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Sands of time

Don’t slot Goa as just another tourist destination that can only boast of babes, beaches and beer! There’s a lot more to Goa, as I discovered recently on a three-day trip.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2010 01:30 IST
Biswendu Chowdhury

Don’t slot Goa as just another tourist destination that can only boast of babes, beaches and beer! There’s a lot more to Goa, as I discovered recently on a three-day trip.

I reached Goa’s Alila Diwa resort on Gonsua beach on a breezy afternoon. Most Goan beaches are named after the villages in their vicinity. This one, however, is more famous as Marjorda Beach, despite the Gonsua village surrounding it. The Alila Diwa resort is remarkable in that it hasn’t destroyed its natural surroundings. The grounds resemble an orchard full of mango, banyan and palm trees rather than a formal manicured lawn, fortunately.

After a peaceful evening and night, I was woken up the next morning by the mellifluous notes of a guitar. From my balcony, I saw a couple strumming a guitar by the poolside. That set the tone for the day. Though the resort offers some interesting water sports packages, I opted to explore the Goan countryside on a cycle. I discovered that the true culture of Goa is in its villages, which are lined with bright blue and red tiled houses. Lush paddy fields on either side of the road rest under coconut trees. The chirping of rare birds and the strumming of the guitar are constant companions. And then there’s always the perfect sound of silence.

Goa is enriched by Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese influences. Goa Chitra, a private ethnographic museum, has a unique display of traditional Goanese life, farming and methods of trade, which help in understanding what this picture-postcard place is really all about.

The next day, a traditional Indo-Portuguese organic lunch was organised at Palacio Do Deao, an 18th century palace that blends Hindu and Portuguese culture in a unique new style. The palace — situated just next to the Kushavati river — made for a fabulous view. The food was delectable, and I came out satiated, with my heart and stomach, full. Serendipity has always been my favourite word. I discovered it on a Goan beach.