November 28, 2012

Fort Aguada- The Watering Hole in Goa...!!

The most famous and prominent fort in Goa, the Aguada fort rests peacefully near the Sinquerim beach over looking the Arabian sea. The fort is huge with its ramparts well spread out enveloping a lot of land space. It is situated close to Candolim beach and mouth of Mandovi river. On to its right lies the beautiful Sinquerim beach with tall coconut trees in the background.

The fort walls as seen from outside

The fort walls


Built in AD 1612, this Portuguese fort had multiple purposes. It served as a chamber for storing fresh water and also was a guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. The storage helped the travelling ships to re-fill fresh water from the fort during their journeys.  The fort also gets its name due to the fresh water storing system. Aguada in Portuguese means 'water'. The fort also holds a mid 19th century lighthouse which is not in use anymore. The light house served as a reference point for the ships. Besides the lighthouse and the water storage chamber, the fort also boasts of well designed bastions, gun powder storage room and a small chapel. 

Inside of the fort

The light house and walls

One of the bastions

The light house

As you enter the fort a wide swathe of yellow-green grass invites you along with the mighty four-storey lighthouse. One can walk along the walls of this huge fort and take in the magnificent views that are on offer. The beaches in the distance, the swaying trees and boats out in the sea, all showcase beautiful vistas. It also has a circular bastion closer to the Sinquerim beach and Taj resort. The fort which was one of the most important ones of Portuguese rulers has been well preserved and maintained by the authorities.

Views from the fort

A circular bastion near Sinquerim beach

Signing Note- A Portuguese creation not to be missed in Goa...!!

Route- Panaji- Verem- Candolim- Fort Aguada
Distance- 15 Kms

November 23, 2012

Fort Chapora...!!

A ten minute ride from Vagator beach and I am staring at the hill and the trek path to reach the Chapora fort. The trek is tough not due to the steepness but because of the gravel which forms the path. It makes it slippery and is tough to get a footing. As I near the fort entrance, the landscape behind has turned into a magnificent green. With the foliage spreading itself the vistas are breathtakingly beautiful. Just before entering the fort one can see the Vagator beach way below on the left and Chapora river joining the Arabian sea onto the right. Brilliant views!

The path and the fort atop

Green landscape from near the entrance

Vagator beach

Chapora river

The present fort was built in 1717 AD over the then existing fort. The fort had been possessed by various dynasties including the Mughals, The Marathas and finally the Portuguese. It was once the northern most point of Goa and hence was used as a military outpost. Situated on a highland with expansive views, the fort was the ideal place to lookout for the attacking enemies. The fort gained prominence on the tourist map after the Hindi movie 'Dil Chahtha Hai' was shot here.

Enter the fort and all that I can see is a  spread out field, with less than knee high green grasses in some places and red gravel all over. It is a wide swathe of openness inside the fort with small rocks jutting out in some corners of the uneven land. The fort walls and the entrance door shows symptoms of dilapidation but has somehow been kept intact. It looks like a huge playground with so much of vastness. Visitors seem to be keen on the vistas from the fort walls and happily climb them to get better views. 

Fort entrance

Inside the fort

Another inner view of the fort

Not to be left behind, I too rush to the fort walls to have a glimpse of the green slopes sliding down to the shores below. The rays of the blazing sun on the calm tides has made the sea gorgeous. The reflection of the sun has given it a tinge of orange hue. Vagator beach seems quiet with very less visitors. The aerial view of the beach is gorgeous with protruding rocks and swaying coconut trees forming the background.

Aerial view of Vagator beach from the fort

Walls of the fort

I languorously move forward along the fort walls capturing the brilliant vistas of the green slopes and then the Chapora river disgorging itself into the Arabian sea. The view of the mouth of the river is a photographer's delight. With the Morjim beach forming the background in the distance, the frame is definitely a very scenic one. There are a couple of exit doors along the walls. I get through one and I am on the beautiful green slopes bringing me closer to the sea. The sun has further slanted and the landscape has turned a touch dark.

Mouth of River Chapora with Morjim beach in the background

Green slopes 

An exit door
Fort walls

Even though am in a hurry to reach Vagator beach before the sun calls it a day, I spend a considerable amount of time on the fort taking in the picturesque views. It definitely is one mesmerising sight to witness the setting sun over the Arabian sea from the Chapora fort. I leave the fort with memorable vistas floating in my mind and in my camera.

Signing Note- One of the best places to witness sunset in Goa...!!

Route- Easily reachable and close to main hubs like Calangute, Baga, Anjuna.

Distance- 2 Kms from Vagator beach.

November 20, 2012

Goa- The Fun Begins...!!

