Goa, a place synonymous with beach-life (to the casual traveller), has much more to offer those who seek something different. My friends reading this account will be flabbergasted when they learn that I did not see a single beach all through my recent trip to the ‘party capital of India’. What I saw instead was this:-
Acres Of Greens With No Sand Or Sea In Sight
If you are a fan of nature and forests and everything organic, get away from the coastline and drive into Sanvordem, and then further towards Kulem until you reach Karmane Village. There, where the road ends and the boundary of the Mollem National Park begins, you will find Dudhsagar Plantation – a farm-stay that is removed from the smoke of the cities and the noise of the parties. I had a chance to stay at one of the cottages here last month when monsoon was in full swing. This was perhaps the best way to begin my career as a full-time travel writer.
The Cottages At Dudhsagar Plantation
The property has 5 cottages with brick roofs which have 4 glass-patches to let light filter through in the mornings. There’s a nice sit-out area in the front porch of each cottage, with wooden lounging chairs to enjoy the view of the plantation. This eco-stay is basic, but comfortable. Every cottage is spacious and furnished with a double bed and a divan, besides shelves on a wall to store your things. The bathroom is well ventilated with grills, and the exposed brick and cement sections lend a rustic touch to it. The all-out in the room keeps mosquitoes away, but don’t be surprised if some harmless caterpillars, bugs or lizards stop by to say “hi”. 😉
Know Your Host
The plantation was started by the Malkarnekar family in 1985 and their home is built on the farm itself. Today, Ashok Malkarnekar, the eldest son, stays here and looks after the administrative bits of this home-stay. I was fortunate to be here when Ashok’s family and friends were around for a reunion, and we spent some good time chatting over chai and singing along with the guitarists in the house. The Malkarnekar siblings (2 brothers and a sister) are half German and half Goan, and fluent in Konkani, Hindi, German and English. They are all very friendly and warm. Throughout the duration of my stay at Dudhsagar Plantation, Ashok graciously showed me around the estate and took me to some interesting parts of Goa I’d never explored before.
Take A Spice Tour
(Picture courtesy: Ashok)
Every guest here can opt for an hour long guided tour of the spice garden. Spread over 50 acres, the plantation is a tropical paradise! Here, you will find a variety of trees and herbs – coconut, betel nut, starfruit, pepper, cinnamon and cashew, to name a few. Speaking of cashew, you can also learn how cashew feni is made through the fermentation process. A milder version of feni is the urak, which is distilled at an earlier stage. During my stay, I had their distinctive jungle juice – a cocktail they make with urak, limca and some “secret spices”. 😉
Jump Into The Family Well
Water babies will leap at the mention of a pool in a farmstay. Dudhsagar Plantation has something even better – a giant natural water well which is 15 feet deep! It was a lot of fun to swim here, the trees secluding us from the rest of the property. You might spot some friendly frogs and little fishes while you take a dip here. It is not uncommon either to sight snakes. (Yikes!!)
Relish Home-cooked Meals
I thoroughly savoured the freshly prepared meals at this homestay. The ingredients are locally sourced and mostly grown on the plantation itself. The food is completely organic as no pesticides or fertilizers are used for farming. Natural composting is practised here and manure is used for the plants. Ashok also showed me the nitrogen-fixing plants which absorb nitrogen from the atmosphere and plug it back into the soil to improve its fertility. This reduces the need to add artificial fertilizers for the regular nitrogen-guzzling flora.
The food is generally vegetarian, but sometimes, the cook also prepares some fish or meat. You can have egg preparations for breakfast, and these are free range eggs from the domestic chickens on the farm. I had my fill of local vegan Goan curries which have a little bit of coconut in the form of its flesh-shavings or as coconut milk. They also use a lot of mushroom, which are my favourite! 🙂 I particularly loved the dishes for their mild flavours (I’m not a fan of spicy food) and judicious use of oil. Don’t forget to try their pineapple-banana butter, a house-speciality which I fell in love with! You will also like their homemade pickles and puranpoli.
Walk In The Rain
Dudhsagar Plantation is a nice place to spend an intimate weekend with your significant other. The property feels especially romantic in the monsoon (read: Lavasa – A Lyrical Journey in the Rains) when the raindrops rhythmically pelt on the brick roofs of the cottages and the thatched central dining gazebo. You may also want to want to laze in the swimming pool while you wait for the sun to set.
Swim In The Infinity Pool
Not all visitors like natural wells, so the plantation also has a modern-style swimming pool that looks out to the green foliage. Fortunately, the pool’s water comes from the well, and has no chlorine. The host is building a yoga-shala close to the pool, which will be ready in a few weeks. He has plans to build a large hut which can serve as a dormitory for budget travellers who wish to learn yoga. This place has the potential to be a tranquil yoga retreat. Can you imagine how relaxing it will be to practise yoga in the middle of nature!
