Banyan Tree nearby Sweet Lake, Arambol Beach

Banyan Tree nearby Sweet Lake, Arambol Beach (Pernem, Goa, India)

What’s interesting around Arambol other than beaches?

Sweet Lake

The question was answered but I am in search of a temple – read somewhere.

Two young ladies walking ahead – talking about a mud bath nearby.

Another added question – another answer I have to search for.

The makeshift shop owners guided ladies towards the sweet lake, and I followed the question, not the ladies. Finally, I was at the sweet lake again after months.


– maybe later, but I am here to find out a temple exists nearby.

Temple? There is no temple but Yes, a banyan tree within the jungle where tourists visit. You will find Sadhus there. Come – I will show you – said He. It is little inside the hilly area inside the jungle.

The charge?

Rs. 200

Oh common

Sir, it is about a 10-15 minute walk inside the jungle and will also show you some more interesting locations within the jungle.

Rs. 150 – The final bargain And walking continue.

Ladies are resting having sunbath maybe mud-bath later – who knows.

Where is the mud bath?

On the way

Ok – said I, and we followed a very narrow path full of small rocks, dust, and dense bushes/trees all around – Santosh, the guide.

Banyan Tree, sweet lake – The famous one. Paragliding – another famous sport. Wanna do?

Not sure whether I will be able to do it. Maybe any other visit only for paragliding.

Anyways, why Banyan Tree is famous? – it is just a tree.

Last 10-15 years Banyan tree is famous as hippies used to visit it very often.

But is there any temple there?

Not as such a temple but Yes, sadhu (Baba) is there.

And a path – right turn – Where does this path go?

Towards bathing area and a few having baths.

Minimum pollution, maximum greenery, atmosphere – lovely.

And from where the stream flows?

From hills – Keri hills.

And he continues – The mud, as you can watch, is presently used as a paste all over the body And body is dried up within Sun and finally bathing within the flowing stream. Good for skin cleansing – They say.

(multani mitti – I remember ladies used to apply)

And I ask what’s the name of the mud?


Nooo…I am saying the name of the mud? Any particular name?

And again he said – MUD.

And we proceed further. A few tourists came from the opposite direction and Santosh said hi/hello – greetings. As per the environment all around I was thinking about canyoning which I did a few days back and narrated to Santosh while we walk.

Santosh stopped after a few walks and showed a location where a lady from Sweden staying for the last few years. Few utensils, few clothes, And makeshift tents were present but the old lady was not present.

She very seldom talks – He said.

Unbelievable – a thought, and we walk further.

Adventure – The correct word about self for walking inside the jungle, but what would be the best word for staying inside the jungle? Only those who stay know better.

The left steep path and you will reach the Mango tree – another 10-15 minutes walkway up, but nobody is there – said Santosh and we continue walking towards the Banyan tree.

Talks, voice a little far – I can hear. I guess we are very close.

Yes – said Santosh.

And finally, climbing a few rocks toward the visible Banyan tree.

Baba – How are you?

Good Good – said the Baba.

3-4 other people around Baba. Silent – atmosphere and as always queries – for long how long you are here Baba?

Last 39 years

39 years????

Yes, each year I visit this place during the winter season – November/December.

Are you from Punjab? – I question

Himachal Pradesh

As your tone is as similar to Punjabi I guess you are from Punjab.

Yes, education days are from Jalandhar DAV.

And with permission, I sat down.

And by the second week of March, I go back to North India a few times Kullu-Manali a few times – Uttaranchal.

So what basically do you do here under the banyan tree?


What is your name?


Who discovered this place?

The first time a French guy is now known as ShankarGiri – the year 1970 discovered this very location and discussed it. After two years, in 1972 I too started visiting.

And I ask – Who is Sadhu?

One who practices sadhana is Sadhu, and he showed a small Lord Shiva statue.

Animals – I question. Aren’t you afraid of them during the nighttime?

No. They are all friends. 25 years back I saw a tiger And many times wild cats/monkeys/snakes but they never harm – They are friends – He said.

The location was very quiet and natural. Boiled rice/birds having food. The clean green surroundings and the age-old Banyan tree. Watching the scenery all around. A scenery for sure, and I started walking again toward the path I followed a few minutes before. And a thought – each of us – The same or different? Many within cities – few within the jungles – few visiting the jungle. Connecting self – is that sadhana?