It is that time of the year when travellers and tourists are busy creating itineraries, googling for getaways and destinations, searching for hotels and booking flight/ train/ bus tickets. There are adventurers who love riding/ driving to their awaiting destinations. With Christmas and new year fast approaching, to be on the travel mode is the order of the times.

Goa has been for long a year end destination for many. Both foreign and domestic travellers find the place to be a favourite. With the tourists flocking in from all corners of the world, Goa also gets ready to welcome them. There are numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels in Goa that open up during this season. The fun and frolic supposedly goes on till the scorching summer months set in. Food and accommodation options are aplenty in Goa and there is dearth for the same.  Every nook and corner of the main tourist areas like Baga, Anjuna and Calangute have bars and cafes to cater to the needs of the travellers and tourists. Hotels in Goa range from the beach shacks for the beach lovers and budget travellers to the luxurious one for the affluent tourists. However if your are particular about the locations of your accommodation like closer to the beach, on the beach, nearer to the churches etc, it is always advised to book your rooms in advance. Pearls Oceanique resort and Ginger hotel are some of the hotels in Goa that might suit your liking.

It is not only the beaches that Goa offers the visitors. The churches, the rivers, the forts and the waterfalls in Goa are definitely exciting and worth exploring. Do not forget to relish the Portuguese, Goan and Konkan cuisines which can leave your mouth watering for more. The beach parties, night markets and adventure sports activities are also sure to make your holiday a memorable one.

Is there a better way to celebrate Christmas and welcome the new year than by letting yourself dance to the tunes of the party capital of the country. Have a great year end Travel folks!

November 15, 2012

A Cruise on River Mandovi...!!

Can we think of Goa, sans the beaches? I dont think many can. From the beaches the farthest that you wish to go are to the churches of Old Goa. Is there tourism beyond these? Panjim with its seductive Mandovi river says there is.
Mandovi bridge as seen from Mandovi river
It is not just the famed beaches and heritage churches that attract the travellers in Goa. A river cruise on the Mandovi has been prominent for ages on the tourist trail in Goa. There are numerous options like Santa Monica and Paradise which offer sunset cruise, sundown cruise, full moon cruise, day cruise etc for one or two hours on the river. There are agents who approach you or you can directly head to the jetty in Panjim and book the tickets.

Pradaise cruise boat
After booking my tickets through an agent I was aboard the Paradise for the sunset cruise. The cruise also has a cultural show with traditional Goan and Portuguese dance performances. I found the music to be quite inviting and found many tourists on the dance floor towards the culmination of the cruise. Snacks for the growling tummies  is also provided but at an extra cost.
Goan dance performance

Portuguese dance performance
I moved to the upper deck which was open to the sky and the once the cruiser moved away from the jetty the views got better. The clouded sky gave us a scare but after a slight drizzle it stopped. The views all around were magnificent. The city lights of Panjim, the distant Mandovi bridge, the returning fishing boats, the tender breeze, the  flying birds and the swaying coconut trees in the distance made it look surreal. The setting sun and the orange sky made it all the more dramatic.
Panjim city as seen from the cruise boat

A jetty by the banks of Mandovi
I kept gazing at the orange sky and the wide mouth of River Mandovi. I could see the Arabian sea far away. Everything and everybody looked distant from the deck. Far far away. For a moment I wished we could sail away into the horizon. It was an evening when I got lost in my lonely thoughts. The captivating vistas without doubt made the sunset cruise a memorable one. As the sun set, the lights got lit up everywhere on the mainland and we made a return from near the mouth of the river. Goan music, goan breeze and the goan cruise definitely makes this a must do on a visit to Goa.
Mouth of River Mandovi

As the boat neared the mainland, I saw a huge crowd queued up waiting for their turn of sundown cruise. Before it turned into a melee, I wriggled through and exited. Now who says Goa is all about beaches and churches?

Signing Note- A memorable evening in Goa need not always be on the beaches, it can well be on River Mandovi...!!

Location- Panjim jetty

November 12, 2012

Holidaying in New Delhi...!!

The tourist season has commenced in India with the long Diwali week. There were times when people confined themselves to the corners of their houses and celebrated the festival with family and friends. Times have changed and along with celebrations many take long breaks, club it with weekends and go holidaying. All that one needs to do is select a destination, book a hotel room, book the flight/ train/ bus tickets and just head to all those breathtaking places this lovely country has to offer.

New Delhi is one perfect tourist hub which has numerous getaways like Jaipur, Agra, Shimla, Manali, Chandigarh and many more within striking distances. The city is the best stop over before you head to the Himalayas. For people coming from other parts of the country besides the north, New Delhi forms the base and it is from here that travellers head to places like Ladakh, Spiti, Srinagar, Rishikesh, Haridwar etc.

