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Beyond the boundary

Beyond the boundary
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Goa goes beyond the well worn clichés. Here’s a quick list of some places that don’t figure in your must-visit itinerary.

Take it from a local that the most read and talked about parts are not the only places that Goa has on offer. Wander off from the beaten track and explore some of these quieter, offbeat vistas to complete your Goan holiday.

An Island Adventure

If there’s one place that deserves a look-in it is the tiny, pristine island of Sao Jacinto located on the way to Vasco da-Gama. A little bridge gets you across to the island home to a few families who have lived on this land for centuries. Soak in the breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea or take a short hike up the hill to the ancient ruins of a chapel. You can even see an old lighthouse on your way down.

Jain Temples

Goa’s landscape may be dotted by the steeples of magnificent white churches. But there are a few Jain temples that have found their place in the State. The square shaped Neminath Jain Basti built of laterite blocks is found in Bandivade near Ponda. Other temples belonging to the Vijayanagar era can be found in Cudnem in Bicholim, besides the ruins in Narve.

Sacred Groves

A unique feature that separates Goa’s verdant biodiversity from the rest of the country is the sacred groves known locally as Devrai or Devran. These repositories of plant wealth are dedicated to the forest gods and other local deities. Sometimes these repositories consist of just a banyan or pipal tree but on occasion an entire forest. You can visit the groves at Morpirla in Quepem taluka or in Saligini in Verlem where there is one called Mahadevachi Rai named after the local Mahadeva temple.

Remote Fortress

Goa was one of the most prized possessions of the erstwhile Portuguese rulers. To keep their conquest safe from invaders, they built forts like the one in Aguada in the North and Cabo da Rama in the South to mention just two. Apart from these, there lies a tiny fortress on the island of Corjuem. From its ramparts, enjoy a splendid view of the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea lapping the coastline.

Pristine Beach

Do make time to visit the tiny, yet pristine Odxel beach. This quiet escape, unlike the noisy Northern beach belt, is for those looking for some relaxation. It is located between Dona Paula and Bambolim and takes about 30 minutes to reach from Panjim. Climb over the rocks or just sit and dip your feet in the clear blue waters. Odxel has just what you need– plenty of fresh air and time standing still.

Winged wonders

Take a walk through the Butterfly Conservatory of Goa in Ponda and be amazed by the thriving number of species. Run by the Heblekar family, the best time to visit is between October and February. It is built on a hilly slope and filled with flora to attract these beauties. Sightings

include the Southern Birdwing, the Peninsular Grey Count, Tawny Costers, Tamil Lacewings and the Malabar Banded Peacock to mention just a few of the 87 species spotted at the park.

This article was first published in Timeline GOA Magazine: Issue 1 Vol. 1 (Page 74).

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