Kolkata to Goa
Basic plan of the tour
It was mid-summer of the year 2015, one fine morning suddenly I had decided that we will travel to Goa. I told my plan to Papu and Chandana. Hearing my great plan they just jumped and screamed with joy - Whoa! Goa is a dream destination for any domestic and international tourists for its abundance natural and scenic beauty.
Goa was occupied by Portuguese invader and made their overseas territory on 15 August 1505. After independence in India, Indian invasion of Goa was happened on 18 December 1961 and listed as Union Territory of India on 19 December 1961. Now Goa is an independent State of India from 30 May 1987.
Panaji is the capital Goa. Total area 3,702 square kilometer. Population (2011 census) 1,457,723. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and half times that of the country. Konkani, Hindi, and English is the language used at Goa.
Finally, we fixed a date on June 2015 and contacted the local hotel booking office in Kolkata, who is familiar to me, booked a hotel nearby Calangute beach at North Goa. But our train ticket was not confirmed. Went at a train ticket booking agent's office, his son assured me that ticket will be confirmed, eventually, he failed to book our ticket, withdrawing money from that agent and contacted my local agent, asked him to book three confirmed ticket in AC three tier sleeper class. He booked, but I had to pay additional 1000 rupees extra on per ticket. So my budget increased 3000 rupees and fund decreased by 3000 rupees. The problem arose about a return ticket. On the schedule return day, no AC ticket was available, the agent suggested me to do break journey, Goa-Mumbai-Howrah. But I calculated it will be costly. So asked the agent to book in nonAC three tier sleeper. Papu was very much excited and he bought plenty of snacks, dry foods also made some foods for the long journey to avoid food served by IRCTC or from vendors in running train.
Only 18047 UP Amaravati Express goes directly to Vasco-da-Gama, the terminal station at Goa from Howrah. Vasco is the largest city of Goa. Many passengers get down at Margao station, which is just the station before Vasco-da-Gama. The train departs from Howrah station at 11:30 PM and reaches at Vasco on the day after tomorrow at 5:05 PM, total 2 nights journey, total travel time 39 hours 35 minutes if a not late run occurs. Total distance 2122 kilometer. 42 halts, 352 intermediate stations.
(For more information visit www.indiarailinfo.com/train/-train-amaravati-express-18047/1988/1/512)
Map of Goa
Goa the small state of India, the borders states are Karnataka, Maharashtra.
How do you rate Goa in your next holiday trip
Before one and half hour we reached Howrah station and started waiting for the train to enter the platform from the crashed. Around 11:10 PM the train entered the platform, it had 23 coaches. We found our reserved seats, kept the luggage under the seat and on the passage nearby window, 15 minutes late, the train departed from the platform at 11:45 PM and after sometimes we slept. We had finished our dinner at home, so no question of further food at that night. I awoke the next morning when the train arrived at Beherampur station in Orissa state. An Oriya family -- Two young men, one married woman, and a little daughter kid entered the coach and took their seats beside us. They were also going to Goa for travel purpose and there they will stay at their friend's residence at Mapusa. The kid was hardly one year old, so jolly, so sweet. She gave us immense pleasure during the entire train journey by performing her various funny activities.
How was the train journey?
The Longest train journey, a nice experience you can gather when you witness the diversity of cultures, languages as well as the unity of the country moving on wheels. If you forget to bring snacks or foods during the long train journey, don't worry! The vendors are available in the running train compartments, they will serve you various snacks, tea, coffee, cold drinks, water bottle even meal at a cheap cost in comparison to IRCTC. The entire journey was colorful except using the toilet. The toilet of any train in India demands up gradation to the international standards and insufficient water is the tyranny when the journey is 2 nights. Other irritating things are trespassers and cockroach, rat, mosquito in the train compartment, and truly we passengers are somehow responsible because we do not care when the wastage of food part makes dirt on the floor of the compartment. And it helps to grow the rat and cockroach in the train compartment. The train covers five states e.g. West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra, Karnataka, and Goa. (Maybe Telangana come on the list, I am not sure their demographic area).
Best Views: The first best view is Dudhsagar (literally Sea of Milk) is a four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the border of Karnataka-Goa state. The nearest rail station accessible by road to the falls is Castle Rock station. The total height of the falls is 1017 feet and average width 100 feet.
