5 Reasons Why Exploring Divar Islands With Blive E-Bikes Is A Great Idea

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

Ecological

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.

Convenient

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!

Curated Tours

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

Expert Guidance

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.

Economical

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

Reasons To Finally Sell Your Timeshare

Whether you have just bought it recently or have had it for many years, it may be time to sell your timeshare. There are many reasons why people reach the point where they want to get their timeshare off their hands. Companies such as goawaytimeshare.com help owners get out of their contracts legally. It does not matter your reason for wondering how to “get rid of my timeshare,” you can find legal ways to do so. If you are still on the fence, below are some of the top reasons why other owners decide to finally give theirs up.

Lack Of Use

If you find yourself not using your timeshare each year when it is your time, you might be better off selling it. This is often the most common reason why timeshares get sold. If you don’t use it annually, it might be more cost efficient to sell it rather than keeping it. Even when you don’t use it, you will still have to keep it maintained and kept up.

Can’t Afford Upkeep

For those that are able to afford the upkeep to their timeshare and use it each year, it is a valuable asset to have. However, you may have reached a time in your life where that extra few thousand dollars necessary for the upkeep could be put to better use. If this is your case, selling it may be a more financially sound option.

Multiple Timeshares

While it is more common to find people owning one timeshare, there are some who own multiple timeshares. This is a great way to have options for where you want to vacation. Also, you may like to take more than one vacation each year. If you find you slowly begin using just one of your timeshares, it makes sense to sell the other one.

Timeshares can be a great vacation option for many people. For others, it may be an unnecessary expense that is not being used. When you stop enjoying owning your timeshare location, it is time to get rid of it and move on.

Reasons To Consider Renting A Cabin For Your Next Vacation

Family vacations don’t come around often enough. Because of this, it is important to make the most out of the time you get. There are many lodging choices to consider. While each has its own benefits to consider, there are extra advantages that come with planning a cabin vacation such as with Beavers Bend cabin rentals. They have many great cabins to choose from on their site at www.beaversbendlogcabins.com.

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Peace And Quiet

While getting a hotel room is a go-to when planning a family vacation, there is an appeal of cabin rentals that you cannot get with staying at a hotel. One great benefit of staying out in a cabin is that you will get lots of peace and quiet. Most hotels are crammed to capacity with noisy guests and events. A cabin is set out in the woods with much less people around.

Scenery

A cabin will offer you a lot of beautiful scenery to enjoy on vacation. Depending on where you rent your cabin, you could have a view of a beautiful lake or mountains in the background. At night, the distance away from the city will allow you to see the sky and stars more clearly.

Space And Privacy

Most cabin rentals will offer more privacy and space compared to many hotel rooms. There are a variety of sizes and styles that can accommodate most families and budgets. If you are planning a huge family vacation, there are cabin rentals that can fit up to 30 or more people.

Pet Friendly

If you want to bring your family pet on vacation, the best option would be to get a cabin. If you have a dog, they will have plenty of room to run around and play without worrying about parking lots and other guests putting them in danger.

There is nothing wrong with staying in a hotel on your family vacation. However, if you want a unique and relaxing experience, a cabin rental is a great choice. You will notice how amazing it really was once you get back to the city and notice the difference.

Nature’s Nest Goa- A Staycation Close To Nature!

Well on some of the days, we really wanna get away from the hustle bustle of daily life and that is one of the prime reasons I left Delhi and chose to live in Goa. Goa in itself is so peaceful and surrounded by nature that I find it refreshing me all the time, but even then, sometimes we want to go a little far away from the daily life and spend a couple of days relaxing. What better than staying close to nature for a perfect getaway and relaxation.

Nature’s Nest

I had read about a lot of places that offer accommodation in the lap of nature, and Nature’s Nest true to its name was the one name that cropped in my head. I discussed it with my friend, and she too readily agreed to the trip. We chose the Independence Day Eve as a perfect day for our mid-week adventure. Nature’s Nest is located in Surla area of Goa, which was approximately 60kms away from where we stay. Its truly surrounded by nature, its close to the Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary and very popular with bird watchers and trekking lovers, as it offers perfect spots for both.

The Journey

We set out around 10 AM from our place, as it would take us 1.5 hours drive to Nature’s Nest and the check in time was at 12 Noon. The weather was totally on our side and once you cross Ponda, the drive becomes even more beautiful. The narrow roads, with greenery in abundance on both sides, makes for a fantastic view. We added some music in the background, grabbed a couple of drinks and snacks for the way and we were all set. We reached Nature’s Nest quite on time, at 12:15 we were at the reception of the resort.

