On your next trip to Goa, do things differently!
Ditch the beaches for the churches
Trade the crowded bars for tranquil nature trails
Skip the water sports for a boat ride on the backwaters
Several tourists throng the beaches of Goa in the ‘peak’ season between October and January, but there are few who visit Goa when its beauty is at its ‘peak.’ The gushing streams, the palm trees swaying and the lush greenery are the gorgeous sights that welcome you when you visit Goa during the rains.
Exploring Goa during the monsoons is a different experience altogether. Because, when in Goa, do what the Goans do – sushegaad– which means to laze around. Imagine relaxing on a hammock in the verandah gazing at the palm trees towering over the vast and verdant kitchen garden. Finish that long pending book, compose that tune you’ve meaning to, paint your heart out, go for a nature trail, sit by the backwaters, draw water from a well, pluck some bananas and jackfruits from the kitchen garden, go fishing!
Chillies in my kitchen garden
Till some years ago, drinking water in my house was also drawn from the well. Now it’s only for certain household activties.
To really enjoy Goa in the monsoons, one must live in the quaint family-run inns in the interiors which overlook scenic paddy fields and streams. Being a native, I have two family houses in Goa to go to 🙂 But there are tonnes of charming bungalows and villas available as homestays that you can check out. See here!
Take a walk amidst the coconut, jackfruit and banana trees
For those interested in outdoor activities, there are places like the Dudhsagar falls which is best accessible from Madgaon or Vasco. Perched in the high peaks of the Western Ghats, it also serves as a trekking spot. Measuring a mighty 600m in height, it is an enchanting sight to watch the cascading water which appears white as milk—hence the name ‘Dudhsagar.’ If you wish to visit a relatively less commercial waterfall site, it is Harvalem waterfalls in a small town called Sanquelim in North Goa—not as enthralling as Dudhsagar, but charming nonetheless. The drive to Harvalem is a visual treat—the brimmed lakes reflecting the dark grey cloudy sky set amidst the emerald greenery is breathtaking. En route the waterfall, are the Arvalem caves, also known as the Pandava Caves; these are ancient rock-cut caves dating back to the 5th century.
Harvalem Falls, Sanquelim
You can also visit churches and temples for their sheer architectural beauty. I was awestruck when I visited the Basilica of Bom Jesus—a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Old Goa. The basilica contains the tomb and mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier and is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in India.
Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa
The temple architecture in Goa is a hybrid blend—it is essentially traditional Hindu designs but with a Portuguese influence. Visiting temples in Goa is customary for a native, but I enjoy visiting some of them purely for their beauty and charm. Some of my favourites are the Mahalaxmi temple in Bandoda with its beautiful silver arched doorway, the Shanta Durga temple at Fatorpa for the soothing and peaceful aura that it emanates and the Mallikaarjun temple at Cancona which has exquisite figurines etched on the walls.
Shanta Durga temple, Fatorpa
So I urge you to rid yourself of the misnomer that Goa is synonymous with beaches; you must witness the transformation of the Goan landscape with the onset of the monsoons. It will transport you to a world so surreal that you wouldn’t want to come back.
If you have more suggestions of things to do in Goa during the rains, please leave them in the comments section 🙂