Green retreat in Goa
Next time when you plan a trip to Goa, think beyond its beaches and night life. Instead, explore the serene countryside
Goa is known for its beaches, churches, temples and carnivals among other things. But, the state also has a beautiful countryside that is rarely explored by tourists.
Goan villages have a distinct look and feel with huge Portuguese style villas that can leave you awestruck. As a large percentage of Goans work and stay abroad, more often than not, you will find just one or two people staying in these massive residences.
Therefore, finding someone who will help you get a room on rent in one of these houses is not difficult. In fact, many people have already put up their houses on rent on websites such as Airbnb. And many, who have settled abroad and don’t plan to return to Goa, have sold their houses to foreigners. Once you have taken a village house on rent on your Goan sojourn, there are a few things you must keep in mind. First, life here starts quite early in the morning, and at night, the streets are completely deserted by 8pm. But, if you are keen on late-night hangouts, you can always visit the nearest city, which won’t be more than an hour’s drive, considering Goa is a small state.
Another advantage of staying in a Goan village is getting authentic local food. As the day breaks, you will be woken up by the sound of local bread bakers selling fresh breads. In Goa, one should try poee, a round bread that was introduced in Goa by the Portuguese. You will also find small joints selling local food in most Goan villages. But, since these eateries cater to a limited crowd, you should reach there by as early as 9am for breakfast. These local restaurants serve limited dishes, but the authentic food is bound to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds. Here, one should try a local specialty called the bon — a sweet, deep fried bread. Other than Goa, you will find bon only in Mangalore, where it’s called Mangalore bun. You can also try a different version of Mumbai’s batata bhaji in the city called kaapa
A DIFFERENT WORLD
A MUST-VISIT IS THE BANASTARIM MARKET, WHERE YOU CAN BUY DRY FISH, DRY CHILLIES AND DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF MANGOES
Though only Kerala is popular for its backwaters, not many know that Goa also has a vast network of backwaters that runs through almost every village. This is another aspect of Goa, which is not promoted, as the focus is completely on beach tourism. Fishing is one of the prominent industries in Goa, and fish are available in large quantities in the backwaters. So, you can either go fishing on the banks of the nearest backwater or just relax there.
A Goan village market is another place that one must explore. A must-visit is the Banastarim market, which is held every Friday. Here you can buy dry fish, dry chillies and different varieties of mangoes during monsoons. Next, you may choose to visit the churches in Goan villages that have a lot of open spaces. The spaces are, at times, used to stage tiatrs (Konkani plays) and to play football. And, once the sun sets in, you can visit a local tavern. If you don’t drink alcohol, try a local soft beverage. So, next time when you plan a trip to Goa, think beyond its sandy shores.
A beach in Goa filled with fishing boats
An ancient distiller for a cashew feni drink. Ditch your soft drink, and try these local drinks