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Old 27th May 2014, 11:06   #1
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Default Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns

21 Apr 14, Monday

The phone rang profusely and I picked it up.
Boss: “Mr D, please come to my office”
I sensed an uneasy tingling from deep within.
There was something disturbing about that invite.
As I was walking to his office two doors away, my mind had already started the race with the variables that I might be pressed with.
With each step in the thought process, my mind only got cloudier.
I shook my head to clobber it off and pacified myself:
“No... he just called for a casual talk. May be he liked the new coffee vending machine in the office”

I entered his office and greeted him with the best smile I could paste on my face.
Me: “Good morning sir”
Boss: “Come, please take a seat”. He said, with the phone still clinging between his shoulder and ear.
I think he smiled back. Or did he??
The sight of his clustered eyebrows and the red lettered files on his table was anyway not making me feel even close to ‘comfortable’.
I still kept my smile pasted though.

Boss: “See D, there’s a requirement which has popped up and you already know that we are pushed to the wall.”
Me: “Yes sir. I do”
I was trying hard to maintain some semblance of a smile on my lips. Looks like my initial flash of smile wasn't enough

Boss: “You need to go to Goa”
Me: “wh.. wh..when sir?” I stuttered, still recovering from the setback.

Boss: “if possible, yesterday...”
Me: Gulp!!!
Now I definitely knew that ‘my best effort’ smile was not enough.

Well, gulp is all I could do.
It was a requirement to be met and my boss did not have other options too.
My boss is a very generous, genuine and considerate person.
He had never denied any of my requests in the past and it would be unfair on my part not to see the logic on his side.

So within a hard bargained notice time of two days, I was in Goa- the land of sun, sea and sand. (I would add, “some forts and beautiful villages too”)

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-37.jpg

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Old 28th May 2014, 10:35   #2
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Default re: Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns

But why am I not enthusiastic to visit Goa?
That’s the obvious question to anyone who is reading this.

Well, Goa is a place of elation for many.

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-3.jpg

But not me!!
Not me of all the people.
Of course it wouldn’t be, when you frequent a beautiful place and yet you have to leave behind the lovely lady and two naughty kids.
The good lady too hates my visits. (Though her wailing is more inclined to the fact that left alone, she can’t keep up to the pace of their pounding)

That however did not in anyway tuck in the reins of the travel buff within me.
So, whilst during these visits, I do my bit to search around for places which are not so well known or frequented.

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This forum is abound with travelogues and travel experiences at Goa.
Just a fleeting browse through the forum and you will be staring at numerous threads.
Well elaborated with plentiful pics; replete with guidelines, snippets and even about places to wine & dine.
Believe me, you wouldn’t want to hear anything more from me.

However, there were some places which found mention in only a few reports and a couple which did not find any mention at all.
Places which are not much frequented but well worth a visit.

So this report goes to amplify places that are not flaunted much.
Places which will not figure in the top ‘compulsory visit’ locations.
I would not go to the extend of calling it unseen Goa; perhaps a tad lesser.

In this report, you will not find anything about the 'famous' beaches.
Not so famous beaches- Yes!!
So, out goes the window:
  1. Calangute
  2. Baga
  3. Miramar
  4. Candolim
  5. Anjuna
  6. Vagator etc etc
(You really can go on and on listing out the beaches in Goa, right?)

You also will not find Fort Aguada, the Casinos and the like.
What you will also not find are places which are nearby but outside Goa; namely:- Murudeshwara temple, Dudhsagar falls, Gokarna or Karwar

What you will find:
  1. The three King's Church (or the Haunted Church as some of friends refer to it)
  2. Cape Rama or Cabo de Rama
  3. The Japanese Gardens at Vasco and the adjacent Grandmother's hole beach
  4. Kola Beach
  5. The Naval Aviation Museum
  6. Bogmalo beach (though not unseen, I included this because of its location and lesser crowd. I also stayed near this beach)
  7. Chapora fort (Yeah. This is also not completely unknown. However, this is one of my favourite places and so found a special inclusion)
  8. Some snaps from Old Goa (no report)
  9. And finally some random shots from here and there in Goa.