The Ambiance and Rooms

The ambiance has a very raw appeal to it and is surrounded by greenery. It’s like practically living in mud and bamboo cottages in a middle of a jungle and in one look, I loved it. The greenery seemed even more alive and fresh after the rains and as per me, monsoons are definitely one of the best times to visit this place, not that you cant visit during other months, but trust me monsoons are the best. After a warm welcome at the reception along with a refreshing Kokum drink, we were directed towards our cottage. The resort houses 10 cottages and they look so lovely.

Our cottage was named Kunjan, and once again the raw appeal of the cottage, the mud walls, the thatched roof, all reminded me of the times I have spent in the villages and it was nostalgic. The room was spacious and comfortable, twin beds, with side tables, a dressing table and an open cane shelf for keeping clothes etc. The bathroom too was very spacious and huge, it almost felt like another room.

Lunch

After settling in the room and chilling for sometime imbibing the nature, it was almost time for lunch. At 1:30, we headed towards the restaurant area and a traditional Goan lunch was waiting for us. Prawn Curry, Chicken Xacuti, Rawa Fish Fry, Veg Gravy, Bhaji, Dal, Solkadi, Salad, Papad, Bhakri and Rice, the menu was quite a big one and was perfect for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. It was freshly prepared and had the authentic taste of Goan flavors. Loved the kheer for sweet-dish.

More in Goa Food- Habanero- A Tex-Mex Culinary Experience

Activities

After lunch, we retired to our rooms for a power nap and returned to the activity area at 4 PM. We indulged in 3-4 activities before our dinner and they were:

Artificial Wall Climbing

Well, this one was not for me, as with my fingernails I just could not get the grip and climb even one step. My friend did try a bit, but even she couldn’t do much. So we kind of skipped this one and moved to the next activity.

Flying Fox and Zip Line

Now both of these were really fun, I had never tried a zip line before and although it wasn’t a very high or long one, I really enjoyed it. Zipping between the greens and with raindrops drenching me, it was something I really loved.

Trek to a Plateau

Well, this was an evening trail amidst nature, we trekked to a nearby plateau, the slight uphill climb was beautiful. The sounds of a peacock and a flowing stream were almost filling the entire place. View from the top point was breathtakingly beautiful. I could not manage a lot of clear pictures because it rained heavily while we went there and also some of the pics came blurred because of this reason. Nevertheless, what I captured in my mind and soul will remain with me for a long time. We also saw an insectivorous plant and a pair of Hornbills, they looked amazing as they flew from one tree to the other. Their flight looked magically beautiful.

This point is otherwise very famous for sunset, but as we were in monsoons, there was no sunset to watch, but a lot of refreshing greenery, the water stream, plants, birds, frogs, and yes the peacock. I felt so so good after this trek. Also met an Ornate Flying Snake Baby, never had a chance to see a snake so closely, it looked so so beautiful. And strangely enough, I wasn’t scared.

Night Trail

By the time we returned from our trek, it was almost 6:30, we came back to our rooms to freshen up a bit and then at 7 PM headed for a short night trail. This night trail was specifically to show us a luminous kind of mushroom that glows in the dark, so complete darkness was important.

After a walking for a short while, we reached the spot, though we were using our flashlights to walk through the dense forest, at this point, our guide, Mr. Ramesh, one of the partners at Nature’s Nest instructed us to switch off all lights and close our eyes for a few seconds. After those few seconds, when we opened our eyes we were astonished. A full tree branch, from the ground to the top was glowing, it felt as if someone had put a tube light there. We even held one of the branches in our hand, with the flashlight on, it felt like any other branch, with nothing special to notice, but the magic happened when it turned dark.

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Dinner and a Good Night’s Rest

After this night trail, we were a bit tired with the day’s activities and chose to have an early dinner. A spread of simple dishes including Kadhai Chicken, Mushroom Curry, Dal, Baingan Bhaji, Rice, Roti, and Seviyan was laid out. It felt like a home cooked comfort food, nothing fancy, but simple yet tasty. Though we had all intentions to retire to bed early as we had to go for a morning trek too, but we ended up chatting for long hours sitting and relaxing in the restaurant itself and then with some background light music supported by the music of falling raindrops on the roof, the sounds of the cricket and watching the fireflies glow near the window, we drifted into to a good night’s sleep.

