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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Exploring Goa’s Hidden Gems

Goa is a fascinating destination known for its tranquil beaches, nightlife, adventure, sports, cuisine, and an unexplored side too.

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Pradeep Chamaria
Pradeep Chamaria
I am a photojournalist. Love to travel to unknown and unexplored vistas. Since 1992, I make places desirable for other travelers through experiential Travel Writing.

INDIA. Goa: Goa has a magnetic charm that pulls a visitor in every time. And recently I was in Goa again to discover some unexplored side of Goa on a motorcycle. Though it was not the right time to go out as the pandemic is still around, but I couldn’t resist the charm of re-visiting Goa.

Read Also: Explore Goa on A Cycle

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Goa as everyone knows is a fascinating destination known for its tranquil beaches, nightlife, adventure, sports, and cuisine. But it still has a lot of unexplored sides which is untouched by many. The best way to explore these areas is to ride a two-wheeler and explore at your own leisure.  

Enjoying Sunset at Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Goa today is a biker’s haven, and since none of my prior trips was covered on a two-wheeler, this was the right time to ride a bike and explore the hidden gems.

All set to explore Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria
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Mae De Deus Church is one of the finest churches in Goa. Built-in 1873, this is a breathtaking sight. On the first look, it appears like a fairy tale structure, white in colour and has a unique charm of itself. The Gothic-style architecture of the church is one of its kinds. It houses the miraculous statue of Mae de Deus (Mother of God) which was brought from the ruins of the convent of Mae de Deus at Old Goa.

I arrived at the church after it was closed, so could not go inside. But the interiors with beautiful altars, visible from outside looked fabulous and the entire atmosphere was peaceful and hypnotising.

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When I talked to the priest I was informed that this church was built with the help of contributions of the locals, which makes it even more worthy for the locals.

Mapusa Fruit market, Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Mapusa Fruit market was my next stop. Though the market operates all week, I was lucky to be there on the weekly Haat day. There were plenty of locals and farmers from a rural area who had bought their produces to sell. I talked to a few of the farmers and bought a few Cashew fruits and some local blackberries.

Fontanhas, Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Fontanhas is the area where the rich Portuguese came and settled down. All the brightly coloured houses spoke of the affluence and luxury enjoyed in those times. A colourful well with roosters on its four pillars was lovely to watch. A very small corner had three houses painted in bright colours of pink, blue and golden.

Dona Paulo, Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Dona Paulo, is where the two Goan rivers Mandovi and Zuari meet the Arabian Sea. It has a magnificent view of Marmugao Harbour. The shooting of a fight sequence from the famous Bollywood movie Singham took place at this romantic and mythical location.

On a rocky, hammer-shaped headland, I was searching for a mystery and found the two statues, known as the Dona Paula Sculpture. Also came across two vibrant young girls who chatted with me and described Goa in their own words, “Goa is a scenic, beautiful place full of energy and it is a clean state.”

Dona Paulo, Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

I also visited and explored the ruins of the Cabo Fort, which was built in 1540, and the 180-year-old English cemetery, which houses the memorial tomb of Dona Paula de Menezes with her history engraved on the tombstone. I also watched a lot of water sports such as water – scooter, parasailing, and motorboat rides, etc. going around.

Three churches in Old Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the oldest churches located in Goa. It is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture from the 16th century. The interiors are beautiful and the floor is made with marble and precious stones. The body of St Francis Zavier is still kept on a mausoleum in a silver casket.

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

The Church of St Francis of Assisi is one of the most visited churches in India. The Church of St Francis of Assisi is no longer in use for worship but you can still feel the grandeur of the building. This church was rebuilt in 1661 and is based on Maritime themes, and in the campus of the church, lots of Old Goa’s ship-related items like navigators’ globes and coats of arms, etc. can be seen. The interior of the church since unused has worn out with time. The folk art on the walls, carved wood panels, and large paintings nevertheless still looks very beautiful.

The Church of St Francis of Assisi, Photo Credits: Pradeep Chamaria

Se Cathedral (Se Cathedral de Santa Catarina) is one of the largest in India and is also the most popular church in Goa. This Cathedral was built to celebrate victory during a war in 1510. There is a big Golden Bell on this church and the hidden gem here was the well located at the back, where Lord Jesus is seen collecting the Holy water fetched by Mother Mary.

These spots were not new for me, but exploring some of the offbeat spots within these locations was the challenge, and this was the objective of – To explore Goa having fun riding a bike. And finally, one of the best trips came to an end.

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