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Phespirit goes to India
Candolim & Hospet     November 2009

AROUND INDIA

Map of India

1 Anjuna

On Wednesdays Anjuna hosts one of Goa's famous flea markets. Phespirit visited by boat and enjoyed wandering around the many colourful stalls, but he didn't buy anything as he still cannot get to grips with haggling.

Most entertaining were the men who kept stopping him (and other potential suckers) with the line, "excuse me, there's something in your ear," and then reaching out to remove the imaginary object.

Phespirit took to grabbing them by the wrist and politely enquiring what the scam was. None would explain.

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2 Calangute

Calangute is Candolim's big brother. Busier, brasher and brazenly tailored for Western tourists. It's fascinating and fun, but Phespirit was glad he could retreat to the marginally more sedate Candolim at the end of each day.

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3 Candolim

Phespirit stayed at the Hotel Silver Sands Annexe, midway along the central street that links Candolim's main road with the beach. Surrounded by restaurants and shops, he could hardly have found a better location.

He bought his excursions from John's Boat Tours, just across the street; he bought food and drinks from Newton's supermarket, out on the main road; he changed his cash at 'Bruno's No.1 Shop' - it boasts the best exchange rate in town, and Phespirit couldn't find better - across the street to the south of Newton's; and he treated himself to an expert Reflexology Massage from the Om Ayurvedic centre - a shack just around the corner towards the beach - where the head man's skilled hands finally stopped Phespirit's neck from crunching whenever he rolls his head.

It's started doing it again now, of course.

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4 Old Goa

This is the centre of Goa's most magnificent architecture from the Portuguese colonial era. Phespirit whiled away about three hours exploring the grand monuments, from the Archway of Conception in the east to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in the west.

In fact three hours wasn't nearly enough.

Phespirit's favourite was the Augustinian Monastery: a huge brick edifice in the European style, now reduced to ruins and overgrown with vegetation like an abandoned Asian temple. Quite unusual.

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5 Dudhsagar

It's a two hour drive by minibus to get from Candolim to the village of Dudhsagar. Then a further hour by 4WD jeep over rutted tracks and river fords to arrive at a parking area swarming with monkeys. Finally there's a twenty minute trek across jungle terrain to reach the cool deep pool at the foot of Dudhsagar waterfall, which roars down over 310m of rocks from the Deccan plateau.

Lots of visitors converge here. Phespirit joined those who stripped to their swimwear for a glorious dip. Well worth the effort of travel.

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6 Hospet

Whereas the character of Goa has come to be determined by the need to attract and profit from tourists, the character of Hospet is that of small, modern, urban India - for and of its own population.

To the unaccustomed outsider, the intensity of colours and noise, fumes and dust, people and animals, can seem quite bewildering. But then a certain rhythm becomes noticeable, and with it a calm acceptance that this is simply the everyday way of life.

Phespirit hoped to blend in naturally but being at least a foot taller than everyone else, and one of only a handful of Europeans on the streets, his efforts met with limited success.

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7 Hampi

Borrowing its name from a nearby village, 'Hampi' was the capital of the Vijayanagara empire that dominated these lands in the 16th century. The area it covers is extensive - far greater than Phespirit could fully explore from sunrise to sunset in a single day - but still he managed to visit:

Tunga Bhadra reservoir; Sasivekalu Ganesha; Hemakuta hill; Virupaksha temple; Kadalekalu Ganesha; the Narashima monolith; the Linga monolith; Lotus Mahal; Elephant stables; Hazararama temple; Audience hall, Mahanavami platform and tanks; Queens' bath; Kuduregombe Mantapa; Vittala temple; the King's balance; Tungabhadra river; Malayavanta Raghunatha temple and Shiva shrine.

Enough was left not-done to make it worth coming back one day.

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  1. Anjuna
  2. Calangute
  3. Candolim
  4. Old Goa
  5. Dudhsagar
  6. Hospet
  7. Hampi
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Anjuna Calangute Candolim Old Goa Dudhsagar Hospet Hampi