Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Capital City safe and sound! : Top 5 spots in Panaji City

The capital of the possibly India’s best state goes by the name Panaji. I, for one don’t like the new name as much in comparison to Panjim as it was earlier known by. A city which has practically everything you need to settle down and retrospect as well. It has a story behind almost every building, road or tree. However, in this post I’m focusing on the unique, the peculiar which would stand out in comparison to rest of the cities.

Here’s a list of 5 unique spots the city has to offer.

#5. Dona Paula Jetty

Right at the end of the city is located the Dona Paul jetty. Known as one of the most visited tourist destinations of the state, this is the place where you can still avail of the “I Love Goa”merchandise. And what’s worse half the people will be wearing the merchandise; question arises as to where and how they change their attire so quick. Nonetheless a very scenic beauty overlooking the Arabian Sea, blue in colour. A favourite spot for “romancing” and fishing as well. Always believed it appeared a tad more visually appealing in the nights though.

#4. Panaji Market
Fragrance of poultry, meat, fish, vegetables and spices? What’s not to love (evil smirk). One can avail of practically anything under the sun in this market. Be it an eye liner or a fake Adidas t-shirt, you are guaranteed to own it by the end of your shopping encounter. The thing I personally love the most about the entire market are the Mario Miranda artwork done on two sides of the wall. One coloured, and the other in classic black and white. Besides, the mobile repair shops are top notch out here.

#3. Miramar Beach

As per my personal survey the third most crowded beach in the state. And no I won’t tell you the first two. Coconut trees, a bit of grass, good amount of sand and the Arabian Sea are the perfect ingredients to attract any tourist. The locals however have ulterior motives. The food vendors out here will give yo mommas a run for their money big time. Chaat, Gola, Pav bhaji enough said! Oh and the latest craze is some decent Shawarma (nothing to brag about honestly). Many youngsters tend to play a lot of football here in addition to the eye candy of women in yoga pants deciding to take a jog is justifiable to visit.

#2. Panaji Church

What a sight it is at night, shining bright whether day or night. So well architectured, the staircases just add to the oomph factor. There is absolutely no way you can ignore having a glance of it. Standing tall in blue and white for as long as I can remember, this will always be used as one of the most influential landmarks within the city.

#1. Fontainhas

Known as the Latin Corner of the state, words fall short as to how well planned this side of the city is. Mini Portugal is what I term it as. So intricate in its architecture and boy oh boy the colour combinations of all the buildings and houses are on point. No exaggeration, I a procrastinator wants to actually walk through this section of the city and just explore how beautiful it really is. Lots of Portuguese is spoken here, and you certainly do feel like you’re in Portugal itself.

Honestly Panaji has a lot more to offer, my spots are a bit biased. One should visit the place to get the real feel of what I’m trying to get across.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Churches: top 5 most visited and talked of Churches in Goa

Christianity came to Goa with the Portuguese trades in 1510. It is now the second largest religious community in Goa. (Hinduism 66% and Christianity 25%). Most of this community is in the old conquest talukas of Goa. The Portuguese not only left Christianity here but also incredible architectural beauties. These churches have remained remarkable throughout Asia for their unique, sophisticated and lasting architecture.

#5. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Panaji.

This church is often on postcards and tourists from all over the world visiting Goa try to make it to visit this Church at least once. The colonial Portuguese church was first built in 1541 as a chapel by the Portuguese, was replaced by a larger church in the 1600s. the feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is held every year on 8th December, a fair is part of this feast, and in the evening Fireworks are displayed.

#4. Se Cathedral, Old Goa

The Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, known as Se Cathedral in Old Goa, is part of the North Goa sight seeing packages. The Se Cathedral was built to commemorate the victory of Portugese, leading to the capture of the city of Goa in 1510. Since the day of the victory happened to be on the feast of Saint Catherine, the cathedral was dedicated to her. The Se Cathedral's tower houses a large bell known as the "Golden Bell" on account of its rich tone. It is said to be the largest in Goa, and one of the best in the world.

# 3.The Three Kings Church, Cansaulim

The 3 kings church is situated at Cuelim hill.The church is famous for the feast of 3 kings celebrated every year on 6th janaury. A special ceremony is held for the feast, young boys dressed as kings enter the church. The view from this church is breathtaking.

