The Bliss of Solitude – Saljini!
“ We wandered as clouds, those float on high o’er vales and hills...”
The forest was dense and the roads lonely. Misty green smell of the wet forest was floating in the air. We were driving through the meandering roads with sharp bends, through eerie silence of the dark, deep woods. Birds were quiet and the animals somewhere away from the road; the straight tall trees stood silent enveloped in a strange darkness. The silence of the forest was deafening. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, he came down, beating the trees and the silent enchanting forest began to sing. Rain in the forest is magical!
“To drive or not to drive that was the question”. Hidden deep into the forest, around 18 kms from Netravali forest check post, lies a quaint little village of Saljini, one of the most isolated villages of Goa. Sans proper transport system, sans mobile network, this beautiful destination is remote in its true sense. The roads here are narrow with sharp bends and it was difficult for my car to grip the gravel roads and there was even a danger of landslide. At one point when it became extremely difficult to drive as the road ahead was full of water, an inner voice asked me the above question, “ to drive or not to drive”. And we drove on...
Remote and distant, located away from rush and madness of touristy Goa, Saljini is around 65kms from Margao and around 97 kms from Panjim. The drive from Netravali forest check post is difficult yet scenic. The road here is an absolute driver’s delight. These mist-covered roads are covered with dense forest on one side and a deep valley on the other. Heavy clouds covering the sky with their shadows hovering over the forest made the forest more mysterious. When we reached there, the entire village seemed breathing in the immensity of pure nature. The village surrounded by lush green hills was full with soothing sounds of chirping birds, grazing cattle, people calling out each other from a distant and somewhere away a music of playful stream hidden in the greenery. This is a perfect place to breathe in serenity. This is the bliss of solitude!
We were welcomed by humble and friendly people of the village. The houses are simple, roofed with tiles with living conditions of the people being backward. Main occupation of the people is farming. While driving towards Saljini, we also came across cattle-herders dressed in loin cloth, covering themselves with ‘Kambal’ ( a rough blanket of sheep wool) to protect themselves from the heavy rain. These are the sons of the soil. There is a temple dedicated to Shri Saptkoteshwar, it is a beautiful humble temple surrounded by houses on one side and forest on the other. We were also informed by the locals at Verlem village that, one can stay at ‘ Angan Village Stay’ operated by Verlem Eco-Tourism Co-operative Society. Here, one can enjoy and experience rural atmosphere of Goa.
It is very rightly said, “difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”. This monsoon drive gives you a breath-taking view of the valley below. And the mist-covered, rain soaked forest will enchant you with its surreal beauty. Take a day trip there and you can explore the beauty of rural Goa. Keep going, go ahead and explore...