The Serenity of South Goa

We have never been excited by the noisy, crowded parts of North Goa. And when we had to reach Goa around Christmas for work we were afraid all places would be sold out or too loud. A bit of a search around South Goa, an oasis of calm and serenity, and we locked on to a beautiful place called Ordo Sounsar  (meaning Another World, in Goan), on Talpona Beach, run by the charismatic Serafin Fernandes.

The Location:

The location was a bit of a trouble finding at night, which is all the better, since it attracts less crowds. At one point we had to cross a narrow iron bridge over the river Talpona, fearing it could scrape our car from either or both sides.

Bridge on Talpona River
An extremely narrow bridge on the way to Talpona Beach in South Goa.

Once we found the place, we were shown our lovely shack, made of bamboo, raised on stilts. These shacks are temporary and taken down every monsoons. The rooms were cozy and the open top bathroom very cool. Goa during end December becomes very cold at night with temperatures dipping to around 15 degrees, and add a cold sea breeze to that. We were thrilled to have discovered just the tucked away place to spend our Christmas and New Years’.

Mornings here wake up to a clean and serene beach, with only a fellow traveller or two practicing yoga. Our shack was right on the beach so we could hear the sea throughout. If you are the types who likes to connect to a peaceful and very indigenous local culture, South Goa would appeal to you. There isn’t much to do around here, which is very good, because you can truly relax. We discovered another shack next to ours which serves delicious local food, at very reasonable prices, called Deepiksha, and it became our meal destination. A walk down the road either way, and we discovered just a couple of more places, all serving great food, and all very peaceful.

The Talpona river forms a beautiful estuary as it meets the Arabian Sea. It’s home to many species of bird and marine life. A small ‘mangrove safari’ in a local fisherman’s boat is highly recommeded. Do carry your binoculars for spotting the many species of birds found here.  Evenings are spent lazing around, taking walks down the estuary backwaters while listeing to a Lineated Barbet, and stopping by some shack for your tea. It was during this trip that we also visited the nearby Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.

South Goa is very peaceful and gorgeous, if you want to be away from the crowds. And lets hope and pray it stays that way.

Dinner at beach shack in south Goa.
Dinner at the shack was delicious and cozy, amidst the sea breeze and rustling of casuarina trees.

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Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa’s 2nd largest sanctuary, can be reached on NH17, and is very close to Talpona beach and the town of Canacona. We had reached this sanctuary while on our epic Mumbai – Goa – Kannur – Coonoor road trip.

The dense moist deciduous and in parts evergreen forests of Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary have many a rare plant. If you are lucky you can perhaps spot Gaur, Leopards or Wild Boars. From Wikipedia : “Animals in the sanctuary include the flying squirrel, slender loris, Indian pangolin, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, Malabar pit viper, hump-nosed pit viper, white-bellied woodpecker, Malabar trogon, velvet-fronted nuthatch, heart-spotted woodpecker, speckled piculet, Malayan bittern, draco or flying lizard, golden-back gliding snake, and Malabar tree toad”

We didn’t see any animals and very few birds, but the forest itself is gorgeous. Some of the trees grow to over 30 metres tall.

 

Cotigao Forest Main Gate
The entry of the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary informs visitors about protection offered to our wildlife.

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A panorama of the gorgeous forest.

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Birding at Karmali Lake, Goa

While looking for some wildlife and birding experience in Goa, we found out about the Karmali Moor. It’s a tiny lake/wetland next to the Karmali Station and is home to many resident waders and other water birds. Opposite the moor are paddy fields, so this whole area becomes a rather rich birding spot. We spotted … Read more Birding at Karmali Lake, Goa

Mumbai – Goa – Coonoor – Mumbai : An Epic Roadtrip

Road trips are always fun, and when you combine the sea with the mountains, it’s something else! End of December, 2014, we had some work in Goa, and after much pondering, we decided to leave. It was already 2pm and I never like to drive at night, but work is work! We took the NH4 … Read more Mumbai – Goa – Coonoor – Mumbai : An Epic Roadtrip

Panjim City

In 2006, I and a friend went biking to attend the International Film Festival if India at Panjim City, Goa. These are some images from that epic (by those days’) journey.

Panjim, also known as Panaji, is the capital of Goa. Panjim City is the oldest civic institution in India. Being such an old city, it is full of heritage and plenty of fanatic places to stay.

 

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A cup of chai at Krishna before we leave Law College Road, Pune.

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We avoided NH17, the Goa Highway. Instead we took the Pune – Bangalore Highway, NH3 and cut through the Ghats at Bhor, if I remember correct.

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