Thursday, September 27, 2012

To Mayem Lake and Back

I had taken a bike ride to Bicholim last month for a Viva Goa story on the artist Zilu Harmalkar. The route I had taken avoided all the major highways and was truly scenic given the rains. It wasn't hard to convince The Wife to take the ride with me. Now, if only we could get the time.

The two days I got off for Ganesh seemed like the right break. This time of course, I did not intend to head to Bicholim, but rather stop at Mayem Lake, which comes much before.

Before we started though, the tank needed to be filled and our otherwise trusty petrol pump was closed half day for Ganesh. We had to detour to get the petrol and ended up officially starting the ride after tanking up at the petrol pump near Terry's.

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Link to the Map:

With a full tank, we headed out! Its not long before you've left the houses behind and are greeted with lush green fields. The watering holes there seemed to have 'fishers' with high-tech fishing rods and of course, the more low-tech and more local versions.

Go Fish!

With the rains all but gone, the fields are still green and the sky has a most beautiful shade of blue with just the right dose of lazy clouds. Wish I had carried my polariser though...

Green grass, blue skies!

Along the way, we were greeted by some magnificent trees, which are recorded in the next few photos...
The Banyan Tree Grove

Perhaps the strangest was the next picture... The canopy of the trees was so thick, the shade they cast was really dark, that too in bright sunshine. And mysteriously, all the old branches that were dead still clung to the tree.

The woods are dark and deep...

But the grand-daddy of all the trees we saw that day was this Banyan tree...Its multiple trunks covered the entire plot it stood in (and right in the centre too)... The Wife said it looked like it was right out of Avataar.

The grand old tree

A path runs through it!

The strange flowers that bloomed all around the tree

Continuing forward, there were some more fields. It seems that on the route we took, you were never more than 5-10 minutes away from vast expanses of greenery!

Until finally we reached Aldona. Here's the famous Aldona Church with the cable-stayed bridge visible as well.

We stopped at the Church for some quick photos before heading out.

Aldona Church in the evening

View from Aldona Church

The cemetery had some imposing monuments and the low, orange sunshine gave them an otherworldly look.

The Gathering

The Solitary Angel

The Church yard had interesting statues that played well against the dark skies...

Christ the King

The Old Rugged Cross

Leaving the Church, we carried on and were met with what I call the mini version of the Bandra-Worli Sea link...

In my hurry to make it to Mayem lake, I almost blasted right past this forgotten beauty, but The Wife, with her keen eyes, spotted it and then there was another quick stop.
Corjuem Fort exterior

Entering the fort, it looked really small. I didn't dare venture past the entrance given the grass and other shrubbery and my fear of snakes lurking in them.

Corjuem Fort interior

The fort looked all but abandoned given its overgrowth until we turned around and spotted this well-used grotto.

Now, we headed straight for Mayem Lake and reached there eventually. To be honest, I hadn't researched the destination, and while I was expecting a small scenic lake, I wasn't expecting a small scenic lake with infrastructure! We were quite pumped about getting a boat ride around the lake, only to be told at the entrance that we had missed the 'last call.' (the last boat rentals are at 6pm as the facility closes by 7pm.

You have to pay a Rs 10 entrance fee to enter the 'garden' which is actually quite beautiful with quite a few plants I've not seen before. Shot a few quick photos before heading out.

The Wife

A random beautiful plant...

The ride back was a bit rushed as I wanted to cover as much ground as I could before the big light in the sky went down. We stopped for some munchies, but most of the stores and restaurants were closed. We reached home finally at around 8pm. Another great ride.

The following are actually two pictures I took from the previous time I was down that road.

Shoot the Sun

The Rainbow Bridge