First Wedding anniversary trip to Goa — By Preethi
We were pondering over quite a few no of places to go to for our anniversary and finally decided on Goa. It was to be my first time visit but my husband had visited it earlier. Since we had a family function in Chennai, we booked the train from Chennai Central.
Day 1 19th June 2015 Friday
Reached Central – 12:50 PM
Train departure – 1:55 PM
Dinner – Chapathi ordered in train
We reached Central and bought some snacks and drinks for our train journey. We were looking to buy dinner but none of the restaurants had food that would remain fresh till night. The train started by scheduled time and we were travelling by tier3 AC. We booked a side berth which turned out to be a very wise decision since none could disturb us or share our seats. We enjoyed the long journey thoroughly chatting away to glory and sharing stories. The berths adjacent to us were occupied by a group of teachers on their way for some training program. They kept us entertained throughout chatting,mocking,talking loudly and teasing others. We pitied the only guy(who was not in their group) there. I was damn hungry and anticipating some snack wallas to pass by but not even water [passed by through our compartments. So when the train stopped at a station for only 3 mins my husband rushed to get some biscuits which somewhat subsided my hunger pangs.The dinner which we ordered was decent. We were astonished to see the compartments cleaned,mopped and freshened not to mention garbage collection at regular intervals and handwashes in toilets. They also handed over feedback forms to be filled. Way to go Indian railways!! Watta refreshing change!! We called it a day by 9:30 PM and had a voracious sleep due to tiredness.
Day 2 20th June 2015 Saturday
Breakfast – Masala dosa,vada
Castle rock station – 10:00 AM
Dudhsagar falls – 10:50 AM
Sangaum river – 12:00 PM
Reached Madgoan station – 12:30 PM(train delayed by half an hour)
Club Mahindra Varca Beach Resort – 1:05 PM
We woke up, refreshed ourselves and settled for a breakfast ordered in train. We passed by scenic routes laden with greenery, red soil and damp earth.
Enroute to Dudhsagar falls. Misty morning. Rains, Greenery everywhere
Sometimes being alone attracts more attention.
One of the greenest stretches that I have seen. Maybe on par with Munnar with all the tea gardens.
Castle rock station. Are these rock castles ?
Memories enroute to Dudhsagar. Good old red trains
Lots of tunnels enroute. About to enter one such !!
We saw few trekkers trekking their way to Dudhsagar falls. There were many sleepers adjacent to railway track to avoid passionate bikers riding through that route. We stood at the train entrance for around an hour reserving the front viewpoint and clicking pictures.
A mini falls before Dudhsagar falls. Some people mistook it for Dushsagar falls.
Dudhsagar waterfalls station. All the trains going towards Kulem stop here for a few minutes.
About to arrive !! Imagine the view from the house here !!
Finally here comes the majestic Dudhsagar falls oozing with milk colored water.
Surreal feeling in seeing the water in full flow
Abundance of water due to monsoon. Since the train didnt stop we could admire her beauty only for a few mins and simultaneously clicking as many pics as possible. It will be good if the train stops for a few mins here.
The same Dudhsagar falls can be seen from the other side of train in couple of minutes. The bridge that you see is the one that we crossed few mins back.
Kulem station. Clean and well maintained. Not sure if it is because of rain or actual maintenance
We also saw many rivers on the way. Sangeum river was one of them. We arrived at Madgoan station half an hour behind the scheduled arrival and boarded a prepaid taxi there to go to Club Mahindra Varca beach resort. We were welcomed with lashing of heavy rains. We reached Varca beach resort.Since we arrived one hour before the scheduled check in time we were asked to wander around in the resort and use any of the common areas. It has never happened like this in any other Club Mahindra resort. Other resorts have lenient check in times. The hospitality was also poor, nobody was friendly or courteous. All the staff members seemed rather busy and in their own world.
Outer view of Club Mahindra Varca Beach Resort.
Wide Reception area
Since we had one hour of time to kill we had lunch at the in-house restaurant. We ordered pizza seated by the swimming pool view. There are a total of two pools inside.The pool was brimming with activity even at lunch time.
Enroute to resort’s private beach.
Water fountain. I have to say that the property is really well maintained, Fountains, pools and greenery all around.
Club Mahindra Property
Finally the beach – icing on the cake.Sea was in full fury due to monsoon and wind.Initially we thought of carrying a tripod to capture sunset but it was the right decision not to have carried. We never saw the sun during our stay !! Tripod and the camera would have flown had we tried it.
On our return from the beach we saw pool olympics for sometime. We then went to a rental store nearby to enquire about bike rentals for our sightseeing. There is a taxi union in Club Mahindra which doesnt allow self drive cars to be hired by the resort members. We ordered room service for dinner – Kids power meal consisting of french fries,pasta,veg wrap and choco cake. It was such an irony to have named it Kids power meal because even two adults cannot finish it. We could only finish around 60% of the meal and kept the remaining in fridge.
