Divar Island had been standing long on my list considering the fact that I have been living in Goa now for over a year but due to some reason or the other it didn’t happen until today.. this came as one of its kind of blogging opportunity and I really didn’t know whether to say yes or no.. the issue was that this tour was supposedly a bike tour and since I didn’t know how to ride I felt I was gonna miss it yet again, but then with the kind gesture of B:Live I was made a part of the tour and very comfortably been ridden around an activa while others rode these e-bikes. My reason for choosing this tour was my belief in the concept, even if I don’t do something doesn’t mean I can’t enlighten my readers, so for all you guys who know how to ride a bike, here are top 5 reasons you must consider exploring Divar Islands and other parts of Goa with BLive E-Bikes
Bikes are always good for the environment, but when you get electronic bikes that give you the extra kick and yet aren’t harmful to the environment, it’s a win-win, isn’t it? These bikes come with the throttle and pedal assist modes for effortless riding. They also come with a battery life of up to 50 km which means you can keep riding without any worry and even if the battery is drained, you can pedal your way for the extended fun. You probably won’t have a chance to get lost as these bikes are GPS enabled too.
Since electronic bikes require less effort, they are perfectly suited for the terrains of Goa with its slopes and elevations. Also since exploring Goa could mean traveling through narrow roads, bikes definitely make for a better option. You don’t even need a license to ride an e-bike, just saying!
B Live are the first in India to do curated e-bike tours and they have quite a few options keeping in mind different needs of both the travelers and also the local enthusiasts
Right from helping you to ride and operate the bike, the staff and captains at B Live ensure that you have the smoothest and most enjoyable ride ever. Not just operational help, but the captains are so well versed with the touring areas that their knowledge is commendable and some of the places that they take you to are like hidden gems and I bet you cannot explore them on a car or even otherwise without an expert guiding you through. I personally witnessed some of such places which one can’t even think of. Dirt roads leading to such beautiful places, but it’s only possible, one when you are riding a comfortable e-bike and second when you have an expert taking you there, so in short, it means you can only experience such things with B Live.
Last but not least, these tours are very economical and won’t pinch you on the pocket. Each penny that you spend on this tour will only be worthwhile. Rather the knowledge and the memories that you will bring back will only make you richer.
So simply log on to www.blive.co.in and book yourself an experience of a lifetime! Don’t forget to thank me later and also it would be great if you could mention to them that you came to know about them through my blog or social media posts. Your words can go a long way for both me and the brand. Special mention to Anuj, and Captains Deepak and Rajesh for their immense support all through the tour.
Keep watching this space for my next post, wherein I will talk more in detail about the places I saw and experienced at the Divar Island
Well, who can deny Goa being the hottest travel destination in India. Goa indeed is a favorite with both the Indian tourists as well as foreigners. It is one of its own kind of place and you simply cannot compare Goa’s charm with any other place. Goa is like a slice of heaven that you can never get enough of. Even though I have been living in Goa now for over a year, I still feel like a tourist because there is just so much to explore in Goa.
Whenever time allows, I try and take small breaks within Goa and make the most of it. Sometimes these breaks mean exploring new and untouched places, a hint of adventure and sometimes, they simply mean relaxing. Whatever way I may choose, where to stay and what exactly to explore always seem like a challenge because even when we think we know it all, we actually don’t. At such times, I always feel surrendering to experts is the best thing to do. Experts who can help me decide both wonderful stay options and plan out my experiences depending on my budgets and duration. One such expert is Goa Unlimited. I regularly avail services of Goa Unlimited to make my breaks the best possible, I let them decide for me while I just enjoy what they suggest, because they know the best.
Here are top 5 reasons you should consider Goa Unlimited for planning all your Goa trips
Whether you are looking at chilling at a hotel or resort or renting out an apartment or villa, Goa Unlimited will provide you with enough and more options suiting all kinds of budgets. Villa rentals though are one area, where they surpass everyone. Goa Unlimited now offers over 60 villas and around 20 service apartments in different budget categories without compromising on the quality and service. I personally prefer villa stays more comfortable than the hotels as they allow me to chill and relax at my own pace. There is no hurry to wake up early for the breakfast or wonder about the closing time of the restaurant. Villas provide me with the kind of independence that is ideal for a place like Goa. Villas also offer an opportunity for friends and family to stay together. From one BHK villas to 3-4 BHK villas, one can easily choose as per the total number of people. They allow privacy, as well as a common, connect for the family to experience togetherness. My recent stay at one of the villas in North Goa was just perfect. Serene, quaint and yet equipped with all modern amenities, it had a perfectly balanced feel.
