The first word that comes to mind when anyone mentions Goa is the beaches. A walk by the coastline barefoot on sand, feeling the waves on your feet, enjoying the fresh air brush past your hair and the water sports for adventure junkies are on everyone’s list when in Goa.
Well, yes for me as well it was this image of Goa whenever I had visited this tourist-friendly place but only till I realised the other aspects of Goa that are worth a trip for.
In the last one year, I have travelled to Goa thrice and have definitely visited the usual beaches no doubt, but have realised that Goa has so much more to offer beyond the beaches!
This blog post is about different aspects of Goa that I experienced and enjoyed.
Yes, go-karting. At dirt cheap prices. Head to Anjuna beach road and you will have the go-karting area right opposite this restaurant called “Pink Villa.’ Ensure to pay attention as you might just miss this one. At Rs. 250 you can enjoy 10 laps. Wowww. Did I mention that we went there on two consecutive days to race at the go-karting pit. Well, please ensure that you are familiar with this sport or else it might lead to injury. A girl did get injured badly and broke her nose while we were there. Play safe I would say.
Feasting on Goan food:
I was on a culinary trail during all my sojourns in Goa as I tasted the local Goan cuisine on every occasion possible! Apart from the mandatory Curlies, Infantarias, Florentines and Georges, I visited a few bistros and restaurants that brought out the true blue foodie in me. I would really recommend you all to visit the following places when in Goa: Ritz Classic, Mum’s Kitchen, The Black Sheep Bistro, Destination One, Down the Road, etc. Read more on these at length in my upcoming blog post.
Off lately, Goans and tourists alike have a lot of entertainment options with so many festivals being hosted by Goa Tourism. They had the Food and Cultural Festival 2015 & Goa’s Coconut and Cashew Festival 2015 in April. Both of them were at Campal Grounds, Panjim which ensured to light up the evenings with their line-up of bands, local artist performances and lot of food options to choose from. It was heartening to see a lot of local talent perform to authentic Goan beats and tap their foot with fanfare. I really liked the performance of Lorna at the Coconut and Cashew Festival and Parikrama at the Food and Cultural Festival. Lorna stayed true to her title of being the ‘Nightingale of Goa’ by singing with high-pitched yet melodious songs. She reminded me of Usha Uthup, playback singer in Bollywood. I got a chance to meet Parikrama backstage and was really impressed by their demeanour. And yes, they played one of their songs for me. Wish I could remember the song and not be lost in the eyes of Gaurav Balani, member of Parikrama. *Blush*
Spice & cashew plantation
This was a revelation, a spice trail in Goa! Who knew we had plantations of black pepper, cardamom, turmeric, curry leaves and many other spices right in the heart of this beautiful place.
Located in Ponda, Tropical Spice Plantation was a great visit wherein we were welcomed with fresh flower garlands and a tikka in true Indian style. We had Pooja, our host, who took us around and explained lesser known facts about the various plants. She told us that 5 curry leaves per day should be chewed by a diabetic patient to better his condition. This girl really had a treasure trove of knowledge about all the plantations owing to the training that they go through initially.
Zantye’s cashew plantation was informative to say the least. Once at the plant, we got to know about so many aspects of cashewnut that I will surely think about it whenever I munch on this dry fruit. Did you know that the cashew nut is separated from the fruit and dried for 8 days followed by roasting, separation, breaking, grading and packing before reaching the end consumer! More on that in my upcoming post about Zantye’s cashew unit and cashew plantations in Devsar farms.
The next blog post is a Part II of this series wherein I further talk about other aspects of Goa which made me fall in love with this coastal state!