If you keep an eye for it, all across Goa, you will come across Potuguese style houses which are quite well preserved. I loved the very look of them. Especially the one in this photo which was very close to the Kala Academy.
The highlight for me of our visit to Karnataka was seeing these magnificent Bengal Tigers at a safari park within the Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary near Shimoga.
A minibus took our small group around a large enclosure where several tigers who had been injured by poachers or local farmers were recuperating. Most could only be glimpsed at a distance, but then our driver spotted one resting in the shade of a tree. He stopped the bus very near, and those of us who wanted to (and were brave enough) were invited to go to the open (GULP!) door to take a photo. I decided the ranger with his stun gun perched at the ready was protection enough, and headed for the door, where I was able to get several great shots. To be honest I suspect the tiger was too full and too sleepy to be very interested in us, in any case.
Do please click on the photo to see him in all his glory!
A trip to Karnataka by train gave us the chance to visit Sakrebyle, a refuge for elephants who had been hurt by traps, or orphaned when their mother was killed in the same way. The workers at the refuge nurse the elephants back to health, then teach them gradually to become self-sufficient so that they can be released into the wild. Many of the elephants continue to visit for many years after their release, so you can always be sure of seeing a large number about the place. When we visited there were a couple of cute babies, sadly orphaned, and one poor adult female whose ear had been pierced by a poacher’s bullet (see photo 2).
As well as visiting the refuge itself we went to a nearby lake where the elephants are taken to bathe each day. The handlers invited us to have a ride on one of the more placid of them. We only got a few minutes on “elephant-back” but it was a great experience.
Near sea beach markets there are Tatoo shops where one can engrave tatoos on shoulders, back and hands.My elevan year old boy tempted on seeing so many foreginers having beautiful tatoos on thier back and hands.He insisted for tatoos and got the one on his shoulder. Tatoo artist Raju showed his catalogue and Ishaan choose a scorpian tatoo on his shoulder. Skilled artist charged Rupees 75/-only for one tatoo.
These tatoos are temporary and fades away with in one month.
You have the chance to visit the wonderful work of EL SHADDI, a registered charity which helps street children. You can visit the school, college and the orphanages. All this is set up by an English lady called Anita, a local minister called Matthew and his wife Julia. Spare the time to go and say hello, offer a donation, take clothes, pens anything that growing children need. This is not a govt. funded organisation but totally run by the hard work of the staff and the children plus the help of mainly tourists donations.
We went along and took candid images of the children in class and a big traditional school photo for their brochure and website.
Something they had never experienced before and a very satisfying experience for us.
If you go to Dudhsagar Falls be sure to ask your driver or stop off at a local store to purchase some bananas or fresh vegetables. There are colonies of capuchin monkeys all around the falls and in the trees. They are not shy and will take the food right out of your hand. They may also snatch some shiny objects from your bags or your face if you let them. They are playful but not harmful, but do keep in mind that they are wild.
One of the highest falls in the country, Dudhsagar Falls are among tropical jungle forests of the western ghats on the eastern Goa-Karnataka border. The falls drop about 2000ft into some wading pools. Swimming is definitely worth it as the water is quite cold and can be very refreshing. The falls are powerful so take care when swimming around them. You can try to climb up the rocks but they are quite slippery. Apparently the views from the top of the falls is incredible and takes at least a couple of hours.
If you want to go you can try the train from Panaji and get off at Colem station, hire a jeep to take you up to the falls. If you are lucky you may see a train on the old Vasco Castle Rock Railway actually passes over the falls on an old stone viaduct. There are quite a few areas where you will have to cross some streams so motorcycle is not recommended. You can try to work a package tour in from the bus station in Panaji or ask at your hotel reception. We used the taxi hire service just outside our hotel and they were very helpful with getting us everything we needed.
When most people come to Goa they rarely venture from their hotels, the beach or the organised tours, which is such a shame as Goa is much more than that.
Take the local bus, perhaps into Mapusa, Panjim, or Margao - it’s a great day out, walk down the back streets to get a real taste of Goa. You can find local bars/restaurants and it’s always worth sampling the local food. My favourite is a restaurant in Panjim that serves two samosa’s with sauce and cup of chai for 9 Rupees! – Now that’s a bargain! Don’t expect the food to be less good either as it's normally fabulous. Margao is probably the most ‘Indian’ of the towns as it bustles with everyday life and you can find your way through the huge piles of red chillies and spices in the indoor market.
