The strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen is a desire. For some, it's a materialistic thing that gives happiness. But for me, it's about taking a trip to a place where you can escape the daily monotonous life. Among the many destinations in India, there are very few that can charm you like Goa - an exotic getaway for many national and international tourists. To experience the relaxed lifestyle and get a flavour of the local culture, we drove down to Ratnagiri, a laid back port city on the Arabian Sea coast.
When it comes to choosing an ideal vehicle for a road trip like this, the generic options that come to one's mind is an SUV or an MPV, that is durable, practical and efficient. How about doing it in a sedan instead? And we are not talking of just any other sedan but the one that has amassed immense popularity over the years among the Indian audiences. The Maruti Suzuki Dzire's bold design, lots of convenience options, spacious and comfortable seats and lastly an efficient heart, made it our best bet for this coastal trip.
Food always plays an important role in our trips and this one was no exception either. We ventured into a local eatery in Bastora, a village in North Goa, early in the morning hoping to get a quick bite. To our surprise, it was serving everything that was on the menu unlike some restaurants that start serving certain items later in the day. We ordered Kaju curry and Poee bread, both traditional Goan preparations. The local delicacies served here have a unique flavour that you don't find anywhere else in the country.
The fact that Goa is not as densely populated as, say, the Indian metros makes it one of my absolute favourites. It has a wide spread of greenery almost everywhere making it extremely soothing to the eyes. The only bit that worried me were the narrow single lane roads, which were handily taken care of by our Maruti Suzuki Dzire. After getting some beautiful morning shots with the sun and the greens in the background, we then headed to Betim to see the Mandovi fishermen market. There were a fleet of trucks lined up to transport fresh stock into different parts of the country, an army of men helping anchor different boats and fishermen getting ready for their next sail, a typical, busy working day looks like at the Mandovi fishermen's market.
Old school architecture inspired by the early years can be seen everywhere in Goa. Even though the state has evolved with time, it has still managed to maintain its charm with the vintage construction. And to witness that, we drove down to Fontainhas, an classic Latin quarter located in the capital city of Goa, Panjim. The classic villas and buildings here feature vibrant shades of blue, yellow and green, that make them look distinctive, acting as the perfect backdrop to shoot our Oxford Blue Dzire.
Since we were in Fontainhas and it was time for lunch, we headed to the Verandah restaurant, highly recommended by the locals. With its roots dating past 140 years, the Verandah Hotel is almost 40 years old, said one of the managers there with a proud smile. The vintage furniture, photographs and the ambience takes you on a yesteryear trip. To add to that, the food served here is a total treat for food connoisseurs. Be it vegetarian or non-vegeterian, name any preparation and they will make it for you in the best possible way. After polishing off all the delicacies, it was time for us to resume our journey.
However, this time around, we chose to ditch the road and take a different mode to head to the Chorao Island situated in North Goa. And to do that, we took our Dzire on a jetty across the Mandovi river. The 15-min jetty ride was extremely scenic with small colourful boats anchored along the coast. As the sun began to set, we too decided to call it a day at one of the old churches in Chorao Island. It felt nice to get away from the buzzing concrete jungle into the calm and quiet nature.
The plan for the second day was to reach Ratnagiri, which is about 300km from Goa. It was not the distance but the single lane highway with bad sections, that seemed challenging to deal with. The suspension of our Dzire worked overtime to make sure the disturbances caused by the surfaces were as muted as possible. Keeping us entertained throughout the journey was the Dzire's smart infotainment system. Along the route lies the serene Vengurla beach, that was our stopover point for a small break. The vast Arabian sea and the beautiful boats made us just wonder about how simplicity can also be so beautiful. We didn't wish to leave this location but then had to reach Ratnagiri at sunset. The intensity of traffic increased as we entered Ratnagiri and it is here that we experienced the convenience of the AGS - auto gear shift, reaching our destination just in time. Such trips makes one believe that we don't need to visit exotic destinations, for happiness. All of that can be felt anywhere as long as you have the desire to step out of your comfort zone and indulge in what nature has to offer.