plans of visiting various beaches during the day . Visited the clothing shop Tourist Corner in Colva beach right behind the property , late in the evening  and bought colourful pyjamas and designer T Shirts for children and grand children , one for myself as well !

1 March 2021

Following Lunch at Ripples restaurant and rest , started packing bags for our departure next day . Printed out our boarding passes and baggage labels issued on line .

4.30 PM: Visited Utorda / Majorda beaches [ both close to each other and quite similar in appearance with several beach shacks ] engaging a Swift Dzire cab from the Cab counter located inside the Resort [ Rs 1800 ] .

Betalbatim beach is about 15 minutes drive from Majorda beach . Enjoyed seeing tourists flying high in the air paragliding [ Rs 1000 for less than  15 minutes ] .

Returned to the Hotel by 6.30 P.M.

7.30 PM: No programme at the Resort in the evening except  loud music blaring  – Bollywood theme show as publicized  or otherwise ! Dinner at the Ripples where musician Daniel regaled us with old Bollywood songs while playing on his guitar . I gave him company singing ‘ ghe ghe re sahiban, pyaar mein dhokha nahin” from the movie Bobby [ originally a Goa folk song ]  , ‘ Dil ke jharokhe mein tujh ko bithakar “ from the movie Brahmchari and “Abhi na jaao chhod ke …” from the classic movie Hum Dono ” , bringing back happy memories of my early childhood .

2 March 2021

Checked out at 12.15 PM  for transfer to Dabolim Airport by Goa Miles App provided cab . Our Indigo Airlines flight departed on time at 3.30 PM , landing at IGI T2 around 6 PM where our trusted cabbie Moti was waiting to pick us up . End of a memorable travel that will linger in our minds for quite sometime to come  .

From → My movie blogs

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