Offbeat places in Goa as recommended by a local!
Who hasn’t heard about this little paradise called as Goa? Well everyone has! Needless to say everyone dreams of visiting this party heaven for at least once in their lifetime. Be it with friends, family or solo, Goa is a place which makes it to every person’s bucket-list. Not just the Indians, but Goa is quite popular even among the foreigners & hence people from all over the world come here to travel, explore or simply relax by the Arabian Sea. For those who have never heard about Goa, it is the party destination within India, with beautiful beaches and clubs along with casinos & some history. However, do you know that outside all this party atmosphere, lies a part which not many people know of? Yes, there are plenty of offbeat places in Goa that requires special attention from you! Immediately!
Salaulim Dam & Garden
Who would have thought that an irrigation project started by the Goan Government would someday draw so many people towards it? Probably no one! This project started on the Salaulim river, was supposedly started for the purpose of drinking water & for irrigation of crops, just like almost every other irrigation project. But what makes this Goan dam even more attractive to the visitors is the fact that it is the only dam in India with a duckbill spillway! And to add to this engineering marvel is the garden around it co-existing with the man-made structure giving the perfect view and a picture perfect picnic spot for families and for anyone else who wishes to soak up all the greenery around. However, one needs to lose sight of the beaches for at least half the day to enjoy this amazing beauty located in the Southern part of Goa amidst all the nature. So next time you wanna see something magical, do not forget to head straight to Salaulim dam!
Price: Rs. 10/- or Rs. 20/- depending upon your age.
Timings: 7.00 AM to 6.30 PM
Stone water beach
Stone and water are the only two things anyone would find on this beach, which is why it is aptly named as The Stone Water beach. Located in close proximity to the Goan airport, this beach is quite hard to locate and even harder to reach especially due to the poor road conditions. You will find no body here except for a handful of villagers who live right across the beach area. There is a resort located right on the hill of the beach which gives great views of the amazing Arabian sea however, during the time I was there, the resort was mostly unoccupied. There are no shops around and hence people wishing to visit this beach need to carry their own bottles of water and food. Therefore, if you feel adventurous enough then go ahead and explore this wonderful spot in Goa.
Cabo de rama
Goa has plenty of forts spanned across its entire coast and the most visited one out of all of them is the Fort Aguada in North -Goa. But there are many more of them where people are yet to set their foot on and Cabo de Rama is one of them. A fort with an amazing sea view, Cabo De Rama talks about the different empires that have ruled it over centuries. The fort has been home to Hindu & Muslim monarchs followed by the Portuguese and has witnessed many battles in its history of existence. The fort contained many canons & other war equipments during olden times. However, now it is left in ruins with rusty war equipment scattered all over the fort. A little further away from Cabo de Rama lies pristine and untouched beaches where you would hardly find any people. Yes! you heard it right! The beaches around the fort have azure waters and are completely empty and if you are at the right beach, then you can have the whole beach to yourself.
Timings: 09.00 AM to 05.30 PM
Price: Entrance is free
This fort and beach combination of Reis Magos makes it one of the best off-beat combo place to visit in Goa. In earlier times, this fort was built with an intention to guard the city against attacks from the enemies and later on was converted into a Jail followed by a hospital. This fort has served the city for varied purposes since its inception in 1493. Later on it was abandoned in the year 1993 and was left in ruins and was also closed down for the visitors. The Goa Govt. later on decided to restore and re-use the fort as a cultural center. Hence, the fort was re-opened to the public on 5th June 2012. Just below the fort is the Reis Magos beach which is accessible to every visitor. The beach is quite small and mostly dirty hence I would not recommend anyone to visit this beach. However, right next to the beach is the beautiful Reis Magos church which serves as a good backdrop for photographs.
Timings: 9.30 AM to 5 PM
Prices: Rs. 25/-
Shirdon / Siridao / Xiddona beach
Located right in the capital city of Panjim, Siridao beach will make you jump with joy. This beautiful & clean beach hardly has any outside visitors mostly due to unawarness of this hidden spot. Further, if you love collecting sea shells, then look no further than Siridao as one can find variety of oysters & pearl shell here. This beach is more like a private beach where a handful of locals come for an early morning walk and also for evening walk. There are absolutely no stores in close proximity of the beach and hence it is absolutely recommended to buy water and food beforehand from the Market in Panjim. Right across this beach, you will see a small patch of land, located at a height, where you can sit and enjoy the amazing views Arabian sea has to offer. I have often seen local people park their vehichles here and have a picnic with a beach view. Hence, next time when in Panjim, skip the crowded Miramar beach and go straight to Siridao!
