Most tourists go whackpacking in Goa to get stoned, party all night and lie on beaches. And yeah that’s all top notch and I did it too, but inland there are some minor paradises to be found in Goa’s marvellous valleys and tranquil villages. Nobody even goes backpacking in Harvali but it seemed the best thing to do on my last day at the Jungle Hostel in Vagator, North Goa.
I ended up spending over a week in North Goa and probably worked for 7 days of that, on one of the days I did some touring, I headed to Harvali with a travel buddy from the hostel and we decided to see the four main sights in Harvali.
After my tour to the Elephanta Caves off the coast of Mumbai, it was time to tour Aravelam Caves in North Goa. It is a small set of caves off the side of the main road.
Inside are three holy Hindu shrines. Entrance is free and there will be no other tourists or guides here.
In sparkling orange and cream colour, the main temple is the centrepiece of your tour here. It’s in between the Aravalem Caves and the waterfall.
Shoes off to go inside and admire the artwork and holiness of it. A horse and chariot display in the main hall is part of the temple which is still being renovated.
The waterfalls at Aravalem are the only waterfalls I saw during my five weeks in India. And while the water itself is dirty at the bottom and full of rubbish, waterfalls are always nice to look at.
Also please note that the spelling changes between Harvali, Arvalem, Aravalem etc.
There is a worn lakeside shrine dedicated to some legendary Hindu people from the region. It is dedicated to the memory of Smt. Jndira Gandhi and two others.
Hotels in Harvali
There is only one hotel in Harvali, near the temple and it is called Devidas Hotel. Just turn up and you’ll get a room.
Tours to Harvali and Getting There
There are no tours organised to Harvali so it’s very much do your own and off the wall. To get there from Vagator, you can get a bus to Mapusa and then another bus or auto rickshaw to Harvali. Or you can get a shared car, or the best option is probably to hire a scooter and go there yourself. You can backpack through all four of these sights in about 3 hours. I recommend it – it’s better than heading to Goa and getting wiped out on booze and LSD for a week (my opinion of course).
And thanks to my nameless travel buddy for the photos and for going with me to Harvali. They prefer to remain anonymous!