Spice Garden Goa

by Helene Dsouza on January 13, 2012

 

Spice plantation

 All these months I have been wanting to visit a Spice Garden Goa and finally I got a chance some days ago to do so. My sister had come down for the first time ever to Goa with her friend and the girls were much motivated, to my luck, for a cultural trip (I did pressure too ]=) ). I am a total history freak since ever, I was the best in class in this subject (at least I believe so). My mum gifted me a book about Egyptian mummies with Illustrations for my 6th birthday. Sounds creepy but I was just fascinated by all the things dead long long ago. So my dream as child was to travel back in time and since time traveling machines are more science fiction then a fact, I had to find a different way to achieve my dream in some way at least. Best option was to travel to a country who’s culture was coming close to Earths rich past and well as you can guess I ended up in Goa, India.

Spice plantation

I remember in my second year of secondary school a history lesson about the early sea travels and trades. You surely know some famous discoverer such as Christoph Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Amerigo Vespucci and Vasco da Gama. The later had traveled on behest of the Portuguese king to calicut in 1498 and later on to Cochin and Goa, which they called Golden Goa. I was so mesmerized as a kid by the discoveries of our for fathers, I had to become a discoverer! The thing is… everything is already discovered and I am not Lara Croft to roam as Tomb raider around the globe. Yes in this world nowadays you need money or a sponsor. If anybody wants to sponsor a gold searching trip, I am in! There are legends of Portuguese gold near the coast of Bardez taluka and an other legend of an under water tunnel which was build by the Portuguese, starting at Fort Aguada and ending after Chapora Fort. Sometimes you see rich people with their boats going out into sea to dive. God alone knows what they find.

map-goa-and-india

Anyways, the Portuguese aim at the time was to establish a spice trading route, to gain the over hand of this wanton market in Europe. Those were great important times in Europe, with great kings governing their lands, this was the time of Renaissance – The rebirth. Conquering lands are not cute lovely stories, only wars and lots of dead people fixed history and transformed Goa to what it is today. Lots would be different if the Portuguese wouldn’t have loved Goa. It is a extraordinary little place, some even call it paradise and one can feel the energies differently here, maybe blessed. Some even say it is cursed land, whatever it is, Goa is special, mysterious and full of surprise.

You have the choice to visit several different spice plantations in Central Goa – Ponda. We had visited one of the major Spice Plantations called Sahakari. This particular plantation is surrounded by a lake/river and for what I have heard it is the only one growing Vanilla pods. The entry for Visitors is 400 INR (~8€) with food buffet included and they even provide Elephant rides and Elephant bath which costs 600 INR each for 10 mins with the friendly animal. To reach the spice garden goa you just need to grab a taxi and the taxi driver ll be happy  to take you there.

Spice plantation
Spice plantation
Spice plantation

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Every visitor receives a home made Lemon grass Ginger tea as welcoming before the tour. The Service is excellent and the Guides are very friendly, explaining details well and answering Visitors questions correctly. They even provide special tours for Russians, since Goa is full of Russian tourists and because most of the Russians don’t understand English.

Spice plantation

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Once you are ready to go, you just need to join a group with a guide to start the spice garden tour.

The guide explains and teaches you how to make an Indian Aphrodisiac with spices.

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Some little wisdoms about Cardamon.

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Have you heard of Piri Piri?

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Spice plantation

Fresh from the Tree scraped aromatic Nutmeg.

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Spice plantation

Good old Bidi! (Indian “Cigarets”)

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Spice plantation

Cinnamon tree

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Spice plantation

Bay leafs – Cinnamon and bay leafs are from the same tree

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Spice plantation

Pretty looking tropical Plant

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Spice plantation

Pepper Corn Plant

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Spice plantation

Climbing up a betel tree

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Spice plantation
Spice plantation

Traditional Cashew Fruit Distillation to Cashew Fenni

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Spice plantation

Vanilla creeper (pods had been removed)

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Spice plantation>

End of the Spice Garden Tour

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Spice plantation

Little back refreshment?

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Spice plantation

Plates made of betel trees

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Spice plantation
Spice plantation
Spice plantation
Spice plantation

Food Buffet after the Tour

Spice plantation

My Organic Food plate

Spice plantation
Spice plantation

Little shopping

Spice plantation

Gorgeous ducks

The Food served in the spice garden Goa is cooked a bit plain and without much spices. That’s because many foreigner have trouble eating spicy food and prefer food a bit more simple. My company from Austria never eat much spicy foods and thought the food to be a bit too boring. I must agree it wasn’t much after my taste since I am used to Christian Goan house cooking which differs in a few ways to the restaurant Goan food. In general I was glad that I had seen the spice garden goa. The place is well situated and beautiful. A must see for anyone who visits Goa!

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I am Helene, the author behind Masala Herb! My aim is to show you an incredible world full of surprises. Food, Culture and Travel are my forte and that's what I enjoy. Follow my Food and Travel adventures and learn some incredible things!Now in the beautifull Indian coastline state, Goa.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Frieda

Thanks for sharing your spice tour! Beautiful photos and the video was so great! I really enjoyed it and seeing how the bidi is made reminded me of my college days- ha! Also, interesting fact that cinnamon and bay leaves are from the same tree! Who knew?

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~~louise~~

Your posts never fail to lift me to places I have never been before in a language I can understand! I am so glad you encouraged your visitors to visit the Spice Garden. How many times in ones life do you get to stroll among the herbs and spices. I can only imagine the whiffs of aroma.