Note: For ease and uniformity of reference, all distances and guidelines are given from Panjim, the heart of the state of Goa.

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 6th June 2014 at 12:11.
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Old 29th May 2014, 12:55   #3
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Default The Haunted Church alias The Three Kings' Church

The Haunted Church alias The Three Kings Church

Lat Long- 15.360160, 73.900593
Distance from Panjim- 28 Kms

The Three Kings church or the Haunted Church is situated atop Cuelim hill, near Zuari Nagar.

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Approaching from Panjim, drive till Verna and take the right diversion towards Airport.
At Queeny Nagar, you need to take a left to reach the approach road to this church.

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The Church can be reached by hiring taxi or by motorcycles. There is no bus service to reach this place. However, if you are travelling by bus the nearest bus stand is Velsao, at a distance of 2 Kms.

The church is famous for the feast of 3 kings celebrated every year on 6th January.

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Some of my friends call it the haunted church, and a brief search on the internet affirmed what they said.
However, during the many times I have been there (including graveyard shift visits), I did not experience anything at all. Notwithstanding, I would still say with the starry sky back ground, the silhouette of the church definitely looks spooky.

As sourced from internet:
“It is said that long time ago there were three Portuguese kings living in goa. They often used to fight to gain power in the land but they were tied by the Portuguese diplomacy between rulers policy. One of the kings (King Holger Alvunger) one day invited the other two kings in his place and poisoned them to death. He himself fell out with the public and committed suicide by consuming poison. King Holger's place is the current Three Kings Church in goa, where there have been reports of sightings and general unrest.”

It is also said that anyone who visited the church at midnight on the day of feast, the 06th of Jan, was never seen again!!
(They would’ve taken the exit route on the other side . Come on guys, think out of the box)

Apart from the chill the haunted stories gives you, the church most importantly provides a breath taking view of the Arabian sea and the palm trees that border the beach; a 12 Km stretch at that.
On a day of good visibility, may be beyond.

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Though placed atop a hill, a well tarred road takes you to the gate of the church meandering through cashew vegetation.
However, except for the cashew crop and the carpet of green all around the hilltop and the approach road is uninhabited and no street lights too.

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If you choose to linger around well beyond sundown, it is advisable to have a torch with you and ensure that the lights on your vehicle function properly.
Because, should you run off the road, there probably won’t be anyone coming along to help for a while nor will anyone hear you.

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The place isn’t yet established as a tourist spot and is mostly visited only by locals and nature loving people.
The drive up to the hilt and what welcomes you there is pretty mouthwatering for a photography enthusiast.

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The sunsets here were not much to my liking. I have seen better sunsets in Goa.
However, the Sunrise is a frame to cherish.

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Sun creeps up from behind the smog of Zuari industries

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Destruction and faith...
in the long run, life is great a leveller

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The valley spread ahead,
the silence which is broken momentarily by the chirp of a bird,
the slant hue of the rising sun....
The stage is set to lose yourself

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Dry leaves and fresh sprouts of life;
the morning sun's hue and the dampness of the overnight mist
--- interesting contrast served in beautiful flavour.

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Old 29th May 2014, 16:50   #4
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Default Cape Rama

Cape rama

Lat Long- 15.089357, 73.922616
Distance from Panjim- 63 Kms

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Cape Rama aka Cabo de Rama is situated 16 km north of Agonda beach and 25 Kms south of Margao, in the coast road at the south end of Colva Bay.
Also known as The Cape of Rama, it takes its name from Ramayana, as it is believed that Lord Rama during his exile from Ayodhya stayed here.

This is one of the oldest forts in Goa, built before the arrival of the Portuguese.

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The cape is crowned by a fort which was originally a Hindu structure and rebuilt by the Portuguese in 1763 after acquiring it from the Maratha ruler of Sonda.
The present rickety structure with turrets and rusty cannons is a leftover of the Portuguese.
It had 21 guns for its defense, a chapel, military barracks and quarters for the use of the commandant under the Portuguese.

