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India: Travelling in Goa

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India is officially known as Republic of India; is one of the largest country in South Asia. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. The name ‘INDIA’ was derived from the Sanskrit word “Sindhu” which means large body of water, representing the Indus River and ancient Greeks referred the Indians as Indoi, which also translates as “the people of Indus”.

India is home to the Indus Valley Civilisation and is very rich is culture during its long history. Four religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) originates from India whereas Zoroantrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam made their mark in India in the 1st Millennium CE.

India can be accessed through air, water and land from various routes around the world.

Beautiful Goa, a state on India’s West Coast is a former Portugese colony with a unique mix of Indian and Portugese culture and architecture. Goa is actually a very small state which divides itself to North and South Goa district and it is further divided into 11 talukas (or better known as small towns).

People in Goa:

The culture in Goa is mainly shaped by the Hindu and Catholic population. You may find the people here is mostly easy going and you may find a lot of the people here mostly live in villages and travel to work.

The official language in Goa is Konkani but you may find that most Goans speaks Konkani, English, Hindi and Marathi.

Visiting Goa:

The best time to visit Goa is between mid-November to mid-February, so that you would be able to enjoy a comfortable and pleasant weather.

Goa can be accessed via its sole airport (Dabolim), by train and through the many buses connecting the state with other India cities – primarily Mumbai, Mangalore and Bangalore. Certain airlines has routes connecting to Goa or you may opt for domestic flights from Mumbai.

 

Travelling around Goa might be a little bit tricky as the town spread out with a considerable distance between them, and finding the way around could be challenging as certain park of Goa lacks sign boards. You may opt to travel around by motorbike, bus, and car. You may rent motorbikes and car to travel around but be prepared to expect surprises like domestic animals and little children darting across the road and unmarked speed bumps. Foreigners will need an International Driving Permit to be able to drive around in case you are stopped by the local police.

 

Goa’s Attractions:

Museums, Art Galleries and Libraries

Goa also has its fair share of museums, art galleries and libraries, such as Goa State museum, the Kala Academy, the Central Library and the Goa Science Centre, Old Goa and Christian Art Museum.

Beaches

Among the famous beaches are Arambol Beach – A quiet and virgin beach in North Goa with many water sports available with a very big beach market.

Palolem Beach is a scenic beach in south Goa with scenic rocks and islands off its shores.

Churches

It is no exaggeration to call Goa, a city of churches which are a proof of the rich history of the beach city. The churches in Goa are world-renowned as they have kept intact the old-world charm and thus are famous as tourist attractions.

Among the beautiful churches that has become tourist attractions in Goa is:

  • Bom Jesus Basilica (1605)- built in 1605, this Basilica has the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, one of the patron Saints of Goa.
  • Se Cathedral- built in 1619, one of cated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. It was built to remember the victory of the Portuguese over the Muslim rulers in the city. The building has a Golden bell that can be heard in the whole of Goa.
  • Church of St Francis of Assisi- built in 1661, located on the back of the Se Cathedral, this church is a beautiful piece of ancient workmanship.

Temples

Shree Manguesh Shantadurgai Prasanna Temple is dedicated to the deity of Lord Shiva. Shree Manguesh temple is famous for its pristine glory, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.

 

Things to do in Goa:

  • Relax at the beaches.
  • Chill out at the discos and pubs
  • Visit the Anjuna flea market
  • Browse the libraries
  • Diving: The season is between mid October to mid May. The local diving here consists of dive sites around Grande Island, just off the coast near Vasco da Gama. The dive sites are mostly 12-18 m deep, and the visibility varies through the season, averaging around 5-6 m. Marine life is abundant, with many species of reef fish, hard and soft corals, and several shipwrecks to dive.
  • Participate in water sports such as Jet-Ski, banana ride and paragliding. Goa has one of the cheapest beach adventure sports rates.
  • Visit the Butterfly Conservatory Of Goa.

Spicing Up At a Spice Garden

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What is life but a mélange of different spices with each type adding its own unique flavor and aroma? During one of our time-outs, we decided to explore the origin of these spices and witness the various stages of their lifecycle.