From helping you experience the famous tourist spots to discover lesser known places, Goa Unlimited can customize travel packages as per your needs and requirements. From water sports to cycle tours, from spice farms to unknown waterfalls, from exquisite bars and restaurants to local joints, they simply know it all and can help you with multiple options for each category.
Bike Rentals, Car Rentals and anything and everything that you need to make your trip stress and hassle-free, Goa Unlimited is at your disposal.
Basis my several experiences with Goa Unlimited, I can easily say that they very competitively priced. I have never found them expensive. In fact, they have offered me better prices than most online travel platforms, for some of the places and hence my trust in them is unmatched.
One of the best things about Goa Unlimited is the personalized service that they provide. The team headed by Nikhil Mirkar and Jui Damle is the most hospitable you can ask for. Nikhil’s experience of 25 years in the hospitality sector comes across very evidently and Jui who after quitting her corporate life joined Nikhil has only taken the company to newer heights. Her contribution in expanding the venture and managing the entire operations has been an integral part of their growth story. They ensure that your stay is not just a memorable one but also extremely comfortable and hassle-free. They strive for repeat business and clients come back to them every single time because they make your travel so easy without denting your pockets that you simply cannot help but look up to them.
I always choose Goa Unlimited for all my travel needs in Goa because as they say if its Goa, Its gotta be Goa Unlimited. Hope you will do the same for all your future trips to Goa and experience a wonderful stay.
Fontainhas is an old Latin quarter at the Altinho foothills in Panjim. It’s one place in Goa where the Portuguese influence is still very evident, so much so that this is the only place in Goa which has Portuguese as the main spoken language.
The name ‘Fontainhas’ was derived from a natural spring, Fountain of Phoenix that sprouted in 1770 and is present to date. Fontainhas was founded in the late 18th century by a wealthy Portuguese named Antonio Joao de Sequeira. He used this land for coconut plantations. But, in the early 1800s, due to the spread of epidemic in the Old Goa, the Portuguese government headquarters was shifted to Panjim. As a result, this area was transformed into the residential area for Portuguese administrative officers and rulers. In 1984, UNESCO recognized Fontainhas as a Heritage Zone.
Narrow lanes, bright and vibrant houses, small cafes, old bakeries, art galleries and every nook and corner that tells an interesting Goan story are some of the characteristics of this amazing place. Even within the hustle bustle of Panjim city, Fontainhas has maintained its serenity and quaintness. All thanks to The Local Beat Goa, I recently enjoyed a heritage walk of mixed with lots of fun and facts about the place. After grabbing a refreshing glass of watermelon juice from the Mamaramma Cafe, just next to the St. Sebastian Chapel, we started off by driving through the uphill lanes of Altinho and the Maruti Temple became our first halt.
Coloured in bright hues of orange, a colour that represents the monkey god ‘Hanuman’, the structure of the temple is a perfect mix of modernity and ancient heritage. As I moved in, I came to know that the temple has two idols of lord Hanuman, and even without climbing up to the main temple, one can see the bigger idol through an opening in the lower floor wall. Well I bowed down my head in front of both, the main idol which is housed in a big hall looks majestic.
The prayer hall is huge and a big chandelier in the centre makes it look magnificent. There is a lot of open space around the main temple and the view from the top is breathtakingly beautiful. You can practically see the entire Fontainhas area from there and especially the spring.
We climbed down the stairs that lead to the Fontainhas spring. It is believed that there was a tunnel from the temple till that spring, which now stands closed, and the door was sealed with a cross. The two structures that line around the spring used to provide light in that tunnel, are mosque like structures and hence this place becomes a wonderful amalgamation of 3 religions.
From there on we strolled through the lanes of Fontainhas, visiting a few art galleries, which house some of the best art that leave you awestruck. Its so interesting to see these old world charm buildings, you know the windows in some of the old houses use shells in place of glasses, as glass wasn’t available back then. And trust me they look so amazing that given a chance I would want my windows to be made of sea shells.
We also visited one of the oldest bakery, named Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro, it still uses the old stone clay oven and bakes some amazing stuff. I tried the french rolls and it really took me back in time, normally don’t get that kind of taste anymore. They were so fresh and delicious. The name 31 De Janeiro holds a significance in history, Rua 31 de Janeira (31st January Road) is named after the day when Portugal got independence from Spain on January 31, 1640
From a light drizzle to thunder shower, monsoons made the walk even more interesting and beautiful. I also learnt that the houses in Fontainhas still need to get painted after every monsoon, it was a rule laid out in the Portuguese time but is followed till date. This keeps the beauty and vibrancy of this place in tact year after year. One of the historic houses that I came across had big well in front of it, though the well is not in function now, but the serenity and peace of the place is inexplainable. You can really spend some quiet time there breathing the natural and man made beauties together.