The pic below shows the gun mounts on the walls of the fort

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-2.1.jpg

The fort was abandoned when the Portuguese left this place.
It was then used as a prison till 1955 after it was taken over by the British.
In 1955, it was abandoned again. The main entrance has been restored and yellow washed but the fort now lies in ruins.

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The western side of the fortress, where the cliffs drop sharply to the sea, provides a great view both to the north and south.

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Beyond far away horizons...
Churns a sea of adventure

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There is practically no sign of life on the hilltop at all, apart from a few soaring sea eagles, and the occasional monkey scampering between clumps of vegetation.
Own transport has to be arranged to reach the fort.

View from the top

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We trekked down to the place where the tree is in the snap (below).
The shot was taken with the leg in frame to give a reference.

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The trek was initially a bit tricky with us having to cling along weeds and branches.

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However, after the initial glitch, there was a proper trail to follow with rubbles in between

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A view in between the trek

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We came out through this opening in the fort walls to continue down the trail.

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Soon we reached the bottom of the hill.
And boy!! Wasn't it worth all the effort??
Totally!!!

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This guy seemed to enjoy the splash

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Old 30th May 2014, 10:41   #5
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Default The Japanese Gardens, Vasco

The Japanese Garden, Vasco

Lat Long- 15.407146, 73.787212
Dist from Panjim- 35 Km

The Japanese Garden at Vasco is located on a land head protruding out into the sea alongside the point where Zuari river joins the Arabian Sea.
I don't remember being able to see the Zuari river from here, though on the map it appears to provide view on both sides.
The confluence of Zuari river into the Arabian sea can be viewed from the Naval Coastal Battery which is nearby, but is a restricted area.

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The Gardens is home to the ruins of the fort, Fortaleza Santa Catarina. The fort (which included the coastal battery also then), commanded immense significance during the erstwhile era due to its strategic location.
The garden now provides a majestic view into the Arabian sea leaving strategic importance blown to the wind.

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The name "Japanese Garden' probably derives its name from the fact that these were built by the Japanese during the World War era. Though the name has a garden attached, it is mostly the ruins that is prominent.
For the name of garden, there is a small park with lawns and play area for kids attached to the actual ruins which exists beyond the greens.

The ruins of the garden is a lasting signature of the majestic garden that it was in its prime. There are structured waterfalls and streams which flows through the garden. In the pic below is one of the small bridges built across the stream.

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Steps are built providing a walkway through the garden which provides for a leisurely stroll.

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Another bridge. The steps can also be seen which meanders all along the garden.

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Though I did not visit the place during monsoons, it was given to understand that the waterfalls and streams swells up during that period rendering a beautiful vibe to the greenery amongst ruins.

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I saw a couple doing their wedding photo shoot with the ruins as back ground. Nice theme I would say: Surreal!!

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As you walk along, there are fallen trees atop which you can try some of these stunts too!!

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View from atop the garden.
The beach below is known as "Grandmother's Hole beach".

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Grandmother's hole beach

To get to this beach, one can pass through a hole in the fort wall ruins.
The name, Grandmothers Hole Beach derives from a folklore that a grandmother used to sit at this hole waiting for her sons to come back from the sea. (However, I found that story pretty hard to believe. Also, the hole is not exactly a hole now. It is a proper passage way)

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The point where the steps join the white sand.

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The beach is clean and not crowded.
The sand is soft and a walk through the white sand is nothing lesser than rejuvenating
This tiny strip of sand is undoubtedly one of the prettiest beaches in Vasco, devoid and untouched by shacks.

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Firey eyes!!!

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The beach was not crowded; however, 'the Dhothi clad mallu' is omnipresent
(No offence meant. Please don't raise your Swords. I am myself a mallu)

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If you wish to, you can practise some rock climbing

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Or atleast strike a pose doing so, for the sake of a snap

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Old 3rd June 2014, 13:36   #6
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Default Cola Beach

Cola beach

Lat Long- 15.060089, 73.981800
Distance from Panjim- 70 Kms

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Cola beach is situated in South Goa. It’s 10 Kms North of Palolem beach and 2 Kms North of Agonda.
I approached this beach from up North through the curvy, well laid and beautiful roads through Cape Rama.
The drive through the villages and hills is outstanding and a memory to behold.
Approaching from Agonda, travel North for about 2 Kms you will see a small mud laden path which is easy to miss.

