Images from my trips to Goa from Chennai(Updated)

Getting to Goa from Chennai

Generally the best way to reach Goa from Chennai is to take the Friday afternoon Chennai-Vasco express, and if you havent booked tickets, and are a a big group of 3+ people, then travelling by the unreserved is actually fun, if not all that comfortable. The journey from Chennai to Yeshwanthapur will pass off without much competition for the seats, but beyond that, lots of Kannadigas use this train as a passenger train to get off at their villages along the Bangalore Hubli route. Generally this leg of the journey in November is very very chill, and you need to be adequately armed with blankets and reserve your seats on the upper metal plank, lest you are found searching for a seat. The chillness continues till the train reaches Castle Rock and Londa on the Goa-Karnataka border. If you intend to roam the South Goa beaches, then Madgaon is the best place to call it quits for the journey, as Colva beach is located 6 kilometres from Madgaon. If you have North Goa in mind, then get down at Vasco station, and take a bus to Panjim, from which you can travel to the North Goa beaches by hiring buses/private transportMadgaon has very little accomadation in the sreet parallel to the railway station. Pretty shady places, and very basic rooms available for 350+ Rs for a 2 people.

The other route from Chennai is to take the mail to Bangalore so as to reach there by 5 am,
and charge your batteries for an hour at the waiting rooms, while you refresh and take the 6 am Hubli-Bangalore Jan Shatabdi express, which reaches Hubli at 1 20 pm. From Hubli, taking a bus is an option, which is largely cumbersome as the journey route is full of bad roads and chaotic traffic thanks to unruly bus and lorry drivers. Its a 6-7 hour journey to Panjim across the hills.

Our trip was by the above route and travelling by Indian railways, is always such a pleasure as early vivid memories of travel start from Indian Railways. What i find missing these days in the trains now, is the train with engine logo that used to be earlier engraved on the beds in the sleeper coaches.

Standing and posing in front of the mirror has become a defacto start to the camera in the train. This picture has Varun, me and Vipul posing, as we slightly came out of our compartment to talk, as the whole compartment was dozing heavily at 2 am. Well you dont expect anything else from a bunch of B school grads who are used to stay up late nights.

As I had earlier mentioned that the bus route from Hubli to Panjim is bad, and it really shakes you up by the time you reach Panjim. Try scanning the railway time table really well, for getting a connecting train at Hubli to reach Madgoan or any small station in Goa. The railway authorities are not too helpful in this regard and will shoo you away if you ask too many doubts that they cant answer. A better option with deep pockets would be to take the 13 30 flight from Bangalore to Dabolim(Goa), without touching Hubli, which would mean you reach Goa at 2 40 pm. Else you can also try to reach Mangalore from Bangalore and take a train from there to Madgoan. I have tried all three routes.

If you have time on your hand, I suggest take the most sluggish mode of transport to soak in to the journey. The journey is through a lot of forests and hills and has some great views in the evening after sun set.

Once you reach Panjim, if you would like to be on your own, try hiring a bike/car, and reach for the road besides the bus stand that has the huge hoarding of Paulo travels. There are a few smaller travel agents who also sell bikes on rent.

The next travel agent to get, would be to walk from the bus stand, over a small bridge and try getting to the Panjim Post office, right next to a petrol Bunk, where you find bike services. Try renting a vehicle for under 250 in Non Peak Season. In peak season a bike is rented at more than 500 rs. You get high end bikes as well as normal ones like passion plus, and Honda Activa. Honda Activa is a higly preffered means of commuting by people visiting Goa as apart from being a no-gear bike, it has space for keeping your spare clothes/ bag.

NORTH GOAN BEACHES- Getting there from Panjim

Generally from Panjim, the North Goan beaches are closeby, so enjoy the ride by driving north. The Beaches to see, in serial order are Condolim,Sinquerim,Calangute,Baga,Anjuna,Vagator,Morjim,Aswem,Mandrem,Arambol
and Kerim beach. Vagator and Morjim(the Turtle farm beach) are seperated by a gulf and the Chapora river.

We got to Panjim at around 9 ish after a arduous journey along the rickety route from Hubli. Panjim sleeps pretty early, and after 9 pm, no buses ply in Goa. So we reached Panjim and decided to explore for some bike shops by the wayside. An elderly uncle volunteered across to the post office in Panjim, which was a pleasant 10 minute walk from the bus stand. We got an Activa and a Passion plus for 225 rs a day after paying a caution deposit of 500 per vehicle. I got to play the lead driver, as I had previous driving knowledge around Goa and its inner roads that lead to the beaches. I lost no time, in assuaging my leadership skills, by deciding to play captain by playing pillion to Varun, while we asked Vipul to follow us.

The pleasure of driving on these lovely roads can be really enticing, but let me warn you, that it is pretty chill at night, and you would be better off making yourself warm by covering yourself with a shawl wrapped around you as you drive. The drive from Panjim had a spooky feel to it, and Varun and Vipul must have felt, I was leading them to into this abyss and chasm, that had no end to the drive. As soon as we turned right and entered Calangute, the spirit was rejuvenated with the colour and vivacity of the place. Brightly coloured shops and well lit roads seemed to bring more life into the tour that looked a little bland after the rickety and soporific bus journey.

We turned towards the left that leads to Anjuna Beach,and it was back to driving in small dim lit roads with banyan trees in plenty on both sides. All we could see around were shady huts which were proclaiming themselves as Ayurvedic centres with a retro look, and shacks that had firangs roaming about. Then as our bikes went further and we stopped for directions, we heard a rumbling noise of the ocean front, and the gurgling of the ocean waves, was pretty much a reminder of life at B school, a constant gurgling of emotions every day with various subjects and assignment deadlines, but hey, we are here to forget all about that mad chaotic life that we are used to. We parked our bikes near a shack and decided to explore a place for a quiet dinner. It was already 11 45 pm, and the shacks seemed to be packed to capacity with foreigners occupying the seats. It was too crowded for our comforts, and we decided to explore the next available shack, and it was pretty lonely, but well lit up against the background of the waves crashing below it. The shack was 20 mts above sea level on a cliff, so the waves hit the bottom rocks and occaisonaly the water managed to climb up and freshen the people above.

The candle lit dinner was good, in the sense that it made us relax staring at the deep depths of the ocean waves, which were relentlessy adding the bass to the instrumental music playing in the background. We in the meantime, also managed to find a decent room for 500 rs, which would house all three of us. Decent bathrooms(with hotwater), cupboards and a big bed with pillows, nothing more you need in terms of basic neccesities and we rested for a while before deciding to explore the place around us at around 1 30 am.

To be Continued.............

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