I had completely forgotten to post this pic – one that I like the most! Its sunset view at Fort Aguada, Goa overlooking the Arabian Sea. It was a heavenly view. At the moment reflecting back on that very moment and trying to feel the celestial bliss as I sip my cup of Darjeeling Tea back home. Enjoy the photo!!
Goa in India is known for its golden beaches and in my recent visit I managed to take some shots. The images below are taken from far at Curlies Restaurant and Bar located at Anjuna beach. Hope you like them.
I was with my family and I found Goa to be ideal for all, whether you are with your family, friends or a loner like the guys above!
Working like a dog all year long often instills vivid imagination of vacations – sleeping like a log on some silver sandy beach with the blessings of celestial rays on ones body and soul. Being a hilly guy, my home Darjeeling is often shadowed and the sun often gets revealed with just the silver lining – only through a few summer months, the sun gets to show all its might. A land flooded with the almighty rays is a dream for people like us.
Winters in Darjeeling are generally severe and can go below zero. Local residents generally flock to warmer areas; the school and college students are given winter breaks – generally resumes by end of February.
My family was complaining and I had to take them some place warm where the sun is bright and welcoming. Personally, I needed a break too – the plan got tabled and we were destined to visit Mumbai and Goa. Most of Thunderbolt Tea‘s staff took a break too except for a few who were entitled to process orders and send them. Some of them went to visit the backwaters of Kerala.
Finally the day came, we boarded the flight to Mumbai from Kolkata. It took us about 2 and a half hours to reach Mumbai by Indigo. Indigo is one carrier I like amongst others – their service is awesome, crew hospitable and the food is quite good.
We reached Mumbai and straight away headed for our hotel – Grand Sarovar Permiere. Getting to the hotel was easy as we booked a “Meru taxi” – One advice if you are in Mumbai – if you are travelling from one place to another within Mumbai, then Meru Cabs provide impeccable service. Give them a ring and a taxi will arrive wherever you are within 10-20 minutes – travelling within Mumbai was made easy through Meru’s service and this also saves you from being robbed by other local taxis who is going to make your entire route twist and turn just to get the meter high.
Within the span of our Mumbai stay, we hopped on to three different hotels and all offered us good service.
First Hotel – Grand Sarovar Premiere: Upon arrival we were greeted with utmost care and concern and the main man who really took care of us – Mr. Kishen – Thanks to him. We had arrived early and Mr. Kishen offered us complimentary breakfast which was great. The food was awesome.
The whole Sarovar staff were very polite and greeted us with warm greetings everywhere. The room was clean and well maintained. The hotel had a rooftop swimming pool, but we never got a chance to take a dip due to our busy shopping schedules etc. Grand Sarovar Premiere is very much located near some good shopping malls – InOrbit and Infiniti are at short walking distances. I recommend this hotel which proved to us – full value for money.
Second Hotel – Taj Lands End: After our stay at Grand Sarovar, we headed towards our second hotel, Taj Lands End. The hotel with the best lobby in comparison to the other two. The other good thing about Taj Lands End is its location – Bandra, very close to the sea. The whole area is beautiful and the hotel room offered a sea view which was awesome. My kid and wife are big fans of Bollywood and Shahrukh Khan being their ideal hero – guess what – Shahrukh Khan’s residence, “Mannat” was just 5 minutes walk away from Taj Lands End.
Most of our outings in Mumbai were over by the time we landed in Taj Lands End, just a few were remaining – we had ample time and this time we were sure to take a dip in the pool.
Taj Lands End offers a beautiful pool both for the kids and adults and a small jacuzzi style round pool where you experience hot water – all of us spent most of the time in the pool. A recommended hotel.
Third Hotel – The Taj Mahal Palace: After Taj Lands End, we hopped on to our last hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace. I was personally interested in this hotel because of the news it created earlier – most of you know about it. I was guessing on the security and I was right – a high security check-in was implemented before anyone entered the hotel premises. The Taj Mahal Palace had a good lobby too, but all of us liked Taj Lands End better. The Taj Mahal Palace is also located in a beautiful place just at the side of “The Gateway of India”.
From the hotel room we could see hundreds of locals and tourists flocking to The Gateway of India; some were boarding the ferry service towards Elephanta Caves. The room was clean and prior to our arrival they had already included an extra bed for the child – that was thoughtful. It has a good swimming pool, but we didn’t dare to take a dip as we feared we would catch cold and the thought of Goa and its sandy beaches were yet to come. Taking a “Palace room” is recommended if you intend to stay at The Taj Mahal Palace because its located in the actual palace area when all standard rooms are located in the new tall building by the palace building known as “Tower”.
It had been quite sometime since my last visit to Mumbai and I found a hell lot of changes. Though I was unable to delve deeper into the roots of Mumbai and its life, I found the change to be better with less thugs and a tremendous amount of development. I have been to a lot of Indian metros and I found Mumbai quite good in comparison to all of them that I have visited. The city has now become clean and to top all, I found it to be completely safe despite of all rumors regarding mafia driven streets. Small things like pickpockets are still existent, but this is common in all Indian cities. I loved the Bandra Link Road where we were able to shop a lot of things. I loved the restaurants which offered some awesome food like the gigantic chola batura and dosa.
