‘Susegad’ and Romance of the rains – Visiting Goa during monsoons

Goa is one destination which is on the bucket list of one and all. Be with family or friends, a honeymoon trip, reunion or bachelorette – Goa just perfectly fits the bill. Add to the rigmarole, all the cancelled plans for that perfect Goa trip and then being stranded as the lone enthusiastic member on the gradually silent WhatsApp group. As with all travel destinations, you will find numerous guides on the world wide web about the tourist season in Goa starting from October. Some of them will give you the list of must visit places and some will warn you against visiting Goa during the monsoons.

But ask yourself, do you want to be a tourist who goes by checklists or a traveller who loves to collect the most precious memories in the cafés frequented by locals or joins them for an impromptu dance celebrating a win in the local football league? If you belong to the second category, travel to Goa during monsoons and just enjoy the sweet, laid back and amazingly quiet Goan life amidst the plush greenery which floods the state in form of paddy fields. Monsoons are actually the perfect time to enjoy the much touted ‘Susegad’ (idyllic charm) in Goa.

View of Vagator Beach from Chapora Fort

If you are wary of heavy rains playing spoilsport, which is also a valid safety concern considering Goa receives heavy rainfall every year, you may plan the trip during end August or just the beginning of September, when the serenity of monsoons, empty roads and lovely smiles are yet to be replaced by the professionalism of peak tourist season which begins in October.

1) Enjoy the quieter roads

The trip to Goa is often planned to escape the drudgeries of city life. Surely, you do not want to get into the same traffic jams or overhear the sound of constant honking when in Goa. The end of monsoons can be the perfect time to explore the quieter roads with next to zero honking and the only traffic jams that you face are the ones where a herd of cows need to cross the road. Just hire that scooter and drive like a true local while enjoying the leisurely views of the roads lined with coconut trees and dotted with lush green paddy fields. Don’t believe me? See this!

Parra, Bardez. this is the place where the popular Bollywood movie ‘Love you Zindagi’ was shot.
The beauty of clear blue skies
Enjoy the views of lush greenery

2) The beaches are cleaner with lot less people

Beaches are the primary attraction in Goa. Monsoons can be the perfect time to enjoy the perfect sunset at the beach with only serenity or the lone dog for company. In fact, the otherwise over crowded beaches like Baga, Anjuna or Vagator may prove to be a bliss (like they were originally) during this time. You can bathe in the sea or look for the umbrella during that occasional drizzle and pitter – patter.

Baga Beach
Sunset at Vagator
Vagator Beach

3) The ‘touristy’ attractions have a lot less selfie seekers

As with the beaches, there are lot less tourists everywhere including the popular attractions like Basilica of Bom Jesus (popularly known as the Mummy church in Goa), Dona Paula beach, Chapora or Aguada Fort. We all know what a menace the modern day evolution of selfie hunters can be, especially in crowded touristy places. Ask yourself, do you want your vacation mood to be spoiled by serpentine queue in front of a view point for a split second selfie or you just want to click that perfect photo and then lounge and sit around to enjoy the view and treasure it till eternity? If you are sucker for moments and the romance of memories like me, late monsoons can be the perfect time to visit Goa for you.

One of the churches in Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus

Fort Aguada
View from Fort Aguada

4) Discover the yet ‘unexplored’ side of Goa

During the peak tourist season, the roads are crowded and the villages abruptly disappear to give way to make shift hotels, lodges and restaurants. The charm of travelling through the winding village roads while enjoying the idyllic village life that Goa is known for, remains unknown to many. You may never spot the fisherman on river Zuari or just walk around at your own sweet pace to discover the old Latin quarters in Goa – the Fontainhas. Right in the middle of the busy and bustling Panjim (Panaji) city lies the old Portugese residential houses which will transform you back to a different era altogether. There will albeit be package tours taking you till the very famous St Sebastians Chapel there, all through the year, but the joy of discovering the meandering narrow lanes with colourful balconies on your own feet, without jostling and asking for space is amazing to say the least. The names of the roads or the colourful road signs will remind you of the picture postcards from the coveted Portugese or Spanish vacation or if you have been there, will definitely take you a trip down memory lane. Now, who minds either of them?

One of the houses in Fontainhas area, Panjim
Beautiful Road signs
One of the relatively wider lanes in Fontainhas

Chapel of St Sebastian, Fontainhas, Panjim

5) The restaurants will have the best of food with no overcrowding and you get the best of the views

There is no denying that some popular restaurants in Goa are closed during the monsoon season as it is traditionally considered the off season. But, the best of the lot are always open. During my week long stay in Goa, I ate a lot of Goan, Continental and seafood while selecting the places based on popular recommendations. If you want a perfect mix of best views, food, ambience and overall a wonderful place to just chill and laze around Britto’s at Baga beach gets my thumbs up. I loved the food so much that I went back twice. The seafood platter is to die for and worth the price.

Grilled Fish at Britto’s
The seafood platter at Britto’s

If you want more exclusivity along with some breathtaking views of Arabian sea go to Curlies at Anjuna beach. The vibe of the place is leisurely and while the food was decent, the fact that you can sit and enjoy the views for as long as you want while sipping your favourite mocktail, cocktail or beer makes it a winner for me.

View from Curlies, Anjuna beach

The first two I mentioned are quite well known in Goa. There is also another place where I went and loved, called Fisherman’s Cove near Candolim beach. This is where I had my first taste of the famous Vindaloo and Feni shots along with some very nice live music.

At Fisherman’s Cove, Candolim

All these places become supremely crowded during the so called season time and I have heard stories of long queues outside the restaurant for a seat (like the ones outside Arsalan during Durga Puja). If you want to skip the line and enjoy the best views of the sea or just enjoy the leisurely pace while enjoying good food and good life – monsoons can be the perfect time to visit Goa.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t plan. Just book the ticket, reach Goa, hop on a scooter, switch on the Google maps and just explore the lush greenery, the lazy charm, the uncharted serenity and the out of the world food during monsoons. Yes, there may be a potholes or two along the road due to the rains and it is always safe to be alert about the rains, but the general condition of roads in Goa is very good and it is completely safe to drive cars or scooters.

Goa actually needs no reasons, seasons and plans. Don’t fall in the trap of package tours, must visits, day based itineraries- Goa is much more than all that and all the bountiful put together. The millennial FOMO (Fear of missing out) is not the thing in Goa 🙂

P.S. All photos published here have been clicked by me and no unauthorised use is permitted.

Phir se aaiyo Badra bidesi……

It smells nice..really nice. In fact I just discovered what a big turn on wet grass can be for me. You know it rained today in the sneaking zone between the morning giving way to another afternoon. It was just like that day. and today, I did not have to care about any worldly exams to give. I ran to the terrace. The rain drenched my toes, welcomed me to thy world. I was reliving the rain. I was reliving you….long after it was all over.

The raindrops glistened. They were in my hand…but before I realised they were gone.

It’s a lovely evening here now. I have Ghalib and Gulzaar for company. And also the byanger gyangorgang (the toads croaking) just outside my window. The patch of blue is long gone, only to be cuddled by the dark, ilish smelling night :-).

Here’s to the first rain of the season.