While we were absorbing the tranquility of the seemingly endless verdant tea gardens at Munnar, our guide popped a question that completely caught us off guard. He wanted to know our duration of stay at Thekkady/Kumily and when we answered that we had not included this spot in our itinerary, it was his turn to react. A visit to Kerala without a single trip to a spice garden? Unbelievable!!! His reaction prompted us to rethink and soon we were on our way to Kumily, ensuring that a spice garden was included in our itinerary.

Ensconced amidst undulating green landscape that marks Cardamom Hills is Kumily, a relatively small town that has embarked on urbanization without compromising on its rural character. The streets are a picture of contradiction – next to a contemporary setup meant to serve as a commercial outlet for locally grown spices you would invariably find a traditional business being run as it would have been for the last few decades. Because this region has served as a melting pot for a variety of spices for hundreds of years, it is but natural for spice gardens to form an integral part of life here.

Soon after we were settled at our resort, it was time to venture out and a visit to a spice garden seemed like an ideal way to start. ‘Kerala Spices’ was to be our salvation that day and to tell the truth, it did live up to our expectations in every way. Not long after having bought tickets amidst of whiff of strong scents hanging in the air, we suddenly found ourselves enveloped within a cloak of thick green canopy.

Following our guide through the maze of trees, we realized that spice-bearing trees or shrubs did not appear to be any different from other types of foliage, meaning it was possible to be blissfully ignorant of their presence unless you knew how to identify them. As novices, we were totally dependent on our guide to point out the particular tree/shrub, its leaves, pods and aroma, not to mention the bark.

For the first time we saw how the pepper that we use in our homes was grown and were amazed when told that both black and white varieties of pepper were harvested from the same plant. Pepper trees bear fruit in form of vibrant red berries which stand out in sharp contrast to the dull green surroundings. If harvested at this stage, the seeds within are powdered into white pepper and if left on the tree to ripen, they transform into green pods. Next, they can either be preserved as green pepper for their coveted flavor or alternatively could be dried till they turn black, namely peppercorns, meant to spice things up in Indian kitchens.

Yet another revelation was cinnamon and we were briefed on how its bark was extracted and dried to form the famed cinnamon rolls that are prized for their flavor, aroma and medicinal properties. Cocoa and vanilla cultivation was something that we found most interesting, probably owing to our fondness for chocolates and ice creams. Especially the fact that vanilla is one of the most expensive spices in the world owing to its unique method of pollination was a point that had us truly amazed. It so happens that vanilla pods can be pollinated only by a particular species of bird and subsequent to pollination the fruit takes its own time to mature and ripen.

Likewise cocoa is harvested from cocoa pods which start off as yellow cucumbers and gradually acquire a dark brown tinge when they ripen. Cocoa thus obtained is pure and organic and hence one of the most sought-after in the world. There is a by-product too, namely cocoa butter which serves as a base for skin care products courtesy of its ability to moisturize while emanating a delicious scent.

What rendered our trip truly memorable was organic method of cultivation and the sustained manner in which the entire establishment was managed. It not just ensured the purity of spices but also guaranteed survival for many long years in future without leaving as much as a tiny imprint on the environment.

On stepping out of the gates after what seemed like a lifetime in wilderness, all that remained of our trip to the spice garden was the heady feeling that comes from having inhaled a variety of aromas within a relatively short duration.

lemon pickle

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Ingriedients:

lemon 20 big ones

rock salt 3 tbsp little extra

1cup lemon juice

3 tbsp chilli powder

2 tbsp dry roasted fenugreek powder

2 tbsp turmeric

Method:

wash and air dry lemon , make sure no water retained , cut them into 8 pieces, put in a glass container, add turmeric powder and salt,lemon juice to soak the complete mixture , mix well close the lid keep some warm dry place for  5 days every morning mix the content and cover the lid.

final day, add a cup of oil{sesame oil} add 1 cup of curry leaves, 2 tbsp mustard, 2 tbsp jeera, 3 tbsp chilli powder, 1 tbsp hing powder, 2 tbsp dry roasted fenugreek powder, now add the marinate lemon mixture along with soaked juice, mix well cook for 15 minutes,

after cooling store in air tight glass jar, you can use right away, as days prolong the pickle will taste superlicious, enjoy :0