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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Monsoon in Goa

Two women and a child, at Goa, in the monsoons – quite an unusual combination, right? That was me, my mom, and my son, making the most of our unexpected monsoon break to take some time off. It was the first time in Goa for my mom, the second for my son, and my third trip to the state…. Expectations were mixed, especially when we were greeted by heavy rains, which continued through our stay there. What did we expect? It was the monsoon after all!! As it turned out, the rains showed us a different side of Goa, which none of us had expected to find.

Samhith with my mom on Varca Beach, Goa



We visited all the normal tourist places, but the rain seemed to add another dimension to each of them. Come along with me, and let me show you Goa, as we saw her, in the monsoons!

Creatures of the sea

The monsoon seemed to bring out the best and the worst in the beaches. The tides were higher, and it wasn’t really safe to swim, or to try our hand at some adventure. However, the rough tides brought along with them, creatures from far, far away… from hermit crabs to starfish, Goa’s beaches abounded in them, during our visit. We spent hours marvelling over the many types of shells, and all the colours they came in… and of course, brought many of them back with us. What my son remembers the most, though, is the sight of starfish brought in by the tide, burying themselves in the sand….

Starfish

Creatures in the wild

We tend to associate Goa with beaches, not with forests, but the state has not one, but three wildlife sanctuaries. During our trip, we drove through two of them… the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary, and theBondla wildlife sanctuary, and both were big surprises for us. While the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest one in the region, and appears to be a dense jungle, with massive efforts on to protect and conserve the ecosystem, the Bondla Sanctuary is the smallest, and is an effort to bring the forest closer, to the people, especially kids. Its biggest attraction is a small zoo. While we are not big fans of zoos, and were sceptical at the idea of visiting a zoo, even within a sanctuary, I have to admit that the zoo here is well maintained, and the animals seem to be well cared for. Even as we were admiring the Royal Bengal Tiger in its enclosure, my son spotted a Giant Wood Spider on a tree nearby. You never know what you will find, if only you look!

Giant Wood Spider, at Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary

Rain soaked Heritage


Chapel of St. Catherine


The churches of Old Goa are among the most popular among tourists. The rain, however, managed to keep many of them at bay. Not us, though! We made the most of the rain by staying inside and exploring them at length, from the beautiful paintings inside the Church of St. Francis of Assisi , to the less known and lesser visited Chapel of St. Catherine.

The back side of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi


The popular temples of Goa, like the Shantadurga temple and Mangeshi temple, were on our list too, and we sat for a while by the rain water filled temple tanks, breathing in the peace and quiet.

Temple tank of the Shantadurga Temple


However, what we relished most was visiting ancient temple located within the dense forest – the Tambdi Surla temple. I have written in detail about this temple before, so I will try not to repeat myself, but this temple, in the pouring rain, surrounded by the jungle, is an experience which makes Goa in the rains unforgettable!

The rain, it is said, rejuvenates. It clears out the old and brings forth new life. That’s just what we needed, and exactly what we found, in Goa, in the monsoon.

This post was originally published on the Club Mahindra Blog. You can read it here

Comments

  1. Wonderful read Anu Akka..hope that you remember me :)

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  2. Great stuff Anu, really enjoyed this. We have a place in Goa but can only open during season (otherwise we're flooded!), what a shame!

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  3. Lovely pictures!! I have just been there this July in monsoon. It was awesome :)

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  4. Wow, have gottu explore the wildlife sanctuaries!

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  5. Loved the temple here. Got to explore Goa other than the usual tourist circuit.

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  6. you are good storyteller anu.. keep on writing good stuff..

    ReplyDelete

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