Ex­plor­ing Goa through beaches, foods and mu­sic

The Sunday Guardian - - YOUNG RESTLESS - NIVEDITA SINGH

Goa means many things for many peo­ple. For me, it’s all about beaches, re­sorts, mu­sic and of course food.

Af­ter a 30 hours of train jour­ney, the first sight of the sandy beaches was like en­ter­ing a par­adise. Start­ing a solo trip from Delhi to Goa gave me goose­bumps of ex­cite­ment and thrill. Goa is best to visit in the months of De­cem­ber, Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary; peo­ple from all over the world come here to cel­e­brate this fes­tive time.

My first ac­com­mo­da­tion was in La Casa, a beau­ti­ful resort with clean rooms, good food and hos­pi­tal­ity in Si­olim, in the mid­dle of Goa. The first day I met Ab­hi­jeet, a DJ who plays in most of the par­ties in the sea­son, took me on a bike tour. First place I en­coun­tered was Keri, a beach known to be one of the widest and long­est in Goa. This fol­lowed other beaches like Aram­bol, Man­drem and Mor­jim. The shacks on the beaches served food and bev­er­ages with body-re­lax­ing mas­sage and sun­bath.

The same evening, I at­tended my first com­mer­cial dance, mu­sic party in Goa, the Sun­burn, which is one of the big­gest gatherings in India. Sun­burn hap­pened in Goa af­ter two years and it was brightly lit with a large, en­thu­si­as­tic crowd all around.

Goa is also a food haven, with sev­eral mouth-wa­ter­ing seafood dishes avail­able to please taste buds. I did not know fish could be trans­formed into th­ese many cuisines, a must-try is fish curry-rice. If you are veg­e­tar­ian, you need not worry as there is a lot to eat. In veg­e­tar­ian foods, I tried Aat­wal, made with me­thi or fenu­greek seeds, rice, jag­gery and co­conut milk.

Af­ter stay­ing for two days in Si­olim, I re­lo­cated to a resort in Man­drem; this place def­i­nitely warmed my heart. Fan­tasy Resort is a good choice to stay there, very close to na­ture, co­conut trees all around, big rooftop space where mel­low mu­sic and open sky go hand in hand. “Goa has the world’s most ex­pen­sive and best man­goes too, Alphonso. In sum­mers the old wo­man who works here col­lects the man­goes from our mango tree and goes to sell them for around 500 per kg. Most of the for­eign vis­i­tors come to Goa for ex­otic fruits and sea food,” in­formed the owner of the resort.

Ad­ven­tur­ous wa­ter sports are also there to give you an adren­a­line rush. It’s best to pre book all you want to do on­line be­cause dur­ing the sea­son there is a lot of rush and hus­tle. Goa’s long beaches, spread along the 105-km coast­line, cre­ate a per­fect set­ting for scuba div­ing, para­sail­ing, jet ski­ing, wind­surf­ing, fly boarding, snor­kel­ing and many more wa­ter sports that are of­fered on beaches like

Can­dolim, Calangute, Baga, etc. If you are a wa­ter sports junkie, you can def­i­nitely get high on adren­a­line in Goa.

Any visit to Goa won’t be com­plete with­out the men­tion of Feni, lo­cal al­co­holic drink made from fer­mented cashew, ap­ples or co­conut toddy. Look­ing for it, I went to a bar and or­dered Feni with lime wa­ter but the taste did not please me much. Be­ing a spe­cialty of Goa I had huge ex­pec­ta­tions from the drink, bit­ter in taste and smell but the very first glass could get you tipsy.

Par­ties and beaches are said to be syn­ony­mous with

Goa; there are plenty of party des­ti­na­tions here, both clubs and open air. Curlies, Ori­gens, Chron­i­cle, Shiva Val­ley are some of the places that serve the best al­co­hol with trip­ping trance mu­sic that starts from 5pm and goes till mid­night. Hill Top, sit­u­ated at the Va­ga­tor hill, is an iconic place that glows in the dark theme dé­cor. The Hill Top mu­sic fes­ti­val is talked about world­wide, with a crowd con­sist­ing of more than 60% of for­eign­ers. It has the best mu­sic and vibes, though a bit ex­pen­sive dur­ing the sea­son. Kevin, a lo­cal from Goa, met me in one of the par­ties. Fish­er­man by oc­cu­pa­tion, he stated, “Par­ties are in our blood and we still fol­low the Por­tu­gal style of liv­ing.”

A week’s trip to Goa was about to end and a few hours be­fore my flight from

Dabolim Air­port, the only air­port in Goa, I sub­mit­ted my scooter that I rented for a week. Be­fore head­ing back, I was served bread and curry at a lo­cal stall run by three old women; the taste and flavours were tempt­ing. One of them know­ing that I was about to leave Goa, hugged me, say­ing: “Come again!”

The beaches in Goa should ide­ally be vis­ited in the months of De­cem­ber, Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary.

Boat para­sail­ing is quite pop­u­lar in the beach par­adise.

Goa’s Sun­burn fes­ti­val is a must-visit des­ti­na­tion.

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