Read, Nap Or Do Absolutely Nothing On The Veranda
Rejuvenating holidays are those where you don’t squeeze too many activities into your itinerary. The best way to spend your time at Dudhsagar Plantation is to read your favourite book or do a little bit of writing. The atmosphere is ripe with inspiration for those who find their joy in composing poems. Bring along a guitar and a mouth-organ, and make some soothing music if you are musically tilted. It really helps that internet connectivity is intermittent and slow here. You have another reason to tune out the world and tune in to your thoughts. The property has a wifi router installed at the common dining area, but that only worked for a few minutes during all the days I was there. No complaints, though. I quite enjoyed playing with the cute toddler (Ashok’s nephew) and the dogs (which guard the estate from trespassers and wild boars).
Things To Do Around Dudhsagar Plantation
If you are the restless type of traveller and cannot sit still, there’s plenty you can do around this place. I did the Tambdi Surla waterfall trek (close to the eponymous 12th century temple), peeped into a Portuguese villa, strolled atop the Salaulim dam and checked out 20-thousand-years old petroglyphs at Usgalimal. More on the activities in a separate blog post. 😉
Have you ever lived on a plantation?
Do you know of more non-touristy things to do in Goa?
Let my readers (and me) know through your comments below! 🙂
Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to stay updated with pictures and stories of more such interesting hideouts that I keep discovering! Do spread the love by sharing this article with all the Goa-fanatics you know! 🙂
Disclosure: I was hosted by Dudhsagar Plantation. However, all views are entirely my own.
Beautiful pictures. On seeing these pictures surely every one has an inspiration to visit Dudhsagar Plantation.
I’m glad you liked the pictures! 🙂 You’ll love the place too!
Such a beautiful place.
🙂 Yes, Niranjan! It is quite refreshing for city-dwellers like me.
My pleasure! 🙂
Sounds like absolute paradise . Please send prices for January 2018.
The cottages are for INR 4000 per couple per day, inclusive of all meals. For single occupancy, it’s INR 2500.
Goa is specially famous for its beaches but we nerver read that type post about goa. its really awesome and amazing experience you shared of your goa trip.
This part of Goa is quite interesting. You should go visit! 🙂
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Thank you for the appreciation, Deepak! 🙂
Lovely photographs and monsoon is indeed a fabulous time to be in Goa! Splendid narration too.
Thank you so much, Shubham! 🙂 Do you often visit Goa?
I came across your blog while searching for Indian travelers, and I hope you don’t mind answering some questions that I have. I’m planning a trek for the very first time, and I just wanted to know, how do you resolve the food situation? What kid of food do you usually carry along, and how?
Thanks and regards,
Where are you planning to trek and for what duration? For most of my day treks, I usually carry some nutrition bars, biscuits, chocolates and fruits (apples/ oranges/ bananas). If it’s going to be a long & tiring day, you can pack some lunch (sandwiches, khichdi, etc.). If on your way you know you’ll find small shops or homes where they serve food, you can plan on having your meals there.
For multi-day treks, you’ll need to research your base camps and see if you’ll find shops to replenish your food. Else, carry sufficient supplies.
Also, carry 2 litres of water for each day of trek. If you’ll be trekking on routes which have pure water from the glaciers, refill your bottle where the flow is clean. Keep a clean muslin cloth handy to filter the water twice before consumption. If there’s no clean source of water, use ordinary stream water and chlorine tablets.
Let me know how your treks go! 🙂
Cool 🙂 Love to See THALI, with pao, rice and curries If you want to get the answers just visit this place! Its a familiy run place and you can feel and see the love and passion for it it everywhere: even the modern open- air showers at the bungalow are a piece of it. For me the best thing was the fresh cooked food by the owner.
Hope you had a nice stay, Anamika! I also loved the freshly prepared food with the locally sourced organic ingredients. 🙂
Great post & Love those pics, if you like nature lovely walks, food lovely ,peaceful,helpful and very friendly,would love to go back. 🙂 🙂
Thank you, Triya! 🙂 I really enjoyed the company of the host!
Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.
Nice to know that this was useful to you! 🙂
Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!
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Thanks on your marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it,I appreciate it.
Glad you enjoyed the read, Nishant! 🙂
Awesome hopefully this fits my budget and i can finally travel alone with my infant and preschooler! This looks like a dream place for us 😀
Wonderful to hear that, Gayathri! 🙂 LHave a nice stay!
What a beautiful nature, even I don’t have words to explain the beauty of this nature, it will definitely mesmerize anyone and nice images captured as well. Nice explanation and thanks for sharing such an amazing post….. Keep it up
I am bookmarking this page! This homestay seems like the best place to rejuvenate on a long weekend. Even the photographs feels restorative!
You should definitely spend a week here! The place relaxes you completely!
All places are so lovely, It inspires me to go there and I would like to go Dudhsagar Plantation..
Have a great trip, Sonali! 🙂
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