More About Goa- Artjuna- A Perfect Combination of Food & Lifestyle Place

 

The Talde Waterfall Trek

We got up early the next morning, as, after a quick breakfast of omelet, poha, pav and black coffee, we had to leave for the Talde Waterfall Trek. We left the resort at around 8:30 AM. The trek point is about 10 minutes drive from the resort and its a 30 minutes trek into thick forest with very narrow lanes. 20 minutes of the trek is more of a straight walk, but like I said the walk is on a very very narrow lane which can barely fit one person, and the last 10 minutes of the trek are tougher with more of an uphill climb on slippery stones and rocks, but once you reach the waterfall, its all simply worth it.

The view is mesmerizing, the noise of the waterfall filled me with so much calmness that I words will fall short to explain my feelings. It’s definitely worth a visit. For me, it was my first experience of almost dipping in the water and feel a waterfall so closely. Its one of those experiences that I will never forget. We spent a good half an hour enjoying the waterfall and after capturing memories in my camera, we started on our way back. Once back to the resort, we did our check out formalities and came back home completely refreshed and rejuvenated.

This entire experience filled me with so much of positive energy that as soon as I was back home, I was raring to go for another adventure. I did not feel even a bit tired. This staycation was a much-needed break for me and although I was not very sure about anything, as everything was new for me, all I can say is I am glad I took this decision and chose Nature’s Nest.

Also Read- Exploring the Fontainhas, Goa

As per season, Nature’s Nest offers a lot of activities like Bird Watching, Jungle Safaris, Night Trails, Trekking, Waterfall Treks etc. Make sure you check with them of the available options and plan your travel accordingly.

 

Useful tips For Anyone Starting Hiking As A Hobby

If you have always loved being outside and have a passion for adventure, then you might be considering taking up hiking as a hobby. The fact is that hiking is a great hobby as not only is an excellent form of physical activity but it’s also an excellent way to spend more time outdoors, exploring your local area, as well as areas that are a little further afield.

 

Of course, like any new hobby, there’s a lot that you need to know before you head off over the hilltops to explore. So bearing that in mind, below is a guide to the ins and outs of taking up hiking as a new hobby – read on for all of the best tips and advice.

 

Photo from Pixabay

 

Learn to map read

 

If you can already map read, you can skip this step. If you can’t map read and don’t understand how to use a compass, you might want to take the time to learn. It’s all well and good exploring the local area with just the wind to guide you, but as you head further afield, you will need to know how to map read and use a compass to navigate across different routes.

 

You might be able to join a local orienteering class to learn the basics or a survival group. If there isn’t a local group for this kind of thing, you should be able to find various map reading and compass using tutorials on YouTube to follow and learn from.

 

Invest in the right equipment

 

If you are going to be hiking regularly, then you need to invest in the right equipment. The most essential item is a pair of good quality walking boots or trainers that are comfortable and designed for exercise – to learn more about this head over to biopods.com and have a browse of the designs and resources available on there.

 

In addition to needing footwear, you will also require a backpack, a compass, a map, a water bottle, a torch, and camping supplies for any overnight hiking trips that you might like to plan in the future. Hiking can be a lot of fun, but it’s essential that you understand the need to always be prepared, which is why investing in the right equipment is so essential.

 

Be safe

 

When it comes to hiking– or any hobby – it’s crucial that you always put your safety first. Hiking can be a great way to stay fit and get out and about more, but if you aren’t smart about the approach to hiking that you take, you could end up putting yourself in danger, which is not what you want to do.

 

Always ensure that you tell someone where you are going and when you should be back. If you are walking alone, share a copy of your hiking trail with a friend or relative, so that if you don’t return on time, they know where you should be. Always carry a fully charged phone with you for emergencies, so that you can contact help, should you need it.

 

There you have it, everything that you need to know about starting hiking as a hobby.

 

 

Unforgettable City Breaks For Couples

When it comes to planning a trip with your other half, it can be tricky to get the balance of romantic and fun, or other aspects that you are looking for when you travel together. It can be a different kind of trip to one that you’d go with your family, and equally, somewhere different than you would just travel with your gal pals. So here are some suggestions for cities all around the world that make a great destination for couples. There is a real mixture, so hopefully, there is something for everyone.

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Rome, Italy 

When you wander the streets of Rome it can feel like a film set! It is a stunning place to visit, with cobbled streets, Baroque churches, and al fresco trattorias. The history in Rome is immense too, with places like the Colosseum, museums, and Trevi Fountain. It can make for a romantic getaway, as well as a fun trip for two; just make sure that there is plenty of gelato involved!

