By Indrani Chanda:
The word travel brings back glorious memories to our minds. Since childhood, most of us crave to travel the length of our country and also see the world. As the great poet Kazi Nazrul Islam said “Thakbo na aar boddho ghore/ dekhbo ebar Jogot takee” (I will not stay chained at home, I shall now explore the world) in the summer of 2008, me and my family went for a package tour to the cities of Mumbai, Pune and Goa. We boarded our train from Alipurduar station and reached Mumbai in two days. Although it was hectic journey for us, you do have an option of flying to your destination in order to save time.
As we had no idea about the temperature of Mumbai, it was very difficult for us to visit the places because of the heat. We rented a car and visited the places like Kamala Nehru Park, Gateway Of India, Chhatrapati Shibaji terminus, Juhu beach, Haji Ali Mosque, Taj Mahal Hotel etc. Situated by the Arabian Sea, Mumbai is a beautiful and charming city. As I was travelling through the city, I realized exactly why people lust after this city. It is one which is capable of fulfilling our dreams. What Los Angeles is to Hollywood, Mumbai is to Bollywood.
After spending one brilliant day in Mumbai, we boarded our train to Pune and reached the place on the same day. One can even hire a car, or travel by Volvo buses that are always available en route. Pune, according to me has a soothing weather when compared to Mumbai. We visited the Chaturshringi Mandir, Saras baug, the Amusement park etc. The hills around the city beautify it further. Tourists can also visit Lonavala and Khandala as they are not so distant from Pune. We also visited Mahabaleshwar where the temple was worth sighting and I sure got this feeling of enlightenment and purity.
After a week, we went to Goa, which is popular for its beaches. Goa basically caters to tourists so it boasts of many good hotels and motels. Our pre-booked rooms allowed us to freshen up and rest for a little as we were to visit to different places the same day. As Goa is divided in two parts- North Goa and South Goa, we preferred to check out South Goa first. We hired a guide and a car, so it became easy to go sight-seeing and also to know about the history of those places. If you are to visit an unknown place, you must have a good and trustworthy guide. Ours was a brilliant one as he took us to Palolem beach, Agonda Beach, Bogmalo, Majorda etc, where we had a lot of fun.
After finishing the first half of our tour, we had our lunch in a roadside restaurant and then started for North Goa. We visited the Anjuana beach, Baga beach and a temple. On the very next day, we went out for a ride across the Arabian sea aboard the Casino Royal. If you are in Goa, and do not visit the great Churches there, then you will be missing the real essence of Goa. We visited the grand St. Cathedral Church and I felt like Lord Jesus had lived in each and every corner of the place and was guiding us. The serenity and purity of the place impacted my mind greatly.
Panaji or, Panjim is the capital of Goa and it really was a capital in the true sense owing to its various attractions, big roads, markets and its magnificence. We were truly mesmerized by its beauty. After our ride on the Casino Royal, we ended our journey and went back to Pune to board the train home.
Goa was one unique experience as it enchanted me. I must share that the best time to visit all these places are between October and November. The cost of the total package was not really huge so if you love travelling, then even a small saving can get you the chance. Many good travel agencies provide different packages in different seasons and you can choose the one that suits you and your family best. I had a grand experience and hope the others experience the same.