A pandemic raging havoc, constant news of the coronavirus infection and repeated headlines of surging numbers have put many into a state of anxiety. This in turn has prompted certain sections of people to switch off television sets and move out for short outdoor activity – some as close as within their backyards.
After months of alternating lockdowns, locals are now venturing out in small groups, mostly opting for remote getaways, nature treks, waterfalls, or simply a sun-set atop a cliff.
Goa’s tourism industry has surely been at the receiving end because of the pandemic, however, a noticeable trend among the local population has been mushrooming. Short trips to quaint locations within the beautiful state itself have been commonly observed, all, however, with due precautions keeping in mind covid-19 safety measures.
Goa has an amass of beauty besides just its beaches and notable locations. The lush green paddy fields within calm and tranquil villages, along with the gushing waterfalls remotely unexplored amid the state’s green beauty are all being widely discovered by several locals – mostly the young youth – during these recent weeks.
Local Goans are now beginning to get out of their comfort zones of homes and are seen heading towards waterfalls, streams, or just simple nature treks around close locations within the state.
Ashay Shet, a 19-year old youth from Canacona has always been fascinated to visit waterfalls and other beautiful locations, and like many, he too, along with a few friends have been visiting quiet waterfalls located deep within Goa’s wilderness.
“Being a Goan I’m always fascinated about waterfalls and the green lush environment which can be experienced during this season. Trekking and discovering new waterfalls and beautiful locations has been my favourite hobby. I always prefer going to places where one won’t find human traces but the beautiful chirping of birds, water flowing from streams & the mesmerizing views,” says Akshay, who in the past weeks has visited several of such beautiful quiet locations.
Besides waterfalls, many others have chosen short road-trips in the company of close friends and family. Many who have been stuck indoors amid the extending lockdowns have now decided to venture out, although, keeping in mind safety tips in view of the pandemic situation outdoors.
Shirley, who otherwise would be busy at work, manages to squeeze in some free time with a few select friends to head out for a drive. The pandemic, she says has put many plans off-gear, however, now with the little time available post-duty, a quick drive for a sunset view can be refreshing for the mind, she adds.
“Keeping in mind all the safety measures, a short road-trip with a few friends to view the evening sunset, or even for a quiet walk along the beach can be refreshing. It surely helps take one’s mind off the constant coronavirus news,” she says.
For other sunset lovers, Cabo de Rama hillock and the Vagator hilltop have been the go-to locations, with many saying that a small group adds to the fun. And in view of rising cases, that’s what’s best, isn’t it?
For young Rahul, it has always been a short cycle ride to the nearby villages and streams, and post the unlock, he too has been cycling to view some beautiful locations around. “It becomes a healthy routine, plus, it’s also refreshing to spend some quality time outdoors admiring nature,” he adds.
With many aware of the safety protocols, some even go the extra mile to carry with them items such as vitamin C tablets, or some warm water for the day’s trip. “We keep sanitizers with us, and also a hot water bottle. We even make it a point to take vitamin C tablets before we plan to meet up,” says Akshay.
Shirley also reiterated the same, stating that even though it may be a fun trip, safety measures must be taken seriously by everyone.
For the other long-road trips enthusiasts, the Western Ghats is their tranquil spot, as many heads over to the hills to explore nature, or just spend some quality time away from the bustling hectic city lives.
Omkar Dharwadkar, a naturalist and wildlife photographer spends much of his time amid nature and wildlife deep within Goa’s forests. He however highlights an important point saying that when people visit such unexplored places, they need to reduce their carbon footprints to keep the sanctity of the forests.
“Most important issue is with regards to the garbage that usually gets strewn around these places. My request is to take back everything that you carry to such locations, and leave back only your footprints,” he says.
With many visiting such locations, Goa’s backyards are surely being explored, and many locals are now even coming to realise how much beauty exists within our tiny beautiful, and serene Goa – besides just its beaches.
Author’s Note: If you happen to visit any of Goa’s untapped beautiful locations, please act responsibly and do not leave any of your garbage behind.
The Author : Ronnan Da Cunha