Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Travels in India, 2016 - Benaulim, Burial Grounds & Beaches

Welcome to Goa, ladies and gentlemen. The local time is 4.30 am and the temperature is 28 degrees. Happy New Year! The pilot announced over the tannoy as the plane bumped down on to the tarmac at Dabolim Airport. We were back in the place we loved and, despite a tedious twenty-three hour journey, were already bursting with excitement at having 31 days of no plans whatsoever ahead.

Our first stop was Benaulim, a Catholic fishing village in South Goa. We rented a room at family-run Palmira's for the first few nights, basic but quiet, clean and comfortable and great value at £5 a night.

The antics of the family pig and her handsome feline companion kept us amused for hours.

As our pasty Northern European skin hadn't seen the light of day since last Summer we took it easy with the sun worshipping at first, avoiding the beach until later in the day for a sunset swim.

 Mornings were spent our favourite way, wandering around aimlessly and getting hopelessly lost, following paths and well-trodden trails to discover every inch of the area. One day we ended up in nearby Colva, stumbling across Our Lady of Merces, a Portuguese era Catholic church originally built in 1640.

Despite visiting Goa for over 16 years this is the first cemetery we'd ever come across. We weren't sure what the etiquette was but saw a local lady leaving and she indicated that it was perfectly fine to take a look around. We definitely wouldn't have entertained the idea if there was a burial taking place or any sign of grieving relatives.

The cemetery appeared to be divided into several parts, this gated area contained the family burial vaults and plots. 

The Portuguese were kicked out in 1961 but their legacy, in the form of the names taken by Goan Hindus forced to convert to Catholicism, lives on.

The niches in the compound wall housed hundreds of engraved marble tributes.

I loved this Azulejo tile. 

This area was filled with more simple graves with wooden cross markers. 

Floral displays commemorating the first year anniversary. 

 These graves were inside an Indo-Portuguese building with a vaulted ceiling and an altar. We were reluctant to enter, choosing to stand outside and take a few photos from a respectful distance.  

Again, these graves were mostly marked with simple wooden crosses. 

A moment or two of peace amid the frenzy of touristy Colva.

Paddy fields, Benaulim

After five days in Benaulim it was time to repack our bags, hail a tuk tuk and move on.

We got back yesterday morning but I'm not quite sure if our brains are still in India. This blog post has taken me most of the day to write. We took almost 1000 photos (more from our first few days HERE) so be warned there's a danger that I'll be blathering about this trip for months.

Benaulim villager taking a break
Hope your 2016 got off to an equally brilliant start. I'll catch up with my blog reading over the next few days, it will be a welcome diversion from the jet lag.

See you soon!

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.


  1. Yay I'm so glad you had a great time. I don't mind if you blather on about it all year, I love reading it!! The pictures are amazing. That cemetery is beautiful, how wonderful that you could walk around. I love that headstone of the two praying angels. Can't wait to see more - keep it coming! Hope your jet lag isn't too bad. XXX

  2. Welcome home friend! So glad you guys made it home safely and can't wait to see all your pictures. I think you need to make that Facebook Album public or only your friends can see it :)

  3. I have been waiting patiently for this post i wondered when you were due back , glad you had a great time and relaxed , Dont rush back into work to quickly if you can help it , I wont get bored with the upcoming posts , Nice to see you back xxx

  4. Welcome home!
    So beatiful, love all The colors. I think cementarys are exiting and always tells att story.

  5. How lovely to see you back, Vix!

    The photos are wonderful. What poignant places graveyards are. This one looks beautifully kept and what an interesting variety of headstones, wooden crosses and plaques. I was wondering if the wooden crosses are temporary (as they are here in the UK) or are they permanent markers?

    I shall be looking forward to seeing more of your Goan adventures and more of you, too!



  6. Stunning photos here Vix, love that shot of you on the beach - what a beautiful place to be able to see. - Tasha

  7. Welcome back! a great start to your return with a post full of culture and history - thanks for sharing. I will look forward to more posts, I love reading about your travels - I deleted myself from FB so won't be able to see your 1000 pictures! hope you post loads of pics on blogger. Happy New Year! Betty

  8. Beautiful pictures, so fun to hear about your experiences. :)

  9. Nice to have you guys back and we are looking forward to reading even more about your trip and seeing more great pics.
    I like the peace of burial grounds, call me weird if you like. We visited one in Milan some years ago, it was so ornate, with marble bodies draped over graves or sat by the grave, depicting the heartbroken relatives left behind. It was fascinating.
    I always want to dig out our pics of our trips to India when I see yours, its such a magical place.
    See you soon
    LYnn n the welder xxx

  10. Welcome home! The opening photo is amazing! You, and the sea, and the sunset... just beautiful! The pig and cat friendship is just the best! The cemetery was worth visiting, it is one of the significant differences between cultures, the way we handle burials, and when it is cross-culture, even more fascinating. I'm sure you were very respectful to local customs - you are a thoughtful, sensitive soul. And your multiple posts about India are always a treat! Happy New Year, Vix!

