Travel Diaries: The Other Side Of Goa, It Is Much More Than Crowded Beaches And Parties


You must have visited Goa with the party hard rule in your mind, or have heard from your friends how happening it is. There are beaches, there are shacks, there are drinks, there’s music, there’s dancing, there’s water sports, and there are people, loads and loads of them. As long as you’re a party freak or someone who loves to be around happening places, take rocking night outs and let your hair down, you will love this side of Goa.

But you know what? Even if you’re someone who would prefer to find peace, or rather explore the place for its own natural beauty, Goa IS totally the place for you! There’s architecture, there’s history, there’s culture, there’s serenity, there’s soul-stirring beauty, and mesmerizing scenery. You just need to have an eye for beauty and a soul that wanders.

Here’s a first-hand account of what will make you happy if you’re looking for another kind of adventure, here’s the other side of Goa, the unseen side of it:

1. Japanese Garden, Vasco

While you would think it must be just another garden, it is actually one of the most beautiful beaches you will visit. It’s just 3 Km from Vasco, the garden overviews a pristine virgin beach on one side, and the ships in the Goan ship yards on the other.

Japanese Garden

2. Grandmother’s hole Beach

This is a virgin beach that you can reach by climbing down 250 odd stairs from Japanese Garden and passing from a small ‘hole’ like cave. The beach is surrounded by lush greenery and black rocks, secluded and serene, it’s a secret worth sharing.

Grandmother's Hole

3. Shree Shantadurga Temple, Kavlem

This temple located at Kavlem in Ponda has a great architecture with a beautiful and huge dome visible from a distance. It is surrounded by emerald hills, coconut trees, paddy fields and local flora. You might as well love to have a simple and healthy lunch at the back side of the temple.

Shree Shantadurga Temple

4. St. Cajetan’s Church/Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence

One of the most beautiful churches in Goa, this one has been modelled after the St. Peter church in Rome and constructed in the Corinthian style. The church located in Velha is a wonderful piece of brilliant architecture with gorgeous and intricate baroque style carvings.

St. Cajetan's Church Exterior

St. Cajetan's Church Interior

5. Indian Naval Aviation Museum

Located 6 km away from Vasco Da Gama, this is a military museum and is the only one of its kind in Asia. It has indoor as well as outdoor exhibits, the former exhibiting the evolution of Indian Naval Aviation, its history, replicas of INS Vikrant and Viraat, the latter, a total of 13 decommissioned aircrafts!

Decommissioned BombsDecommissioned Bombs

Replica of INS ViraatReplica of INS Viraat

A Decommissioned AircraftA Decommissioned Aircraft

6. Divar Island

If you’re really looking for a peaceful place to go, there can be nowhere better than Divar Island, a sleepy, yet unfailingly picturesque little island that lies in river Mandovi. Just a 10 minute ferry ride from old Goa and you’ll reach the land that time forgot, surrounded by beautiful paddy fields, and a beautiful church. The island is also where some part of the movie Finding Fanny was shot.

Divar Island 1


7. San Jacinto Island

If you’re a lover of serenity and a nirvana seeker, you will love this seldom visited small island of south Goa which is probably the most exotic part of south Goa just a few kilometres away from Dabolim International Airport, connected to the rest of the city by a small clean bridge. The place is so quiet you could just sit there for hours without realizing the time!

San Jacinto Island

8. Mae de deus Church, Saligao

The first thing you would notice when you see this church is its beautiful and extraordinary architectureThe white and graceful carving on the exteriors gives it an astonishing old and exotic look. It is one of the churches in Goa with the finest architecture, and looks amazing at night with all the lights.

Mae de deus Church

9. Cappella Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte

The Church of Nossa Senhora Do Monte is one of the most beautiful churches you’ll see in wilderness and is located in Saligao, a little farther from St. Cajetan’s Church and has been designed in Gothic style, with simple Latin Cross on the top, which itself makes it a more fabulous sight.

Cappella Da Nossa Senhora Do Monte

10. Infantaria Café

Can’t take the party noises of Bagha beach anymore? Go to this nice café just a couple of kilometres from Bagha beach to satiate the foodie in you. The food is fantastic as it is, but you must not forget to have the Oreo Cookie & Fudge Brownie Shake, believe me it is heaven on earth!


11. Shri Nageshi Temple, Ponda

This is not at all crowded shrine of Lord Shankar situated in Bandora village, about four kilometres from East Ponda, not very far from the Shri Shantadurga Temple. Right in front of the temple is a small ghat passing by which you will reach a peaceful residential area with lush greenery and simple people.

Shri Nageshi Temple

Shri Nageshi Temple 1

12. St. Roque Chapel, Ponda

Located at Bandora, Ponda, this is a secluded church where you won’t find many tourists. So when everybody is partying, you might as well just want to sit back and relax at this isolated yet beautiful church, watching the sunset, communicating with yourself.

St. Roque Chapel

13. Dudhsagar Waterfalls, Sonaulim, Goa

A little far away from the happening beaches and crowded parties of Goa, this place is around 46 kilometres from Madgaon and has an unbelievable 4 tier waterfall on the river Mandovi. It will mesmerize you with its extraordinary colossal fall and the extremely white milky colour, thus the name dudhsagar. The waterfall borders the 2 states of Karnataka and Goa. What adds to the adventure is that there’s no halt of the train to this place, so you’ve to get down either at the nearest Castle Rock station or during the 1-2 minute technical halt, cross a 200 metre really dark tunnel and reach the falls to find the gigantic milky falls. Overwhelming!

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