Thursday - Goa
GOA: Morning arrival at Goa, India's smallest state, with strong Portuguese influences.
Board the bus to reach Fontainhas, the Latin Quarters in Panjim. Experience the UNESCO World Heritage Walk around Fontainhas with its winding alleyways adorned by tiled-roofed houses in spectacular shades of blue and red.
Continue to Ribandar, the erstwhile capital of Goa to see the ruins of St. Augustine Church, once the largest cathedral in Goa. Also visit, Basilica of Bom Jesus, a 16th Century Church which enshrines the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, The Se Cathedral and the Church of St. Francis of Assissi that began as a mosque but now is an archaeological museum for Goan antiques.
From here proceed to one of the biggest and finest Spice Farm in the Country a "Sahakari Spice Farm" at Ponda village. Situated among the lush green surroundings of Ponda, this place is extremely popular among international tourist. Visitors are traditionally welcomed at the entrance. After a brief halt in the restaurant for welcome drink and snacks, a guided tour of the farm starts. This organic spice farm has variety of herbal and medicinal trees. The guide explains different spices and their medicinal values during the tour which is about 45 minutes.
Typical Goan lunch is served here. In free time one can also take an optional Elephant ride (at own cost).
From farm house proceed to one of the finest heritage house of 16th century know as "Menezes Braganza House". It is one of the last remaining structures that dates back to the pre-Portuguese era in Goa. This has been the traditional family home of the Braganzas for many than four centuries. Even today, the lady of the house, Mrs Braganza, an octogenarian, still lives in the house and takes the visitors to a tour of the house herself.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as it pulls out for Ratnagiri traversing through the Konkan, one of the most scenic railway routes in the country, bound by the Arabian Sea on the West and Sahyadri hills on the East.
Dinner on board.