Upon hearing the word Goa we start thinking about beaches with golden sand and serene water, Shacks, Music, Parties, etc. Our visit to Goa for the new year’s eve is one of the most momentous trip of my life. At first when the trip was being planned I knew that my parents would never allow me to visit Goa for the new year’s celebration and that too on a road trip. But due to the perpetual insistence from my friends I gathered the courage to tell my father about the trip and asked for his permission. This was just a formality to shut the mouth of my friends as I knew he would never allow me to go on such lousy trips. That’s what he thought about such road trips I used to think. But to my surprise and sheer luck, he said YES. I was on cloud nine. It was like a miracle. We were elated.
Our ride, Maruti Swift Vdi was serviced a day before our departure. With the dawn of the new day we were ready to go. What lay ahead of us were two days of fun, gusto and open roads. Our first stop was at Vitava Petrol Pump. After getting the tank full we were all set to roll. Three friends, one destination and unlimited fun.
You can visit Goa via Trains, Flights, buses or private vehicles. With the rise in the number of biking groups, many bikers have started riding to Goa. I advice you to take on the road and your own vehicle if possible. I assure you it would be a memorable journey filled with several mesmerizing exhibition of nature’s beauty and some enduring memories to cherish.
The distance of Goa from Thane is approximately 615 kms and would take maximum 12 hours depending upon your speed and how often you stop. If you don’t have an idea about the road you can easily use a GPS or simply ask locals on your way for the directions. There are two major routes connecting Thane to Goa
Mumbai to Goa via Ratnagiri:
If you are a nature lover then this route is for you. But let me tell you one thing that even if you are not very fond of it this road would make you fall in love with nature. The road goes through picturesque forests on its sides. It looks more beautiful in monsoon. But with beauty comes some risk. The roads are winding and has a lot of curves. So a steady speed must be maintained in order to avoid accidents.
Many people choose this route for Goa in order to tackle traffic problems and also save time. People who are obsessed with speed also prefer this route. It is the best road to take if going to Goa as it has long unwinding roads with four lanes. The only drawback of this route according to me is the high number of toll booths. Repetitive toll booths are annoying.
We decided to take the Pune-Kolhapur Highway while going and the highway via Ratnagiri on our way back. Leaving at 6 in the morning we reached Kolhapur at 1 pm. We made a halt outside a local dhaba, for some authentic Kolhapuri lunch. We were delighted to have a scrumptious lunch consisting of spicy Chicken rassa, some yummy Misal and bhakris. Post the delicious lunch it was time for some rejuvenating sugar cane juice. It was refreshing and pure, unlike what we get in cities. Finishing the juice We were again ready to roll.
After driving for a couple of hours we reached Amboli, a lovely hill station resting in the arms of the the Sahyadri ranges. Amboli is approx 135 Kms drive from Kolhapur. Having a quiescent climate and away from the hectic city life it attracts a lot of tourists especially in monsoon. We stopped to click a few pictures with the waterfall. After some clicks we again continued our journey. Our next stop was directly at Sawantwadi for some energizing chai.
We finally reached Goa at 5.30 in the evening. There was a big check post at the Goa border, mainly because of the new year. The number of cars crossing the check post was very high. The roads were fully packed. People not only from different parts of India, but from different parts of world visit Goa to welcome the new year.
Now the most important task was to find a nice and cheap hotel which looked very difficult in that peak season. After inquiring in various hotels we were a little worried. The rates were very high and the cheapest fare we got was 4000 per day. We even declined that.
Parking our car outside Baga beach we decided to relax for some time.The beach was crammed with people. The three of us landed ourselves comfortably on the cold sand. The atmosphere was enthralling. Some nice music, beautiful sunset and cold breeze. It was a perfect evening. Spending some quiet time at the beach we left for dinner. There was a different menu card for the new year and the rates were quite high. We ordered some Chinese food. One thing I noticed that the waiters don’t pay much attention to you if you don’t have alcohol on your table and unfortunately we didn’t have. We were non drinkers. After dinner we were very tired and the only thing we wanted was some peaceful sleep. Not having any hotel to go we decided to spend the night in our car. This being the most awesome decision we took that made the trip worth remembering. Faizan took the driver’s seat while I took the non driver’s seat and Abhinav slept on the back seat. It was one of the most amazing sleep of my life.
The next day we woke up late from our luxurious beds. We took the car to the nearest petrol pump for refueling. Over there I saw a bathroom. It was pretty clean and we desperately needed to bathe. Parking our car at the side of the petrol pump, turn by turn we used the bathroom. Bathing in a petrol pump’s bathroom is something I had never imagined, but it was fun. We even got dressed at the petrol pump in the open. Having some fish steak burgers for breakfast we left to explore Goa.
We visited Aguada Fort, Calangute Beach, Vagator Beach and Chapora Fort.
Aguada Fort: It is one of the most popular tourist spots in Goa standing tall on the shore of the Mandovi River. This fort was built in the year 1612 and till now it is very well maintained and preserved. One of the outstanding feature of the fort is its four storey lighthouse built in 1864. I advise you to visit Aguada fort first as it is very big and you’ll have to walk a lot.
Calangute Beach: Calangute Beach is located 15 kms from Panaji in North Goa. It is also called as the Queen of Beaches. It doesn’t matter at what time of the year you visit,this beach is always crowded.
Vagator Beach: Adjacent to the famous Anjuna Beach is Vagator Beach. This beach is less crowded as compared to other beaches like Baga or Calangute. It’s a peaceful place to witness the beautiful sunset.
Chapora Fort: Popularly known as “Dil Chahta Hai Fort” Chapora fort is located high above the Chapora River. About 10 kms from Mapusa this fort was built in 1617. The fort is very old and very popular among tourist, but sadly it is not very well maintained. There is no proper parking facility. Moreover, there is no proper access to the fort. You have to climb a lot, but once you reach the top you will realize that it was worth your effort.
We visited only a few places as our trip was only about 2 days and our main aim was to experience new year’s celebration in Goa.
By sunset we went to Baga beach. It was the last night of the year and the milieu was breathtaking.
The crowd had gone berserk. Every single shack was full with people. Finally the countdown for the new year began and as the clock ticked 12 there were some splendid fireworks all over the beach. The black sky got painted with various radiant colors. It was enticing. It was a night worth remembering.
We smoked hukka till 5 in the morning, which was very awful and expensive. After that we went to our car for some sleep. In the morning around 9 with left for Vasco to pick a friend who was to travel with us to Thane. Reaching Vasco we used the public bathroom to get fresh. We changed our clothes on the side of road which was very awkward but we didn’t have any option. Getting some burgers for breakfast we were ready to leave. Leaving exactly at 12 noon from Vasco we reached Thane at 2 am by taking the highway via Ratnagiri.The highway via Ratnagiri is very much scary at night.
Though the trip was very short, the experience and the memories we made in those 2 days were simply amazing.