A quaint little sleepy village, para is a treat for the nature lovers. This village was featured in the Bollywood film – Love you Zindagi! after which tourism at the village has slowly started gaining traction. The most attractive part of the village are the coconut trees swaying on both sides of the road which provides a beautiful backdrop for photography lovers. You will sometimes find people taking photos in the vicinity. One can also get spectacular views of the sun setting behind the mountains from here. This village is mostly silent in comparison to its nearby counterparts & has the ability to transport you in a state of bliss & peace. So after partying the whole night listening & dancing to loud music, I’d suggest you to go visit Para the next day and experience the beauty of silence.
Three Kings Church
Wanting to experience something spooky on your trip to Goa, then Three Kings Church will surely take you on a ghost ride. Perched atop a hill in the Cansaulim neighbourhood of Goa, three kings church will leave you feeling haunted instead of feeling blessed. Originally founded in 1599 & named as the Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies, this church is today popular by the name of three kings church for its haunted story. It revolves around three noble kings who lived in this church once upon a time. These three kings, athough noble were hungry for power & desired to rule the area alone. Due to this there was constant war & arguments amongst themselves without any conclusion as to the ruler of the area. This situation led to an environment of fear & threat amongst their people & hence one of the king then invited the other 2 kings for dinner to discuss about peace in the kingdom where instead of bringing peace, he poisoned their food and killed the other two kings. This further led to anger & resentment amongst the supporters of the 2 killed kings and they immidiately went to kill the surviving king. Fearing the anger of all these people, the surviving king committed suicide by poisoning himself. Finally, the bodies of these kings were buried in the same church premises. It is said that even today, the souls of these 3 kings wander around the church, where people have felt their presence & some of them have seen paranormal activities & felt discomfort in the environment which is why its forbidden to visit this church after 6.00 PM. The story narrated above has been passed on from generations and some locals believe it to be true! Although I’ll leave it to my readers to decide. What do you all think? Is this chilling horror story real?
Price: Entrance is free
Heart Shaped Lake
A hiddem gem and an untouched beauty, heart shaped lake is a beautiful turquoise coloured lagoon located near the rock beach of Chicolna in Vasco. It is an absolute delight for nature and beach lovers because to reach here one needs to trek uphill for atleast 15-20 mins. If you are adventurous enough, instead of trekking you can take your vehicle till the top of the hill. The road however is quite narrow & treacherous with the vehicle. The best time to visit this spot would surely be in the evening to experience the best sunset views & to get some respite from the heat. It is heaven for the Bird-watchers as they can spot some rare birds in the area. There are no shops nearby and it is recommended to bring your own snacks & water beforehand but beware of monkeys in this area.
St. Jacinto’s church
St. Jacinto’s church located in the Chichalim neighbourhood of Goa on the St. Jacinto island, is a beautiful blue & white painted church named after its Patron saint St. Jacinto. This church that it is today, was initially constructed as a chapel in the early 1700’s to serve the local community & the nearby areas where they could come together to pray & celebrate their religious festivals. Later on due to increase in the population of the local community & subsequent increase in the number of worshippers, a need was felt for its expansion. Hence began the transformation of the chapel into the church which today occupies majority of the island & stands tall in its full glory. In the year 1850’s, it seized to be a chapel & a new title of Church was bestowed upon it. This church, although being hundreds of year older, looks as if it was built in the modern times. It has witnessed many historical events in its lifetime & yet in modern times continues to serve the local fishermen community that lives nearby.
Japanese Garden is a hidden gem located just 3 km away from the city of Vasco in Goa. This garden is perched atop a hill providing splendid views of the beach right below it. Being a family spot, you would find children usually playing in the Garden or a group of friends having a picnic nearby. By climbing down few stairs, one could reach on the beach which is located right below the garden and also goes by the name of The Japanese Garden beach. You may find some small stores selling water in the premises. This hidden gem is an unexploited beauty and the entrance is absolutely free to this beautiful and offbeat spot.
Price: Entrance is free
Timings: 5.00 AM to 8.00 PM
Heritage Walk through Fontainhas
Panjim has one of the oldest neighbourhood right in the middle of the city center called as Fontainhas. Fontainhas can be translated as the ‘Fountain of Phoenix’ and has also been added to the list of ‘WORLD HERITAGE SITES’. This neighbourhood is a perfect place to experience a beautiful blend of Portuguese & Goan culture. With all brightly coloured houses & beautifully maintained street, Fontainhas is surely strikes a chord amongst the people who visit here. You will find really old houses, bakeries, stores, guest houses in the complex. Not just that this street is also full of street art everywhere. There are regular heritage walks taking place in this area. So do you want to learn some culture? Here go to Fontainhas in Panjim!
This list is definitely going to increase in the future as I explore more offbeat places in Goa. Till then tell me how many of these have you already visited? Comment below & let me know your experience.
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