Lives in Mumbai (Bombay), India
Since Oct 2006
35-49 year old female
I own companies that offer personalised and insightful guided tours in 25 Indian cities. In addition to city tours, we also design and execute custom tours across India for individuals and groups, based on their interests. We provide the full range of services - hotels, flights, trains, road transport and guided tours. Our guides are a group of no-nonsense women (and a few good men!). They speak English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Japanese and Italian. They are story-tellers and historians, knowledgeable about art, culture and cuisine, with a fond understanding of the little quirks of their cities. Seeing India through the eyes of our guides can be quite a revelation. To contact me, check out my India websites: DELHI AND AGRA (www.delhimagic.com) MUMBAI (www.mumbaimagic.com) COCHIN/KERALA (www.cochinmagic.com) There are websites for each of the 25 cities. Or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Flea & Street Markets
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Situated at the crossroads of North Goa's highways (16km north of Panaji), the Mapusa Friday Bazaar is a bustling delight. Goans from all the surrounding areas come here to buy and sell everything under the sun. You'll find a lot of tourist souvenir stalls too, but skip those and instead head for the food markets, where you can join the locals and seek out Goan specialties like spices, pickles, masalas, chorizos, and dried and salted seafood. After all, one of the most interesting ways to understand a place is through its food!
Goa is blessed with rich birdlife, and there are many great options for spending a happy morning with a pair of binoculars. One of them, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, is named after the eminent Goan ornithologist. The best way to explore it is by hiring a boat; you will be punted through the mangroves to spot birds — and sometimes crocodiles too!
Goa Chitra is one man's attempt to preserve and present the traditional culture of Goa, as represented by objects of daily use. In the ethnographic museum, founder Victor Hugo Gomes has lovingly documented and displayed the old ways of life that are fast disappearing from Goan villages. Set on an organic farm in a traditional Goan village, this charming and well-designed labor of love will give you a glimpse at an endangered way of life — through agricultural implements, cooking utensils, weights, scales, and a great collection of olden-day transport methods.
A nonprofit arts education initiative, Sunaparanta aims to preserve Goa's artistic legacies, support local artists and art students, and provide a link between the Goan art community and national and international art communities. The center hosts regular art exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, and workshops throughout the year; its festivals and events often attract leading writers and artists from both India and abroad.
A walk through the grand 17th-century Braganza House gives a glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of South Goa's erstwhile 'landlords,' the Portuguese gentry who developed large estates during colonial rule — and spared no expense in decorating their homes with the latest local and foreign styles. The sheer size of Braganza House is something you need to see to believe! And the lavish decor — Portuguese tiles, Flemish wood, Italian marble, Belgian chandeliers, porcelain, ivory, ebony... — helps tell the story of the Braganza family. The location, in the quiet village of Chandor (40km south of Panaji), only adds to the house's charm.
Located in the village of Quepem (40km south of Panaji), this beautiful colonial mansion has been lovingly restored by Reuben and Celia Vasco da Gama, a Goan couple who now live there. Palacio do Deao was built in an interesting architectural style that blends Hindu and Portuguese cultures. Celia offers wonderful Indo-Portuguese lunches (call ahead to reserve), as well as tours of the house and extensive gardens.
The Helbekar family has created a haven for butterflies in the 4000-square-meter park behind their home in Ponda (30km southeast of Panaji). Walking through the Butterfly Conservatory of Goa feels like walking through a tropical forest, with small streams and many endemic butterfly-attracting plants to admire. It's a nice way to spend the morning and see the conservation efforts of private citizens!