Golden rule: Ask around when in doubt!

There are no buses which will take you to this beach and the only way to get here is by private transport.

The beach and the approach road is a bit difficult to spot as there are no sign boards.
One shady, down trodden mud road leads you to a path which will make you wonder why don’t I have a four wheel drive!!
It is better to go on a bike if you can help it.

Travel around 1.5 Kms to reach the place where you can ‘manage’ to park your vehicle.
You need to hike down a little bit from this headland onto the spectacle of beauty spread in front of your eyes.
The beach is picturesque and serves you a whole lot of blissful solitude.

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It’s a completely unspoilt beach that offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It is also much cleaner and quieter than the better known Goa beaches.
It’s quite an unexplored beach in Goa where the exotic beauty and tranquility of the place will take your breath away!

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-2.jpg

Cola beach is a set of 3 bays, each with its own private beach resort.
Most beach resorts on Cola beach offer luxury Rajasthani Tent accommodation, and some with beach huts.
Most accommodations on Cola beach are exclusive and include breakfast or meal packages, since there are few restaurants options on the beach and also due to it’s remote location.

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Peace, Serenity, Tranquility... How else to spend a lazy weekend??

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-4.jpg

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Old 3rd June 2014, 15:59   #7
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Default Naval Aviation Museum

Naval Aviation museum

Lat Long- 15.374888, 73.838891
Distance from Panjim- 31.5 Km

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This one is probably the only one of its kind in India and amongst the few in Asia.

The museum was established in October 1998.

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There was no guide who accompanied me through the visit.
Everything was more or less self explanatory with apt descriptions.
However, in case of any doubts, the staff is more than happy to answer your queries.

The museum provides liberal amount of information about the types of aircraft used by the Indian Navy in the bygone era.

It has amongst its display the champs of the past in the likes of:
Sealand - the first aircraft inducted into the Indian Navy in 1953
A 1943 vintage Firefly,
1945 vintage Dove
1959 Alize
1961 Vampire
1969 Hughes helicopter
Anti submarine helicopter Kamov 25
Sea Harrier fighter jet
Seaking helicopter
and Chetak Helicopter

Firefly

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-2.1.jpg

From right- Alize, Hughes, Vampire, Dove

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-2.2.jpg

From left- Sea Harrier, Kamov 25 and Dove

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An opened up aircraft engine

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As you walk into the museum, the main corridor resembles the alleyway of a ship with markings and warnings.
There is a door to the 'Bomb Bay room' hidden in the picture below

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On either side of the corridor, are located the bomb bay and the sonar bay.

The first one houses numerous bombs and torpedos while the second one displays sonars and sensors which used to be employed in the Indian Navy.

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Sonobuoys lined up

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The main corridor leads to Viraat hall which is dedicated to INS Virat, one of the presently serving carriers of the Navy
(the other being INS Vikramaditya. A separate display room for Vikramaditya was not yet made when I visited)

The front end view of the Aircraft carrier model

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-6.1.jpg

Miniature aircraft models lined up on the flight deck atop the model of INS Viraat.
Note that everything on the flight deck of a carrier is depicted including the Rescue helicopters, working hands, tractors and even cranes

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On the first floor is the Safety equipment room and Archives.

The safety equipment room has parachutes, survival dinghies and ejection seats displayed

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The Virat hall also has some rare snaps which covers the history of Naval Aviation from inception till date.
One snap particularly caught my attention:

All of them pilots...
One in kurta and the other three in Navy whites

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Of those who died in harness ...

In the memory of those brave hearts who laid down their yesterday...
... For our today

I bow my head

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The museum is open from 10 in the morning to 5 in the evening on all days except Sundays.
A token fee is to be paid for entry.

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-10.1.jpg

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Old 5th June 2014, 16:30   #8
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Default Bogmalo Beach

Bogmalo Beach

Lat Long- 15.369718, 73.833406
Distance from Panjim- 33 Km

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Well, this is not a so unknown place.
It is a clean, calm and a not so crowded beach in the town of Vasco.