One also need not use Delhi only as a stopover. You can also visit the capital city and enjoy about its history, culture and monuments. With Qutub Minar, Red fort, Akshardham temple, Rajghat, Jama Masjid, India gate and many more historical monuments to lure the tourists and travellers alike, New Delhi is definitely a must visit destination. If you are ready to not accept the city as just another metropolitan, New Delhi is sure to not disappoint any traveller. With the festival and holiday season in full swing there is no dearth of food streets and shopping alleys in this marvelous historical city of India. Also in the vicinity are the neighbourhood cities of Noida and Gurgaon. With numerous shopping malls and festive offers, Gurgaon is not shy from making you travel to her.

With the crowds swarming it is tough to get tickets and rooms. There are numerous hotels in Delhi to make your stay in the city comfortable. There are budget hotels too for travellers with budget constraints. Now all that you need to do is to pack your bags and head there before.your neighbours, relatives and colleagues make your hotel and transport bookings tough.

November 9, 2012

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church...!!

The azure sky, swaying green coconut trees and the white plastering makes this church look true to its name. This imposing white coloured church which stands right in the middle of city is one of the prominent structures in Panjim. Situated at a distance of about 200 meters from the Mandovi river front, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception has been existent from the middle of 16th century. Well known for its double staircase, the church has three towers of which the middle one houses the bell. This is the most famous church in Panjim and is also one of the first to be built in Goa.

The main altar inside the church is built in renaissance style and is dedicated to Mary Immaculate. There are two more altars on the sides which has Crucified Jesus on one and Our Lady of Rosary on the other. The building also has a chapel dedicated to St. Francis Xavier.The church gets lit up in the evening and from what I have heard, it is a magnificent sight. 

Signing Note- Truly an immaculate looking church...!!

Location- Panjim city, Goa

Happy Diwali to all...!!

November 7, 2012

Rain Rain Come Again...!!

The moments I felt most refreshing with my body turning alive and my soul feeling awesome have been whenever I got drenched in the rains. The droplets turning into heavy pours dousing me with fresh cold waters has always been the Alive is Awesome experience. No waterfall or oceans or lakes or dives have given me so much of excitement and refreshment that the rains have.

For  a motorcycle lover like me, getting wet to the last thread on your body while on a ride is an experience which can never be put into words. People who have experienced it would definitely second that. The rain splashing on to your face, wiping the visors for better visibility, plunging into those mud pools, trying to lick those rain drops off your nose tip and shivering as the rain gets harsher are such exciting experiences which would always remain memorable. (The last time this happened to me was on my ride from Baga beach to Anjuna beach in Goa, a month back).

On a cloudy day I wait for the clouds to open up so as to walk down the alleys and make the walk a refreshing one. With blooming flowers and the green environment for companionship, getting a natural bath under the dark cloudy sky is one way to get close to nature. It makes your body, soul and everything related to you without doubt, lively. Is there a better way to make your bath an Alive is Awesome experience than get wet in the rains?

This is a part of the adventure bathing campaign by Cinthol- Alive Is Awesome.

November 1, 2012

The Best of Tales of a Nomad...!!

When my blogger friend Bhushavali tagged me with seven questions about my blog, my first reaction was a smile. It gave me an opportunity to go through my old posts, introspect them again, and do an analysis of the performances of each one.
 So here we go-

1. My most beautiful post- CoastalCircuit- Unplugged...!!
The post about my solo ride to the coastal hamlets of Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Marawanthe and a few more is definitely my favourite and most beautiful one. I love the photographs and my personal experiences during the travel.

2.My most popular post- Tunes of the Dunes...!!
This write up on desert safari in Dubai has had more visitors than any other post to the extent that the hits on this one is more than double the second most popular post.

My post on Haleibid, Belur and Shravanabelakola has helped many of my followers and I have had quite a few friends enquiring about the place and its route. Hope it would help many more travellers in the future.

4.My most controversial post- Thankfully Tales of a Nomad does not have any post which has become controversial and I hope it will not have any in the future too.

5.A post whose success surprised me- Belum Caves- Deep Down Under...!!
I never thought that the success of a post could be this surprising till I wrote about Belum caves. The number of hits, visits and comments for this post has really been extraordinary. It is also one of the most popular posts on Tales of a Nomad.

6.A post that I thought did not get the attention it deserved- Taj Mahal-The Symbol of Love...!!
Probably because Taj Mahal is one of the most popular destinations across the globe, made this post of mine an ignored one for long. I was actually surprised to find very few visitors for this post and definitely feel that it did not get the deserved attention.

There cannot be a better post that am proud of than the one on Varkala. It was my favourite for a long time till the coastal Karnataka one came along. It is my first post, the travelogue whose success made me write more and complete three years of blogging with more than 100 posts. Extremely proud of my first post.

Now to take this tag forward, here is my list of 5 fellow bloggers who need to analyze their posts-

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