21st June 2015 Sunday
Hired bike – 9:15 AM
Reached Big Foot museum – 9:50 AM
Left Big Foot museum – 11:00 AM
Reached Mayem lake – 1:00 PM
Lunch at Ice n Spicy restaurant – 1:45 PM
Started – 2:20 PM
Saw Mahalakshmi temple near Colva – 4:45 PM
Colva beach – 5:15 PM
We had the remnants of previous day’s dinner as breakfast !!We then hired a Honda Activa bike and set forth our journey. The rent was 500 for 12 hours and we have to fill petrol. We used GPS to navigate to the places conveniently.Heights of technology!! Our first visit was Big foot museum. It was 20 kms far from the resort. The museum showcases the traditional culture of Goa. Prerecorded Hindi and English audio recordings guides were present. It housed miniatures related to various skills,crafts and livelihood of Goan people.
Largest monolithic sculpture of Saint Mirabai completed in a record time of 30 days.
Well maintained place and literally no crowd due to off season. No noise and nice place to have a walk.
We then started off to Mayem lake. The road was blocked on the way due to a tree fall and luckily since we had two wheeler we scraped through a narrow parallel route. Enroute this storm drain was present which closely resembled a river.
Mayem lake – Very quiet and serene place. Not sure if we would have come here had it been peak season.It is about 45 kms from the museum but worth the long distance.
Waterfall inside the lake
Even here people litter 😦
A well maintained kids park. Again literally no crowd.
Place is going crazy with every spell of rain. Becoming fresher and fresher
Due to rains surrounding looks amazing with the mix of green and brown.
We then had lunch at Ice n Spicy restaurant neary to Mayem lake which was pretty decent. We then started back and saw Mahalakshmi temple near Colva(100 metres from Colva first ward). It was a small temple with the main deity alone. Then we headed to Colva beach. It was a very wide beach and with the rains and wind lashing it was an awesome sight to behold. For a few minutes there was a strong wind blowing at us and we couldn’t move anywhere and felt slightly suffocated. We then returned back to our room and ordered veg pulav.
Hotel Unit of Club Mahindra Property. A double cot, sofa, table, fridge, kettle and of course a television with airtel DTH.
A comfy and posh room
22nd June 2015 Monday
Started from resort – 9:00 AM
Reached Old Shantadurga temple – 10:45 AM
Aguada fort – 11:45 AM
Lunch at Panjim city Ruchi restaurant – 1:00 PM
Dona Paula – 2:15 PM
Miramar beach – 3:15 PM
Back to resort – 5:00 PM
Since it was our wedding anniversary we wanted to go to a temple. We planned for Shanthadurga temple but had some trouble locating it. Then luckily a lady guided us towards the old Shanthadurga temple in Verem (left towards Aguada fort).She told us there were two Shanthadurga temples nearby and asked us to go to the old one which was big. One point we noticed was in Goa there are many temples with the same name situated in different locations which makes it difficult to locate the right one.
Entrance to Shanthadurga temple
Amazing,clean and calm temple
Huge parking area. Resembles a Kerala temple
Then we headed to popular Aguada fort. We passed by posh areas with Taj and many restaurants lined up. We also saw the massive Kingfisher villa owned formerly by Vijay Mallya and now taken over by the government. Aguada fort was built for protection from potential enemy attacks.There was an underground passage as well which housed prison like structures.
Beach view from the fort
Full view of fort with the sea as backdrop
Rear side of Aguada fort
Then we arrived at Panjim city to have lunch. Ruchi restaurant was our pick because my husband had visited it earlier and he suggested it to be good. It was a decent AC restaurant and I had aloo puri and my husband dosa. The AC was soothing after wandering in the hot sun. After we recharged we were ready to go to Dona Paula. The road travelled was smooth with not much deviations. Almost towards the end we had to take few diversions since contruction work was going on. Dona Paula is the convergence point of Zuari and Mandovi estuaries. It is a beautiful idyllic rocky tourist attraction. The waves were quite ferocious that day because of the wind and many people decided to have an adventure playing with it. The lashing of waves and its sound with cool wind breezing makes for a relaxing setting. The extent of commercialization can be seen from the lineup of numerous shops along the coast selling everything from clothes to beverages. While heading to Miramar beach on the way we saw huge Deltin casino ships where legal gambling takes place. Miramar beach was vast with the shoreline quite some distance away. We couldn’t sit and enjoy because of the drizzle. We were back to the cool confines of our resort by 5 PM after a tiring journey and then ordered pasta for dinner.
Day 5 23rd June 2015 Tuesday
Since no sightseeing was planned for the day we decided to laze around and woke up late by 9. Dosa was ordered by room service and it was delicious with hot sambhar and chutney. We lounged watching TV and chatting.We had lunch in the in-house restaurant. It was my husband’s favorite Thai red curry and Rasamalai sweet. In the evening we strolled in the Varca beach and spent some time there. We wanted to try buffet and decided to have Goan dinner buffet. It was a wide spread with a number of options for starters to dessert.
Day 6 24th June 2015 Wednesday
It was the day of our checkout and we hired a taxi to reach Dabolim airport. We had lunch at the airport itself – a light sandwich. We boarded Air Asia flight and returned to Bangalore after an amazing and relaxing trip.