“Goa is not just a state , it is a state of mind”
Being a 90’s kid with limited access to internet and no “ten places to visit before you die” kind of articles to read, I grew up watching television and gathering from it. Anyone who can relate to the above lines will also remember the 2001 bollywood movie Dil Chahta Hai and the epic roadtrip to Goa showcased in it. This was a gateway to Goa for most of the people back then. So after watching this movie in my teens, as every other teenager I also wanted to go to Goa to get some peace and beach, and yes, it HAD to be a roadtrip !
Chal goa chalte hai plans were made, remade, scheduled, rescheduled and cancelled many times. But then it happened and how!
Winters set in pretty well in my hometown – Bhopal and it was life as usual until I got a phone call from a friend in Bangalore asking me if I wanted to spend the year end at Goa. I was not sure how to answer that, ofcourse I wanted to go to Goa but I also had some other commitments. So, I spent the whole day settling work and preparing myself to ask for permissions from the parents for the trip. But, after all the work, I could only reach home after thet had slept, so now there was no scope that I could leave tomorrow morning. With a heavy heart I went to bed. The whatsApp discussions continued and was I tempted or what! I finally made up my mind at 2 AM and confirmed my travel plans to all. Anxiety got better of me and I could hardly get any sleep .
Next morning the first thing I did is to tell my parents about my plans and get their approval. They were amused that I was going to Goa on such a short notice and little planning. And thinking about it I was amused too, that after all those failed plans which were planned for hours and hours, I was finally going to Goa at a few hour’s notice .
So I pack my stuff, throw it into the car and leave home at around 11 AM. I drove to the nearest petrol pump and tank up, pick up another friend enroute and hit the highway. The plan was to drive to Thane, pick up two friends from there, and continue to Goa.
It was an amazing drive on NH3. We drove via Indore – Sendhwa – Dhule – Nashik to Thane. We took some food and tea breaks and were able to reach Thane by 11:30 PM. Drove straight to a 24×7 McDonalds outlet at Thane where our friends were waiting. We gorged on some burgers, fries and iced tea and spent about an hour there before we hit the road again at 1 AM. And we found ourselves struck in a traffic jam at 1:30 AM on the Mumbai-Pune expressway! We crawled our way till the bend to Lonavala after which the traffic eased and we did good speed until Pune.
After driving for a couple of hours more and transversing the beautiful Amboli Ghat we found ourselves in Panjim at 10:30 AM, almost 23 hours after I left home in Bhopal. Our stay was scheduled at Panjim. It was Christmas day, we decided to sleep for a couple of hours first and then start to sink into the Spirit’ of Goa!
Evening was enjoyed on the deck of a tourist cruise on the river Mandovi with some amazing music and performances and view of panjim city to compliment the cruise.
Later we enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at a nearby open to sky restaurant, drove to the nearby Miramar Beach, spent some time there and retired for the night.
Next morning we all woke up pumping with energy and decided to drive to any beach and spend the day relaxing in any of the shacks. We chose to drive to North Goa, first, as there were many first timers with us and wanted the Goa feel .
The day was spent in a shack at Anjuna Beach with some amazing sea food for lunch. I am not a big fan of sea food but couldn’t keep myself from tasting it and I must say that the preparation was amazing. We lazed around the beach for some more time and decided to drive to the famous Baga Beach around evening. We were mesmerized at the amazing colors that the horizon came up with during sunset .
Evening hours were spent walking on the beach and soaking in the sea wind that was going from chill to cold by the minute. We later settled down in a shack on a table that was the closest to the sea.
The next day was spent in a very relaxed way as a couple of friends had to leave for Mumbai the same evening. So we decided not the venture to any far off places, instead stay near Panjim and enjoy some local cuisine. We explored a couple of churches in Panjim and later went to see the fort at Aguada and also the light house, nearby.
In the evening we saw off 3 friends to Mumbai and 1 to Hyderabad. Now it was just the three of us, all boys!! We were already high on the spirit of Goa 😀 Later in the night we did some pub hopping and retired for the night.
South goa beaches were yet to be explored. We chalked out the plan for the day over breakfast and decided to drive to the southern part of goa and visit some beaches there .
While North Goa is the preferred destination for the party loving crowd, South Goa is famous for its cleaner beaches and peaceful atmosphere. The beaches in South Goa truly offer tranquility to the soul.
We were back to Panjim by late evening and had our dinner and explored Panjim walking around the lanes.
A beautiful road by the banks of the river from Panjim took us to old Goa. Old Goa is a laid back place with beautiful churches and a museum. This place is know for its historical importance.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus which is also a UNESCO world heritage site contains the body of St. Francis Xavier and is one of the oldest churches in Goa and is a major tourist attraction.
Church of St. Francis Asisi
Since we were done with all the touristy stuff and we all had our individual plans for New Years eve, we decided to leave goa the next day and head to our own bases. The other two booked tickets for Bangalore and I decided to drive down to Bhopal solo. In the recent trips that I have made I have taken a liking to solo drives, hence I was very excited about the drive.
I dropped my friends at the airport late at night and decided to head out of Goa and take the old Goa-Mumbai highway i.e. the NH17. Tanked up the almost empty tank for the last time with cheaper diesel compared to other states (another perk of Goa) and hit the highway. NH17 had many surprises for me right from the lovely narrow curved roads to the beautiful sunsets and numerous ghat sections. I will recommend this route than the regular NH4 for a relaxed drive soaking in the beauty of nature .
After a delightful drive of about 530 kms in about 9 hours I touched the Pune-Mumbai expressway and drove straight to Nashik and later to Indore. I ended up driving about 1250 kms in 21 hours straight. Took a halt at Indore, spent the next day i.e 31st dec meeting some friends and later in the evening started to Bhopal along with a friend. Reached Bhopal around 9 PM to a city decking up to welcome the New Year .
Till wanderlust catches up with me again, recos to more place welcome. Always.