AsiaIndiaGoa

Long Weekend in Goa

Goa Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
Buffet lunch provided at Spice Farm - All organic spices grown here used in the preparation of the food
Trip from Pune to Goa - Long Weekend of the 24th August to 27th August.

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.
Black Pepper is made from this plant - It is dried in the sun, whereas white pepper is boiled in water and then left to dry
The growing procedures for some of the spices were also briefly described .

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
The temple is called Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan

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.
This is covered once a month with flowers and paraded through the village the temple resides in - carried by 8 monks


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 Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule, about 10 km from the city of Panjim.

'Bom Jesus' (literally, 'Good (or Holy) Jesus') is the name used for the infant Jesus. The cathedral is India’s first Minor Basilica, and is considered as one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.

This world heritage monument built in 1695 and has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity.

Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan, Mardol (Ponda) Inside the entrance foyer
It contains the body of St. Francis Xavier; a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded by Ignatius Loyola. St. Francis Xavier died while on a sea voyage to China on December 2, 1552.

The following year, while transferring Francis Xavier's remains to Goa, in accordance with his wishes, it is said that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. The relic attracts a huge number of devotees from all over the world, especially during the public viewing of his body every ten years (last held in 2004). The saint is said to have miraculous powers of healing, and pilgrims come from all over the country.

This is one of the richest churches in Goa and is carpeted with marble flooring and inlaid with precious stones.

Basilica of Bom Jesus
Apart from the elaborate gilded altars, the interior of the church is simple. The church also holds paintings of St. Francis Xavier. The Tomb of St. Francis Xavier (1696) was the gift of the last of the Medicis, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

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.

Promenade in Old Goa - was a Portuguese colony so much of the architecture survives

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.

Outside the Basilica of Bom Jesus looking towards Chapel of St. Catherine

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.

The 3 Amigos at the hotel - Ciadade de Goa where all the rest of the group were staying - these musicians were completely thrown when we requested an Indian tune to be played as they were doing English & Portuguese numbers including Elvis and Enrique

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.

Alex, Nicola & Jan waiting to have our tour with a refreshing cup of Lemon grass tea.
 

 

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Buffet lunch provided at Spice Far…
Buffet lunch provided at Spice Fa…
Black Pepper is made from this pla…
Black Pepper is made from this pl…
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
This is covered once a month with …
This is covered once a month with…
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan, Ma…
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan, M…
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Promenade in Old Goa - was a Portu…
Promenade in Old Goa - was a Port…
Outside the Basilica of Bom Jesus …
Outside the Basilica of Bom Jesus…
The 3 Amigos at the hotel - Ciadad…
The 3 Amigos at the hotel - Ciada…
Alex, Nicola & Jan waiting to have…
Alex, Nicola & Jan waiting to hav…
Betel Nut tree
Betel Nut tree
The 3rd most expensive spice to bu…
The 3rd most expensive spice to b…
Corriander
Corriander
A river runs through it....
A river runs through it....
river
river
Bananas
Bananas
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan - t…
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan - …
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan
Entrance gate to Sri Mahalasa Nara…
Entrance gate to Sri Mahalasa Nar…
Goddess Mahalasa was a much-feared…
Goddess Mahalasa was a much-feare…
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan - i…
Sri Mahalasa Narayani Samsthan - …
On the Road from Sri Mahalasa Nara…
On the Road from Sri Mahalasa Nar…
A building beside the road to Old …
A building beside the road to Old…
All these portions are adorned wit…
All these portions are adorned wi…
The interior of the Basilica built…
The interior of the Basilica buil…
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Mausoleum for St. Francis Xavier
Goa
photo by: chiyeh