Another place where you can sit back, relax and enjoy some great coffee and snacks is the Bombay Coffee Roasters. The front wall of this cafe is quite a popular one with photographers. The mosaic is really worth a look and the place offers calm and comfortable interiors, has wi-fi and is ideal to spend some quality time alone and get some creative work done, or simply chill out with friends.
Talking about mosaic, its not just about the wall of Bombay Coffee Roasters, but this tile art is one of the most significant characteristics of Goa and especially the Fontainhas. Azulejo is the Portuguese name for these beautifully hand painted ceramic tiles. This art originated in the 15th century and travelled to India when the Portuguese settled in Goa. Though back then these Azulejos were imported from Portugal, and there were no Goan artists to do it, the art from literally died. It was brought back by a man named Orlando De Norohna, who had a 5 year degree in commercial art from Goa college of arts. He went to Lisbon to get himself skilled with guitar and came back with Azulejos. Since then the art has been fully revived and many students took interest in learning the same. Today Goa is the only state in India where these tiles are made. Take a walk around Goa and you will see these Azulejos as a part of its landscape. From name tiles to murals, each Azulejo tells a Goan story. Azulejos De Goa in Panjim, is one of the best shops to hunt for these stunning hand crafted tiles.
Moving on, we came to one of the major landmarks of this old quarter of Goa, the St Sebastian Chapel. It was also the point from where we started and the point where we concluded our lovely heritage walk. The Chapel of St Sebastian is a popular tourist attraction in Goa, built in 1818. This chapel is dedicated to St. Sebastian.In earlier days, when people were troubled with the disease of pests and plagues, they turned for help to St Sebastian who treated them through his mediation and miraculous interventions.
This whitewashed church has a striking crucifix which originally stood in the Palace of Inquisition in Old Goa. In the crucifix Christ’s eyes are opened. It’s a rather unusual sight to witness a crucifix with Christ’s head up and eyes open, it’s believed to be so in order to instil fear of god. The god is watching those who are troublemakers and they shall be punished for their sins. The Chapel also houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, two marquetry chests and three elaborately carved screens from a church in Diu, which once formed part of the colony of Goa.
This heritage walk of Fontainhas filled me with so much information and beauty, that the memories will last a lifetime. All I could do is capture it in my camera in order to cherish and relive these moments again and again. This is one thing that you should definitely not miss when in Goa
Goa has always been my most favourite place on this planet and it always will be. I have been to Goa so many times and yet I am always ready for my next visit. There is so much to Goa that however times you may visit, there is always something new to discover about it, and thats the best part. You cannot get tired of exploring Goa, and when you have experts who can guide you through the most unexplored parts of Goa, you simply can’t ask for more.
I am talking about Goa Unlimited, who can be your idle travel partners in Goa. Read the full story here
When you are away from your home town, apart from missing your loved ones back home, you miss the typical home food the most. During my recent trips to Goa, one evening I was really missing the typical Indian food, especially the Dal Makhani and some Butter Naans and then I remembered The Yellow Chilli by Sanjeev Kapoor which is housed in the very famous Mall de Goa and I immediately jumped with joy, grabbed hold of my friends and we all headed straight to the restaurant.
The quirkiness of the places catches your attention immediately, with some amazing caricatures adorning the walls. The seating is casual dining type and is apt for families and youngsters both.
To begin with we settled for some Masala Papad, Dahi Ke Kebab, Tangra Chilly Paneer, Lehsuni Murg Tikka and Chanak Tawa Masala. The Chanak Tawa Masala was easily the best dish, nice and crispy fish with a flavourful masala and I simply loved it. The Lehsuni Murg Tikka was another delightful preparation, the chicken was mouth meltingly soft and the taste of garlic was just right.
Dahi Ke Kebabs were nicely done and I loved the small innovation of adding a bit of cheese in the centre, which tasted quite well. The Chilly Paneer was good, but could have been better, as the taste of salt and garlic overpowered everything else.
For drinks, we tried Jaljeera, Butterscotch Caramel and Tarbooza and all of them were good. I personally loved the Jaljeera, my friend ended up ordering the Butterscotch Caramel twice so I am very sure it would be awesome too.
For the mains we settled for Lalla Mussa Dal, a hot favourite at the Yellow Chilly and Ghee Roasted Chicken. Both the dishes were great, and we relished them with butter naans.
Bebinca with butter made for our dessert and it was delicious. You can’t miss on trying a bebinca especially when in Goa. Overall it was a great experience of having typical North Indian food in Goa and satiating my taste buds to the fullest. So when in Goa do try the Yellow Chilly and I am sure you will love it.