Benaulim beach

Benaulim. Also called Banaley and Bannali ('the place where the arrow fell', referring to the myth of Parashurama and the creation of Goa), Benaulim is famous throughout Goa as the birthplace of the Venerable Joseph Vaz, who is commemorated in the Church of the Holy Spirit in Margao. The village was noted for producing carved wooden furniture.

Church of St John the Baptist. This small church, re-built in 1596, is on a hill beyond the village. It is a superb example of Goan Christian architecture. The twin towers are surmounted by shallow domes while the typical scrolls are flanked by crosses. Although the gable fagade is striking, the chief beauties of the church are inside. The magnificent altar reredos is uniquely decorated, and there is a wonderful Rococo pulpit which is surmounted by a representation of the Lamb of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation. Fr Joseph Vaz, who ultimately died as a missionary to Ceylon, was baptised in the font here in 1651. Note also the very charming St Christopher carrying a child across a river, painted in the nave opposite the baptistry.

The beach. Benaulim is more tranquil and pleasant than Colva beach. It is easily reached by private transport. Buses go as far as Maria Hall (Dangvaddo), a 1 km walk from the beach. This beach too is a popular destination for weekend and evening visitors from inland so it can get busy and tourists can be plagued by fruit and jewellery vendors as well as drug pushers (to avoid being harassed, be very firm). If you want to escape their constant attention, it is not difficult either to walk, or to hire a bike and cycle some distance south along the beach. Back from the beach is Bank of Baroda, near Maria Hall. There is also a late night chemist, near the main crossroads. NB The road down to the beach is poorly lit after dark and in 1997 several robberies at night were reported, so it is best to walk accompanied.

The 4 km walk or cycle-ride between Colva and Benaulim, through idyllic countryside is recommended.

Dolphin Watching. The trips are scenic and chances of seeing dolphin are high, but it gets very hot (take hat, water and something comfy to sit on). NB Groups of dolphins here are usually seen swimming near the surface and don't oblige with performing tricks. Boats from Cafe Daminick (signs on the beach) and several others ask for about Rs 500. Competition in season is intense, so bargain.

Fishermen sell fish
Fishermen sell fish.
fish vendor puts fish in the basket
Fish vendor puts fish in the basket.
fish of different types lie in the different places
Fish of different types lie in different places.
fish buyer is arrived
Fish buyer is arrived.
this fish looks like a snake
This fish looks like a snake.
many fish inside the net
Many fish inside the net.
baskets for the dried fish
Baskets for the dried fish.
the fish is dried in the sun
The fish is dried in the sun.
woman on the bike travels along the sea
Woman on the bike travels along the sea.
southern view of the Benaulim beach
Southern view of the Benaulim beach.
Lifeguard cabin on the beach
Lifeguard cabin on the beach.
central part of the beach
Central part of the beach.