  11. Welcome home lovely, I so look forward to seeing you photo's each year and where you have been you take some great pictures and portray a true India to us I love seeing the places, the buildings the people the food the shopping etc from your eyes. It makes me want to go there. Hope the jet lag goes soon, dee xx

  12. Blather away love....you've been missed and it's always a treat to hear about your travels. I do find cemeteries fascinating, especially a foreign one....so interesting to explore how our cultures differ at death. Looking forward to seeing more of your trip soon.

  13. 31 days! I thought it had been a while you'd been quiet on FB! As usual, it looks amazing. Aren't some of those graves beautiful? I always like a look round a cemetery, I insisted we look for Sylvia Plath's grave when we were in Yorkshire on our hols this year.

    Gorgeous opening picture of you too - can really see why India is your spiritual home


  14. Welcome back! Love the first picture xxx

  15. welcome, dear lady, and glad to read and see some Indian interesting pics (such a soft and unique light!)
    besos & besos

  16. Welcome home, it's nice to see you back! I'm glad you had such a wonderful time, what a beautiful place Benaulim is. I'll look forward to hearing more about your travels. I always enjoy your travel posts at this time of year, takes my mind away from how dismal it is here! xx

  17. What an adventure, dea Vix so good to have you back

  18. Lovely to have you back and great to see your photos. How fascinating is that graveyard? I do enjoy seeing India through your eyes. A pig and his cat chum? What's not to adore.
    See you in Wales.
    Loves ya!

  19. Yippeeeeee! We've got our Vix back. Lovely to see you. You haven't missed much here. So glad you had a wonderful sun-soaked time. You needed it. That cemetery building with the fence round is beautiful and I love your little menagerie. How cute! No plans. 28 degrees. Sublime. Can't wait to hear and see some more. Welcome back! And hello Jon! Xxxxxxx

  20. Ahh, the Vix is back and we get to see India pix too! woo-hoo for us!

  21. Please do post often and in depth all you want! I will travel vicariously through you and can't wait to hear all about it.

  22. Hello! Glad that you had a great trip. Your photos are marvellous. The first one on the beach you look so happy and relaxed. The cemetery looks like a fantastic find and a great way to spend some time. Looking forward to seeing some more of your trip. Xx

  23. Aaaaand she's back again!
    Glad you had such a fab time Vix and really looking forward to your travel journal posts to come.
    Take care while the jet lag settles xx

  24. welcome back Vix and Jon - I've missed you! i think the Goa Tourist Board should fund your trips as I'm sure you do more to promote Goa and stimulate people's interest in India than any official initiative. Really liked the photo of the lady attending to her daily chore.Thx Vix for sharing. X

  25. I like your India posts, a fascinating insight.

  26. Hello lovely!!! So nice to have you back! Imissed you!!! I love the pig and cat double act, so sweet!!! The cemetery seeks a really interesting place to visit. Can't wait to read more.Xx

  27. I enjoyed this so much and will be waiting to see more,,, welcome home!!

  28. The pig and cat are brilliant.

    So happy you had another great trip. Can't wait to read more about it.

    Your sunny face was missed in blogland.


  29. Welcome back, Vix!
    So glad you had a wonderful time.
    Please come visit us in Nepal! It's not all glaciers & rocky mountain tops here, most Nepalis live in lush tropical valleys. We even have some warm, sandy riverside beaches here.
    Toodle pip!

  30. Glad you're back. I hope to see more of your photos. Hope the jet lag eases soon.

  31. I have a bit of a cold climate wish list, Scandanavia, the Faroes, Alaska, Norway but your pictures has tempted me. I could add Goa xx

  32. I was only wondering last night when we'd see another post from you! Major Wanderlust going on right now! x

  33. So glad you both had a fab time, missed your blog looking forward to reading about all your adventures.

  34. Welcome home, I trust you two are well and rested from your journey. Blather on I say, I love your posts about India and all your photos, you always take us off the beaten tourist track and show us another side to the country.