#2. Mae de Deus Church, Saligao 

This church is one of the prettiest in Goa, well lit at night, it looks like a Beautiful cake. Its unique architecture is the reason it has made it on many postcards. Originally in Old Goa in the 16th century, of which today only the tallest cross on a pedestal is seen amongst shrubs and coconut groves. The church dedicated to the Mother of God or Our Lady came to be built at Bardez in the 19th century. The Saligao Church was inaugurated on November 26, 1873.

#1. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa

This was constructed in late 1500’s, and consecrated in May 1605. This church has been marked as world heritage. It holds the remains of St Francis Xavier. The bodily remains are kept in a silver casket and is taken done for exposition once every decade and kept in the Se Cathedral. This is one of the oldest churches. People of of all religions visit it, and pray for miracles. The feast is held on 3rd December every year.

There's certainly some sort of Divine intervention when one visits the churches in Goa.

Image courtesy for Cansaulim Church: Google Images

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Nature’s medicinal cabinet: Top 5 Natural Remedies used in Goa.

We may have technology and efficient medical drugs for almost all our aliments. But they contain harmful chemicals that eventually cause side effects. Goan even in ancient times, lived organic healthy lives because they had these little wonders growing in their backyards. They dint need medical school to tell them, these secrets and remedies. They were orally passed down to younger generations.

Here are some of these helpful and effective remedies that I love.

#5. Basil (tulsi)

It’s a Popular herb in most households all over India. Its one of the healthiest herbs and is used in various recipes for flavoring. It has a pungent, tangy taste. It is also brewed along with tea. It has healing properties and is antiseptic. It is powerful antioxidant properties. It is used to treat digestive problems, skin allergies and rashes and it also aids in weight loss.

#4. Neem

Rich in antibacterial properties, it helps in purifying the blood, detoxifying the body, it is antiviral and also helps improve the immune system. It has also been used as an insect repellent. A few leaves of it in food grains keep insects at bay.  Ground leaves are used to heal wounds, clear pimples and acne. It also helps in reducing dandruff. Redness and tiredness of the eyes can be reduced by boiling some neem leaves in water, letting it cool and using it to wash the eyes.

#3. Turmeric (haldi)

Turmeric powder is extracted from the root. it is used in food as flavoring and coloring. its used in curries and has that special orange color. it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It prevents cancer and cures ulcers, skin diseases. Even its leaves  are medicinal and in Goa Patoleos ( goan sweet) are made using these leaves. It leaves a strong flavor on the sweet and is also keeps it healthy.

#2. Kokum

It’s also known as “cool king” and is a tropical summer berry. Its super sour and tasty is one of my favorite fruits. Its fruit peels are dried and used as a spice. It is a cooling fruit and sweet refreshing syrups are made. This fruit helps in digestive process, and so ‘solle kadi” is made out of it and is taken like a shot after lunch. Kokum is effective In treating allergies and is also used in cases of tumours. It also aids in weight loss.

#1. Coconut

Goa is know for its swaying coconuts trees and these trees aren’t just ornamental. Every part of the coconut tree is used in Goa. Tender coconut water, has natural glucose and is recommended for any illness. Coconut oil is healthy to be included in food, and also used on hair and skin. It fixes chapped lips, frizzy hair and restores moisture and adds shine. Coconut milk is very tasty and used in many Goan sweets, like the famous Bebinca. Coconut milk is used as face mask and it is even a tradition to use at the time of pre marriage  celebrations on the couple and its entourage.

 This is healthy living, something I probably will never be implementing. Hypocritical much? Aren't we all at some level?

Images courtesy: Google Images

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Lounging, Pubbin' and So much more: Top 5 Lounges/ Pubs In Goa

There comes a point in everyone’s life, where they decide to just lay low. I concur that is exactly why pubs and lounges originated. Yea, call me frenetic, but I’m sticking to this explanation. Although a pub is more crowded and more beer oriented in contrast to a lounge, which is laidback and has a decent sitting and quality food service with preferably premium alcohol.

Lounges/pubs are perfect when you want to unwind and have a rather less energetic night or day as opposed to clubbing. One spends quality time with friends, good food and nice laid back music as well. Whether to gossip about your first kiss, breakup or sexual encounters, nothing goes better with a good clan, ambience, alcohol and food. Goa is no short of either gossip nor pubs and lounges.

For convenience I had to club both my top 5 pubs and lounges.