I wasn't able to see the videos for some reason but I will try again. Thank you so much for sharing your spice journey with us Helene. It was just what I needed to "spice" up my day. And Helene, there's always something knew to discover so don't ever give up your dream!!! Louise

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Mommy LaDy Club

I felt like I was right there reading this! What a treat:) My parents spent 18 months in India recently, and my Dad loves the food and spices like I do. Now back at home, he believes that all of their spices were healing his high blood pressure, because it was much lower there. He tries to add them to his food, but my Mom really hates the spices…it's funny. Thank you for a lovely post, and thanks for linking up your post on our Fitness link up!

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the food dude

Awesome photos, you are so blessed to live in such a beautiful place. Goa is definitely on my bucket list!

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Joanne

Thanks so much for this tour through the spice garden! It's so gorgeous. Definitely a place I want to visit in real life someday.

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escribble

What a fun visit — I went to a similar spice place in bangalore. It was so much fun and filled with knowledge on pure and fresh spices. Have fun sweetie, and a very Happy New Year to you and the family :)

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

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kimeling

This looks so great. I definitely want to visit this place as well :)

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Jamie

Helene, this is such a fascinating post! First, I do want to say that we always gave our sons books and films on "dead things" – ancient Egypt, archeological and history books and documentaries, the discovery of everything and they also turned out really loving history! And my husband and I would love to take a year off and "discover" the world, just go around the world on a huge adventure but you are right, one needs money or a sponsor. But now that I have traveled on this Spice Garden adventure with you I know I must come to India! Wonderful!

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Torviewtoronto

enjoyed the lovely post and pictures

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Amelia's De-ssert

Hi Helene, thanks for sharing all the beautiful pictures. Looks like it's a fun visit to the spice farm, glad that you enjoy the trip. Have a nice day.

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Nami | Just One Cookbook

Hi Helene! Amazing. It's kind of sad to say that all the spices I know are all in jars or some kind of packages…maybe besides some herbs. The rest of spices, oh well, I have to admit I have no idea about the source… This must be VERY educational tour. And thanks for sharing it with us and educate us!!

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Helene Dsouza

@Frieda what did u do in your college days? lol I am glad that u enjoyed it. Its good to share knowledge with friends.

@louise yeah I surely did well in getting them to go to to spice gardens. They enjoyed it too and bought some few pods vanilla, since it is so expencive in europe. thanks for passing by and leaving a comment. =)

@Courtney the fact is that spices realy lower the blood levels and they clean the body. u get smoother healthy skin, hair grows thicker, pimples and all go, moskitos bite u less,… there r aa million reasons why one should eat spices. Thats why indians are so healthy. I used to not like spices either. It realy depends on the mixture of spices u use while cooking. Since I have discovered spicy food for me, I can feel my health reaching its peak. Your mum might like Punjabi or goan food to get into indian food.

@Gerry great! it should be on everybodies bucket list. hihi

@Joanne u r anytime welcome. let me know if u ever get to come to goa. =)

@Kiran thank u dear wish u the same. I have never been to bangalore but I have heard so much of this city, I realy want to have a chance to get to see it in the near future.

@Kimeling welcome here! thanks for the comment. Goa is gorgeous, a paradise on earth. =)

@Jamie u would love it here. I mean u can life in any standart u wish and in any enviroment u fancy. Goa is developing fast, in general india is the fastest growing economy on earth and Goa is its touristic pearl. In the 5 years I was here, I saw double amount of building mushrooming on the coastal belt. Its crazy, how quick all changes around us. You d better see it before it is all commercial. ;)

@Torview @Amelia thx guys for passing by and leaving a comment! =)

@nami you should grow some smaller plants at home, even if they r only herbs, they dont need much space and they come handy. =) thx for the compliments! XD

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dassana

when we had the lunch, it was spicy. we were very few people except for one foreign couple family. plus there was no one selling paan or bidi… but it was a nice visit and so much learn to about the spices and their benefits. it seems you had a great time there.

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Helene Dsouza

Was it the same Spice garden Dassana, because apparently there are a couple ones in the area and more are coming new every year. I loved it as well, its so informative and for me spices and herbs are very essential while cooking and even to treat minor health conditions.

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Dale

Hello, we shall be visiting Goa next March and feel a few outings instead of just lying on the beach for 3 weeks would be a good idea. We are staying in Sinquerim. Which would be the best way to get to this Spice Plantation, and how long would it take?

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Helene Dsouza

Hello Dale!

Usually one would hire a taxi to take a tour, that means taxi drivers take you first to old goa then Mangesh temple and at the end to the Spice Garden, since everything is on the way and they only provide packages. I would suggest to do that, because the roads are pretty unknown if you don’t know goa at all. The tour would cost about 1000 INR if you take a Taxi. But if you prefer to go by bike on your own, then you can take the road towards old goa and then towards ponda. Calculate at least 1 – 1 1/2 h drive. Hope that helps! =)

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Ginny McMeans

What a wonderful post. It makes me want to jump on a plane right now.

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Liz

Oh, I’d love to tour the Spice Garden, too! And so fun that you had your sweet sister join you!

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linda @spiceboxtravels

What a wonderful tour! Thanks for sharing this. Since I am also a fan of spices, I’d really like to see this place one day.

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Fredee Waugh

Looking forward to the newsletter. I just discovered you. I can’t wait to learn more about spices, especially those that I can use with vegetables.

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Helene Dsouza

=) Just a heads up, I am planning to post more veg dishes with spices in Jan. There will be surely something for you. Cheers!

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Smita Chandra

Loved this post with it’s beautiful pictures and story :)

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Helene Dsouza

Thank you Smita, glad to read that you enjoyed the post. :)

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priti sahu

I want to some spices so please contact me

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Helene Dsouza

oh but I don’t sell spices, sorry. =)

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