Long Weekend in Goa
Goa Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
We started the day at the SAHAKARI SPICE FARM where we were with traditional Aarti, Kumkum and Garlands/ flowers.
After arriving we were then seated in the restaurant and a given a welcome drink of lemon grass tea and also a bowl of locally grown Cashew-nuts. We were also handed out a shot of the local brew "Cashew Feni" which smells worse than it tastes along with a buffet lunch.
After our lunch we were allocated to a guide and he gave a background story of the history of the farm and the spices and their medicinal properties available there.
The guide took the group around the plantation for a visit and explained each spice that they come across and the importance of the spices and where they can be suitably used.
After this highly entertaining (with all noises to accompany the bowel movements) & enlightening tour around the spice farm, we were treated to a cold water shower, which is a local custom to say good bye supposedly - a large ladle of water was poured down our backs.
After our shower we were shown the farm shop which soldall sorts of goodies, such as different Spices, Medicinal ointments and oils, typical Goan Handicrafts, Goa Maps and guides and lots more. We were also given a little bag of spices to take home with us to remind us of our tour of the Sahakari Spice Farm.
We then set off from the Spice farm back towards Old Goa via the oldest temple in Goa State - made entirely (inner temple) of carved tree trunks and wooden walls and ceiling with a copper roof.
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan is the most important temple in Goa. It was originally located at Varunapur (Verna) in Sastri taluk. The Portuguese records say that it was one of the most brilliant temples destroyed by them. It was shifted to Antruj Mahal, Ponda in the16th century AD. Sri Shanteri and Sri Laxmi Narayana are affiliated deities along with Dhada. Shankar, Kala Bhairav, Bhagwati and various family purushas are worshipped here. Navaratri Festival is celebrated with great pomp and show.
There are rooms in the temple with modern facilities in newly built Agrashalas. Goddess Mahalasa was a much-feared deity of the temple. Even Portuguese courts recognized the justice dispensed by taking oath under the "Justice Bell".We then headed off towards Old Goa to see the various Portugese style architecture.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Basilica of Bom Jesu (Portuguese: Basílica do Bom Jesus). The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of
'Bom Jesus' (literally, 'Good (or Holy) Jesus') is the name used for the infant Jesus. The cathedral is
This world heritage monument built in 1695 and has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity.
The following year, while transferring Francis Xavier's remains to
This is one of the richest churches in
The tomb was carved by the 17th century Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini. It took ten years to complete. The casket containing his body is made of silver. The holy relics of the saint are displayed every ten years during the anniversary of the Saint's death. His feast is the third of December.
We walked past a couple of other Portugese churches but did not go inside - there is a lovely open space of park and trees opposite the Basilica which we walked around and the other 2 churches are visible on the other side of the park. It is not a huge park more of a garden.
As time was pressing on we cut short the trip and headed back to our hotel to change so we could meet up with the rest of our colleagues at the restaurant we had arranged to meet at in their hotel - Ciadade de Goa.
The restaurant was interesting - must admit not the best place I have eaten and considering it was 5* was not that great - it was a Portuguese/Indian combination - a few people had quite discgusting meals that did not resemble what they ordered - I always stick to the food of the country you are in because the chances are that they at least know how to cook local food and from past experience I have always hada dodgy tummy after eating some other nationality dish in the wrong country - like eating Mexican in Turkey or Indian in Bolivia. It just doesn't work or taste very nice. So stick to Indian in India and you should be fine! (Avoid McDonalds and KFC)
There was also a musical trio who "serenaded" the tables there which was fun though were completely thrown when we requested some Indian tunes and songs as they had only rehearsed La Bamba and various Enrique songs, LOL.
The Sunday was spent lying beside the pool which was a lovely change - unfortunatly it was too rough to get down to Candolim Beach so we didn't get to swim in the sea which was a shame, but it does give me an excuse to return to Goa sometime when the high season is happening - the best time to visit Goa is between mid October and the begining of March - as it is after the monsoon season and before it starts to get more humid - though we were advised that between Chritmas and a week after New Year prices can trebble so be aware if you plan to visit over this period.
Goa is a large state and it is advisable if you are intending to see the sites to hire a driver to show you around - they are not too expensive and your hotel can always recommmend one to you and inform you of an acceptable rate for a days hire, alternatively Tuc Tucs are a fun if hair raising way to get around on the narrow roads.
On the Monday we flew back to Pune via Mumbai - the airport is about 45 - 70 kms from the beach areas that most people frequent - about an hours drive and you can expect to pay (at time of writing) 675Rps to Candolim Beach for a Govenment authorised Taxi from the airport, or for a private care anything from 1,000 to 1,500Rps but if you are travelling in a group with bags this option could be cheaper and more comfortable as the Govenment Taxis are a little flimsy and the drivers are not always as safe. I do find it incredible that for a 1 hour flight in India you will be served a hot meal, unlike in Euprope, where you may, if you are lucky get a packet of peanuts and a glass of water. We were offered an option of Veg or Non-Veg - (Aloo methi or Lamb birriani) with Raitia and bread rools and a cake for pudding and a bottle of water which I was very impressed with.