An afternoon in Aldona

It is after 3 in the afternoon when I arrive at the outskirts of Aldona, a village in North Goa. I have driven down from Ponda after a visit to the temple at Tambdi Surla and am headed to Aldona for a backwater cruise. Yes, you read right. A backwater cruise in Goa. Yes, Goa. πŸ™‚

I first read about the backwaters of Goa in this post by my fellow blogger Shivya. I was intrigued and had tucked away this piece of information in the back of my mind, not knowing that I would be headed to Goa myself in a few months. So, when I reached Goa it was only natural that I got more details from Shivya about the backwater cruise she had written about.

Enter Roberto Amaral. He’s the guy who conducts the backwater cruise, is the owner of Cancio’s House (a Bed & Breakfast place) at Aldona, and Skipper of the Lady M Luxury Yacht Charter in Goa. When I speak with him to book the cruise, Roberto is kind enough to suggest other places to visit in the vicinity β€” the Corjuem Fort near Aldona and also the centuries-old St. Thomas Church at Aldona. I take Roberto’s advice and head first to the Corjuem Fort.

Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Portuguese FortThe Forte de Corjuem was first occupied by the Bhosales of Sawantwadi and passed on to the Portuguese when they took control of the region. A rectangular’ish’ fort with watch towers at all four corners, there are four ramps leading from the base to the ramparts. Built from the local laterite stone, the Fort also encloses within its walls a well, a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony, and a roofed structure, which could have served the purpose of a restroom or a kitchen. Presenting some impressions of the Fort.

Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Portuguese Fort
One of the ramps from the base of the Fort to the ramparts
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Portuguese Fort
The well and the restroom/kitchen in the Corjuem Fort
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Portuguese Fort
The chapel dedicated to St. Anthony is located in a niche in the interior walls of the Corjuem Fort
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Portuguese Fort
Full view of the Corjuem Fort. Note the watchtowers at the two ends

Corjuem Fort is a very small fort, perhaps the smallest that I have visited, and I could have walked through the Fort in 10 minutes. But it is so quite and peaceful that I just decide to spend some time relaxing at the Fort. There is no one at the Fort save some birds and a few members of the lizard family and I spend a peaceful hour there till its time to head to Aldona and meet Roberto.

Roberto and speedboat are waiting and in no time we are off. Aldona is situated on the banks of the river Mapusa, which is a tributary of the river Mandovi. An extensive riverine backwaters network exists in this area and is perhaps, Goa’s best kept secret ! I am not going to be writing anything more about this cruise and am just going to let the photographs give you a glimpse of what I saw.

Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
The view from the boat when we set off on the cruise
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
A cross on the river banks. Maybe it also acts as a water marker?
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
Don’t know what this building is, but it looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
View of Old Goa from the river side. The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary (left) and the ruins of the Tower of Church of St. Augustine can be seen rising above the trees
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
The Konkan Railway Line
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
Fishermen !
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
A church façade gleams in the light of the setting sun
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
This terribly out of focus picture shows birds perched on sticks used for fishing by the local fisherfolk
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, Backwater Cruise
The sun sets as I head back to Aldona after the cruise

On our return to Aldona. Roberto gives a quick tour of the luxury yachht, Lady M. This is the first time I’m seeing one up close and personal, outside of a TV screen that is. I am fascinated by the use of space, the controls, the different language used, and the sheer luxury of the yacht. So what, if I have not sailed in one, at least I got to tour one, right? πŸ™‚

The sun has set by the time we arrive the centuries-old St. Thomas Church at Aldona. Built in 1596, the Church interiors are supposed to have some stunning murals depicting stories from the Bible. But since the evening service is in progress, I can’t see the interiors and have to be satisfied with just looking at the beautiful faΓ§ade of the church and have a peek at the adjoining cemetery.

Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, St. Thomas Church
The grand façade of the St. Thomas Church at Aldona
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, St. Thomas Church
At the entrance to the cemetery are inscribed the words “Aiz Maka Falea Tuka”, which means “Today Me, Tomorrow You.”
Aldona, Corjuem Fort, Noth Goa, Mapusa River, St. Thomas Church, Aldona Cemetery
Tombstones at the Aldona Cemetery and the moon. An unforgettable sight

After the brief visit to the church and a last lingering look at the tombstones silhouetted against the moon, we head to Roberto’s 500-year-old home, which has been in his family for generations.

At Cancio’s House, I meet with the Amaral family β€” Raquel, Roberto’s wife; Maria, his mother; his 3 sons and 2 dogs. Over some tea, I listen to stories of the house, the people who have stayed there, get a grand tour of their beautiful home, see the guest cottage with its comfortable rooms… I am charmed and completely taken in with the warmth shown by the Amarals. I know where I’ll be staying on my next visit to Goa. πŸ™‚

It’s late when I leave Cancio’s House and Aldona. In spite, of the long day and the miles I have travelled that day, I don’t feel tired at all. What I feel is a sense of relaxation. I’m smiling all through the return journey to where I’m staying in Colva and travel with the realisation that this has not only been the best day I’ve had in Goa (across all the 4 trips I’ve made here), but has also become one of my most memorable travel moments.:)

Aldona 18

20 thoughts on “An afternoon in Aldona

  1. In the not-too-distant feature I see Sudhagee leading a tourism campaign for Goa. The punch line would be, naturally; ‘ And, yes, Goa also has lovely beaches’ πŸ™‚ . Wonder how many people would want to see beyond the stereotype.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought I was already leading a tourism campaign for Goa. πŸ™‚

      There are many people who want to see beyond Goa’s stereotype. Thare are also an equal, if not more number of people who love its beaches. In a way the two balance each other out.

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    1. I can’t thank you enough, Roberto for your hospitality. And also for agreeing to take us on the cruise at such short notice. Hope to visit and stay at Cancio’s House sometime soon πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Anuradha. I’m telling you to go visit Goa right now and go on that cruise. You will love it for there is a lot of bird life to see, which as you may have noticed I have not mentioned at all. πŸ˜‰

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  2. Really nice article about my Village Aldona – Corjuem – Hope you get a chance to stay at Cancio’s soon and enjoy their warm hospitality and see more of the whole Village – The Chapel of Mae De Deus in Corjuem too is very nice. Beyond the fort there is bridge that can open up for the Barges to pass – If you go on that road to the left the road winds up what is almost virgin land you will reach the village of Shirgao on the way to Assonora which has a Chapel of St Michael on the Hill and a natural water spring called Ambexi on the way up – The flora and fauna and the view from the top is to die for…..

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    1. Welcome here, Maureen. and thank you so much for stopping by and writing your words of appreciation. Thanks also for sharing my post with others.

      I have noted all that you have said and whenever I go to Aldona next (mostly next monsoon), I will remember your suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hey Maureen
    thanks for this mail… surely will visit this place on my next trip to goa, seems nostalgic and will certainly take the cruise recommended…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Agness. Welcome to “My Favourite Things” and thank you very much for stopping by and commenting. Aldona is a lovely, sleepy, village perfect for siestas by the riverside, walks and reading books. Hope you visit it sometime. πŸ™‚

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