Some may say that Goa, being the smallest state in the country, is not an apt destination for long vacations especially for explorers since the entire state, with a well-thought-of route map, can be covered and explored in less than 15 days. However, this should not limit the travellers who come down with a month long window. Not only travellers but the locals also crave for some fresher thrills on weekends since most of them have already discovered every corner of Goa. No, I’m not talking about killing time at the beach, which as far as I have witnessed, is quite easily achievable. Instead, there are a bunch of getaways from Goa that the travellers and the locals can get to and extend their regard to other states and destinations as well. Here we have listed 5 such weekend getaways for you that will make your vacation worth every while.
From the sounds of chants resonating in the atmosphere, the aromatic smoke from incense sticks diffusing into the sea breeze to the bikini-clad tourists on solitary shores; Gokarna is a contrast that is strange yet lovable. Three hours south of Goa in the neighboring state of Karnataka lies the gorgeous temple town of Gokarna. Whether it’s for the holiness of the place or the exquisite beaches, countless pilgrims and tourists visit these shores every year. You’ll also find the exceptionally welcoming and tolerant nature of its dwellers to be warm and comforting despite being from a religious town.
Kodagu, or Coorg is a picturesque district located on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats in southern Karnataka. With the commencement of the month of March, Coorg gets blanketed with fragrant white blossoms of coffee. Apart from soaking your retinas in the lush greenery of Coorg, it’s a haven for adventurous souls to trek around and explore more than the eyes can capture. When it comes to exploring these vast hills, a trekking guide is essential and within Coorg, there are numerous tour agents that organize day trips. A trip from Goa to Coorg would take about 10 hours but the beauty of the way makes it well worth it.
Just over an hour from the border of north Goa lies the quaint beach town of Vengurla. The journey, as you pass from the national highway onto the state highway, is magnificent especially during early summer mornings. As you roll down the Windows, you find the aroma of moist mud grip your consciousness as you gaze at the greenery laden hills on the way. Paddy fields, cows grazing and temples that dot tiny villages, reminiscent of a page out of a Marathi school book, play out their morning song. Of all the scenic pleasures of the ride on the way there is the sight of mango trees in full bloom. And as you get there, you’ll see crystal clear water washing off the white shores of Vengurla as the local fisherman, in their colourful boats; get ready for the day’s first catch.
Another wonder that is settled about 430 kms south of Margao is a mystical place call Chikmagalur. The drive there will make you devour scenic views of the coastline, little bridges over rivers fringed by coconut palms and quaint coastal Villages. Once you near Chikmagalur, you’ll drive past some beautifully maintained coffee estates with silver oak trees planted for shade. The district of Chikmagalur gets its name from its headquarters – Chikmagalur town which literally means ‘The town of the younger daughter’. Legend says that the chief of Sakrepatna had given the town as dowry to his younger daughter and hence the name. The best time for you to set off from Goa is at about 5 in the morning and although the drive is about 7 hours long, you might take a bit longer considering the stops you might take on the way to click photographs and to breathe in the serenity of pure nature.
Dandeli is a small town situated in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. Surrounded by dense deciduous forests of the Western Ghats, Dandeli is a renowned adventure sports and river rafting destination. The dense deciduous forests of the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary crisscross by the meandering streams of River Kaneri and River Nagajhari which are both the Tributaries of River Kali. The rich biodiversity, mildly humid yet cool climate, enriching forest and river views, adventure sports avenues, and easily available accommodation is what makes Dandeli an immaculate weekend getaway to unwind at.
Text: Shubham Gupta
Pics courtesy: Planet Goa Archives, Shubham Gupta