What did you do in Goa during monsoon on wet beaches and almost no shacks?, asked my friend. There is a lot more to do in Goa apart from lazing around on beaches, I replied with a chuckle! She gave me a surprised gaze as if I had said something in a foreign language.
Goa is not just a place, it is a bag full of experiences. A mystery that keeps surprising you with its beauty every time you try to unfold a layer of it. With a coastline of 100 km and the green blanket of western ghats running through entire state, Goa is the gem of Konkan.
Starting the day with home cooked idlis and nariyal (coconut) chutney, we started on our quest to unfold the beauty of Goa away from the beaches. Our first stop was going to be Harvalem Waterfall situated in Sanquelim which is almost 40 km from Panjim. Apart from waterfall, the place has historical importance too. It houses Harvalem caves and a temple of Lord Shiva.
The ride to Sanquelim started from Panjim with Mandovi river on one side and old Portuguese style houses on the other. As we went further, the western ghats painted in various shades of green started taking over. The ride was quite bumpy at times but the beautiful weather and green surroundings were so captivating that we didn’t care about the narrowness of road at few patches. After an hour long drive, we had finally reached Harvalem but in order to witness the beauty of it, we still had to burn some calories going down the stairs.
The sound of falling water led us to this mesmerising site. As the small droplets of water sprinkled on our face, the feeling of being refreshed outshined the fatigue. I couldn’t stop myself from clicking pictures of this pristine beauty from various angles. Contrary to my expectation, the place had a lot of tourists but at the same time, not too many to make the place look overcrowded.
After refuelling with a plate of Goan bhaaji paav (which is basically vatana (peas) curry) and seeking blessings of Lord Shiva, we set out to our next destination, Sahakari Spice Farm located at Ponda.
Spread across 130 acres of land, the spice plantation itself covers ~60 acres of the farm land. It was half past two and we were famished, so we decided to hog on the food first. After a delectable Goan meal we proceeded to the waiting area from where the tour was supposed to start.
Sipping on ginger flavoured lemongrass tea, we patiently waited for our guide. The tour of spice garden started with the guide sharing information about various spices used in Indian household on a daily basis, which covered farming techniques as well as medicinal uses of those spices.
The tour also covered information about cashew and banana plantation. The guide kept us engaged by making us taste and smell various types of spices so that nobody walks out being bored. The tour ended with a customary tradition of pouring a cup of cold water stored in earthen pots on our backs which made us feel refreshed after a half an hour long walk in the farm.
After having another cup of lemongrass tea we started our return journey to Panjim. Nothing can beat a hot water bath and a home cooked authentic Goan food being served for dinner after an enjoyable yet tiresome day! With a heart overwhelmed with breathtaking views through the day and a satisfied tummy I fell asleep thinking about how perfect the day had gone by.
Goa is a lot more than beaches, booze and parties. In order to unravel other facets of this place, all it takes is a little bit of willingness to research on the hidden treasures of this smallest yet one of the most beautiful and diverse states in India.
- Tambdi Surla waterfall, which is another beautiful waterfall in Goa which lies 37 km south of Harvalem waterfall can also be on your list. We had to drop this spot because of my limitations from travelling due to back pain.
- The ticket for Sahakari spice farm includes lunch, welcome drink and half an hour guided tour. The cost of ticket is INR 400/- per head.
- Parking at the spice farm is a bit mismanaged during lunch hours.
- Travel responsibly by not throwing plastic waste in these places so that the coming generations also get to enjoy the beauty of these places the way we do today.