Spice Gardens of Goa – An Experience

Spice Gardens of Goa – An Experience

The moment someone mentions Goa, we think of beaches but Goa is more than beaches and churches. Kerala is spice bowl of India but spice gardens Goa are one of those places where one should spend some time to understand spices in natural surroundings. These spice gardens are nowhere close to  Munnar or Thekkady’s big plantations but Goa’s gardens are more organized and arranged everything in such a manner that a tourist can see and understand how a spice grows. I like to visit a spice plantation and been there twice.

I like to these because these are little less crowded and I get sometime close to nature. First time I went to spice garden with my parents and second time I went with my friends. First time when I went, we opted to spend the day at leisure and took a boat (Actually it’s bigger then boat and smaller than

First time we took a full day package from Goa tourism for spice garden. It was a slow paced tour, we boarded a cruiser from Panaji and it sailed through the backwaters of Goa. On the way we saw traditional old houses, churches, fisherman building boats on shores. Then boat moved deeper and there were only Mangroves on both sides of water/river. It was a peaceful and slow paced journey in the middle of nature. I even went on the roof of cruise for sun bath but it was too hot for my liking even in the month of February. Finally, after cruising for 2-2.5 hours on the water, we reached a makeshift jetty and disembarked. From jetty we boarded the cars and after 8-10 minutes drive, we reached spice garden.

They gave us traditional welcome with garland & tilak (Red Vermilion on forehead). We crossed a small wooden bridge and reached the main sitting area. They served us some organic welcome drink on arrival, which was very refreshing (I forgot the name 🙁 )

It was a huge hall and constructed with the locally available produce of wood, bamboo, leaves of coconut and palm etc. We relaxed here for some time, then spice garden guide came and we went for the garden tour. It is quite informative for first timers, they show how to make cashew fenny, show spice & medicinal plants and explain the uses & benefits. There were some birds in the garden.
They have kept some elephants in the garden area, which they use if someone wanted to ride or play & bathe them under the professional guidance. I didn’t go for any of the activity with elephants but some people were washing the elephants and for us, it was fun watching them.

After walking around in spice garden we came back to sitting area. Here I came across an interesting ceremony (I don’t know what should I call it), in this they poured cool water near our nape & cold water dribbled down my spine and it felt very refreshing.
Before lunch they served fenny, it was bitter & tasted strange for me. We were tired after the tour of the garden and feeling hungry. I thoroughly enjoyed the unlimited buffet. It was mainly vegetarian with a couple of nonvegetarian items. The plate was eco-friendly and was made in shape of flat bamboo baskets. These were lined with banana leaf.

These spice gardens sell herbs, essential oils, spices, and cashews. I am not sure about the quality of products as I never bought from here. I go to spice gardens Goa for the experience.After lunch, we spent some time to roam around and relax. Then it was time to head back to our boat. It took us around half an extra for the return journey as we were cruising against the flow of water. On the way, we had seen lots of birds around a small island in the water. We reached back our hotel by 5 o’clock. It was a lazy trip.

After lunch, we spent some time to roam around and relax. Then it was time to head back to our boat. It took us around half an extra for the return journey as we were cruising against the flow. While returning we saw lots of birds around a small island in the water. We reached back our hotel by 5 o’clock.

P.S. Second time I went by taxi, it was faster in terms of time. By car, it takes around 35-40 minutes from Panjim.

How to reach spice garden Goa –

Most of the gardens are approx 18-20 Km from Panjim.  There is no public transport, you need a bike or a taxi. It takes about 35 minutes to reach.

Cost of spice garden tour –

They charge 400-500 Inr per person for adults and 200-250 Inr for childrens. This includes tour of spice garden with guide, welcome drink, buffet lunch of lentils,dry veg, poppadums,salad, rice, pav bread and banana. For non vegetarian they have seperate counter and serve chicken or fish dishes prepared in Goan style.

Cost doen’t include elephant ride or any other activity or any extra beverage.

What to expect –

Tour of spice garden with guide, which is pretty good.

Time to spend in nature and a decent meal.

You can buy some essential oils or spices.

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