I took a short trip to Goa over the weekend after nearly thirty years, with my childhood friend and her husband who have a lovely house in Alto Betim.
We left Mumbai by Tejas,the swanky air condition train introduced by the Indian Railways a year and half ago which runs between Mumbai and Goa. It's the most convenient train leaving Mumbai's Victoria Terminus station at 5.50 hours and reaching the very quaint Karmali station in Goa by 14.10 hours the same day! In eight hours you are in Goa!
The route is beautiful and a pleasure to the eye with unhindered views,as Tejas is fitted with huge windows. Stations en route are well designed. Tejas has one executive class chair car coach and thirteen chair car coaches with one non AC coach. Tickets can be bought with or without food.
Goa greets you beautifully, blooming with variety of flowers! Gulmohars, Jacarandas, Bougainvillea's! Uff!! What a burst of colours and lush green with water bodies around!
Time stands still in Goa, afternoon's are siesta time! There's no rushing around! Have a Fish Thali or Vegetarian Thali with Cashew Feni or Urrak!! And take a little snooze!
Mornings and evenings are beach time, surfing, parasailing, swimming or just leisurely walking.
There are many churches and temples to see, famous is the Basalica of Bom Jesus, the oldest church in Goa, located in old Goa. It's architecture is beautiful baroque, holding the remains of Saint Francis Xavier, the remains of the Saint are in good condition even after 400 years. The remains are on view every ten years.
Shanta Durga temple and Mangeshikar temple are famous. Infact Shanta Durga is the reigning diety.
The O Coquerio Bar on NH 17 made famous by Charles Sobhraj conman,fraudster, theif and serial killer ,of Vietnamese and Indian origin ,who had quite a few countries policeman after him in the 1970's.
O Coquerio is also famous for its Chicken Cafreal and Prawn Balchao!
Dona Paula is another attraction. The meeting point of the Zuari and Mandovi rivers, and know for the unfulfilled romance of Dona Paula.
Go go Goa!!!!