India is famous as the Land of Spices. It was for the spices that the Europeans took hell lot of effort to find a new route to India. The spices brought riches not only to India but also to the merchants who sold it all over the world. Since the time immemorial they have been a must have ingredients in the kitchens of even the best of the chefs. So, after visiting the Bigfoot Museum and Fonteinhas , I planned to stroll in the wild and visit a spice plantation field.
But, have you ever wondered how this world famous spices are grown or how do they look in their raw form? The spice plantation tour in Goa takes you to the plantation trails and also lets you taste the organic food cooked using the same.
Hardly did I know that my favourite (almost everybody’s) coffee had male and female buds and the seeds had different usages. It was kind of a treasure hunt where you identify the spices that you have only seen in your kitchen. Obviously, the trail is filled with the exotic aroma of the spices planted all around you. The variety of plants extend from nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, peri peri (the spiciest chilli), black pepper creeper and the other plants like arecanut, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, basmati rice grass, lemon grass, cashew nuts, pineapple and the lesser known five spice plant. It becomes more exciting with the guides providing interesting information about each of them.
They also have the feni (the local alcoholic drink made from fermented cashew nuts) making machines which are meant to explain you the process of making this famous Goan drink.
You would be welcomed in a traditional manner with a herbal tea that tastes really amazing with a variety of herbs boiled with lemongrass. The lunch usually includes the local cuisine and the spices. You can also purchase the aromatic oils, spices and herbs from the counters. The tour ends with a surprising spray of cold aromatic water on your spine. This is really refreshing as it alerts your reflexes and brain. Though the water might not be aromatic or infused with herbs or oils as claimed by the guide, it is just a trick to elevate your senses.
We had an amazing experience at the Sahakari Spice Plantation that is located a few kilometers away from Madgaon. Tropical spice plantation and Savoi Spice Plantations are another options. The charges for the same were 400 INR per person. You can also plan to visit the butterfly conservatory that is located nearby. Or you can opt to bathe the elephants in the ponds and waterfalls.
Note: I strongly do not recommend animal tourism or any contact with the wild that might disturb their natural habitat and survival. So, please avoid such places where animals suffer just to entertain you.
- If you don’t have your own car, you can rent a bike from Madgaon (A plenty of them are available at the railway station ranging from 200 INR to 700 INR) and can explore the places around including the spice plantations in Ponda region.
- Timing : 9 am to 4 pm. It is advisable to go by 9 am when the rush is a little lesser.
- Contact: 0832-2312394 (Sahakari Spice Plantations)
- Yes!! 400 INR is worth the experience. The food might taste bland to the Indians as it is cooked considering the huge number of foreigners.
- Ask for the complementary feni shots if you are keen to try the same.
- If you want to experience a stay in a spice plantation, you can try Dudhsagar Spice Plantations.
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