I loved the pau bhaji on Juhu beach. In short I loved Mumbai from all other cities I have visited in India. Kid loved Essel World and Water Kingdom. Experiencing below zero degree temperature in Mumbai was unthinkable at the ice skating rink in Essel World – reminded me of my home weather. Go experience Mumbai!GOA
After our stay at The Taj Mahal Palace, we boarded the plane to Goa which took us about an hour I suppose. We got picked up by the hotel car. I wanted a hotel which was situated close to the beach and I finally settled for “Laguna Anjuna” – a very differently customized hotel. Laguna Anjuna had a concept, a concept which may not prove pleasing to all, but if you understand it, you are gonna love it. The hotel believed in preserving nature and I was informed that not a single tree was cut in its making. A concept which is close to what we find here in the hills of Darjeeling and Sikkim, commonly known as “village tourism”, close to nature and all things organic. The rooms are large and are cleaned everyday. The hotel staff are excellent and their food delicious. It has a nice pool by the restaurant which is often playing Goan local music. They even play a good collection from the 80′s – some were my favorites.
Anjuna beach is just about 10 minutes walk from the hotel, but its absolutely sane to hire a bike in Goa. Bikes were available just outside the hotel gate – I got one which was perfect for the three of us. If you want some fancy bikes, it can cost about Rs. 400-500 a day, but bikes with no gears come really cheap starting from Rs. 200 a day. Fuel is not provided and can be got almost everywhere in one litre plastic bottles – on the roadside. Travelling by car is futile and the pleasure of going anywhere you want to go gets short – bike is the best option. Roads are really in good condition and majestically adored with nature’s gift – specially beautiful palm trees on the sides.
I really didn’t know how many days were needed to explore the whole of Goa, but after spendings days in Goa, I got to know that you need atleast a week to visit both North and South Goa. Unfortunately, I could only explore North Goan beaches. Goa has some excellent beaches and I loved almost all of them. I wanted to visit Palolem which is in the south, but was far far away. North Goa specially Anjuna is full of loud techno music as you enter, but gets quieter as you move to the extreme where Curlies restaurant is situated. Curlies is one fine place where you get excellent food. We took a bike ride to Morjim beach which was quite far, but upon arrival we just didn’t regret the ride, we simply loved Morjim, perfect for families to take a dip in the sea where the depth is less and deepens on a very gradual manner. My daughter enjoyed a lot!
We just hated Baga and Calungute beaches – it was heavily crowded with a hell lot of public noise. But if you are in a mood for some water sports, Baga has it all. We did stop at a restaurant called Brittos at Baga beach which my friend had referred and the lobster was delicious, though a bit expensive – Rs. 1800 for one. Instead of spending time here on these two, we took a ride to Coco beach – not a beach where you get to swim and lie on the beach, but a beach where you get to go on a boat ride to watch the dolphins. Unfortunately, dolphins appear at their own will and we could just view a few and then they vanished for good, but it was an enjoyable trip where you get to see other tourist sights as well.
Anjuna has an excellent market called the “Flea market” where you find people selling different products like handmade leather sandles, silver ornaments made in more of a Tibetan fashion, clothes etc.
This market opens just one day in a week – on Wednesdays. Don’t miss it if you are there on a Wednesday.
We loved Vagator and Fort Aguada. We went searching for Vagator beach and upon arrival, we came to know there are two Vagators – small and Big Vagator beach.
Fort Aguada was magical as we reached there during the evening time – sun setting down gave us some awesome celestial views.
The last day we took a rest and the whole day we were in the pool at Laguna Anjuna. We boarded our flight back to Kolkata by Jetlite which took us about 4 hours because it had to touch down at Bangalore for 30 minutes. Two days more at Kolkata and we boarded our flight back to Bagdogra Airport by Spice Jet.
Note: If you are a tea lover like me, its always wise to take your own pouch filled with your favorite tea. Whenever travel is on the charts, I always carry my favorite Darjeeling Tea with me because of my experiences in the past. All I could get was Darjeeling Tea in tea bags!
Darjeeling was still chilly, but we all felt good to be back home!
Hope you all had good holidaying!
Welcome to my personal space on the web. Hi! This is Benoy, a guy who resides among the Himalayan hills of Darjeeling. This is a personal blog where I update everything personal - from my wake up time to the time I fall dead on the bed. I love Darjeeling Tea and photography - Though an amateur photographer with zero knowledge of the technicalities involved, I like the idea of capturing the angle which best portrays to my eyes. Enjoy your stay here! +Benoy Thapa
- Fire in Darjeeling April 19, 2012
- Darjeeling Silver Lining February 17, 2012
- A Misty Ride to a nearby Darjeeling village February 15, 2012
- Some Tea with Darjeeling Capitol Clock Tower smiling | Photo post February 5, 2012
- Fort Aguada, Goa, Sunset – lovely | Photo January 29, 2012
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