We all know Goa as the party capital of the country, where you kick off your heels and submerge yourselves in the music and crowd till the sun comes up, but there is a totally different side to this small yet alluring state with a Portuguese influence that not many know about.
This time I decided to explore that instead of the routine and overly visited part of Goa.
1- The Backwaters of River Sal
This paradise is a part of Goa which is rarely seen. The Sal backwaters are truly a part of an unseen Goa. Navigating this river is a delightful experience. Only accessible by kayak, this ecosystem is something which is experienced by only a lucky few. Spending time by this quite river makes for quite an unforgettable experience! Our stay was quite amazing at the Airbnb we rented, right by the river for you to laze around and rejuvenate yourself. The place will mesmerize you so much that the idea of staying indoors will appeal to you much more than going out.
2- Cavelossim Beach
Cavelossim is a seaside village in southern Goa that is surrounded by shack restaurants along the water and the other side is lined up with market stalls. Located between the Arabian Sea and the Sal River, the Cavelossim beach looks extremely beautiful and creates a lovely ambience. And unlike all the mainstream beaches of Goa you won’t feel claustrophobic here at all as there are hardly any people around. It's a perfect destination in for your laid back beach vacation in Goa. We stayed in the beach facing villas at the Dona Sylvia beach resort which has a private entry to the beach with no access to outside crowd. This makes your evening walk by the beach all the more secluded, tranquil and delightful.
3- Ozran Beach and the point at the cliff
What makes this beach a real attraction is the fact that it is hidden behind a hill and the hillocks. You have to climb down a little hill to get to the beach and the view of the beach from the hill is even more picturesque than the beach itself. Must visit if you are in Goa. You will also see a huge human face carved on a rock. Some call it the Shiva face. In my opinion it is one of the most scenic beaches of Goa. And the fact that it is not very commercialized makes it all the more beautiful.
4- Fort Chapora
This again is a fort in Goa not many visit as most of the crowd gravitates towards the more popular fort of Goa, Fort Aguada. Chapora is a favorite spot for people to spend their evenings and chill out. The fort overlooks the Chapora river and hence the name. It is also called the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ Fort after the Bollywood film (Dil Chahta Hai). The beautiful view form up above is sure to mesmerize you and make you forget about your real world problems for a while. :)
And I cannot stress enough about the best time to visit Chapora Fort is in the evening as the sunset sky looks spectacular from here. The sky looks like it has been painted orange and everything around it as well is covered in this warm hue.
5- Se Cathedral and Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception
Of course, these are not hidden gems of Goa per se but a must visit if you are in Goa. The magnificent interiors of Se cathedral will overwhelm you with its sheer grandeur. It’s a classic Portuguese structure with soaring ceilings, mosaic work, and intricate wood carvings that is sure to awe you. Do not miss the bell tower with the Golden Bell.
On the other hand Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception has a distinctive appearance because of the zigzag steps across the hillside on which it is built. Like the name the church is painted an immaculate, sparkling white. The interior of this church is simple yet alluring. This is also one of Bollywood’s favorite churches and should not be missed. :)
6- The Countryside
If you are a country person like me who likes to have calm and tranquility around, then south Goa is the place for you. It is home to quite a few natural beaches, temples, water falls, hill spots, paddy fields and coconut groves. Its pristine beaches and a peaceful aura enthralls you. A perfect escape to break away from the busy schedules of everyday life.
So Next time you visit Goa, may be you can take a detour and shunt to this unconventional part of Goa and take back memories of a lifetime.