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October 27, 2020 Go Goa! Posted In: Travel Photography

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation busses ply within Maharashtra as well as to its adjoining states. It has a fleet strength of over 18,000 buses.
Goa is one of the most popular destinations within our friends’ circle. No matter which time of the year, it would be always Goa calling. As we stayed in Delhi then, without a 15-day choc-a-block, Goa was out of reach for us.

As years passed, we explored almost all the hill stations in North India. Goa was always put on the back burner in spite of the fact that there was not a single person we knew then, who had not been to Goa.

It seemed impossible but yes, Goa seemed to be the perfect destination for everyone. When we moved over to Mumbai three years back, Goa was the first destination on our travel list.

To make this trip extra special, we choose to go via the Dhamini-Pawas-Agarwadi-Virwadi-Katwaneshwar-Aadbandar-Candolim route to reach Goa.

This was our first break after almost 2 years. As we had never visited Goa before, we decided to undertake a detour via NH66, hitting SH04 from then on, from Niwali, via the coastline again.

We started from Mumbai early morning and headed towards Pune on the Expressway till the first toll. Missed the intended cut and had to do a U-turn at the next breakpoint. This route takes almost 16 hours or more to Reach Goa.

When on this route, don’t rush. It’s a visual treat all the way.

The roads were narrow, with almost no traffic, and mostly great patches to drive on. Great view all along the way.

Every turn is a photographer’s delight. Do carry a zoom lens if you can.
On this route, don’t be fussy about food. Just gobble up what comes your way.

What was surprising was that there were no dhabas or restaurants on the way. So all you could get was Dabeli, Pao, Misel Pao or Pakore. Poha was Gujju sweet.

A polariser or CPL as is really handy if you want to capture the real hues.
This shot was taken from the top of a bridge.
Finally the sea… yes it was indeed blue!

We continued to find newer paths every now and then as Google Maps kept surprised us with dead ends.

Countryside was mesmerising more because there was hardly any traffic or people around.
The backwaters of Maharastra… just some sort of an untold fable.

We ended up stopping every half an hour and really had nothing to complain about. Each halt was so enchanting, so different. 330 kms in about 14 hours. Stopped somewhere near Ratnagiri for the night.

There are more than 5000 temples in Maharashtra and this route too, had its share.

After an early light breakfast, we were off again. Would stop at everything – temples, deserted havelis, small towns, lakes. By afternoon, our cellphone and camera batteries were displaying yellow.

After another half a day’s drive, late afternoon, we finally reached Goa. Traffic jams ensured that it took us another 2 hours to reach our South Goa location. Settled down in a cozy homestay for the night.

Majorda beach, Goa

The next day morning was bliss. Woke up early and walked around the beaches exploring Majorda to Colva.

Majorda beach, Goa
Majorda beach, Goa

Beer is cheap and food is not. So do plan your budget allocations accordingly.

There are churches all over the place. The architecture was unique.

By evening, after exploring South Goa for hours, we realised that the entire coastline was the same, just that the names of the beaches changed every 3 kms or so.

Cycling is always the best way to explore places.

The next morning, we started early. Went cycling (yes, we were carrying our bikes). Went all the way till the airport and back via the narrow crowded lanes.

Majorda beach, Goa

After cycling, we were back to the beach. We were kind of getting bored seeing almost empty beaches for hours. Was this really Goa?

Majorda beach, Goa

Well, we had not explored North Goa, so decided to shift there. After another 3 hours of traffic snarls, we finally reached North Goa. And what a disappointment North Goa was. It was almost like Juhu beach on a Sunday evening.

North Goa was all about stacked up hotels, tons of tourists and a line of pubs.
North Goa beaches were full to the brim. This was early morning.

The next day the walk to the beach too was a disaster. It was full at 7 am. Not wasting time, we went for the Dolphin sightseeing boat ride. It’s a 1 hour drive and we did get a few sights. Suggest you leave early. The first trip starts at 8:30 am.

The river cruises start from Santa Monica Boat Jetty and Panaji Jetty on Mandovi river in Panaji town on Old Panaji Road.

These boats are operated by the Candolim – Sinquerim Boat Owners Association, who are locals and have been in the trade for years.

Fernandez was our guide.

The rides usually last an hour. Worth the experience.

Aguada lighthouse compound.

Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort of the Portuguese. It was strategically located and was the chief defense of the Portuguese against the Dutch and Marathas. It has a freshwater spring inside and this fort was also converted into a prison once.

Aguada fort and its lighthouse is an important landmark in the Goan history

The lighthouse inside the fort used to emit light once in 7 minutes. In 1834, it was changed to emit light every 30 seconds. This picture was clicked from the new lighthouse, currently operational and open to tourists.

I am sure there were many things we missed out on but was a well-deserved break. Reached back Mumbai at 2 am, via NH17 expressway (which obviously took half the journey time).

Hope you liked the write-up and the pictures shared. If you are keen on how to click better pictures, or have a suggestion, do leave a note at the comments sections. Cheers.

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