West Of Margao, South Goa
Nearby Attraction: Colva & Varca Beaches
Best Time To Visit: November To March
According to Hindu mythology Goa was created when the sage Shri
Parasurama, Lord Vishnu's sixth incarnation, fired an arrow into
the sea from the top of the Western Ghats and ordered the waters
to recede. The spot where the shaft fell to earth, known in
Sanskrit as "Banali" and later corrupted by the
Portuguese to Benaulim, lies in the centre of Colva Beach, 7-km
west of Margao.
a decade ago, this fishing and rice-farming village, scattered
around the coconut groves and paddy fields between the main
Colva-Mobor road and the dunes, had barely made it onto the
backpackers map. Now, the shady lane leading through it is
studded with guesthouses and souvenir stalls while the paddy
fields on the outskirts are gradually disappearing under a rash
of gigantic luxury resorts and time-share apartment blocks. For
the time being, however, this remains a peaceful and welcoming
place to unwind.
Either side of
the sand blown beachfront, the gently shelving sands shimmer
away almost to the horizon, littered with photogenic wooden
fishing boats that provide welcome shade if the walk from the
palm trees to the sea gets too much. Hawkers, itinerant masseurs
and fruit wallahs appear from time to time, but one can easily
escape them by heading south towards neighbouring Varca, where
tourism has thus far made little impact.
Moreover, the sea
is safe for swimming, being generally jellyfish-free, while the
village itself boasts a few serviceable bars and restaurants,
several telephone booths and a couple of stores.
Benaulim's proximity to Margao market, along with the presence
of a large Christian Fishing Community, means its restaurants
serve the most succulent, competitively priced seafood in Goa.
The most popular places to eat are the shack cafes in the
beachfront area, where Johncy's catches most of the passing
However, one will find better food at lower prices in the
smaller terrace restaurants further along the beach and
scattered around the village. Arguably the best of bunch is the
Palm Grove's Congenial Garden Restaurant, and there is a string
of look alike café-bars, which dot the lane leading to it. For
fresh seafood, though, the Hawaii Shack is hard to beat.
HOW TO GET
Road: Buses from Margao, Colva, Varca, Cavelossim and Mobor roll through Benaulim
every thirty minutes, dropping passengers at the Maria Hall
PLACES TO STAY
accommodation largely consists of small budget guesthouses,
scattered around the lanes 1-km or so far from the beach.
During peak season, the village few mid range hotels tend to
be fully booked, so reserve in advance if one wants to stay in
one of these.