After a historic trek in the Chitradurga fort, we headed to Goa!
Chitradurga to Goa is 385kms on NH4, after driving on NH4 for an hour we took the Haveri Yellapura Karwar route on SH 6 via Bannikatte. There are couple of Kamat Upachar hotels to break for if you take the Hubli Dharwad route else there is literally nothing on this stretch, except expansive wheat and paddy fields under the scorching sun.
We took the Haveri route amidst the countryside avenues, with lush green fields and coconut trees lined up as if to extend a civil salute to the passing passengers on this desolate stretch with absolutely no sign of people or shops! It was Eid and most roads seemed to be heavily decked in green flags and hoardings and our hopes of finding a vegetarian hotel here had almost diminished and died down until we found Hotel Shanbhag(veg) in Yellapura which came as a respite and life saver for us!
We reached our destination Blue Planet Café in Canacona, South Goa around 7pm after 8 hours of driving (lunch break included)! A month ago when I tried to reach out to this place the bookings were full, but life is all about hope isn’t it? So I tried my luck card yet again on the previous day of our travel and bingo, somebody had a last minute cancellation, fortunately for us, just for us!
Blue planet café is a quiet vegan and vegetarian hangout in nature’s backyard run with a theme of staying close to nature by redeeming its natural goodness and refurbishing a mutually beneficial eco-friendly environment.
A series of steps led us to our wooden cottage that lay embedded in earthen aromas surrounded densely by holy basil plants and chirpy birds!
The place has a yoga hall opening into the façade of nature that overlooks you beseechingly. It is a perfect place for book lovers, couples and people who love the beaches of Goa but want to cuddle back into the calmness away from the chaotic nightlife of Goa.
The food here is different from the routine spicy Indian food, with loads of health drinks to choose from organically grown vegetables and fruits to smoothies to nourishing healthy platters of freshly cooked homemade food, it is a great way to cleanse those toxins that you have accumulated in your hectic routine.
We explored most options and found each meal to be a healthy and nourishing one with a range of exotic vegetables and cereals but I must confess that for Indian standards the food is rather bland but the hosts Pradeep and Urmila an enthusiastic duo who dedicatedly persevere to serve the best, are indeed skilled and passionate chefs who genuinely accommodated our every request and customized the meal course to suit the Indian palate.
The kids had a good time cycling around and playing with their dog Jolie, I fondly called her Angelina Jolie!
The place is close to Agonda beach which is just 2kms away and Pallollem beach at 3.5kms. During my innumerable visits to Goa previously I have always stayed in North Goa(mostly Goan Heritage) shuttling between Calungute and Vagator beaches but South Goa is definitely more serene and less commercialized.
The next day we headed to the Agonda beach, a flat white sand beach that seemed like a sun bathing den of foreign tourists. Small beach side restaurants lined up the shore along with many wooden shacks and stilts that overlook the untiring waves sweeping against the swatches of golden sand!
Although Goa is today known in the light of the calendar years of Vijay Mallya, the real India is a lot different from the celluloid India because the sight of sunburnt bare bodies on Indian shores is as gross for Indians as much as the westerners find it gross to spot a fully clad Indian in a swimming pool, because you can’t be a Roman in India!
But interestingly Goa, the city of cosmopolitan cultures, gets its name from the Mahabharatha times when it was called ‘Gomantha’ or ‘Govapuri’ which means ‘the land of cows’, even today you will find lot of humped Desi cows in Goa, don’t be amused if you find them on the beach as well! They are slightly luckier than their metropolitan counterparts to be spending time at the beaches than at the busy traffic signals!
After our tryst with massaging waves, it was time for some real massage and that too in our own resort!
Yes, just above the café, there is a little pool on the hill that reads ‘Aquatic bodyworks with Fluid Symmetry’! At first I thought it was just another spa kind of a thing, but curiosity got the better of me and I am glad I ventured in!
I spoke to Daniel Aber, the brain behind Fluid Symmetry and expressed my apprehensions about water and wondered how it could really benefit me, it was then that he suggested that I was the best person to try and experience it to believe it as this therapy works on trust!
Fluid symmetry is a form of massage to the mind and body in the waters that takes you into a trance of thoughtless state of mind. A gentle tune of flute plays in the backdrop amidst the bamboo stitched walls as you dip yourself in the warmth of the waters that matches the body temperature, Daniel takes you by your hands as he checks for the receptiveness of your muscles to water, assuring you with his reassuring words ‘Trust the water’ _’The water is there is hold you up’ , he sets you afloat planting his palm on your forehead, gripping mildly at the back of your neck to let go of all that is boggling on your mind as you are gently swayed above and beneath the warm waters for an invigorating experience immersing yourself into a subconscious embryonic state with no worries or stress!
It really felt like I was levitating somewhere in space with absolute nothingness! The set -up is predominantly eco- friendly, a solar mat is used for heating the water, and the waters from the pool are let out to the surrounding vegetation while refilling the pool with fresh water.
Water is a vital element for existence of life yet we fear water even when 71% of our planet is covered in water, if water can destruct and destroy, it can also cure, heal and raise your spirits, making you fall in love with the whole watery experience. So next time you head to Goa don’t forget to check out this new fluid Asana in town!
The following day we headed to Anjuna beach in North Goa which was a 2hours drive of 80kms for some water sports, we did some parasailing but felt that we were really taken for a ride! Each person is charged Rs.700 for a parasailing ride, suspending you at 60feet that lasts only for a couple of minutes, if you choose to dip in the waters then you are charged an additional Rs.200 and will hang up there one extra minute else you will land even before your pictures were clicked!
The last time I tried parasailing some ten years ago, I was suspended at 200feet for good 20minutes on the Coco beach but this time it was a little disappointing and wondered if the 2hours drive was any worth! But if you tried piquing this fishermen community, you will perhaps be left black and blue matching the twilight waters as they are a big group of locals who will stick together no matter what, this we witnessed as a fellow tourist was thrashed mercilessly with no sight of any policemen or security guards around.
After our little adventure at the Anjuna beach we grabbed a quick bite at Sita veg restaurant and headed for the Saturday Night Market near Baga beach!
The concept of Saturday Night Flea Market was started in the pre-independence era where European goods were sold but today it is a mix of Indian and international goods that you could grab at interesting prices.
A beeline of kiosks with little trinkets, jewellery, apparel, artefacts, spices, carpets, decorative lights, leathers, bags, belts and more importantly the amount of bargain that goes on here will enthral you., There were beer bars, tangy cuisines to tether every tongue and a live concert of rock and classical music went on till 11pm and you can shop till your partner dropz! We reached our resort at 1.30am!
The next day we lazed around till 11am and then visited the Pallollem beach which is another flat beach ideal to play with kids, we walked almost some 10-15 meters into the waters and it was great fun to be tossed in the gentle December tides! There were some shacks available here and we were tempted to extend our stay for another day but could not stand the poor hygiene and loud music in the restaurants around here.
Bengaluru was calling and it was time to say good adieu to Goa and we were soon driving home!
It was a relaxed and refreshing holiday and time well spent with family!