of the main sources of Anjuna's enduring popularity as a hippy
hang out is its superb beach. Fringed by groves of swaying coconut
palms, the curve of soft white sand conforms more closely to the
archetypal vision of paradise than any other beach on the north
coast. Bathing is generally safer than at most of the nearby
resorts, too, especially at the more peaceful southern end, where
a rocky headland keeps the sea calm and the undertow to a minimum.
North of the market
ground, the beach broadens, running in an uninterrupted kilometre
long stretch of steeply shelving sand to a low red cliff. The
village bus park lies on top of this high ground, near a crop of
small cafes, bars and Kashmiri handicraft stalls. Every lunch
hour, tour parties from Panjim pull in here for a beer, before
heading home again, leaving the ragged army of sun weary
westerners to enjoy the sunset.
The season in
Anjuna starts in early November, when most of the long staying
regulars show up, and peters out in late March, when they drift
off again. During the Christmas and New Year rush, the village is
inundated with a mixed crowd of round the world backpackers,
refugees from the British club scene and revellers from all over
India, lured by the promise of the big beach parties.
Outside the peak
season, however, Anjuna has a surprisingly simple, unhurried
atmosphere- due, to the shortage of places to
stay. Most of the visitors who come here on market day or for the
parties travel in from other resorts,said that a couple of large package
tour hotels have appeared over the past couple of years, and this
is bound to radically alter the mix of visitors here.
Thanks to the
kill-joy attitude reputation, Anjuna is a rave-venue for big
parties that take place over here from time to time, especially
around the Christmas-New Year full moon period. Smaller events may
also happen whenever some occasion or celebration comes up.
The nightlife centres on the Shore Bar, in the middle of the beach,
which has a pounding sound system. The biggest crowds show up
accompanied by the latest ambient trance mixes from London. The
music gains pace as the evening wears on winding up around 11.00
pm, when there's an exodus over to the Guru Bar, further up the
beach, or to the Primrose Café in Vagator, both of which stay
open until after midnight.
When it eventually
gets it act together, The Alcove, over looking Ozran Vagator
Beach, will be another worthwhile nightspot. More mainstream
musical entertainment is offer at Temptations, in the Red Cab
Inn just below Starco's crossroads, where Indian classical
recitals and guitar based cover bands feature with fire dancers on
Mondays, starting at 7.00 pm.
HOW TO GET THERE
Road: Buses from Mapusa and Panjim drop passengers at various points along the
Tarmac Road across the top of the village, which turns right
towards Chapora at the Main Starco's crossroads. The Starco's
crossroads has a couple of small stores, a motorcycle taxi rank,
and functions as a de facto village square and bus stand.
PLACES TO STAY
Most of the Anjuna's
very limited accommodation consists of small-unfurnished houses.
Some of the resorts and guesthouse can be found at the main
Starco's crossroads area. But the best choice for accommodation is
available in Calangute, Baga or nearby Vagator or Chapora.
Both the beachfront
and village at Anjuna are awash with good places to eat and drink.
Most of them are simple semi open air, thatched palm leaf affairs,
specializing in fish and western food. All serve cold beer,
invariably with thumping techno music in the background. On the
beach, one'll also be approached every ten minutes by women
selling fresh fruit, including watermelons, pineapples and locally