More details : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudhsagar_Falls
Second best view - The train was almost empty when arrived at Margao station. We did not get down at Margao, and that was our wise decision. Because we did not want to miss a nice sea beach, Colva, which can view through the window of the train and located in between Margao and Vasco. Around 5:30 PM we reached Vasco. Exit from the station, we hired a Tata Sumo car to reach Calangute from Vasco. It is 55 km distance and takes the 1-hour journey. Ramakant, the local driver cum owner of the car was our first guide of introducing the name of rivers, places. Trust me when I first saw the river Zuari, I became spellbound to witness its structure, natural beauty and honestly saying I never saw such textured river before. The river is consisting small hills and water is flowing through both sides of those small hills. Many small ships, steamers, and launch were floating on that river. Ramakant was telling us that every day 4-5 films shoot in any part of Goa and most of those are Bollywood film. We reached Calangute area and asked local people of the exact location of our booked hotel. Eventually, we found and reached the hotel. Ramakant gave his cell number to me if I require his car further during our stay at Goa.
Try to pack wrinkle free cotton casual T-shirt, trouser, half pant
Rubber sleeper is best
Cap, umbrella and sunglass is must
For women try to wear three quarter trouser, top
Sleeper or sneakers
Use rubber sleeper at beach
Raincoat for safety
At Howrah station
And finally we are at Goa
We checked in the hotel, the room is big four bed. We needed to get fresh asap, so one after one we entered washroom, fresher, changed dress and exit from the hotel tending to the sea beach. It was dark then, we walked over the sand, reached the edge where waves are rolling in and ending over the sand, captured some photos, the images did not come good due to flash light's low intensity. Goa and wine are almost synonyms to most of the domestic tourists. Every 5 to 10 feet interval you will find either On-shop or Off-shop and tourists are sipping openly. We were standing in front of a wine shop, there is almost an open air bar on the first floor of that wine shop. A male singer was singing super hit Kishore Kumar's film songs one after another. I and Papu were enjoying the environment, Chandana was busy of shopping girly imitation ornaments. I asked Papu that would she drink a can of beer, she agreed, I bought two cans, started sipping. We noticed that there were two temporary shops over the sand, went, saw the guys were preparing fish barbecue asked the price, one replied 600 rupees another replied 1200 rupees. Postponed of buying to hear the price. We were enjoying the environment fully, remembering the days of Durga Puja in Kolkata. In the meantime, we felt hungry, watched the time, it was then 9:30 PM. So decided to have dinner. There was no restaurant in that hotel which we hired, so searching any good food court nearby, found one, ordered three dinner diseases, finished and came back to the hotel. 2 minutes walking distance from the Calangute beach. Mr. Sanjay Tomar is the owner of that hotel. The building was once a Portuguese owner, now Mr. Tomar's father who was a police officer under Goa government. Mr. Sanjay is a helpful gentleman and very much caring to his guests. The manager asked me that what is our plan to the next days. I answered just roaming so you please chalk out our tour plan in next two days. He suggested the first day we can hire a car which they can provide at a cheap rate and next of the next day we can avail conducted tour by AC bus which will pick us from the hotel and will drop at the hotel. So, we decided AC Car first day and Conducted tour on the second day. And that was final.
Next day at 9 AM we ride on the AC car and first, we visited Aguada Fort. Here I am not going with the history of the fort, the best view from the fort is the Arabian Sea and nearby a lighthouse, a river is also there and joining with the Arabian sea. The video which I had captured, could not upload here directly because hub pages only support Vimeo and YouTube URL or embedded video. Alas, my readers!
Whatever, our next destination was Coco beach. The main attraction is boat riding over the Arabian sea. We got to ride, one hour ride. Four videos were recorded in my mobile camera, the handset what I am using to create this hub. We did our breakfast there. Then we reached Anjuna beach. I got down from the car, Papu and Chandana were seated inside the car to avoid the heat of the sun. I back at the car and told the driver that we want to have lunch at cheap priced hotel where we can eat rice because our staple food is rice. He drove the car and stood outside of a hotel located at village area. We ordered lunch, wine. There we first ate Mackerel fish in Goan style cooking. Mackerel fish generally available in the fish markets of West Bengal. Next, we went to Baga beach and then Vagator beach. In a real sense, no word is enough to describe the beauty of the sea beaches of Goa. It was seeing that beauty contest is going on. Around 5 PM we reached the hotel. After fresh up, we reached the beach of Calangute. The sea was not visible from the hotel. The driver informed an interesting thing that if there are 50 medicines shop at Goa, there are 5,000 wine shop available at that place. I did not research on this subject anymore because we stayed there only 4 nights.