#5.Soro – The Village Pub

Like the name suggests and no surprises, soro meaning alcohol in Konkani is located in the green village of Assagao. From the owners of SinQ beach club, Soro from the exterior has maintained a very Goan tavern look to it. The moment you enter it, no surprises for guessing, it lives up to its fancy décor and shady lighting.

This place has a dedicated ladies night on Friday nights serving Sangria and martinis. They are also decked by live band performances, Dj’s and a very riveting concept of stand-up comic acts. Most of the activities take place in the air conditioned area inside. The outside sports a pool table and a decent drinking and eating section. Good quantity of food and well-priced alcohol as well out here. Not even 6 months old, this pub is giving its competitors a serious run for their money.

#4. Lounge Terminal

Located on the fifth floor of the Caculo mall in Panaji, this elite lounge is a class apart. Top notch furniture, décor and lighting. Sufficient number of television sets and decent background music sees no one complaining at all. Garbed food serving and a widespread alcohol menu of most imported alcohol is pouring here. 

A very good concept about this lounge is you can buy a bottle, lock it and have it the next time you decide to visit. This definitely increases customer loyalty and also promulgates responsible drinking.

#3. Waters Beach Lounge and Grill

Possibly the most scenic view in the entire state, placed on the edge of the Vagator cliff and a sea view many would die for. Waters is a three layered master piece. Cubana seating, space for a DJ and an in house lounging space, I am an in absolute awe of this place.

Slightly high end, but the entire experience is absolutely worth it. The sun downers seem to be celestial out here. Food one can most definitely gorge on, like the name states, Grilled items is what you want to have on your plate.

#2. Down The Road Riverfront

Located in the heart of the city on the Rua De Ourem Road, this majestic pub shot to fame because of its projector multiple screenings of Euro Football games, FIFA World Cup as well as the Cricket World cup games. Two Storeyed with a river view, multi cuisine enchanting serving and more than obliging bar.

Possibly one of the veterans in Pub history of Goa, this place offers Karaoke as well as regular nights with a DJ on the console. The whole vibe of the place once you visit, will want you coming back for more.

#1. Café Mojo

Part of the Hotel Salida Del Sol, this Pub is absolute magic. Terrific interiors with its own brewery serving tap beer. For any item (food or alcohol) you need to avail of a Mojo card. Recently revamped and made to two storeys, this pub attracts a lot of foreign as well as national tourists. Has its own ladies night, Karaoke night as well as nights with a DJ.

The addition of a pool table and large projector screen to telecast live sport will only be an impetus to this Irish kind of a vibe Pub. Free cheese lings for every order only, entice people to come back for more.

Since I’m currently studying in Mangaluru, thinking of these places get me all nostalgic about all the good times my friends and me actually spent at these places.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Coffee o'clock : Top 5 Cafes in Panaji

Whether it’s a much anticipated first date, regular date or just catching up with your pals, nothing makes the environment more favourable when complimented with delightful food at a cosy sit out. Cafes are numerous in the susegadstate of Goa. They are of high importance to those who want to kill time and also to those who want to spend “quality time”. 

An important criterion on deciding a good café is quality food and a decent décor and sitting arrangement. Oh and additional benefactors like free Wi-Fi, gaming stations and a pool table are more than welcome. The Capital city Panaji has more than sufficient locations for this lucrative venture. 

Here’s a list of my five favourite cafes to visit within Panaji and its periphery.

#5.Urban Café

A treat to the eye in every sense of the word, located in the awe-inspiring Fontainhas,right from its exterior, this is painted rather artistically to its more than fancy interior. It has a much laid back sit out on the ground floor. The top floor is what you got to look out for. The staircase has the most stand-out display of book hangings with just the right amount of illumination.

In all honesty, the edibles out here are mediocre. The ambience and the refreshing drinks make me want to come back here. Espresso and the milkshakes more than make up for the edibles. Oh and there’s high speed Wi-Fi, just in case you’re interested. 

#4. Lilly’s Flower

Like the name wasn’t catchy enough to draw ones attention. This quaint place in Caranzalem, from the outside might make you question yourself whether to enter or not. But take my word for it, you will be exiting the place with a bright smile on your face and probably rubbing your tummy rather satisfactorily. 

Resois, pork pies, beef chops and the must try out milkshakes are the reasons “uncle” has its regulars. The plus side of the milkshakes is you pay for one but practically get two glasses of the same milkshake. “Uncle” makes sure you are content, and his generous and homely feel makes one assume as though their own ghara. 

