At any given point in time – someone I know is in Goa or at least is planning a weekend trip there. I still come back home to say ‘Duddeeee, pura India tha vahan pe!’ As if spending the long weekend in Goa is a brain wave that only a gifted few should get. Those gifted few, obviously must include yours truly.
As disappointing as that may sound, I thought it might be worthwhile to ask myself if I had truly explored Goa yet. The answer was a no. Because, there is always something left to explore, especially in a versatile state like Goa.
My testosterone packed fellow males, exploring beers & bikinis might be your motive. But the former you can buy for cheap while the latter is ‘No touching, no touching – only seeing, only seeing’(like in the words of great saint Himesh Reshamiya). So move on and try to do something new in Goa.
We went to Arambol in North Goa and despite the long weekend crowds came back with experiences which were worth sharing.
Here we go…
- Trek in Arambol forest:
The smaller sweet lake beach at Arambol is special because of the adjoining greenery covered hillock. The beach and the greenery make for a splendid sight. But the forest provides even better ones when you get inside of it. A pathway opens right at the beach and all you need to do is follow.
We went uptil a sadhu’s resting place which was a trek of about 20 minutes. The entire stretch will gift you sights of ancient trees which resemble mountains, streams with gushing water and moss covered boulders. There are a couple of places where you could stop and enjoy a bath. But this mountain trek gets the cream in my book because of its access and sights. The sights are as good as some of the more famous treks one might take.
- Caves at Keri beach:
We took our bikes and rode to Keri beach, 8-10kms from north of Arambol. The ride is a pleasant tree lined one. The traditional Goan tune was playing in my head. Which one? ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, obviously!
The beach is as good as any other and good place to spend a quiet hour or two.
But the waves are not the highlight of the beach. The caves on the south are.
Yes, caves formed due to slits in large rocks, this is the kind of experience that makes travel the rewarding experience it is. The beach that opens on the other side of the caves is completely secluded and hardly anyone goes there. Standing inside one of the caves and to watch the waves rush towards you is an experience you can’t buy even with a million bucks. But a little walking and climbing a rock or two at Keri beach and you get it. Just like that.
- Temples and Tulsi:
You might want to call me Alok Nath if I talk about Goa and temples in the same sentence. Well, here is your chance.
The stretch from Keri to Arambol is dotted with a few temples showing off some interesting architecture and splendid colours. Some will make girls go – ‘hmm…that will make for an interesting lipstick shade’.
We stopped at two temples, one devoted to Navnath and the other was to Bhumika & Vetal.. Apparently, Bhumika & Vetal get married on Dussehra and there were celebrations going on when we paid them a visit.
To me, the highlights are the tulsi–kattas that spring up in courtyards of temples and family houses. Each one of the auspicious tulsi places is unique. It seems as if they are trying to tell some fascinating tales. The tulsi plants are flanked by gods, goddesses, sometimes elephants and always accompanied by a riot of colours. Almost making it seem like the plant is the centre of the universe.
Do stop by and stare. You won’t be disappointed.
- Shimon Falafel:
How can a trip ever be complete without great food? And I must say that on this trip, there was a clear gastronomic winner.
Shimon – King Of Falafel. Just off Glastonbury street close to the beach.
This small joint with a few tables is a ritual with most Israelis at Arambol.
Shakshuka, Bourekas, Hummus, Falafel, Jachnun and Pita bread – you call for it and it’s on your table. They also make some mean non middle-eastern stuff like poha( I swear), banana nutella pancake; etc
We visited this place thrice during our stay. But it wasn’t just for the food…
And that’s where the story gets even more interesting. The place is run by a really enterprising, committed – Punjabi man, Karan Gulati. Yes, that’s true. We met on a Saturday and he kept going ‘Shabbat Shalom’ to his guests. He speaks chaste Israeli and does most of the cooking himself.
If not for the food, find your way to Shimon to have a chat with our very own Israeli fromPaharganj, Nai Dilli – Gulatisaab.
Have I explored all of Goa by now? Not quite. And that’s a good thing.
By the way, heard that Gokarna has hotter bikini bodies. Guess that’s my next stop 🙂