The images that spring to mind when you hear ‘Goa’ are beaches, shacks and surf. But there’s a different side to goa that I’ve been exploring every so often, and it’s the villages inland and Goa by the riverside. They’re away from the tourist traps and present a Goa which is quite magical.
Siolim is one such gem. It’s dotted with well-maintained Portuguese houses and quite a few Hindu ones too! White washed chapels and quaint little village roads. The beautiful Charpora river runs through it and gives Siolim that charming riverside holiday vibe!
Drive or walk around and you’ll see how Goans actually live. The aunties who dress in their floral dresses and attend mass every morning. The uncles who sit on their Portuguese seat porches with their Tshirts hoisted above their pot bellies in an attempt to cool down in the Goan summer. The mangoes that colour the trees red, and not yellow- so unique to this part of the country. The friendly smiles and easy conversations you can have at the village square- yes there’s almost always a square in Goan villages centered around a beautiful church.
Siolim has a gorgeous one dedicated to Saint Anthony. It’s centuries old and beautifully maintained. The gulmohar at the gate knows that, and frames the white-washed marvel exquisitely with its flaming red flowers.
The real Goa is truly not rushed. Everyone minds their own business but is friendly enough if you’d like to have a chat. I met some lovely locals who were fiercely protective of their Siolim and described how they were resisting the builder lobby from destroying their village. To me, it seemed lush and filled with nature, but the locals said that this is 30% of how untouched it was. Nevertheless, I spent evenings and early mornings exploring this side of the Charpora and here are some snippets into the laid back life at Siolim, Goa. Coming up in my next post, my recommendations on the places to eat around Siolim, including the food carts that sell amazing Goan food and the market by the river.