 

San Diego, California, USA

 

San Diego may ring some bells for any Anchorman fans, but it is much more than what Ron Burgundy tells you about. You can have the best of both worlds as you discover the best of San Diego and what it has to offer. There are beaches on one hand, with beautiful places like La Jolla Cove, and then there is some amazing shopping and attractions like San Diego Zoo and Legoland. So if you have a sense of fun, it can be a great place for you to explore as a couple.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

Cheeky and alluring, Amsterdam is a great place to visit as a couple, as it really is such a charming place. Cycling around the city or exploring by boat along the tree-lined canals can make it a trip like any other. The food scene is incredible in Amsterdam, and there is a real modern vibe, alongside the historic elements of it such as Anne Frank’s House.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark

 

If Denmark sounds a little more up your street, then Copenhagen can be a great option; it really is quite magical and whimsical. You can explore the Mermaid, spires with intertwined dragon’s tails, fortresses shaped like stars, and much, much more. It is a great sport for some great seafood and cuddles up walks along the canals.

 

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Reykjavik, Iceland

 

If something completely different is what you are after, then a trip to Iceland is a must. It has grown in popularity as a tourist destination, and it is easy to see why. It is a place with a really romantic feel, with brightly colored homes and pretty scenery, with both mountains and sea in sight. In winter it can be a great place to snuggle in a hot tub and look for the northern lights. In summer, it stays light for so long, as you can make the most of the daylight and visit some of the famous landmarks like the Blue Lagoon and other stunning areas.

 

Time Out: Why A Getaway Could Be Just What The Doctor Ordered

If you’ve got a busy career and family life, it can be a challenge to find the time to switch off and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. However, more people are having to take leave from their jobs due to stress and fatigue, because they weren’t making themselves a priority. Therefore, it’s crucial to the success of your future lifestyle, to know when it’s time for a breather and to get some much-needed, healthy headspace. Whether it’s a couple of days and nights away or a regular vacation with your loved ones; a getaway and break are just what you’ll need to recharge, refocus, and give yourself a boost for whatever comes next.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/women-view-looking-thinking-50630/

 

Prepare And Plan

 

Your calendar and diary might be heaving, but there’s no time like the present to schedule in some you time and work around the moments you’ll be spending away alone, with your partner, or with your family. Now is the time to think about those place where you feel most at ease, and know that you’ll be able to benefit from some fresh air and relaxation time to read a book or partake in your favorite activities. It’s not necessarily about lying back for the whole of your getaway and doing nothing, but more about a change of scenery, and taking your mind away from the craziness of everyday life. Ensure that you have all you need before traveling anywhere, and head to sites like https://www.saveritemedical.com/ so that you’re fully stocked up on essentials, and won’t need to worry about getting to a pharmacy when you’re meant to be enjoying your log cabin.

 

 

Eat Well And Feel Better

 

It’s likely that you’ve probably got yourself into a routine of a quick coffee for breakfast, whatever fast food you can grab for lunch, and late dinners. Therefore, you should be making the most of fresh local produce during your time away; cooking from scratch with quality ingredients is another way to concentrate on something simple, and your body will reap the rewards when it’s time to serve up. Book somewhere with a BBQ, and take some simple recipe ideas along to fuel your time away. You’ll return feeling refreshed and keen to book your next mindful getaway.

 

Enjoy The Fresh Air And Water

 

Jobs in business and offices don’t tend to leave much time or room to spend some quality moments enjoying the open water and the open air. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about booking a getaway somewhere you can enjoy an open expanse of H20. Check out a lakeside retreat, and think about booking in some water sports sessions for yourself, or you and a loved one. You can look forward to hours of mindful activities and relax on the water ahead. Or, hire a boat on arrival for some sailing or fishing; whatever you decide to do, maker the most of the environment around you, breathe in and out, and blow out those cobwebs for clarity and a clear head.

 

Things That Can Happen To Your Body When Flying

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As humans, flying isn’t a part of our lives which is natural. We have always wanted to explore other parts of the world, and in the last 100 years pioneers have allowed us to take to the sky easily and without any issues at all. However, being on a plane can still have weird effects on our body, and here are just some of the issues you might face in a plane this year.

You’ll be thirsty

As we gain altitude in the air when we get on a plane, the humidity in the air will start to change. Where you are normally surrounded by a decent amount of water vapour, there will be a lot less when you get high in the sky. You can, therefore, benefit from keeping a bottle of water with you for your flight and make sure that you are able to stay hydrated on the trip.

