By Swati Moheet Agrawal
Think Goa, think idyllic beaches and cozy shacks! The coastal destination immediately conjures up images of swaying palm trees, mesmerizing sunsets, quaint cottages and churches, distinctive forts, sumptuous seafood, cacophonous flea markets, groovy trance parties, water sports and casinos that are bound to give you an adrenaline rush. It’s not for nothing that Goa beckons tourists from all over the world. Chances are, every single person you know has visited Goa and continues to flock to the scenic get-away.
A popular jaunt for the young and old alike, the coastal state is forever swarming with tourists. And the beauty is, every time you visit Goa, you feel there’s still a lot to discover just as I did on my recent trip. This time around, we visited a Feni-making farm tucked away in the interiors. This traditional drink fermented from cashews and coconuts is produced exclusively in Goa. Cashew Feni is prepared using ripe cashew apples that are de-seeded and thrown into the stomping area. A few men begin to stomp vigorously on the cashews until the juice is released. The smell is overbearing though the juice tastes sweet and yet leaves a bitter aftertaste. Quite a spectacle! They make coconut Feni using the juice of toddy plant. I was intrigued to know that about 30 liter of toddy is needed to produce 1 liter of Feni.
Subsequently, as the day wore on, I took to street shopping. After all, Goa is known for its vibrant flea bazaars – be it Anjuna flea market or the Saturday night market at Arpora. I could choose from a wide array of aesthetic wall hangings, tribal jewelry, bed sheets, footwear, funky clothes and more. There is also the Mapusa Friday market that is known for organic food, spices, cashews, earthenware and Goan sausages.
The people of Goa are forthcoming and friendly. Also home to hippies and backpackers, the crowd is agreeable and laid back too. They savour every moment of life, they live each day like it were their last, unlike us frantic Mumbaikars who are forever on the go. Goa is one place pulsating and throbbing with life!
We checked into Vivanta by Taj Fort Aguada – the perfect blend of Goan and Portuguese heritage. Situated within the ramparts of Fort Aguada, it’s easily accessible from the airport. The breathtaking view from the hotel lobby has such a calming effect; it transports you to another world – away from routine cares and concerns, tiresome errands and humdrum days. Overlooking Sinquerium Beach, Vivanta by Taj is royalty at its best! Brilliant location, lip-smacking delicacies, impeccable hospitality, comfortable rooms and a variety of entertainment options, this is the place to be in Goa.
I think life’s most beautiful pleasures are often simple and frugal, but we are too busy to sit up and take notice. We need to jump off that hamster wheel and live a little! How sweet the morning air is. The scent of dew-spangled flowers. Birdsong. The first pink rays of the sun –soft rays reaching out to the world painting a brand new day – reviving fading hopes and long-forgotten dreams!
Every morning I leapt out of my bed and headed to the beach to watch the sun as it slowly and steadily blazed over the horizon. Anybody who has truly enjoyed a sunrise will agree that watching the sun come up can give you a whole new perspective on life. It makes you want to see things from a different vantage point. The sight of the sun descending into azure seas is as mesmerizing. I am reminded of a beautiful quote by Jo Walton – “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
I loved to laze in the hammock in the comforting shade of palms. Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of lying in a hammock reading Hemingway’s short stories or Ruskin Bond’s tidbits of happiness. For those who like to pamper themselves, a spa session can be quite therapeutic. They have multiple therapies designed to detox the mind and body.
Goa has a hot and humid climate for most part of the year. The tropical vibe keeps tugging at you; it makes you want to come back over and over again. Whether you love to sink into a book by the beach or enjoy the thrills of parasailing and kayaking or you want to simply lie back and soak up the sun, Goa will help you reconnect with yourself!
Break the monotony! Bon Voyage!