Day1 at Goa
The day2 tour was conducted tour by AC bus. At 8 AM the bus picked us from the gate of the hotel, took our seat and started. First we went at Miramar beach, we refused to boat ride over the sea because day1 we enjoyed boat ride over the same sea, we stayed on the land to roam the spot, the guide gave his cell number and told that after an hour the bus will park here and picked all tourists who were the passengers of the same bus for next destination. So, we had breakfast at a nearby open air cafe and waiting for the bus. After one hour the bus reached and picked up us and our co-passengers too who went boating ride over the sea. The bus started and reached Dona Paula. Papu did not show interest to get down from the bus noticing the stiff path, I and Chandana canceled to view the spot. Dona Paula's beauty is heavenly and the name is connected to an unsuccessful love story as Romeo & Juliet of Dona & Paula, who committed suicide when they knew that the then society will not admit their relation; as guide's description (not verified from other authentic sources).
Next destination was St. Francis Xavier's church, where St. Francis Xavier's dead body is preserved in a metallic coffin inside the museum. The place is serene and Godly. There is another church opposite, popularly known as Cathedral of St. Catherine. Next destination was Wax Museum. Then lunch break. Had lunch in a street side 'Dhaba' with vodka. Next destination was a temple, Mangueshi Temple of Mangeshi Village. The idol is the carnation of Shiva. The guide told us that thus place the famous female voice Lata Mangeshkar's birthplace. Next destination was cruising over Mandovi river and we were eagerly waiting. One hour cruising over the Mandovi river, a full of enthusiasm stuffed with DJ music, dance, drinks; above all emerald look scenic beauty surroundings all over and enjoyed utmost level. The last destination was duty-free wine shopping - Goa government allows duty-free combo pack of wine consisting 3 bottles to the tourists for purchasing and Indian railway authority will not charge any penalty on those wine while traveling in train subject to the condition of keeping the cash memo during the train journey. Around 7 PM we back at the hotel. That night we ate noodles, cashew nuts and whiskey.
The tariff of hotel varies at Goa.
If you want an online booking, there is the opportunity of bargaining.
Normally seaside hotel's tariff is high. Normal double bedded AC room charges INR 1500 per night.
You can get guest houses also either in city or village, the tariff can vary from INR 300 to 3000 per night.
Don't fix with any specific restaurant, search and find cheap but quality food in the rural area. A wholesome meal costs minimum INR 100.
History, Major Rivers & Climate
History: Goa's history goes back 20,000-30,000 years. The rock art engravings exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. Early Goan society underwent radical change when Indo-Aryan and Dravidian migrants amalgamated with the aboriginal locals, forming the base of early Goan culture. In the 3rd century BC, Goa was part of the Maurya Empire, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. (Reference: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa). I have doubt about Goa was part of Maurya Empire, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka, no concrete historiographic evidence I have not found.
Major Rivers: Seven major rivers are the Zuari, Mandovi, Terekhol, Chapora, Galgibag, Kumbarjna canal, Talpona and the Sal. The Zuari and Mandovi are the most important rivers. These rivers are fed by Southwest monsoon rain and their basin covers 69% of the state's geographical area. The Mormugao harbor on the mouth of the River Zuari is one of the best natural harbors in South Asia.
Climate: Goa, being in the tropical zone and near the Arabian Sea, has a hot and humid climate for most of the year. The month of May is usually the hottest, seeing the daytime temperature of over 35°C (95°F) coupled with high humidity. The state's three seasons are Southwest monsoon period (June-September), post monsoon period (October-January) and fair weather period (February-May).
Day3 at Goa
Day3 we just did window shopping and walked to and fro nearby hotel area, due to sweating we had the hurry to return hotel room, having lunch in a Gujarati hotel, a costly hotel, did not understand why their ordinary food is costly. After returning hotel room took rest for one hour then started packing our luggage because next morning at 7 AM our return ticket to Howrah was confirmed. I called Ramakant and asked him to pick us and drop at Vasco-da-Gama station before 7 AM.
Truly in depth description is not possible about a place if the stay is limited and dependency on time bounding conducted the tour. I do not know driving. Those who have a driving license they can hire only car or bike at Goa through the hotel or guest house where they will be lodged. Overall undoubtedly Goa is a beautiful place in India, and if possible I will go back again at Goa to live a long time to know the details about the place in depth.
Next morning Ramakant reached with his car before 5 AM. We checked out, and while were on the way at the station, we were feeling that we missed a beautiful place perhaps forever. Because Goa is a costly place and average people like me cannot travel twice.
The return journey was not good and chaotic due to none availability of AC coach during the hot weather. We reached at home around 1:30 AM with full of shattered energy.
*** You can get detail information in Goa Tourism's official website. Goa's main festive time is the end of December. That time availability of hotel is very hard if you do not book in advance.
*** Try to stay at Calangute nearby sea, because the area is comparatively safe for family. If any awkward situation arises during a stay at Goa, contact immediately with local police, they are very active and usually do not spare any crime.
*** Average tour budget for 7 days in Indian currency is Rs.35,000 for a couple. (1 USD = Indian Rupees 67.37).