Looking for more of an adventure? Then take the train up to Mumbai, it leaves daily (book in advance), tickets can be booked from the Bus Station (upstairs) in Panjim, it’s not as daunting at it seems.. The trains are great, I always travel three tier, 2nd class as it’s cheap but comfortable (costs 300 Rs/- about £4) to get a one way ticket to Mumbai. The great thing about the trains is you get a chance to see the beautiful countryside and also a chance to hang out the door and feel the breeze though your hair.
If you wanted to go south to Mangalore it’s even cheaper. From Calangute I rode 2 buses (to get to Margao) and then got the train from Margao to Mangalore (450km’s away) for £1 – yes that include all the fares, this is a passenger train so not quite as convenient as the sleeper but still as enjoyable.. The train food is also good, cheap, filling and tasty, if you’re not feeling brave enough they still sell biscuits and crisps…
And finally you could always visit Children Walking Tall ( www.ChildrenWalkingTall.com )and drop off any old towels/clothes/toys that you don’t want to take home. We also accept donations if you prefer. We have a registered British charity to help street and slum children. Please have a look at our website for more information
When you visit Goa, don't just restrict yourself to a visit to the beaches, the restaurants and the markets. There is so much to see when you "look inside" Goa and you don't have to go very far - a short taxi ride will take you where you can see herons, water buffallo, rice fields, salt pans and much, much, more.
If you don't get out you will miss so much that Goa has to offer.
Goans have a very WARM, HOSPITABLE & a FRIENDLY attitude towards tourist especially Forigeners and very often they would always love to invite you to their homes to wine and dine, and if they do Invite, do not turn down any invitation. Also this is a good chance to taste Authentic Goan Home made cusine and meet the old folks who would often charm you with their past stories about their ancestors.
Also while you're leaving their houses, Goans would offer you Gifts and it would be a wise idea to accept it happily as turning down would be really offending.
Goans have a very big heart and their Hospitality and Warmth would often make your hearts melt and you wont forget it for lifetime.
Goa has always been a hub for travellers from all across the globe since the 60's. The beauty part is that even if a person travels alone there, he/she would not be left alone. Youre sure to meet other solo travellers anywhere and anytime. For example, if you stay alone in a holiday home or a backpacker hostel or a guest house for longer duration say 3-6 months, you come in contact with other travellers staying in the adjoining rooms, socialise with them and all become like one small family.
But this lasts only for a few days or months until the time arrives for each one to say GOODBYE with a very heavy heart and by taking along with you Pleasent memories of your stay! The scene gets really sad and emotional and its ends in a tear.
But as it is said, everybody has to move on, theres also life beyond and its is not the end. Nothing in Life lasts forever. Everything tends to fade away, be it LOVE or GRIEF!
BOTOMLINE: Have you seen Leonardo di Caprios movie "THE BEACH" ? The situation is somewhat similar only diffrence is the Characters keep on changing!
Most parts of Goa are very touristy - and hotels and resorts are never far away. But if you want to get a feel of the real Goa and the way people live, you could visit places like Taleigao, which is very close to Panjim - about 4 kms to the north of Panjim - and yet has a very rural ambience to it. Pretty old style Goan villas can be found here and the Goa University - designed by Indian architect Satish Gujral - is a must-see. And of course, when in Goa, you're never far away from a beach or a resort. Here, you will find the Banguinim beach ,and the Cidade de Goa hotel resort.
The very northern part of Goa Tiracol is wild, beautiful, unspoilt and totally uncommercialised and is one of the last idyllically peaceful spots in Goa. Nearby is an old fort, Tiracol Fort, which was captured by the Portuguese in 1776 with St. Anthony's church in the middle, is set spectacularly on the hilltop. From the battlements one can look across to Querim Beach. The beach is at least three miles long and half a mile wide. Take a picnic, a couple of beach towels and you will be in heaven.
I don't know the name of this statue or the place but we crossed it quite a few times while travelling from Panjim to Old Goa. I loved the concept and the design.
All across Goa one can come by this kind of Name boards on walls, gates etc. that is in a typically portuguese style. Especially the old buildings have them.