Our next tour, a couple of days later was to the capital, Panjim, followed by a trip to the Dudsaghar Falls a couple of days later. Panjim or Panaji is the new capital of Goa, and our tour started at the old capital, Old Goa (Velha Goa in Portuguese).
Old Goa was the capital from the sixteenth century until the eighteenth century, when it was abandoned due to a plague. Our guide told us that there are a number of churches in close proximity in Old Goa. The first one that we visited was the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this church is that is holds the remains of St Francis Xavier. It’s one of the oldest churches in India, work started on building it in 1594.
Across the road is the Se Cathedral, dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria. We were unable to enter the cathedral on the day we visited as a wedding was taking place so we had to content ourselves with looking around the outside, and making the most of the lovely gardens.
From here we went to Panjim. Panjim is built on the banks of the Mandovi river, which is a lovely backdrop as you look across. There are a number of boats moored in the river, including a New Orleans steamboat. It transpires that these boats are casinos. I don’t know what the law about gambling is in India, but I suppose there is something quite glamorous about going out to a boat to play roulette…
Back to reality with a bang, we went to the covered market. Very similar to the covered market in Margao, but with a larger, more open area in the middle. Sheena and I bought the spice tins we’d been seeking here, and once we’d done that we went back into the open, looking for somewhere to have a drink. As we only had an hour before the coach picked us up again, we didn’t want to venture too far inside the city, so we just wandered around. We managed to find a Body Shop on our travels…
The coach took us to a nearby Marriott Hotel for lunch, which had a stunning view across the river. Lunch was a buffet with India food one end, salads, fruit and cold meats. Plenty to eat for everyone.
After lunch, we were taken for a tour in tuc-tucs, which included a visit to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1541. It looks huge from the outside, but isn’t, so a bit like the Tardis in reverse.
The following Monday, we took a trip with our friends David and Madhavi to the Dudsaghar Waterfalls (which translates to Sea of Milk). These are also on the Mandovi river, but whereas Panjim is near to the estuary, these are much further inland, part of the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
We had planned on going by train, but were advised to go early in the morning, before it got to hot, so as the train wouldn’t have got us there until about 3pm, we went by cab to the nearest town. From here, we got a four-wheel drive to the falls. It was funny how people kept trying to sell us nuts and bananas to give to the “friendly monkeys” at the falls, yet when we got there, there were signs all over the place telling us not to feed the monkeys. We hadn’t bought anything anyway, we all know better than to feed wild animals, which was just as well, since we saw a chap who had bought some bananas have them snatched out of his hand by a tiny little thing that moved faster than the speed of light. No gentle feeding of the friendly monkeys then!
The falls are a four-tiered waterfall that is rather lovely, especially when we saw the Chennai Express trekking along up high behind the falls… That’s a train journey I want to do one day.
The whole trip, including the four-wheel drive, cost us about £20 per head… Excellent value! We managed to get ourselves back at the hotel by early afternoon, in time for lunch a couple of hours on the beach.
That was the last of our tours in Goa. We had a couple more days before we had to come home. David and Madhavi came over for drinks on our veranda before we came home in the early hours of Thursday morning. Just as well as my suitcase was overweight so Madhavi agreed to bring some things home for me when she comes back in March.
So that’s the end of my trip to Goa, this time anyway. Here’s looking forward to the next time.
© Susan Shirley 2016