One destination that I have visited over ten times is Goa! And I’d be lying if I say that I don’t want to go to Goa again. So when an invite from Goa Tourism Board asked me to become a part of the Goa Hunt in association with Honda2Wheelers, I was overjoyed. The brief had mentioned that myself along with 18 other bloggers will be divided into teams of two and will have to perform tasks exploring undiscovered Goa riding on Honda Navi. This sounded a lot like being on MTV’s most popular show ‘Roadies’ and I knew that I had to be a part of this experience where our entire journey was being captured on camera!
From Delhi I was flown to Goa where the Goa Hunt began with a press conference. There wasn’t much to do on the first day except to know my fellow riders and go the Calangute Beach which was right next to our hotel – The Calangute Residency. The next two days on this journey were going to be super tiring as every day we had to leave the hotel at 6 am in order to complete the assigned task on the basis of which we were going to be scored. The winner of these tasks was going to get a package for six nights and seven days stay in a five star hotel in Goa. The reward was tempting enough to kick start our journey!
Day One Activity One : Mae De Deus Church In Saligao
Beginning my journey as a pillion, the first destination we reached was Mae De Deus Church in Saligao. It’s not that I had not seen the church before in my previous visits but I had not known a lot about it as much as I explored it this time. The most distinctive feature of the church were the humongous bells that one could see even before entering the church. What’s interesting is the fact that these two bells at the church ring at the same time.
The grandeur of the church’s Gothic style architecture can often be mistaken for a castle straight from the fairy tale world. Mae De Deus Church was built in 1873 that houses the miraculous statue of Mae De Deus that translates to ‘Mother of God’ which was brought from the ruins of the convent of Mae De Deus in Old Goa. Our task at the church was to record a video describing the church to our viewers and upload it on social media.
Activity Two : Getting Acquainted With Mapusa Market
For the second task, we reached the famous Mapusa Market. At this market one can get household items and grocery. The activity for this market was to explore the market, buy a fruit and take a picture with the fruit vendor. While looking for a fruit and talking to the shopkeepers, I got to know that people mostly frequented this market to pick up tamarind and Goan sausages. Towards the end of the market I chose to pick up a banana from an old woman who asked me to call her ‘Aji’. Aji in Konkani means grandmother. Aji spoke to me about how early she comes and puts up the banana stall and leaves for home by 7 pm every day.
Activity Three : Calm Your Senses At Anjuna Beach
This was particularly my favourite activity in the entire day. We got off at Anjuna Beach and had no clue about what exactly we were supposed to do here. Previously, Curlies, Shiva Cafe and Liliput cafe have been my favourite cafes at Anjuna Beach and there was nothing that I could have missed on this beach. Proving me wrong and showing me what’s more to this beach, we were told that many people do yoga early in the morning and that is exactly what our next task was about.
We were shown five different yoga postures and we had to do one if we were doing a difficult one or five easy ones. I remembered how much I loved doing Chakrasana when I was in school. Being nostalgic about practicing yoga when I was a kid, I attempted Chakarasana. I did yoga after almost ten years and it was a great feeling to know that even after several kilos heavier I could balance and lift myself up in the wheel position!
Activity Four: Stirring Up A Watermelon Feni!
Picture Courtesy : Ankit Sharma
After a long and hectic first day, all we needed was a drink! And that is what the team had in plan for us. Retiring in the typical Goan manner, the mixologist at Calangute Residency showed us how to make watermelon Feni and our task was to follow the steps and measurements to ace the drink. One person from the team of two had to make the drink with the other team member prompting them with the ingredients and the method.
With this last activity, the first day ended up being hectic but a lot of fun and made me look forward to the next day.
Day Two Activity One: Visiting The Old Latin Quarters Of Panjim – Fontainhas
The second day began on a colourful note. Quite literally! We began our journey early morning to reach the Old Latin Quarters of Panjim which is commonly known as Fontainhas. This was my first time in Fontainhas and I loved every corner that was there to the place. The heritage homes at this Fontainhas were coloured bright and had that old world charm to it that would make this place a photographer and explorer’s paradise. Our first task for the day was to find five different colours and get our pictures clicked with the bright background.
Activity Two : Capturing The Facades Of Old Goa Churches
Looking forward to the next task, we took off on our red Honda Navi to Old Goa. The only reason we could ride for long hours was because the bike was comfortable and steady with two people. Honda Navi is an apt ride for Goa where you can easily ride from one place to another even in narrow by lanes. In Old Goa we were supposed to take pictures of the facades of three churches. The first church we went to was Basilica of Bom Jesus. This church is four centuries old and still preserves the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
Next we walked towards the other two churches – Se Cathedral Church and St. Francis Assisi. These two churches were located opposite to Basilica of Bom Jesus and were a treat to the eyes.
Activity Three: Knowing Tourist Opinion On ‘What Goa Means To Them’
For this task, we rode to Dona Paula Beach where we were supposed to speak to a tourist asking them what according to them makes Goa an interesting destination. I tried speaking to a couple to people but some were shy and other’s were in Goa for the first time and Dona Paula was the first beach that they were visiting. I finally met a lady from Manipur and she excitedly told me how this was her fifth day in Goa and she loves Goa for its beaches, people and delicious food!
With this, we came to an end of Goa Hunt where discovering unexplored Goa on Honda Navi was a superb experience!