A hectic sightseeing day had come to an end. I had cozily retreated to the softness of my bed. Suddenly I heard some murmurs. The first thought that came to my mind was about someone trying to break in our villa. But the accompanying laughter put that theory to rest. I nudged Chetna to find out what was going on outside. Chetna, who was already in her dream-trail, tried to shrug me off but I wasn’t the one to give up. Pestering never fails. Finally, she conceded. With irritation written all over her face, she said, “So jao na. Jyada kuch khaas nahi hai. Ladke frog hunting par ja rahe hain.” (Go back to sleep. There’s nothing much. The boys are going out on Frog Hunting)
That was the first time I heard about midnight Frog Hunting. During my numerous trips to Goa, I discovered many unique things that define the essence of Offbeat Goa. An essence which thrives in the secret things that only locals know. So wear your seatbelts and come along to explore the Offbeat Goa with Travel See Write.
Related: Don't forget to read the Insider's Guide to Goa by Hippie in Heels.
GO MIDNIGHT FROG HUNTING IN DARK PADDY FIELDS
During monsoon season when the paddy fields are lush green and brimming with rain water there’s one species that is overpowered with lust. Monsoon is a mating season and like the saying goes Sawan ke andhe ko sab hara hi hara nazar aata hai (One who goes blind in spring, sees the only greenery all around) likewise the only thing that matters to frogs in this season is their sky high libido. Putting aside the fear of their life they come out bouncing and croaking at midnight to find the right someone to cozy up with for the night or for whatever time they can coax their partners. While many fulfill their desire, others become a delicacy on someone’s plate.
When the world sleeps the local boys go out on their midnight adventure. But to master the art of Midnight Frog Hunting they have to patiently play the wait-n-watch game and pounce like a tiger when the right time arrives. To kill time they organize bonfires singing local Goan songs and guzzling down loads of beer and feni. Secrets are shared and bro bonding is strengthened during these midnight adventures. And once the frogs are out the group hunts them down in unison. Although, Frog Hunting has been banned in Goa under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the midnight adventure essence is still intact. The boys still venture out at midnight but they no more hunt down the frogs. They have developed other interests, which I'll share in another post.
GET ‘LIMITED PERIOD’ DARSHAN OF SEASONAL WATERFALLS
Even an off season proof place like Goa witnesses tourist lag in monsoon season. However, I would say it’s the best time to visit Goa. This is when Goa looks mind-blowingly spectacular than the rest of the year. You see greenery all around and many ‘limited period only’ seasonal waterfalls give darshan. They aren’t as giant as a Dudhsagar waterfall is but are a great sight to soak in the monsoon magic. All you have to do is ride a scooter or a bike and go chasing the monsoon.
Also, one should definitely visit Dudhsagar Falls in monsoon namely for two reasons – less crowded and more swelled up.
VISIT THE MOST HAUNTED PLACE OF GOA – THE ‘THREE KINGS CHURCH’
Imagine a place set in the most stunning geography but having a dark history. A place which is a house to angels as well as demons. A place where both good and bad resides. The “Three Kings Church” at Cansaulim village represents such paradox. A place infamous for being the most haunted place in Goa. Legend says the bodies of the three Kings lie in this church and their ghosts can often be seen roaming in the church at night. However, I wasn’t lucky enough to meet them in person. Probably they weren’t up for a challenge 😛
Besides the paranormal allure of the Three Kings Church I would recommend to visit it for the stunning panoramic view it offers from the hilltop. Reach here before sunset and you’ll be treated to the spellbinding views of Goa at golden hour.
WATCH THE GOLDEN GENERATION TAKE CENTRE STAGE AT GOAN WEDDINGS
When you think of Indian weddings, Big Fat North Indian weddings come to mind but my favourite wedding is Goan Wedding because not only it follows the customs and traditions but it lets the elder people take center stage. Right from making special marriage delicacies like dosh, samarachi koddi, Sorpotel, Patoleo, Soji, Vonn to 'Roas' ceremony (bathing of the bride and groom with coconut milk and water) to participating in the wedding dance to adorning the bride with the Saddo and other Goan rituals it’s the elders who are at the forefront of everything. Isn’t that a really cool way to show our gratitude towards our golden generation? Goans don’t forget them in their most important days but instead, they turn the limelight on the elders. Thanks to my Goan friend, I could get to know about the rich Goan wedding culture.
DETOXIFY YOUR SOUL BY ISLAND HOPPING IN RURAL GOA
The first step to getting what you want in life is to know what you don’t want. When I went to Goa last time I did not crave for golden sand beaches and it's wild trance parties so I went around exploring the offbeat Goa. A Goa, which is so different from the Goa clichés we see around. There is a Goa which is tucked away in its secluded islands and forest trails. All I had to do was take a ferry ride and reach these hidden islands. I was warmly welcomed by old Portuguese-style houses dotted with lush green vegetation and quaint environment where both humans and wildlife lived at peace. The icing on the cake was the authentic Goan cuisines and delicious bakery items I got to taste.
The only thing I wish I had done was to plan my trip during the Bonderam festival organized on the last Saturday of August at Divar Island. Now that will be my reason to go back to Goa in monsoon 🙂
GO BIRD WATCHING AND RECONNECTING WITH THE PAST IN COUNTRYSIDE GOA
If bird-watching is your hobby then you cannot miss Goa’s only bird century - Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary near Chorao Island. In spite of not being a morning person, I woke up early to catch the sunrise from the ferry en-route to the Chorao Island via Mondovi River. Silently rowing through the Goan backwaters lined with Mangrove trees was a surreal and hard to imagine experience in the tropical paradise. A therapeutic bird watching experience often missed in favor of touristy trails. I am glad I didn’t. If you are a nature lover like me and prefers to be woken up by the birds chirping then do check out Jungle retreat in Goa.
Besides bird watching, I loved kayaking in the Sal backwaters and boating in the Mayem Lake. It was after my few visits to Goa that I discovered little gems like Divar Island, Netravali, Agonda Beach, Morjim Beach, Hollant Beach, Palolem Beach and Galgibaga Beach. One place that I loved visiting in the Offbeat Goa was the Loutolim village. A village set in a scenic countryside where the architectural relics of ancient Goan architecture are still well preserved. When I started missing a bit of spice in my life I visited the nearby Spice plantations.
Your discovery is directly proportional to your curiosity. I hope this post can spark your curiosity. So when are you going to Travel See and Write about the secret things that only locals know in Offbeat Goa?
Don't forget to read the Detailed Guide on North Goa Beaches by Sonal.
If you are interested in exploring the wild side do read The Wild Goa: Goa Beyond Beaches
And if you wanna check the Popular places do read Places to visit in Goa