The moment I hear Goa during any conversation, I feel like packing up and rushing to the exotic locations in Goa. It’s not that I have not been to Goa earlier, but this place has a magnetic charm that pulls me in every time. And when this opportunity of discovering the unexplored Goa on the new bike of Honda, the NAVi came through I immediately agreed. Though it was not the right season (Very hot and sultry, you see) to be in Goa, but I couldn’t resist the charm of re-visiting Goa.
Goa as everyone knows is a fascinating destination known for its tranquil beaches, nightlife, adventure, sports and cuisine. But it still has a lot of unexplored side which is untouched by many. The best way to explore these areas is to ride a two wheeler and explore on your own leisure. And I did all of this riding a Honda NAVi, which with its unique design and vibrant colours is one of the best bikes available today to do this.
Goa Hunt 2017, which was organised by Goa Tourism Development Corporation in association with Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India made me participate in a fun and adventure activity aimed at exploring the unexplored side of Goa.
Goa today is a biker’s haven, but unfortunately none of my prior trips was covered on a two wheeler. So this was the right time to ride a bike and explore the hidden gems in these spots. During the event I visited the following spots:
Mae De Deus Church is one of the finest church in Goa. Built in 1873, this is a breath taking site. On the first look it appears like a fairy tale structure, white in colour and having a unique charm of itself. The Gothik styled architecture of the church is one of its kinds. It houses the miraculous statue of Mae de Deus (Mother of God) which was brought from the ruins of the convent of Mae de Deus at Old Goa.
I arrived at the church after it was closed, so could not go inside. But the interiors with beautiful altars, visible from outside looked fabulous and the entire atmosphere was peaceful and hypnotising.
When I talked to the priest I was informed that this church was built with the help of contributions of the locals, which makes it even more worthy for the locals.
Mapusa Fruit market was our next stop. Though the market operates all week, but we were lucky to be there on the weekly Haat day. There were plenty of locals and farmers from rural area who had bought their produces to sale. I talked to a few of the farmers and bought a few Cashew fruits, and some local black berries.
Fontanhas is the area where the rich Portuguese came and settled down. All the brightly coloured houses spoke of the effluence and luxury enjoyed in those times. A colourful well with roosters on its four pillars was lovely to watch. A very small corner had three houses painted in bright colours of pink, blue and golden.
Dona Paulo, is where the two Goan rivers Mandovi and Zuari meet the Arabian Sea. It has a magnificent view of Marmugao Harbour. Shooting of a fight sequence from famous bollywood movie Singham took place at this romantic and mythical location. Also major part of an yesteryears chart buster, Ek Duuje Ke Liye was shot here.
On a rocky, hammer shaped headland, I was searching for a mystery and found the two statues, known as the Dona Paula Sculpture. Also came across two vibrant young girls who chatted with me and described Goa in their own words, “Goa is scenic, beautiful place full of energy and it is a clean state.”
I also visited and explored the ruins of the Cabo Fort, which was built in 1540, and the 180 year old English cemetery, which houses the memorial tomb of Dona Paula de Menezes with her history engraved on the tombstone. I also happened to watch a lot of water sports such as water – scooter, para sailing, and motor boat rides etc. going around.
Three churches in Old Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest churches located in Goa. It is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture from the 16th century. The interiors are beautiful and the floor is made with marble and precious stones. The body of St Francis Zavier is still kept on a mausoleum in a silver casket.
Church of St Francis of Assisi, is one of the most visited church in India. The Church of St Francis of Assisi is no longer in use for worship but you can still feel the grandeur of the building. This church was rebuilt in 1661 and is based on Maritime themes, and in the campus of the church lots of Old Goa’s ship related items like navigators’ globes and coats of arms, etc. can be seen. The interior of the church since unused has worn out with time. The folk art on the walls, carved wood panels and large paintings nevertheless still look very beautiful.
Se Cathedral (Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina) is one of the largest in India and is also the most popular churches of Goa. This Cathedral was built to celebrate victory during a war 1510. There is a big Golden Bell on this church and the hidden gem here was the well located at the back, where Lord Jesus is seen collecting the Holy water fetched by Mother Mary.
These spots were not new for me, but exploring some of the offbeat spots within these locations was the challenge, and this was the objective of the activity – To explore Goa having fun riding the unique Honda NAVi . And finally the trip was coming to an end, and I think this is the best trip to Goa for me.