Beaches, pubs, and food… there is never a dearth of any of these here. Archana subramanian

L ush green trees, shining, wet, winding roads, dark, heavy skies with the sound of the waves hitting the shore are what greet you as you alight in Goa during the monsoon.

Excitement begins

The drive to the homestay took me about 30 minutes and one look at it and I knew it lived up to its name… literally! Stain Glass Cottage. Small colourful pieces of glass dotting the windows added a special charm to the house.

Built in the old Portuguese style, this colonial house is surrounded by tall trees and is just a few minutes away from the beach! Stain Glass Cottage like most homestays is warm and homely. Amiably greeted by Maria, my schedule was explained over a hot cup of coffee. The perfect start to my holiday. A warm cup in a tranquil room in the middle of the cold afternoon rains, chatting with a smiling host. My itinerary seemed exciting especially as I would have a whole lot of freedom.

I stayed in the Yellow room. Thankfully, I like yellow! Yellow drapes, yellow lampshades, yellow towels and a yellow dustbin greeted me. The walls remained white, however, creating a bright, cheerful and cosy room.

The cottage was beautiful with five rooms: three air-conditioned and two naturally ventilated. And, yes, there were two other ‘colour' rooms too, so you can request for your favourite colour! The garden surrounding the house just added to the allure and made it cooler than the usual monsoon weather!

Food was typically Goan, distinct in taste and aroma. Completely spiced up, it did have strong hints of coconut adding to the typical flavour. Coconut is definitely not on my list of favourites, but I am sure Goan cuisine would not taste the same without it.

The breakfast buffet includes cereals and breads, eggs made as per your choice as well as some south Indian dishes and changes daily. Comfortable indeed for guests from India and abroad. The homestay only provides complimentary breakfast but if guests request for dinner or lunch, they are happy to provide a fresh, hot meal at an additional charge.

Local tours can also be arranged and Maria takes personal care to help you with your itinerary to ensure you take in as much of Goa as you possibly can. Whether you are enjoying the rains by yourself or with others, the itinerary can be modified as per the time available and the guest's level of comfort.

TIP: Carry an umbrella everywhere you go. If you did not pack one, ask Maria for help.

Goa is synonymous with beaches and let's just say that this ‘Riviera of the east', which is otherwise swarming with tourists, transforms into a romantic paradise during monsoons. Even if you are travelling alone, you will be unable to deny the romance that saturates the very air. And you will enjoy relaxing in a comfortable silence with nature!

TIP: Take along some poetry, preferably Keats or Wordsworth. Their verse will bring out the hidden poet in you!

To my delight I found that the southern coast of Goa was hardly 10 minutes by walk from where I stayed, easily accessible and safe too. Be it shopping for trinkets, just walking on the sand under the grey skies with cold foamy waves hitting your feet …Goa is at its amazing best during the rains!

Homely ambience

My stay was short but with a comfortable itinerary I managed to get some ‘me time' which I wisely spent taking walks (when it was not raining) and watching the flora and fauna at their best!

The homestay gave me the perfect balance of the security of a home while travelling alone as well as the space to be myself as in a hotel. The day trips brought back fond memories and also reminded me that Goa had definitely become a tourist's paradise.

Churches, forts, beaches, restaurants, pubs and spas are abuzz with activity right through the year.

The price Rs. 3550 for classic rooms in off season going upto Rs 5000 in peak season. Rs. 4150 for classic rooms in off season going upto Rs 6000 in peak season. Tariff includes bed and breakfast for 2 per night and includes all taxes. Seasonal rates applicable. Contact details For booking call 1800 425 2737 – toll free number available from Monday -Saturday 9:00 am to 10:00 pm Log on to www.mahindrahomestays.com for quick online booking Monsoon offer available to all customers who book their stay till October 15.

Facilities 24 hours running water, In-house library, Cable TV, DVD and Music system, Internet access, Power back-up, Beach towels and umbrellas Laundry, Babysitting facility on request, Car parking, Airport pick up/drop