#3. Bodega

Bustling about in a sunny courtyard and catering the best red velvet cupcakes in town, this café located a top the Altinho hills is quite something. Part of Sunaparanta art Gallery, you will suddenly turn into an artist out here with the décor and sit out. Got a bit of a Portuguese feel to it.

This café also has an extensive variety of salads, soups, pastry, sandwiches and desserts. And no prizes for guessing, there is an option of free Wi-Fi as well. The open area of this café is quite the centre of attraction literally .

#2. Café Basil

Situated in Miramar, this is one café you just must visit. Every bloody thing on the menu will titillate your taste buds and keep you wanting more. The Chicken B.B.Q is a personal favourite, priced at rupees 150/-. Due to its quality food, coupled with the surrounding colleges, it is difficult to get a seat out here. 

It gives one the option to play on the ukele, guitar and even try your hand at some sketching. Oh there is a decent display of books as well. Do keep in mind that the kitchen remains closed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. The over friendly staff, owners and tummy fitting food will make you want to revisit this place and probably end up a regular.

#1. Thirsty Bear

Might be getting  ahead of myself, but best waffles and cheesecake in the entire state at this place. Nestled on the Bambolim highway, with a decent sit out and an even more intriguing sit in. The well put together frames of celebrities with their famous quotes displayed on the walls are eye catching.

The waffle priced at 350/- rupees and cheese cake a little fewer than 200/-  rupees if my memory serves me right, is reason enough to be here. The added advantage of this place is the fact that it is open 24 hours. The Gelato is decent enough if you’re a sweet tooth like myself. 

Off to down some espresso shots, catch up with you sooner than I'd like to.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Beer Belly: Top 5 beers under 100 Rupees in Goa to try out

Beer is very close to my heart, I mean belly. I like to put the blame on beer for my figure, although in honesty it’s sheer procrastination. Alright coming back to the purpose of this post, I think beer and Goa share a very sacred bond. I’m not too sure, but I believe Goa is definitely one of the cheapest places on planet earth to sip on a beer, if not the cheapest that is. The very fact that the legal drinking age in Goa is 18 years and above speaks volumes.

Many people are of the belief that wine is the best aperitif. I however opine that is beer. Forget aperitif, even whilst having a scrumptious meal beer goes down so smooth. When with friends, family or just to chill, there’s nothing like a chilled beer on a hot summer day. People say this too shall pass beer helps you pass out. 

Okay I’ll stop being lame now and list out my top 5 beers to binge drink on under 100/- rupees. 

#5. King’s Black Label
No, this is not a poor man’s version or imitation of Johnnie Walker’s Black label. Its Goa’s very own locally brewed beer which is creating waves not only around the state but nationwide.

Don’t let this cute bottle structured fool you, it can be quite delightful and refreshing. This 330 ml pilsner is known for its light taste and strong aroma. The bottle just adds to its peculiarity. Priced at just rupees 30 at a wholesale retailer, I see no reason why one would not want to give it a try. The abv is 4.85 %.

#4. Bira 91

Fairly new in the market, this beer is seeing an unprecedented rise across the nation. It has definitely found a strong fan base in Goa as well. Mixed with malts from France, Belgium and Bavarian Farms. Brewed in New Delhi itself, this results in the perfect output of Bira 91.

Available in two distinct variants white and blonde, the white ale is a wheat beer with low bitterness and a mix of spicy citrus. This is priced at rupees 90/- at a Goan wholesale retailer for 330 ml. The blonde is five rupees cheaper in comparison and is made of barley as the made ingredient. Despite being on the pricy side, I would definitely recommend all beer lovers to definitely sip on these beers. Both have alcohol by volume of 4.9%.

#3. Carlsberg Elephant Strong

Danish beauty I call this, and definitely one of the best produce. Being an internationally recognised beer, it has done exceptionally well in the Indian and Goan market.

The strong factor really does play its part while consuming this beer. Abv is 7.2%. Priced at 65 rupees for a 500 ml can, this is an absolute steal. 

#2. Budweiser

It says American pale lager, but trust me it is anything but that. In fact, I’d say it’s radiant in all of its forms. Love how the cans are designed and particularly the logo font.

Very smooth and easy on the tongue and throat. Like it states buds, it’s definitely buds with buds whenever we buds decide to just chill out. Abv of 5% and decently priced at rupees 35 for the glass pints and rupees 60 for the 500 ml cans, this will certainly widen your circle of buds.

