Sun and seafood, Bibinca and beaches, firangs and feni. This
is the land of palm-fringed beaches where you can easily chill out under
the sun with a cool drink by your side, surf the waves, or party away
the nights. This is also the land of magnificent old churches, remnants
of the grandeur and the glory that was the Portuguese empire 500 years
ago. Yes! This month weve driven from Mumbai to go gaga over Goa.
- High season
Mid-December to late January. Middle season October to mid-December and
February to mid-June.
- Low season Mid-June to September (monsoon).
Come Christmas and New Years Eve or carnival time, Goa gets very crowded
and you will have to book accommodation in advance.
In other months, you can land up in Goa brimming with confidence that you
will get a place to stay.
During the monsoon, when it rains it pours and the beaches become deathtraps.
However, if you enjoy the rain, Goa is a pleasant place to park yourself
under a shack with a good book. The Goan sun is very harsh, so make sure
you carry sunscreen, suntan oil, a suncap and sunglasses.
roads mean that you just need to get a routine service done before your
drive to Goa.
Key areas to check are:
- Brakes: The Mumbai-Goa road has its fair share of twisty corners and
ghats, so youll be relying on that middle pedal a lot. See to it
that your brakes are effective and reliable.
- Tyres: Stick to the recommended amount of air depending on the load.
Check the pressure of the spare wheel too and also make sure you have
the tools to change a wheel.
- Engine: Check liquid levels oil, brake fluid, windscreen washer,
radiator coolant and battery water.
- Electricals Lights, indicators, horn and cabin lights.
- Rattles and squeaks: In the city they might not irritate much, but on
a 500km-plus journey they will get on your nerves. So get them eliminated.
- Protection for your car Goa means beaches and sand which, coupled with
salt water, are not good for the flooring of your car. Get rubber matting
installed so the amount of sand and dampness reaching the carpet is reduced.
luggage in the car
- Pack your car so that luggage space is utilised to the maximum.
- Avoid loading luggage on a roof rack. It ruins the areodynamics and reduces
speed and fuel efficiency.
- Pack stuff that you will not need during the journey first, so the things
you do need are easily accessible.
- Never pack luggage in a way that it obstructs the line of sight of the
- In a hatchback, pack objects up to the level of the rear seat backrest,
or during hard braking the luggage could injure rear passengers.
- Pack objects so that they dont rattle or move about.
- Never store bottles or objects near the gearstick and handbrake. They
might hinder the driver.
- Do not stuff bottles under the drivers seat. They may roll out and
interfere with the foot pedals.
- Carry cassettes in a bag or a case. Leaving them on the dashboard damages
them and makes them slide all over.
500km-plus drive from Mumbai to Panaji is a pleasure thanks to the superb
roads. The flyovers between Mumbai and Panvel give a signal-less drive
Once you turn after Panvel onto NH17 for Goa, the road becomes a two-lane
highway, which is well maintained but with its fair shares of fast corners.
NH17 passes through forested roads, Karnala Bird Sanctuary and Pen where
the road splits in two. While NH17 carries on towards Nagothane, a state
highway goes on to the seaside town of Alibaug. Fishing Boats at Baga
creek take passengers for a joyride.
The entire run from Pen to Mahad runs south in an almost straight line
and right turns at road junctions invariably lead to coastal towns like
Murud, Shrivardhan and Harihareshwar. After Poladpur, NH17 changes districts
as it crosses
over from Raigadh to Ratnagiri.
The first major town in Ratnagiri district is Chiplun. The drive on the
ghat thereafter affords splendid views of the marshlands formed by the
river Vashishti. Soon after Ratnagiri junction you may come upon mango
sellers where you can pick up the famed juicy Ratnagiri alphonso mangoes
for a bargain price. Talera is the last town NH17 passes through in the
Ratnagiri district as it crosses over to Sindhudurg district, Savantwadi,
and then into the state of Goa.
some pointers on the road from Mumbai to Panaji in Goa.
- Wear your seatbelt And insist that the passengers wear theirs too!
- Start early By starting at 5.30am, you avoid the worst of the traffic
and get to the Thane Creek bridge in a few minutes. The new flyovers make
it possible to reach Panvel within an hour. Early morning traffic in Panvel
is light but be careful in the city where people have a habit of suddenly
jumping out of slow-moving buses. The Panvel bypass is 1.8km longer and
is a good option if you hit Panvel after 7am.
- NH17 is a two-laner Exercise caution while overtaking. On the ghat sections
use your horn merrily around the corners.
- Dont fight fatigue. Take refreshment stops when you feel drained.