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  • Writer's pictureAnupam Singh

Unexplored Northern Goa: The Final Frontier

Updated: May 2, 2023

Mural artwork in MOPA

Goa - A State of Mind

Goa is not just a place; it's a state of mind, a feeling that you carry with you long after you leave its shores. The word susegad comes to mind when you think of Goa. Susegad is a Portuguese word meaning relaxation or contentment. It's a feeling that is deeply ingrained in Goan culture and is evident in the relaxed and laid-back lifestyle of the locals.

Goa has magic that draws people in and creates a sense of belonging. From hippies to regular tourists, everyone finds their own little paradise in Goa. The white sand beaches, coconut groves, Portuguese houses, yoga and spiritual practices, live concerts, goa trance parties - all of it adds to the charm and character of Goa.

The allure of Goa is not just limited to Indians. It has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. In particular, the Russians have made Goa their own. They love to escape the cold weather and find solace in the warm beaches and the susegad lifestyle. The influx of Russian tourists has had a significant impact on the local economy and has resulted in many businesses catering specifically to them.

Despite the growing popularity of Goa, it still manages to retain its unique character and charm. It's a place where you can find peace, relaxation and contentment, a place where time seems to stand still, and you can truly disconnect from the world and just be.

Break On Through To The Other Side - Unexplored Northern Goa

Sunset from Junaswada

Goa has always been a paradise for beach lovers, but the unexplored northern Goa, north of the Chapora River, remained relatively hidden until the construction of the Siolim-Chopdem bridge in 2002. Before that, only a few intrepid adventurous travelers and hippies ventured to this side of Goa. However, this side of Goa is now gaining popularity among tourists for its serene and beautiful beaches.

Compared to the bustling beaches of Anjuna and Calangute, the beaches on the north side of Chapora River are less crowded and offer a tranquil atmosphere to relax and unwind. The sand on these beaches is fine and white, and walking on the beach feels like having a session of reflexology. The beaches here are expansive, and during low tide, the Arabian Sea recedes inwards, making it look like a vast desert.

In Mandrem, the sea forms small rivulets loved by kids and animals who play joyfully in their water in the evening. You can also visit the sweet water lake of Paliem north of Arambol hills, which is a must-visit spot for nature lovers. The lake, nestled amidst the verdant hills and coconut groves of Goa, is a pristine freshwater oasis that originates from natural hot springs deep within the Goan jungle. This tranquil lagoon offers a serene and spiritual atmosphere that is perfect for those seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The streets in Arambol are lined with shops selling trendy bags made of hemp, beachwear, musical instruments, beautifully embroidered clothes, and hats in various sizes and shapes. The town has a unique bohemian vibe, making it a perfect place for backpackers and artists to hang out.

Exploring Fort Tiracol - A Journey Through History and Scenic Beauty

Sunset from Tiracol estuary

Fort Tiracol is a hidden gem located on the northernmost tip of Goa that offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and Tiracol estuary. A visit to this historical fort is a must for anyone who loves to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. The journey to Fort Tiracol is a beautiful ride that passes through the quaint Querim village and serene backwaters, offering spectacular scenery.

The fort is divided into two parts - half of it has been converted into a heritage hotel while the other half is open for visitors. The central courtyard of the fort houses a 17th century church, which is a beautiful sight to behold. The staff at the fort are friendly and welcoming, making the visit all the more enjoyable.

The open cafe on the terrace of the fort offers a magnificent view of the surrounding area, so don't forget to grab a cup of coffee and soak in the balmy weather. The sunset from Fort Tiracol is mesmerizing, and it's an experience that will leave you spellbound. If you decide to stick around until evening, be sure to catch the sunset from the ferry ride across the Tiracol estuary, which is free and offers a spectacular sunset.

Earthworks Farm: A Unique Experience of Goa's Landscape and Culture

Earthworks Farm

If you're in Mandrem and looking for a unique experience, a visit to Earthworks Farm is highly recommended. This beautiful property is located just off Mandrem main road and requires an appointment with the owner prior to visiting.

On the guided tour of the farm, you will be amazed by the many spices that are grown there, including nutmeg, pepper, bay leaf, and turmeric. But that's not all - the farm is also home to a variety of mangoes, including the famous mankurad, as well as tamarind, cashew, sapota, coconut, breadfruit, avocado, areca nuts, and much more.

What makes Earthworks Farm particularly special is that it is one of the few farms left in Mandrem. In recent years, many farm owners have sold their land as property prices have shot up. Those who have not sold their land have converted their farms into resorts, as this is more profitable.

Earthworks Farm remains a true working farm, preserving a piece of Mandrem's agricultural history.

The owner's great grandfather originally built the house where he currently lives, and it is over 120 years old. The house is a testament to the traditional architecture of Goa, with its red-tiled roof and elegant verandahs.

After the tour, you will be treated to a delicious Goan meal cooked by the owner's mother. It's the perfect way to end a memorable day, experiencing the beauty and tranquility of Earthworks Farm, and learning about its fascinating history.

MOPA - The New Goa

Mural artwork in MOPA

Starting this January, Goa welcomed its new airport named after its beloved leader, Manohar Parrikar, called Manohar International Airport or MOPA, which is located in Pernem taluka in North Goa, the tourist hub of Goa.

The airport is pretty swanky, and it definitely feels and smells like Goa. One of the coolest things about it is the mural artwork by Mario Miranda and Paul Fernandes, which showcases funny caricatures of life in Goa. The vibe is quintessentially Goan with the theme color of reddish brown matching the red soil of Goa.

If you like shopping at airports, there is good news! You will be happy to know that there are plans to open several shops selling clothes, jewelry, electronics, and much more. And if you're feeling hungry or thirsty, there are plenty of options for you too. You can enjoy cakes, smoothies, or have a wholesome meal at one of the many restaurants at the airport. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even purchase cashew fenny, a liquor made from cashew!

As we look towards the future, it is clear that Goa is leading the charge with its variegated past. The new MOPA airport is a testament to this, providing a swanky and quintessentially Goan experience for travelers. As India becomes a superpower, the role of Goa becomes even more important, not just as a tourist destination, but also as a haven for those seeking to rejuvenate their souls and spirits. It's fascinating to note that Goa has one of the highest per capita incomes among Indian states and is a hub for important industries such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. All in all, Goa truly is a gem in India's crown, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for this beautiful state.

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