#1. Tuborg

A personal favourite and Copenhagen’s best, I definitely go all out for this brand. A part of the Carlsberg Group, it emulated the parent company in my opinion.

Found in vivid green bottles, this beer is also known for venturing and sponsoring various festivals in Goa. Abv of 4.6%, a pilsner priced at rupees 35 for the 330 ml and rupees 68 for 650 ml. I think the bottling itself will want you to indulge in it. The best part is you do not need an opener to binge drink.

Dam, I so feel like just supping on any of these beers after completing this post. Due to Lent constraints I will however have to abstain until Easter. Till then I’d recommend you’ll to try these out if you have not, and if have already, stick to your favourite brand. 

On a more serious note, please drink responsibly. The rest will follow. A great man once said, “Drinking provokes the desire, but takes away the performance.”

King's Black label beer image courtesy: Google Images

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Beach Please!: Top 5 beaches to visit in Goa

If it weren’t for the magnificent beaches, Goa would not be half the tourist destination it is today. Blessed with its geographical positioning, facing the Arabian Sea, it’s inevitable that there are ample beaches along the coastline. The tropical climate just makes it all so perfect to bask in its glory.

Not a single soul that’s visited Goa, or is to visit will deny that sunrises and sunsets are an absolute treat to the eye at the beaches. Beaches can have different interpretations, for some it may be absolutely therapeutic whiles some pure mayhem. I concur, I am an inbetweener.

But as a Goan, my observation has made me conclude that, the beaches in the north are more drawn towards tourists, which obviously means crowd and noise. The southern beaches of the state are serene and on the quieter side.

Here’s my high five beaches in the picturesque state of Goa, once again purely prejudiced

#5.Calangute Beach

Pronounced in every possible way, this beach is one you would visit if you do not want to feel you’re in Goa. From Ray-Ban imitations to full body massages on cubana beds, this beach has everything to offer.

Well known for the various shacks providing Authentic Goan food as well as continental, there is no shortage of them providing decent alcoholic beverages. Water sports packages are a distinct feature of this beach. It is a beach located in the north of the state.

#4.Vagator Beach

Located on the northern belt of the state, this beach is an absolute treat to the eye. So therapeutic, one will just want to sit, bask in the sun and probably just meditate the entire day. The water is relatively more on the blue side in comparison to other beaches of Goa. Clear indication that this is a clean beach.

Mostly inhibited by foreigners and a few locals as well. The shacks are limited here. Fun fact, this used to be known as one of the nude beaches of Goa way back in the 70’s. Now I’m guessing you will definitely check it out just to try your luck :D

#3.Candolim Beach

A beach I like to call home. Used to be the beach I actually built sand castles and made use of my beach toys for once, as it was where we would spend most of our summer vacation considering we had a place to ourselves right on the brinks of the beach. The famous Fort aguada are situatued on the shores of this beach.

This place, held host to Sunburn for seven consecutive years and currently is the host to SuperSonic in Goa. Need I say more?

#2.Morjim Beach

You’ll for some reason think you’ve landed in Russia once here. That of course barring the weather and physical geography. Most of the hoardings and restaurants have Russian engraved on them, and hence earned the title of “Little Russia” The locals pick up the language as well for convenience of business. Placed at the northern bank of the Chapora River, eye candy is no short coming here.

Lesser known fact is that this beach is a nesting and hatching habitat of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, an endangered species. And therefore you might not want to get to touchy on this beach as egg-poaching or in any manner disturbing the turtles or their habitat is an offence punishable under Indian law.

I think no one can argue with the fact that this is easily the best beach Goa can boast about. Located at the extreme south end of the state, this beach makes you go absolutely awestruck. A beach where one wants to engage in a game of beach football, invite your family and friends to join you with BBQ of any meats accompanied by those chilled beer pints.

Pallolem is used to give Agonda a stiff competition, but the soaring tourists led to its decline. Once at Pallolem beach however, do not miss out on trying the Kayaking for fewer than 200 rupees for almost a good one hour. Sometimes I like to believe that words like nirvana, utopia and the concept of heaven is a place on earth were coined either along the Pallolem beach, if not there than a certainty at Agonda beach.

Posts like this make me only want to hit the beach more often than not. I’d say I would like to get a bit tanned, but the harsh reality is I’m sunburnt (more than I’d long for).

Image courtesy for Calangute, Candolim & Morjim Beach : Google Images