Maybe and while passing Arambol beach I watched Diabolo stick, also known as flower stick A man concentrating to balance a stick between two sticks

Concentration/focus – sadhana?

Questions – Questions – Questions – is that life?

Maybe – the inner reply.

Winning questions – is that Sadhana?


Sweet Lake, Arambol Beach – A Fresh Lagoon

Sweet Lake, Arambol Beach (Pernem, Goa, India)

The scenic long drive towards Kerim beach was over, and I returning back with the thought of stopping at the Olive Ridley Turtle nesting site i.e., in short – Morjim beach. Turtles have yet to arrive. Locals say in the month of December turtles are here to lay eggs. It is a protected area. Maybe in December, I will try to visit again.

The best thing about Morjim beach is the long walk up to Arambol beach passing through Mandrem and Ashvem beaches. Not too much of a crowd – silence exists. Shack preparation is going on as the rain has just finished, and I watching and walking.

A man requested to have Coconut water. Natural drink – why not especially before the long walk and the walk continues… Another bicycle person carrying a pineapple on the way towards Arambol beach – the cliff is far but visible.

15 minutes approx. and I standing right in front of the cliff, Arambol beach. A small path very close to the cliff, and I was walking while watching makeshift shops selling T-shirts/kurtas/thailas/sun-glasses/shorts/Tibetan stones, etc., etc.

Afternoon hours I was hungry, especially after 3 km approx. walk which I seldom do. A shack, and I enter. Omelet-bread tea – The request and a question: What is interesting around Arambol other than beaches?

sweet lake – said He.

sweet lake? Where is it?

And he showed me the path which I followed till now, and the direction was to walk further towards Kerim beach for 5 minutes. finally, after the toast/omelet/tea within 5-7 minutes, I was in front of two amazing subjects:

1. The arambol beach / sweet lake beach

2. sweet lake

And sand dividing them into two separate identities. Tourists having a good time – sun-bath. Few within the sweet lake as well as few resting. The lifeguard was present, and I inquired: Why sweet lake – The name?

Because the water flows down from the hilly area present, and water is sweet especially when it is very near to the beach i.e., why it is called a sweet lake. I thought of jumping inside the lake to swim, but I was not ready today but will visit again – said I.

And to reach there are two ways:

1. reach Arambol beach – walk towards the cliff area and walk further for 5 minutes to reach the sweet lake.


2. reach Kerim beach – walk towards Arambol beach to reach the sweet lake.

Sweet lake is on the borders of Arambol And Paliem said the lifeguard, and as per his narration there are only two ways to reach it.

Thank you – said I, and with the thought of swim, I was walking again, watching again.

Abseiling and Canyoning at Netravali Waterfalls

Abseiling Training at Netravali Waterfalls (Sanguem, Goa, India)

Netravali Waterfalls – A hidden location.

What is Canyoning?

An obvious question And I read a pamphlet pasted inside a cafe near St. Anthony’s Chapel, Calangute

– Europe/America from the last 20 years and last 10 years all over the world
– Narrow freshwater rivers from top-bottom avoiding all-natural obstacles
– abseil with a rope into waterfalls
– jump from different heights into a natural pool below
– climb small rocks, underwater passages, natural slides, etc., etc.

And a thought – joining the sports – new and exciting for sure

I called and a few questions from the phone receiver:

1. No scared of height

2. You should not be scared of water

3. You should not be scared of a spider

4. Everybody is scared of snakes but you should not be terrified

5. No back problem, leg problem – in short – good fitness

6. Swimming if known is good

And reply- Yes, no scare – no terrified – swimming I know since childhood
Finally the day I on tour towards a new sport. Canyoning – it took time to spell it correctly.
Matthew/Roberto – Canyoning guide And five of us – all tourists but Yes, I – The only Indian with zero experience driving towards South Goa from Baga – The office location of Canyoning.

Reberto was driving – Matthew was chatting and sharing information about the exciting sports. Not a very old sport but was first introduced by Manu in India approx. 10 years ago when he visited Goa. for the last 5 years Matthew/Roberto are with him as guides. Manu is a worldwide certified Canyoning professional instructor discovering within Jungles streams/rivers good for Canyoning.

Brave – isn’t it?

