Goa is all about Sea, sun-soaked beaches, and bohemian crowd but the monsoon clouds change the mood completely. The monsoon transforms the barren land into lush green fields in the hinterlands of Konkan. The dark clouds hovering over the sea bring continuous showers. The sea is rough and a bit scary.
Konkan railway is the best way to travel in Monsoon. Book a ticket in the sleeper class, start at night from Mumbai and wake up to the myriad shades of green and grey in the morning. Take a sip of hot ginger tea and enjoy the view from the train window. The view was so good, I did not get bored of looking out of train window from Ratnagiri to Sawantwadi. The weather is chilly (comparatively, when you are coming from the dust and June heat in Gurgaon) and the slight drizzle coming from the window is refreshing. The atmosphere and the experience are very soothing. After Sawantwadi, the next leg of the journey is via bus. The journey does not take more than a couple of hours.
The best part of Monsoon is you can enjoy the off-season discounts and stay near the beach at dirt cheap prices. The sea is rough and the lifeguards have a tough time keeping the over-enthusiastic few from doing something reckless. The best way to enjoy is to find a nice shack, buy a bottle of feni, order some nice fish fry and may be read for a while. You can spend the whole afternoon just sitting in the shack and watching the waves in the rough sea. The dark clouds meet the sea at the horizon and it’s a grand view. It usually starts raining in the late afternoon. You can spare one day to roam around on the bike in the rain and one day to visit the waterfalls.
There are many tourist attractions in Goa, but for me, it was more about food. After living in north India for nearly three years, getting a good fish preparation has been next to impossible. Goa, rather the whole Konkan belt, is heaven for fish and meat lovers. The preparations are spicy but not too hot. The coconut adds the extra something to the dish. The Sol Kadhi prepared from Kokam fruit compliments the cuisine. Apart from Goan cuisine, there are plenty of restaurants serving other cuisines and they are equally good. The highlight of the trip was the fish plate in the restaurant named ‘Konkani ‘ in Madgaon. The whole meal cost was less than 300 but it was one of the best meals I had. There is another restaurant called ‘Wok and Roll’ near Aguada fort. This restaurant serves good South Asian flavors. There are many other restaurants and bakeries which serve good food.
I had missed out on the Monsoon for last three years in Delhi. This was indeed a good break. This trip can be better described in flavors of Goan fish curry, feni, and beautiful isolated beaches. I loved the Monsoon in Goa and will be going back again during the tourist season.
Monsoon, June 2016