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One of Goa’s uncharted hill stations – Swapnagandha Resort

Swapnagandha Resort, perched on the verdant green misty mountains of Chorla Ghat (part of the Western Ghats), 62 kilometres from Goa’s capital, is Goa’s uncharted hill station. Overlooking the famous Vazra Falls on one side and the backwaters of the Anjunem Reservoir on the other.  700 meters above sea level, with temperatures rarely exceeding  25 degrees, this Resort shares borders with the Mahdei Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa and the reserved forests of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Swapnagandha Resort
View from the Restaurant ‘Fodni’, overlooking the Mahdei Reservoir. Pic. Credit. Jessyl Fernandez

A one-and-a-half hours drive out of Panjim, and the route begins to wind its way through dense forest. The monsoon foresty landscape takes on different hues with thick moist clouds engulfing you as you go higher. The city noises left behind, the senses automatically tune in to sounds of chirping crickets, gurgling streams, and the constant pitter-patter of raindrops rustling the leaves.

Highly poisonous Pitt Viper hibernating after a good meal spotted by our nature guide outside the resort. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

Location

Locating Swapnagandha Resort isn’t difficult,  It’s just off the highway en route to Belgaum via Chorla Ghat. The entrance merges with the forest surroundings. Made of barks of trees in keeping with the eco-friendly concept of the resort, it has a very earthy feel. The pathways are rough cobbled with laterite stone (endemic to the Konkan coast) spread over the sloping terrain.

Cottages set against the mountainside. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

The Resort

Swapnagandha Resort has 17 eco-friendly cottages built along the mountainside overlooking the valley. It has all the comforts of an international eco-tel. The cottages are named after animals and villages in keeping with the rustic surroundings.  ‘Fodni’, the restaurant, serves scrumptious food. The flavours are a  blend of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Overlooking the Reservoir on one side and the waterfalls on the other, the Restaurant is raised on a wooden platform, open on all sides, making dining a relaxing and enjoyable experience. The Resort also offers a 20-25 seater, fully equipped Board Room coupled with a host of adventure and team building activities.

The Restaurant ‘Fodni’ where the flavours are a good mix of Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka owing to its location. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

Fun for everyone at Swapnagandha

At Swapnagandha there’s never a dull moment. If you are not out trekking up to the highest point or down to the waterfall, then a dive into the infinity pool is a must. Overlooking the Vajra falls, the pool is surrounded by mountains and forest. Take a walk around the landscape and spot creatures you never otherwise notice like the Pill Millipede, a hibernating Pitt Viper, a bullfrog and listen to the sounds of different insects and birds. The area is home to the endangered Long Billed Vulture and the rare Sri Lankan frogmouth. It has been declared as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International. At night one can star gaze or gather around a bonfire with family and friends.

The Pill Millipede curls up on touch. When fully grown it looks like an elongated oval broach. With a hard shell, it stays curled up for over an hour. Pic. Credit: Jessyl Fernandez

Swapnagandha also offers a peek into village life, folk dances, tailor-made nature trails and other adventure activities. Campus activities include a Mehendi class, a pottery class or even a small film on the River Kali (the source of the ‘River Mahdei’) and the flora and fauna that abound in the area.

Parking is limited with a few slots by the roadside and a few on the campus. Bookings need to be done in advance to avoid disappointment – reservations@swapnagandha.com

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