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Goa has always been an annual November getaway for me. The beaches, churches, temples and the Goan food beckons all travel freaks like me! This year, besides attending the 47th International film festival of India (IFFI) at Panjim, I was determined to check out few unexplored tourist spots in Goa. It was a delight to watch good quality cinema in the concluding days of the film festival.

As I bid goodbye to Fort Terekhol

As I bid goodbye to Fort Terekhol

Films like ‘Life Animated’ (English), Een Echte Vermeer (A Real Vermeer) (Dutch) & K Sera Sera (Konkani) left a deep impact on my mind. ‘Life Animated’ is a documentary film featuring a young Owen Suskind who had been suffering from Autism as a child and now is almost normal.

Fort Terekhol & me

Fort Terekhol & me

The film highlights the fact that how all Disney’s animation films helped the boy to recover! Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n7fosK9UyY  Een Echte Vermeer is a beautifully crafted biopic of the infamous art forger Han van Meegeren. The theme of the film raises questions in our mind, as to ‘Is forgery an art and how justified it is to appreciate forgers’? Here is it’s trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJdRivDn67Y K Sera Sera is a simple Konkani film which discusses a simple philosophy ‘does life rules you or you rule life?’

View from top of Fort Terekhol (Bird’s eye view of the sea below)

View from top of Fort Terekhol (Bird’s eye view of the sea below)

Here’s its trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjYrn4B-S3A. All in all I had a gala time at the film festival, enjoying the films and also the ambiance that glittered the promenade by the Mandovi river.

All smiles as I explore my journey

All smiles as I explore my journey

My last day in Goa was spent in exploring a fort that I always wanted to visit. Hiring a car I set to find out the whereabouts of Fort Terekhol. As I left Panjim, a local traffic police helped me by verbally providing a couple of alternate routes to reach the fort. One route was from Shivolim from Mapsa and other was from Pernem (Pedne), which is at the northern tip of Goa. I chose the Pernem route which leads to the inner country roads that run adjacent to the back waters of many tiny villages that pass by. The river Terekhol acts as a beautiful backdrop as one passes the backwaters.

Starters and mocktails at Tavern restaurant in Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, on the hill top overlooking the sea shore.

Starters and mocktails at Tavern restaurant in Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, on the hill top overlooking the sea shore.

It was tempting to stop by and click scenic photos. The one and a half hour drive from Panjim via Pernem leads to a place called Querim (Kheri). A Ro Ro ferry service further transports the traveler across the river where yet another uphill road trip finally leads to Fort Terekhol!

The view!

The view!

On reaching the gate of the fort one notices a couple of memorial stones installed in memory of the Goan martyrs, named Hirve Guruji & Sheshnath Wadekar who fought against the Portuguese colonial rule under the leadership of Alfred Alfanso. The fort is believed to have been constructed by Khem Sawant, the chieftain of Sawantwadi during the medieval period.

The path leading to the courtyard in the Fort Terekhol.

The path leading to the courtyard in the Fort Terekhol.

Later during the times of the Maratha warrior King Shivaji Maharaj, the fortress of Terekhol remained under the possession of the Bhonsale’s of Sawantwadi till the Portuguese captured it in 1746. The church and the statue of Jesus Christ were built after the Portuguese took over the fort. After Goa achieved its independence from colonial rule, the Goa State tourism department was managing the fort, until a couple of years back. Now the fort is a beautifully maintained resort managed jointly by Goa tourism and private entrepreneurs. More about the Fort Tiracol resort here: http://www.forttiracol.in/

Backwaters of River Terekhol near Pernem village

Backwaters of River Terekhol near Pernem village

As I strolled and explored the fort premise, my soul experienced a unique sense of tranquility. The serene surroundings of the fortress was a much needed treat for a Mumbaikar like me, who is surrounded by traffic, noise and chaos all the time.

47th International Film Festival of India, Panjim, Goa icon

47th International Film Festival of India, Panjim, Goa icon

Having got the best spot at the Fort Tiracol resort’s restaurant named Tavern, I enjoyed my lunch by overlooking the seashore as my heart beats rejoiced along with the sound of the waves hitting the shore.  The restaurant staff Michael Rodrigues and Sagar were at their best as they served me a three course meal that was a mix of Indian, Goan and Mediterranean flavors.

From Querim to Fort Terekhol in RoRo ferry service

From Querim to Fort Terekhol in RoRo ferry service

As the sun set over the Terekhol river, I started my return journey to Panjim. Hill tops have always fascinated me. It makes me feel as if I am watching the world below from a bird’s eye view. My search for Fort Terekhol was indeed a beautiful experience which made me feel rejuvenated just like a bird would feel after gracefully flying over a hill top and then getting back to its cozy nest!

The church inside Fort Terekhol

The church inside Fort Terekhol

Photo courtesy: Shraddha C Sankulkar

*Special thanks to Tanvi Tavsalkar for offering her laptop (as mine was temporarily misplaced) to complete my article.

Taste buds loving the sweet treat at ‘Tavern’

Taste buds loving the sweet treat at ‘Tavern’

The film festival premise glittering with joy!

The film festival premise glittering with joy!

 

 

About Shraddha. C. Sankulkar

Writing has always been a passion for Shraddha. She writes poems, lyrics, fiction, non-fiction & documentary film scripts. A consulting Psychologist and lecturer of Psychology by profession, Shraddha sees herself blooming into a creative writer and wishes to present her work world-wide. She manages her own website: www.mindmatterz.net - and writes content for it herself. The website is based on the principles of Positive Psychology and aims to promote the importance of mental health & well-being. Besides possessing a post-graduate degree in Psychology, she has earned yet another post-graduate degree in History from University of Mumbai. Travelling and photography are two hobbies that she is fond of. Having visited the U.S and U.K so far, she dreams to travel to different international destinations and thereby experience the culture and history of places that she visits. She is born and brought up in Mumbai, India, where she is currently residing. Email Shraddha