Week-end in Goa, out of the season (Benaulim and Rachol seminary visit)
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We didn’t have enough of Goa this year. So even if it wasn’t the season anymore, even if it was supposed to be too hot, we went there without any other aims than escaping Bangalore for the last week-end of May, just before the monsoon.
For a change, we targeted a spot we didn’t know anything about except that it was 30 minutes away from the airport and that it was supposed to be more “commercial” than the beaches we usually go to: Benaulim.
We finally got to discover a pretty quiet area with family-friendly hotels and pensions. The beach, was endless, serene, stretching on a 20 kms coastline dotted by villages and resorts. Great for long walks on the shore. Even if we have to admit, we still found it less charming than the small south Goa beaches.
The other point of interest in this region is the fact that it’s really close to Margao whose surroundings are rich in Portuguese heritage. Small white churches and colonial houses are spread in the countryside all around. As we already visited the main ones a few years back, we went this time to a more confidential one: The patriarchal seminary of Rachol.
In the middle of nowhere, this seminary is still training students to become later priests, monks… etc. It was holiday time for them when we visited but one of the four seminarians watching the place kindly gave us a tour (while wearing a Bayern Munchen jersey!). Founded by Portuguese in 1609, this seminary got a eventful history with the different wars and orders passing by. It’s a huge space and it’s quite interesting to visit as it’s a mix of Portuguese heritage and small very local details. We’ve been told that the inner church of the Seminary is quite unique as it hosts some ornaments made of colored wood in the shape of cashew nuts for instance (one of the main crop of the area).
We also wandered around, in the countryside where we ended up visiting an other cute small church where a baptism was about to happen. As it happens quite often in Goa, but this time maybe more than ever, we didn’t feel in India anymore… more somewhere in South America.
So even if we still prefer the South Goa beaches, this part of Goa has some really unique charm. The Goa culture is stronger and that feels too in the menu of the restaurants which all offer local dishes that we never tried before (and which go further than the typical Vindaloo!).
Et pour les fans d’histoire coloniale, plus de photos du séminaire sur notre Flickr.