Goa is one of India’s most beloved tourist destinations. Though the Arabian Sea and the miles of golden coastline are popular among tourists, the long and wide beautiful rivers offer the incredible opportunity of river cruises. In the morning of our second day in Goa, we booked for a sunset cruise over river Mandovi with Swastik Cruise. We then went on a sightseeing tour.
In the evening we returned to Reis Magos jetty for the passenger vessel named Swasti. There was a big queue to board the vessel.
At 6.00 p.m. the Swasti took us on a leisurely cruise along the Mandovi River. This is an hour-long cruise on the Swati which takes guests out on a leisurely sail down the River Mandovi. She has air-conditioned decks with one deck housing a disco. For a better view, my son and I went for the top open deck.
While we sailed down the river local boys and girls treated the guests to some of Goa’s folk dances. We went down for a while to watch the live performances while sipping beer on the air-conditioned deck. They sang mandos and finally gave over center stage to a DJ and the guests started then dancing to the EDM. The Mando is a slow verse and refrains song of plaintive, nostalgic love lyrics. It represents the meeting point of Konkani and Portuguese musical traditions. The males wear formal coats, showing Portuguese influence, while females wear a unique Indian costume.
The Swasti took us past the Panjim riverfront past old colonial buildings on past the Promenade with its lovely tree-lined avenues past Miramar and we were treated with one of Goa’s spectacular sunsets.
“Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.” ― Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds
As the shadows lengthened we found ourselves transported back in history to the time when all visitors who landed on these shores loved Goa so much they wanted to possess her.
The Swasti then turned around and sailed back to her jetty along the silent Mandovi, past the pretty cottages of Betim. The jetty is next to the Betim Ferry Terminal. A ferry was getting ready to take people, goods, and vehicles to the other shore of Mandovi river.
Although it was not my best river cruise experience, it should definitely be one on anyone’s itinerary in Goa.