We all know that the monsoons are great for home bodies. Experiencing the crashing rains from the comfort of our homes can be wonderful, of course. But what about those of us who start to get a little cabin fever from too much house and not enough exploration? What if you’re hankering to get up and go, even in the rain? Below we list some wonderful but not very well-known drives and treks that will ventilate congested lungs, pleasure your eyes and perhaps even stir a bit of awe. And yes, with each of these suggestions, it’s
best to go in the rain.
Kuskem village lies deep in the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary so the drive through Cotigao itself is a treat. Thick forests interspersed with tiny villages with their little chai shops is not what we usually come across elsewhere and is a great diversion. Kuskem village is home to the jungle dwellers and if you snoop around, you will notice young women weaving the mandri (mat) out of palm leaves. Shepherds wearing cammode (the woollen rain coat which keeps them warm and dry) lead their cattle to green pastures. Leave this behind and trek up the nearby hill for about twenty minutes. The white spectacle that awaits in the form of Kuskem waterfall is worth the effort of the uphill trek.
Verla village lies about ten kilometres from Netorlim, ensconced deep within the Western Ghats. To reach Verla, one has to enter the Netravali Sanctuary and therefore enter the forest gates. The roads are bad, but a hardy vehicle can easily overcome them. Thick forests and tiny waterfalls are aplenty, but if one is sharp, one can see the marks of bears on jackfruit trees. The village is not only placed far away in distance but also in time. Most of the cottages are built of mud and have a flooring of packed earth finished with cow dung. Drinking water is provided by the two springs. Close by there are sacred grooves with many ageless stone icons held in reverence by the locals. The village is time locked.
3. Paroda hill
A short drive from Margao on the Quepem road takes one to Paroda. A portico shows the way to the Parvat hill which is topped by the temple of Shri Chandreshwar Boothnath. The sheer drive along the winding roads going up, bordered by thick forests, is refreshing. A pause by the gurgling streams of clean, clear water sooths the mind. And finally when one reaches the top and ascends the steps to the temple, the climax awaits. One can see miles and miles of green countryside that almost makes you feel like you’re flying. In a way, you are.
Baradi hillock may be tiny in comparison with other hills, but the views that await you on top are truly mind-blowing. To the west, one can see the restless river Sal mating with the raging Arabian Sea. If one hangs around long enough, one gets the chance to spy upon the moods of these two water bodies as the tides turn and the sun moves from east to west. The north side offers a completely different view
of fields and palm trees waltzing in the winds. One can pour out one’s heart like water at the old cross crowning a tall pedestal or do a pradakshana (move around with reverence) around it. Suit yourself!
5. Ambe Ghat
Ambe Ghat down in Tudol, Canacona is the place to head if you want to ride the clouds. On a rainy day, one can hardly discern where the mountain ends and the cloudline begins. The roads are winding, the tribals walk around dressed in their traditional wear, the air crisp. And if all this is not enough, rest by the waterfalls that cascade down its slopes. Do not miss the crowning jewel of the Ambe Ghat, the Bamonbudo waterfall. It flows by the road, like a mini Dudhsagar, all white and milky. But beware! The locals are up in arms against irresponsible picnickers who litter the area with plastic and broken beer bottles. Leave behind nothing but footprints!