21 December 2005

North Goa: Chapora Vagator Anjuna Calangute Fort Aguada Sinquerim

On the second day of my Goa "Holiday" I head north. Goa divides itself neatly into two by the Mandovi River. North of it lies the the now renowned and crowded beaches from Fort Tiracol till Panjim. These are party places, hippies dens and the hangout of dedicated dropouts. I see the map and decide to go till Fort Chapora on the banks of the Chapora river anthen work my was back by touching the prominent beaches. Its circuitious ride on the minor roads and the landscape is interesting. The presence of foreigner based tourism is palpable with prominent signs in Hebrew and Russian and at some places the prices being quoted in Euros! Chapora was originally 'Shahpur' after the great Adil Shah of Bijapur before the portuguese arrived on the scene. They cam and took over the fort which at that point must have been vital gaurding agianst the Marathas from the north of Chapora river. In fact at one point of time the fort was taken by Marathas. Graduallya s the portuguese managed to spread their infuence till Tiracol the fort lost its strategic significance and today nothing but a dilapidated fort wall remains of it. But the views are great. A calm and serene river merging into an equally calm Arabian sea and the fisherman village of Morjem on the north bank. We can see the Vagator beach and its very inviting. so we hurriedly climb down and head to Vagator. Its a short strip of beach but relatively empty. Clean. At the distal end (?Chapora beach) foreigners have occupied the shacks and the shack owner gives us disapproving looks. We head back. After a couple of hours we leave for Anjuna. Its a longer expanse and wider albeit rocky. The remenants of the famous Anjuna flea market can be seen. We have tuna in lemon sauce with chips and salad at a beach shack. And then we get into the water. Its terrific. Next stop is calangute and as expected its extremely crowded. Somebody described it as Ganga Snan! We go on a water scooter paying Rs 300 for the the 2 minute joyride! Its time for another fort and a big one Fort Aguada now hosting an unlikely combination of a prison and a 5 star hotel. Its a tough climb for the 2 wheeler. But the sights of Panjim and Mandovi are rewarding.

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