Approx. 90 km journey by jeep towards South Goa we had a stop at Tanishkar’s Spice Farm & Ecological Rest House. The purpose is to change our clothes and wear Canyoning equipment/clothes only provided by guides. All other clothes will be left with the plantation guys.

Wet suit – to protect from cold-water

Helmet – maybe rocks fall in the jungle

Arnes – a belt around to climb

Carabina/Eight And rope And shoes

Nicely checked by two professionals, and we towards the jeep to another destination which is within the jungle, another 15 minutes drive. The jeep was parked – we were inside the real jungle path – naturally made as someone has passed or walked days before. I am sure the Canyoning guys are the only ones. The path is narrow, and the walk is long sometimes high ups and sometimes high down – sometimes scary too. Matthew was leading – checking all bushes/tree branches whether any snake was on the way or not or resting. About 20-25 mins. of walking – the sound of water. Yes, we stop at a stream full of naturally flowing water and natural surroundings.

Sauri – The name of the trip.

Philip was waiting – a photographer cum Canyoning guide And Semon – trainee guide.

A small class on top of a flowing stream and finally I without experience displaying bravery skills while abseiling. As Philip was clicking photographs I posed in the middle of abseiling giving flying kisses to the camera and was warned by Matthew for safety reasons because one of my hands was in the air, which is dangerous to do. I learned the first lesson – not to repeat it again. Never ever leave your hands from the rope, and follow the instructions of the guide otherwise danger is not too far. Anything can happen if I fall. Anyways, slowly-n-slowly I succeed. I guess it was 6 meters abseiling while walking 90 degrees on top of rocks with the help of a Canyoning rope while the stream was in full flow and the rocks slippery. Others did the same, and we all followed the stream following Matthew/Roberto.

A jump of 3 meters straight into the natural pool down below. I watch and I jump – successfully done. And a few swimming skills and another jump of 5 meters – done. There were altogether 6 jumps consisting of 5-8 meters. Many times we have to sit down and slide slowly-n-slowly on top of rocks to reach a location that is for jumping and not for abseiling And two times abseiling may be because not good for jumps.

Fight your fears i.e., Canyoning – Roberto said.

I guess we did about 1 km of Canyoning consisting of 2 abseiling and 6 jumps and many slides and climbing small rocks, walking within flowing cold water, etc., etc. I was shivering though I was wearing a wet suit provided by guides – The water was too cold – the sunlight was not directly within the jungle. We were deep into the valley – will say – surrounded by a jungle.

Manu – The Boss
Yes, finally we met Manu at the end of 1 km Canyoning – shake hands. I remember Discovery Channel and Animal Plant And thought about such people whom we watch on television only but I today meeting one And i.e., Manu.

Anyways, 3 of us are going back home and the others are taking a rest and having snacks and again for more difficult Canyoning. I was too tired and for first-timers, 1 km is enough.

Going back is another challenge as a new path that is steep And very very narrow. I fumbled once and had to grab a small tree trunk to save myself from falling down – The tree was full of white ants.

We reach the plantation area again. Food was served – buffet system all included in the price (Rs. 2950 for Sauri trip) – I was really very very hungry/tired but will say to myself – Did I do this in real? Yes, I did. Why I am asking myself a question is because believing what I did is unbelievable. And while having food, we talk about equipment safety.

All equipment used during Canyoning is purchased from Europe and is CE marked, which means a security standard. In India, we have the ISI mark to explain in simple words what CE means. The rope used during abseiling can lift weights up to 3,000 kg – no worries – we are mostly around 50- 75 kg mostly. Additional care is taken for ropes by putting plastic around where the rope meets rocks to protect it from scratches by the rock while abseiling. October/November Canyoning is started within Goa and in March it ends and the team leaves for Europe.

The other few trips which are medium are known as Biju and The earth And a few more medium plus, Hard ones, and Super Hard ones having jumps of 12/15/16/22 meters. And within Karnataka another one that is 60 meters upscale – Hard plus And within Maharashtra jungle close to Goa a very very hard one.

If you have fears and are unable to fight them out, do not join Canyoning. If you are stuck in the jungle while doing Canyoning because of your fear getting you out of the jungle is trouble for guides and you will be charged extra for that. Before joining, please ask yourself whether or not you can jump from heights/swim/upscale, etc., etc. But in short, it is an exciting sport teaching you in a practical way how to win challenges – how to win yourself.

Canyoning – will do again – I said to myself – Let’s see.