Saturday, 26 November 2016
Sun, sand and parties are what everyone associates with Goa, but if you are in for a little offbeat holiday, explore the unexplored in Goa – the Tiracol Pernem Goa area, close to your beautiful room at the Hotel Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, is a wonderland that is ignored by most tourists because they do not know of its treasures.
Start your exploration close to where you are staying. The Fort Tiracol is a wonderful place to see before you begin heading out to the rest of the taluka. While you can explore most of what remains of the fort, see if you can gain entry to the St. Andrew’s Chapel inside the fort. Or walk down to the Querim beach for a quiet day away from the crowds,or with local fishermen.
North Goa is best known for the beaches at Baga, Calangute and Anjuna, but further north, are four pristine beaches that are known as the lands of Shalom, boho-chic parties and great Hebrew food. From the residual “hippie-culture” in Arambol to the nesting Olive Ridley turtles in Morgim, from the hugely popular “surfers spot” Vaayu Resort in Ashwem to the yogic wonders of Mandrem, these four beaches have a lot to offer the discerning traveller and makes the Tiracol Pernem Goa area a veritable mix of different activities.
Activities like jamming with a complete band of strangers over a djembe in Arambol, shopping along Glastonbury Street, kitesurfing and yoga in Mandrem and Morjim, or surrendering to the party vibe in Ashvem more than make up for missing the bustle of the more popular beaches further down.
For a truly offbeat experience, go to the Money Stone in Arambol. What used to be a land art installation by Conceptual and Land Artist Jacek Tylicki is today a pilgrimage of sorts. A round bowl made of stone has the following etched on its rim: Give If you can – Take if you have to. Passers-by often take money fr
om or put money into the sculpture.
The money stone is near a majestic banyan tree close to Arambol’s freshwater lake, known for its sulphuric mud that has curative properties.
Also in the Tiracol Pernem Goa area is the Deshprabhu House. You can only visit the heritage house of Jitendra “Raoraje” Deshprabu, Visconde de Pernem, by prior appointment, which can be easily arranged from your hotel through Goa Tourism. Called the Casa de Hospides or House of Hospitality by the Portuguese for the lavish feasts the owner arranged for them (even cooking pork and serving liquor at a time when no Hindu could think about them), it earned its owner the title Viscount of Pernem in perpetuity. Inside the house is a veritable mix of antiques and contemporary furniture (in styles that are both Portuguese and Goan Hindu), as well as
16 courtyards. Please note that you have to show an ID at the gate. There is a small museum and a Hindu temple inside the palacio.
There are also a number of temples in the Tiracol Pernem Goa area that form the heart of religious activity for the little villages of the taluka. But if you do not have a very religious bent, may we suggest a journey to discover the food of the area? A stronghold of Israelis for a long time now, the entire stretch of western Pernem is haven for Hebrew food. Along with that of course, you will find a lot of places serving continental or English fare, or even some Goan dishes, although these are heavily toned down, given the usual clientele of the area. Try the upmarket places as well as the beach shacks for some mouthwatering food, while you keep an eye open for the immense treasures offered by the street vendors.