 Toxic water supply

The main thing which is gross about being on a plane is the sheer number of people who are in the same space using the same facilities. If you want to avoid issues with your stomach, avoid any water which isn’t bottled. Plane water can often contain E.Coli and this is a nasty bug which is usually found in faecal matter. Enough said.

 It’ll hurt your ears

If you have sensitive ears already, you might struggle with the change in pressure when you enter a plane and get up into the air. You can use different types of hearing protection to keep your ears happy throughout the flight and it will hopefully stop you from struggling too much with your hearing on the flight.  

Breathing issues

When you start to travel up and to a higher altitude, you will notice that the levels of oxygen in the air are a lot lower than they are at ground level. The main issue that this can create is for those with breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema. If you believe that you are really going to struggle to breathe during the flight make sure you bring some travel oxygen with you and maybe even your inhalers.  

You might swell

The pressure on a plane is a lot less than the pressure you feel when on the ground and this can cause your body to swell up and do some weird things. Make sure that you wear loose fitting clothes and also loose shoes on the plane because your feet are likely to swell up and it will hurt you if you are wearing tight shoes. Make sure you are comfortable on the plane and make sure that you leave room for your body to grow if it needs to!

Planes can have some odd effects on the body and you can end up feeling a bit odd when you reach the ground again. But remember that you can always recover from their effect in a few hours once you land so they won’t last too long. Enjoy your flight, be aware of the weird body changes and have fun on your summer holiday.

7 Reasons Camping Is Beneficial for Your Health

If you want to make the most of your time with friends or family, then you should look into camping. There are many activities to indulge in, ranging from fishing, campfires to hiking and biking. But there is a lot more to camping than meets the eye.

Camping interestingly has numerous health benefits. In fact, spending time outdoors camping can add years to your life. Not sure how? Here are 7 reasons for you to consider.

1.   Exercise

When you are camping, you get a great deal of exercise. You get to partake in different activities, like the ones mentioned above, which in turn allow you to burn those extra calories in no time. Additionally, exercising outdoors and doing as many activities as you can also benefit your heart and lungs greatly.

2.   Healthy Food

During your camping trip, your options are limited when it comes to the food you can actually consume. Basically, you have to make do with meals that can be grilled or cooked on a campfire.

If you choose foods that require preparation, your digestive system will get a break from all the fast food you have had previously. Also, rather than taking pies and candies, promote healthy eating by taking fruits, nuts and granola bars instead.

3.   Sufficient Sleep

The best part about camping is that you can sleep in for as long as you like. The environment and quiet nature will do wonders for you when it comes to getting proper sleep. After a tiring day of activities, you will find it incredibly easy to doze off under the starry sky. Rest assured, with sufficient sleep, your body will function more effectively than ever before. Surprisingly your sleep cycle will improve by leaps and bounds.

4.   Decreases Anxiety and Depression

Based on research carried out, green spaces are known for decreasing depression and anxiety. By camping, you will break away from your hectic lifestyle. It is here where you can develop clarity to better understand yourself.

5.   Socialization

Tired of your everyday routine? Well, that is where camping comes into the picture to give you the much-needed break you need from your place of employment and otherwise. Since you will get time with your friends or family, you can socialize and learn more about them, without any distractions of course. Socialization, according to the American Journal of Public Health, can increase your lifespan and defeat memory problems.

6.   Fresh Air

Once you have set up camp, you can finally take a deep breath of fresh air, which alone will make you feel refreshed. The feeling of excitement is not because of the long vacation, but because of all the surrounding greenery. Said greenery gives off high-quality oxygen, which improves brain functionality, all the while making you feeling happier and decreasing stress levels as well.

7.   Sunshine

Whether you are camping in your RV or sleeping outdoors, it really does not matter. The bottom line is that spending time outside will have a positive impact on your health. Apart from that tan you always wanted, the sun gives your body the Vitamin D it needs to absorb phosphorus and calcium so that your teeth and bones stay strong.

Now that you know of the health benefits that lie in store for you on your next camping trip, pack your Canvas tentASAP. Remember, the more you stay outdoors, especially with your friends or family, the better you will benefit in more ways than you can imagine.

Author Bio:

Judy Robinson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on healthy lifestyle, travel,  fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @judyrobinsonfor more updates.

Exploring the Fontainhas, Goa

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

 

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