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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Goa needs no introduction. While everyone throngs to Goa for its beaches, not many know about its other wonders. Did you know that Goa is home to the oldest rocks of the Indian subcontinent? In ancient times, when “Pangea” the supercontinent broke away, the rocks remained in Goa. Rubidium isotope dating methods have determined the age of these rocks to be 3600 million years old. Goa is also a land full of medicinal springs and ancient tanks. The dense forests and favourable climate make it an ideal place to grow spices. Some of the country’s best spice plantations can be found in the Ponda region. Today Goa is also on the map of rock art led by a discovery of rare Stone Age rock carvings in Kevan-Dhadole, Usgalimal of Pirla village in Sanguem Taluka

What to do:

Visit Sahkari Spice farm located in Curti in Ponda. It’s a private farm and not a cooperative as the name might suggest. Start with a tour of the premises. You are welcomed with lemon grass tea and some cashews. Well informed guides take you around the 130-acre spice farm. You will get to see cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, herbs, fruits, arecanut, betel and other medicinal plant. The tour ends with a typical Goan Saraswat buffet lunch. Post lunch, take an elephant ride in the farm before departing.



Make a trip to Usgalimal in Sanguem for a look at ancient rock carvings. Its 15 kms south of Rivona in South Goa. While Rock art first came into existence in the world almost about 50000 years ago, it was discovered in this site as late as 1993. You can find animal engravings like bull, deer, gaur, religious symbols, cosmology items and fertility icons among others. The site has a surreal look beside the river Kushavati.



Dolphin spotting is a good way to begin a day in Goa! There are a few cruises that take you into the sea to spot these wonderful creatures. Alternatively, you can hire a boat and its preferable to go early in the morning, when they surface from under the sea to eat.



If you are visiting Goa during the rains, you can make a trip to Sakla-Vazra water fall. Its on Chorlem Ghat road that links Goa to Belgaum via Sanquelim. The falls which rise upto 200 meters, are a magnificent sight to behold.
Choram Baim or “Well of thieves” in Baga is another noteworthy destination. It’s a layered rock formation projecting into the sea. Its fully surrounded by rock walls except for a small opening. As sea water enters this opening, a haunting metallic sound is made! According to one tradition, thieves used to hide valuable items in the hollows of the rocks near the well, and thus its name.

For those who get impressed with Romanesque or Gothic architecture, a church circuit is recommended. St Cajetan Church is worth visiting as its dome is modeled after St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. The St Anne Church, situated 8 kms from Santana-Telaulim is another marvel with sea shell shaped vaults. Basilica of Bom Jesus is known for its beautiful baroque architecture..Se Cathedral, the Church Of Francis of Assisi and Church of Our Lady of the Rosary are others you can visit.

For others who prefer pre-Portuguese religious architecture, you can visit Tamdi Surla. It features Kadamba temple architecture of the 12th century. If you go in the monsoons, the temple resembles an amethyst sculpture due to its unique purplish hue. The temple stands on ten finely ornamented monolithic pillars and the design uses male-female stone joints to fit the slabs and corners. After the temple you can visit Molem national park and the Zoo at Bondla nearby.

Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is worth a visit for those who love birds of the feathered kind. Although not very large, its dense mangrove vegetation is home to 400 species of birds. Crocodiles, foxes, and jackals are its other inhabitants.



Getting there

Sahakari farm is at Curti in Ponda, right on the highway to Belgaum.
Usgalimal can be reached in 2 hours from Calangute via cab. The site is hidden behind an iron mine, so watch out for an sign board put up by Archeological Society of India.
Well of Thieves is opposite the Jesuit Retreat home in Baga.
For the curch circuit, go to Old Goa in the district of North Goa.
Tamdi Surla is 70 kilometres from Panaji
For Salim Ali bird sanctuary, take a bus or taxi from Panaji to the Ribandar ferry dock and then take a ferry across the Mandovi River to the island of Chorao

Precautions
At Usgalimal, remember to wear proper footwear as the exposed rocks get very hot and can scorch your feet.
During the Dolphin cruise, take the early morning round as by late morning with rising temperature and crowds, chances of spotting them diminish.
Avoid the bird sanctuary during the monsoons and summers when it can get really hot and humid.

For more travel ideas off the beaten trail check my blog
http://www.greatholidayideas.net
 

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hi,

it seems that you know a lot about India! i heard that Goa was beautiful, and with all your info, it won't be difficult for me to get there!! lol
do you know some nice bars, clubs and spot to visit once there? i saw some pictures and there are some magnificient beaches so i would like to find a hotel right down the beach! i browsed through internet and found http://www.select-a-room.com/ and http://hotel.twenga.co.uk/ but if you have experienced a good hotel, let me know,it's always better to have some feedback by users! :)

and if you know other indian cities i really should visit, i'm looking forward for your message. i would like to stay a whole month there, so i'm looking for ideas!! :)

thanks a lot!

cheers!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Paolitita,
I am actually based in Bangalore and have visited Goa a few times. I remember 3 places i have stayed in. Once in Fort Aguada which is a 5 star hotel and is a little expensive but great! Its in Bardez, 45kms from the airport.
The other 2 occasions i was at Hotel Miramar and Bambolim beach resort.
Miramar is a government run resort on the beach in the capital city Panjim. Its clean and comfortable but not luxurious.
Miramar is about 7 kms from Panjim and i found it better than Miramar. Its picturesquely located in Nunes beach on bambolim bay.
I also know that beaches in north Goa are more prefered by international tourists, especially in bagha and calangute beach, although i havent stayed there.
I will find out from some of friends who live there and let you know! Let me know what kind og budget are you planning so they can recommend appropriate places be it backpaking type, economy or luxury!

Great to know that you have some time and will be visiting other places. India is like a continent with a staggering variety of places to see! So i can help you if you tell me your interests and duration.
To gve you an idea, one trail can be the typical attractions of the north- Taj Mahal, highlights of Delhi like, The palaces of Rajasthan.
Other option can be the southern state of Kerala where its backwaters of the arabian sea.
If you like a cultural feel, then there are many home stays in several states each of which can give you a different feel of india!
Then there are the hills and mountain states where you can find some tranquility!
What i suggest is you let me know what is your interest and i can help you.
Meanwhile for some ideas, you can go to my blog www.greatholidayideas.net and checkout some of the indian destinations.
regards
 
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