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Located very close to the airport, the sunsets on this place merits a mention.
At times you could catch an airliner flying up into the setting sun

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Or on a lucky day, it might be the Naval fighter jets

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The sand is soft and a walk through the beach is simply rejuvenating.

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"I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
-Isaac Newton


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The local lads enjoying an evening game of fooball

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Old 5th June 2014, 17:15   #9
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Default Chapora Fort

Chapora Fort

Lat Long- 15.606439, 73.738489
Distance from Panjim- 22 Kms

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Chapora fort is definitely a well known destination.
And made all the more famous by the movie "Dil Chahta Hain"
Well, this finds special mention in my report of "unseen places" because it is one of my favourite destinations in Goa.

The fort as seen from below, before the climb

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So close to an eagle's peck

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The sea....
of adventure, expectations, hope, faith and beyond...

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The Chapora river Estuary

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Walking over water!!!
A zoom shot of the beach opposite the estuary- Morjim

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The Sea cliff next to the fort.

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The experience atop is one which will blow you spell bound.
Wind on your face... edge of the land... gazing into a mind numbing sunset... Outstanding!!!
It would be gross injustice to the experience if I even try to equate it to words...

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The walk to the edge of the sea cliff.
Bhpian figo_mba, his lady and junior figo_mba

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The edge of the cliff.

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Even you get a 'bird's eye' view

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And the beautiful stretch of the white sand beach below

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"I believe I can fly..."

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Junior figo_mba

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Sit back and relax.... for the colours of nature have just gone vibrant

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"That should be a nice click!
Will go as my fb profile pic..."

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Old 6th June 2014, 12:09   #10
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Default re: Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns

Phew!!!

This travelogue has already been long enough.
I wanted to include Terakhol fort and beach too.
I would give that a pass now.

So as I wind down, here are some random shots from across Goa;
Some taken in Old Goa and some elsewhere

Ruins and fresh blossoms....
Interesting Contrast

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-1.1.jpg

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-1.2.jpg

Shades of grey...
yet colourfull too

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-2.1.jpg

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-2.2.jpg

Palolem beach

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-3.jpg

Game for a long drive??

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-4.jpg

Mandovi river

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-5.jpg

Moonrise...

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-6.jpg

...Sunset...

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-7.jpg

And Silhoutte

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-8.jpg

Exquisite work- Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-9.jpg

The spread at Martin's Corner. Choose what you want.

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-10.jpg

Ruins of St Augustine Church, Old Goa

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-11.jpg

And at last, my companion on all these escapades:
My friend was very kind to lend me this.
Thanks buddy.

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-12.1.jpg

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-12.2.jpg

Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns-12.3.jpg

And thanks for bearing with me so long to have eaten into your patience levels.

Drive safe
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Old 6th June 2014, 12:44   #11
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Default re: Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns

Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 6th June 2014, 13:58   #12
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Beautiful photos and well written! Thanks for sharing. Most of us are compelled to stay on the well-known path but you've done a really great job exploring the unknown areas of this beautiful state. Will definitely follow your foot steps some day soon!

Btw, just curious - which camera do you use? The sunset pictures are stunning.
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Old 6th June 2014, 15:16   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Max View Post
Beautiful photos and well written! Thanks for sharing. Most of us are compelled to stay on the well-known path but you've done a really great job exploring the unknown areas of this beautiful state. Will definitely follow your foot steps some day soon!

Btw, just curious - which camera do you use? The sunset pictures are stunning.
Thanks Mad Max for your kind words.
The camera used is Nikon P510
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Old 7th June 2014, 04:42   #14
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Very well written with amazing photography.

Exploring the unexplored gives a lot of satisafaction. Now, I am waiting for an opportunity to venture into the unexplored places in Goa. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7th June 2014, 11:01   #15
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Default re: Goa - Of the lesser known Sojourns

Great pics and long list of offbeat locations.
Need to make a trip to Goa again

Also, did you visit Lady of the mount church ?
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