Canacona in Goa
The Far South District Of
Ceded to the Portuguese by the Raja of Sund in the treaty of
1791, Goa's far south - Canacona district - was among the last
parts of the territory to be absorbed into the Novas Conquistas,
and has retained a distinctly Hindu feel.
The area also boasts some of the state's most outstanding
scenery. Set against a backdrop of the Jungle covered Sahyadri
Hills (an extension of the Western Ghat Range), a string of pearl
white coves and sweeping beaches scoop its indented coastline.
Enfolded by laterite headlands and colossal piles of back
The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, 10-km southeast
of Chaudi, was established in 1969 to protect a remote and
vulnerable area of forest lining the Goa- Karnataka border.
Encompassing 86-sq-kms of mixed deciduous woodland, the reserve
is certain to inspire tree lovers, but less likely to yield many
wildlife sightings: its Tigers and Leopards were hunted out long
ago, while the Gazelles, Sloth Bears, Porcupines, Panthers and
Hyenas that allegedly lurk in the woods rarely appear.
Visitors however, stand a good chance of spotting at least two
species of Monkey, a couple of Wild Boar and the Odd Gaur. The
sanctuary is best visited between October and March months.
Cotigao is a peaceful and scenic park that makes a pleasant day
trip from Palolem, 12-km northwest. The wardens at the reserve's
small Interpretative Centre will show one how to get to a
25m-high treetop watchtower, overlooking a waterhole that
attracts a handful of animals around dawn and dusk.
Pololem Beach :
Palolem, 2-km west of Chaudi, pops up more
often in glossy holiday brochures than any other beach in Goa;
not because the village is a major package tour destination, but
because its crescent shaped bay lined with a swaying curtain of
coconut palms, is irresistibly photogenic. Hemmed in by a pair of
wooded headlands, a perfect curve of white sand arcs north from a
pile of hug boulders to the spur of Sahyadri Ghat, which here
tapers into the sea.
Until recently foreign tourists were few and far between in
Palolem. Over the past five or six years, however, increasing
numbers of budget travellers have begun to find their way here,
and the village is now far from the undiscovered idyll it used to
be, with a string of cafes, Karnatakan hawkers and a tent camp
crowding the beachfront.
Souvenir stalls have also sprung up, catering mainly for the
mini-van and boat parties of charter tourists on day trips from
resorts further north. In spite of these encroachments, Palolem
remains a resolutely traditional village, where the easy pace of
life is dictated more by the three daily rounds of Todi (also
spelt as Toddy) tapping than the exigencies of tourism.
Cavelosim Beach :
Sleepy Cavelossim, straddling the coast
road 11-km south of Colva, is the last major settlement in
southwest Salcete: its only claim to fame. A short way beyond the
village's picturesque church square, a narrow lane veers left
across an open expanse of paddy fields to the Cavelossim-Assolna
ferry crossing near the mouth of the Sal River.
If one is heading south to Canacona, turn left off the ferry and
carry on as far as Assolna Bazaar, clustered around a junction on
the main road. A right turn at this crossroads puts you on track
Carry straight on at the junction just past the
square in Cavelossim and one'll eventually arrive at Mobor, where
Colva beach fades into a rounded sandy spur at the mouth of the
Assolna River. This would be an exquisite spot if it weren't the
site of South Goa's largest, and most obtrusive, package tourist
Crammed together on to a narrow spit of dunes between the surf
and estuary, the holiday inns and beach resorts combine to create
a holiday camp ambience that has as little to do with Goa as