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Goa Diaries: Mangaal Farmstay

We had spotted the signboard on our way to Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. I was the one who caught the term 'farm fresh food' in particular. After having spent few hours in unbearable heat we thought we should give this place a try while returning. We were exhausted and ravenous. The place was deserted leaving one local guy who turned out to be the caretaker. He asked us to wait till the cook returned and we were offered icy cold mint kokum juice. The first things that caught my eye were the quirky tables where the tabletops also serve the purpose of game-boards. We sipped on our kokum juice while playing snake & ladder and took a round about the whole place. It turned out to be a small farmhouse where one can come and stay for few days; or just take a day trip. Everything served at the farm comes from the nearby Mangaal village (hence the name) and is purely organic. We met a family from Pune who were staying over for the weekend. The cook was a middle-aged Goan lady who …
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Snowfall in Darjeeling

There are many reasons why I totally forgot to blog about one of the few important events in Darjeeling during my tenure here. Number one, I was too preoccupied with finishing my Goa series. Number two, I was too preoccupied with taking care of the practical aspects of a place recently hit by a severe hailstorm. And just imagine my plight because the place is as unprofessional and inadequate as Darjeeling. There were some cynical assholes who had once warned me about me transient nature of my romanticism. And yet here I am, despite having to spend almost thirty six hours with no electricity and with the fear that the ceiling might fall right on my head, I somehow managed to capture few amazing moments through my camera which will stay with me for the rest of my life. And hopefully, I will be able to get out of the place before I run out of my romanticism.
The first six pictures are from the day when it snowed here. The remaining bear the witness of the severe hailstorm.

Goa Diaries: Day Hike to Netravali Waterfall

There are two waterfalls that comes under the area of Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. We visited only one. Now if you are hoping to bump into some wildlife creatures on the way to the waterfall you will be disappointed. It was a long drive from Canacona and GPS gave in once we crossed the national highway and entered the foothill of the mountains. For the rest of the journey we had to rely on old school GPS, random fellow Indian on the street. Netravali Sanctuary is located on one of the hilltops of Goan share of the Western Ghats range. The zigs and zags of the winding road was giving me major deja vu. After all that's all I run away from these days. After one and half an hour of blindfold drive we reached the gate of the sanctuary where we had to get entry tickets. Our destination was still half an hour away. Upon reaching we discovered to our(read 'my') utter dismay that we were not alone. Few foreigners as well as Indians were also on the way to the waterfall.

Hiking in…

Goa Diaries: Shri Mallikarjuna Temple

Away from touristy hustle and bustle, the beaches, the hippie culture, there awaits another Goa only for those who seek it with all their heart. A Goa with its ancient Konkani heritage that goes further beyond the colonial chapter. Shri Mallikarjuna Temple of Canacona stands erect till today to recite stories of that bygone era to its handful of visitors.

The most difficult part about exploring the mythological background of every Indian temple is that one would be befuddled with myriad parallel versions. There are sixteen Puranas and each of them bears signs of different sects of Hinduism predominating the respective era. Shri Mallikarjuna Temple of Goa is no exception. Every region of India proudly represents their own resident deity, protecting them from all earthly obstacles. Lord Mallikarjuna can be found in every shop, every Hindu household across Goa; his calm presence acting like protective shield against all odds.

Lord Mallikarjuna is one of the many forms of the coolest of …

Goa Diaries: Margao Photowalk

In terms of size and population Margao is the second largest city of Goa. We had started our Goa trip from Margao. And Margao functioned as the junction connecting the two opposite ends every time we went to north Goa from Canacona. Margaon is a busy town; yet if you seek you will be amazed to discover quaint nooks and crannies carrying signs of its Portuguese heritage. Beautifully painted row houses, old churches will take you back to the time when Goa was a different place altogether. Don't miss the city municipal building and the post office.

Margao is the best place to try out authentic Goan cuisine. The restaurants mostly cater to the local crowds and hence very less probability of bumping into tourists. Goan cuisine is a crossover between Maharashtrian and South Indian gastronomy. So there's plenty of coconut, kokum and fish can be found on the menu. We visited two restaurants in Margao. Coincidentally, both were railway station themed. The first one was called Margao C…