We wished to go to the seas. I wished for a cool joint with a small attached beach. Lots of green. A few lonely hideouts to sit and get lost. Great views, the boats, the waves, the adventurers, the fishermen, the birds, the blue sky, the white clouds. Also some great food and delightful service. And all this, I told my God, must come at a bargain price.
Did I get what I wished? Come let’s check it out. We are 🛫 to Goa.
As the hired taxi from the Airport turned into a narrow lane from a busy road, I looked up and asked him. Is it all okay? This looks like a village. And he nodded and reminded me. “Hope you had a good look at the name before you booked? ” I looked again. He was right, my God I mean. It was Hawaii – The Sea Side Village Retreat. It was my choice. And as we went in we realized I was right, it was an awesome choice 😁
Hawaii – The Sea Side Village Retreat is a nice little property in Dona Paula, a strategic location of North Goa. There is nothing too fancy about it. But there is a homely comfort, good food and drinks option, a small restaurant and bar, good room service and a small semi private beach.
There are limited rooms and thus the property gives you a feel of privacy as there are not too many people around. You have various room options including a few cottage rooms a little walk up the landscape offering some great views. Food is good and reasonably priced. But the best part is that there is lots and lots of peace. I will take you through this journey of being here a little later and I am sure you would love it.
As we settled down into our room offering a beautiful view, it was past lunch time. We decided on moving out, getting to see around a bit and hoping to find some good eating joint offering South Indian delicacies. And my wife’s favourite sada dosa. The walk wasn’t long, the search effective and we were soon having our Vada, Uttapam and dosa in a lovely little shop. We were by now getting the real feel of Goa. The evening was spent in the lawns watching the sea, the lights, the floating vessels, the dark clouds and marvelling at the roaring waves and the roar getting louder and louder as the night progressed. It was October and the breeze was cool and fresh. A sudden trigger of happiness went through my mind and life seemed so beautiful.
Are you through? When will you order the dinner? The volley of questions brought me back. That was my wife. We soon ordered some fishy delights and rice for dinner before retiring for the day.
When we are on a holiday, we love to get up very early or else we feel we have wasted our day. So got up early, had our couple of rounds of tea, freshened up, finished our breakfast and were off for our spin at 9.30 AM. Before we move ahead, let me tell you the story of our self driven car owner and chauffeur. He worked in Gulf for many years, invested his hard earned savings in the iron ore mining sector, was doing very well till certain regulations put a halt to the mining industry in Goa. With no other option he was now driving for his livelihood, still retained his membership in one of the top popular casinos and offered to take us there in the evening. We settled for the next day evening. Let’s get going now. Our first destination, Reis Magos Fort.
The Reis Magos Fort is the oldest fort in Goa and was initially used as the viceroy’s residence and later converted to a fortress. It also served as a prison until recently. Surrounded by sturdy and distinctive reddish laterite walls and studded with typically Portuguese watchtowers at strategic points, the fort offers some remarkable views of the surrounding countryside and overlooks the Reis Magos Church which lies just a short distance away.
Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a well-preserved 17th century Portuguese fort on Sinquerim beach overlooking the Arabian Sea. The fort was constructed in 1612 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe at that time. Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort of Portuguese.
A freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. This is how the fort got its name: Aguada, meaning Water. Crews of passing ships would often visit to replenish their fresh water stores. On the fort stands a four-storey Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864 and the oldest of its kind in Asia. Built in 1612, it was once the grandstand of 79 cannons. It had the capacity of storing 2,376,000 gallons of water, one of the biggest freshwater storages of the time in whole of Asia. This fort is divided in two segments: the upper part acted as fort and watering station, while the lower part served as a safe berth for Portuguese ships. Whereas the upper part had a moat, underground water storage chamber, gunpowder room, light house and bastions, it also had a secret escape passage to use during time of war and emergency. The lighthouse at initial stage used to emit light once in 7 minutes. In 1834 it was changed to emit light creating eclipse every 30 seconds, however it was abandoned in 1976.
We are in Goa and churches in Goa are an important legacy of it being an erstwhile Portuguese colony. Built across centuries, these architectural wonders are not only just a place of worship, they hold a place of historical or cultural significance as well. One of the most visited churches in Goa is the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier is preserved here in this Basilica and hence revered by many. It also is an UNESCO World Heritage site.
The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule. Bom Jesus, literally Good or Holy Jesus is the name used in the countries of Portuguese civilization. The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. Come let’s have a look.
Our next stop, St. Cajetan Church. Also known as the Church of Divine Providence it’s a church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman located in Old Goa. The church was completed in 1661 and is part of the World Heritage Site, Churches and convents of Goa.
Three Italian priests of the Theatine order arrived in India to preach Christianity in 1639. In 1643, they began work on a hospital, but were banished by the Portuguese viceroy Filipe Mascarenhas. The leader of the Italian priests, Pedro Avitabili however went to Portugal and convinced king John IV of Portugal that their working with the Portuguese priests in Goa would be in the interests of Christianity. The king permitted the construction of the hospital in 1650, and in 1655 they also managed to obtain permission for setting up the church and a small convent near it. The church’s construction was under the supervision of Italian architects, Carlo Ferrarini and Francesco Maria Milazzo. The church is considered to have been modeled on the St.Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
As we came out my thoughts went back to my younger days. My church in school, the statue of Jesus Christ in our school compound and the memories of my father coming over once or twice during the week with hot lunch during tiffin hours, which I used to have hiding behind the statue of Jesus so that none of my friends could see me being pampered by my father. Those olden golden days. Life was beautiful.
Goa is beautiful. It has a different charm unlike any other place. And as we drove back in our cab, the buildings looked so nice and wonderful.
We were on our way back to Dona Paula, the wonderful location that we had chosen. More about Dona Paula, history, beaches, relaxation, food, beliefs, culture, casinos and much more on Goa as we catch up soon. Till then have a great weekend and keep enjoying India Beautiful 🇮🇳