  35. Welcome home Vix! I have missed your posts but I am so looking forward to catching up on your adventures. The graves you've shared are so beautifully maintained; the pools of wax from melted candles around some of them are so poignant. How wonderful to have had a chance to see them even though it's quite sad, it's also so celebratory of the lives of the departed with the bright colours and decorations.

    I can't wait to hear more about your trip! I always think you look so at home there. It's defintely your home from home. I would love to visit one day. My brother Todd spent a few months in India towards the end of 2014/start of 2015 and he loved it.

    Looking forward to the next installment!

    Lots of love Amie xxxx

    Credit Crunch Chic

  36. Oh, please do blather away! You make Goa look so beautiful.

    That cat and pig look like they're great friends.

  37. Hello Vix, I am so happy to read your new post. A beautiful travel beginning I see: the sea at sunset (my favorite sea!), This couple of friends so tender and sympathetic: pig and red cat! These beautiful religious architecture, evocative of decadence and gothic. The graves covered with flowers and plants are very beautiful.



  38. so glad you enjoyed your trip but equally glad you're back - I've been havung Vix withdrawal symptoms...

  39. Welcome back dear Vix! I've missed you, and see you have splendid getaway. The pig and the cat would keep me fascinated all day. Wonderful, thoughtful pictures of the cemeteries - they always remind us that we need to live while we are here. I hadn't known about the Portuguese colonization of a part of India, you are always teaching me something! xox


  40. Yay Vix is back! Looking so forward to hearing all about your vacation!

  41. Blather away! I love cemeteries and this one looks well cared for, thanks for sharing it with us. Look forward to hearing all about the rest of your trip. x

  42. The cat and the pig. I might die. So cute.

  43. Oh please. Keep the photos coming. Obviously we just love them. I love the relationship India has with flowers. They take what is already beautiful and make it even more beautiful. What a sweet grave with the handmade angel. And the family pig and cat. Oh my.

  44. I've been looking forward to your first Goa post - glad to see you made it there and back safely. I always enjoy experiencing Goa vicariously through your photos. I enjoy wandering through old cemeteries so I found these photos very interesting. The flower garlands left on the stones are so pretty. I would love to stay in a place that had a resident pig and cat.

    Hope you and Jon had fun and rest in equal measure!

  45. wahoooo - you´r back!!!
    i´m totally exited to see your photos and read about your adventures in india!!!

  46. Welcome back! As ever I will savour every post, it looks so beautiful.

  47. I suppose there are no cemetries because they burn the bodies?
    Don't they commemorate them anywhere?
    I hadn't thought of that before!
    Very picturesque area and interesting about the Portuguese Catholic influence.
    The pig shot reminds me of PNG, So glad you had a good time.
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  48. Yay! I've been waiting on this post! I looooove seeing your photos from your trip. I would love to see cemetery at night all candle lit and fragrant.

  49. Welcome home, Vix and Jon! It's lovely to see you, and to have a chance to admire the beautiful sights of Goa. What a wonderful graveyard, they are so atmospheric and very calm places to wander, I find. Loving the pig and the ginger moggy, what a pair! I'm sure you managed to see all sorts of interesting things, eat fab food, meet great folks, and truly relax during your month of travels, and I'm looking forward to hearing the stories. Good luck acclimatising to chilly, wet old England after those Indian temperatures....
    We've all missed you, darling - love you! Xxx

  50. The idea of really resting in a family-operated hotel, complete with pig and cat, within walking distance of that beautiful, bewitching cemetary appeals to me -- although the prospect of facing my own pets after a month's absence would be daunting. Welcome back to rude reality, dear Vix and Jon. We're all looking forward to seeing those 1,000 pictures!

  51. Welcome home, you wonderful people! Your online company was missed. But I knew I'd be in for some excellent posts about your trip when you got back. I enthusiastically look forward to hearing all about it, and seeing all your pictures.

    The Catholic Portuguese connection to Goa is very interesting.

    And now, I want a family pig to call my own!


  52. Yay! Welcome back you two. Great to have you back in the blogosphere.

    Fab photos as usual and I really like how colourful the cemetery is with all the garlands and flowers. That Portuguese church is beautiful and looks like new considering its age. I'm going to catch up on your latest post now xxx

  53. I could read about it forever. Please keep it coming. So fascinating. You guys could host tours for the uninitiated!! So happy to see you in your element. XXOO

  54. Welcome back Vix! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I hope you had an amazing time xx

  55. I'm looking forward to months of blathering on about India!That cemetery is so fascinating.


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Lots of love, Vix