Sunday, December 19, 2010

Explore Goa: Margao to Panjim.

National Highway NH17 connecting Margao to Panjim.
I decided to cycle from Margao to Panjim. Margao is the commercial hub of Goa, while Panjim is the capital of Goa. Since the distance is relatively short, I thought it might be a good idea to check out some of the places near Vasco (named after Vasco-da-Gama).

The weather was hazy without any clouds, so I knew in advance that my landscape photography was not going to be anything spectacular. I decided to focus on the journey. The route I followed is marked on the map in red.

Route from Panjim to Margao via Vasco.

The first village I reached is Nuvem. Nuvem is a relatively poor village and this poverty is reflected in the run-down Nuvem Church.

Nuvem Church.
All the schools that I visited recently seem to be practicing for their Sports Day, and Nuvem School was not an exception. All the students were outside on the grounds practicing their drill. A small group of students were sitting around and invited me to take their portrait. I was about to click the shutter when their teacher barked at them and my shutter click coincided with them scooting off to their designated places in the sports drill.

Nuvem School Students.
The next village after Nuvem is the village of Verna. Verna is a prosperous village and houses the Verna Industrial Estate, home to many large industrial houses and companies. The prosperity is reflected in this "subway" that residents use to cross the Verna road from one side to the other.

Verna sub-way on the busy NH-17.
I climbed the steep Verna hill and reached Kesarval spring. Like most springs in Goa, people claim that Kesarval spring water has medicinal qualities and it used to be a popular place for people to come here for a bath in its icy cold water. As it was still early morning, I only saw a few local residents at the spring - washing their clothes and brushing their teeth using the fresh spring water.

Kesarval Springs, Verna.
After a short rest at Kesarval, I decided to cycle towards the Airport road because I wanted to check out the Naval Aviation Museum. The sun was getting higher (and hotter) and the lack of clouds meant that my skin was slowly getting burned. I regretted not applying a sunblock and I was getting worried that my wife & children will fail to recognize me when I meet them next week in Pune.

On the way to the Airport, I noticed the Cuelim hill in Cansaulim and a structure that looked like a Church. I've passed by this road many times and always wondered what was on top of that hill. I thought this would be a good day as any to check it out. The climb to the top of the hill was hard, but well worth the effort. The hill houses "Remedious Chapel" at the top and offers a spectacular view of all the nearby villages.

Remedios Chapel, Quelim - Cansaulim.
View of Zuarinagar from Cuelim hill.

I love how the Cansaulim Church in the picture below seems to peep out of the thousands of coconut tree plantation. 

Cansaulim Church in the midst of greenery.
After zipping down the hill, I eventually reached the Naval Aviation Museum. To reach the place, you have to exit from the Airport road and head towards Bogmalo beach. The Museum is just 1 kilometer before the beach.

Entrance to the Naval museum is Rs. 25/- and I had to pay an additional Rs. 10/- for the camera. The museum houses a number of old aircrafts and offers an audio-visual tour of the history of the Indian Navy. It's a must-see for anyone who loves aircrafts.

Aircraft on display at the Naval Aviation Museum, Goa.
Close-up of an Aircraft Engine.

Next, I visited the St. Jacinto Island. It's a small island between Vasco and Cortalim and is entirely owned by the Church and the local villagers.

St. Jacinto Island.
St. Jacinto Church.
The sun was getting really hot now. I decided to ride out the heat by sitting in a nearby restaurant enjoying a cool beer and a traditional dish of Fish, Curry and Rice. I was too tired to take pictures by this time.

The beer and the food rejuvenated me and I decided to continue my journey. A little further down, I saw a board marked "Protected Site" and my curiosity was aroused. I went inside a small road leading to this amazing architectural beauty.

Original Sancoale Church - now in ruins.
A local clued me about the Church and some of the folklore. For example, the villagers are convinced that a Nag & Nagin (Cobra family) have made their home at the top of the church steeple. And even though the Church has been moved elsewhere, there is a small chapel behind where they hold masses and celebrate the feast every year. Some workers were busy cleaning and whitewashing the facade. I hope that the villagers have given them fair warning about that Cobra family.

Workers cleaning the Church facade.
Since the sun was not very cooperative, I decided to skip all further adventures and proceeded straight to Panjim. I decided to stop by Dona Paula for a last photo-op before crashing at my Friend Cecil's place in Panjim.

Dona Paula Bay
Sculpture of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Knox at Dona Paula.

1 comment:

Johar said...

I used to live in Goa 9 years back.
You blog made me recollect my old memories. Thanks a million.
-Johar Mohammad