Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pongal at Goa - getting there

11th Jan 2013

Our aim was to get on the 2pm Vasco express bound for Kullem, Goa. This was my first visit ever to this western state, and no, we were not headed for the famed Goan beaches, but to the foothills of the Western Ghats and the Bhagawan Mahaveer Sanctuary. As usual, the getting-on-the-train itself was an event in itself, with us being waitlisted until the last day. Finally, the group of nine that we were in our coach had six berths, 2RACs and one WL who could travel because the other two on her ticket were confirmed!

So, we learnt something new about bookings and reservations on the Indian Railways, as we set out via KR Puram, Hubli and Dharwad, and then on to these unfamiliar names - Londa, Castle Rock and our destination Kullem!!
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What a nice name I thought! 12th Jan, and chugging along in the ghats as we crossed into Goa from Karnataka.

Beautiful, forested mountains brought us all to the doors of the carriage to enjoy the cool air as well.

Our fellow companions included a whole band of little kids, first there seemed to be only a couple of them, then their tribe grew to half a dozen, and by midday, it was close to a dozen, as they ran up and down the corridors trying to amuse themselves.

One little girl was rather distraught and kept yelling, "papa", for her dad at the top of her voice.  The problem was that her dad had a reservation in the next compartment, and she did not look kindly on this forced separation from her beloved papa!

Our favourite was the chubby little fellow who insisted on spreading jam on his bread adn following the other older kids around!  There was a Lay's chips packet "war",  which resulted in the battlefield being spattered with chips, shrugged shoulders and crunches under feet! The kids lost their charm at this point!!

The Dudhsagar falls - a little rivulet now.  Regular passengers on this route remarked that in season, the spray from the falls can be felt in the train!

Another view, as we went around the falls

Several tunnels along the way too

Always good to reconnect with the great Indian train journey, I mused, as I looked at the green hills that passed by.

It was close to noon by the time we arrived at our station, having enjoyed Dharwad pedas and freeh green channa-in-the-pod from the hawkers who got on and off.  Much better than the railway food of ghastly idlis and dosais we had for breakfast.

A short ride in the tempo traveller with Syed and we were at Nature's Nest, Goa!

The resort is located in a coconut, banana and betel nut estate

The place is filled with these powder puff shrubs, which attract sunbirds, bulbuls and parakeets, 
The dining room, where we had our meals.  We arrived for a delicious lunch with a wonderful dhal and vegetable gravy, Goan style.  The food was fresh and yum, though I must admit on day three I was a bit tired of the overdose of coconut milk!
The row of cottages

Our cottage - kaner.  Kaner is the Goan name for the Yellow Oleander

We settled in and wandered around the campus, saw a flying lizard, dipped our feet in the little spring pool they have, and after evening tea, we set off for our first outing to the Tamdi Surla temple area.


  1. As good as being there! I Don,t feel so bad now- felt like I had come along as well!


    1. Thanks Rags I seem to have missed this.

  2. Nice post Ambika mam!