No matter which place you visit in Goa, you will be struck by the natural beauty everywhere. From verdant fields, rolling hills, lakes, rivers right down to the sea, it’s an extremely picturesque little jewel on India’s west coast. Its villages and towns are also quite lovely and there are a large number of them scattered all over the state. Villages are not only located inland but on the banks of both of Goa’s rivers, the Mandovi and the Sal. Once such riverside village is Nerul in North Goa which was earlier known as Nellur until the Portuguese invaded Goa.
Nerul down by the riverside
Nerul is bordered by the river Mandovi on one side. The Mandovi river flows into the azure waters of the Arabian sea overlooked by the village. On the inland side of Nerul, there are lush green fields and the waters of the Sinquerim rivulet, that again empty into the river Mandovi. The village is surrounded by the tourist villages of Sinquerim and Candolim which makes it a well-known tourist spot too. The historic villages of Verem and Reis Magos also sit next to Nerul on the river’s edge.
At the northernmost end of Nerul sits the well-known Coco beach, a.k.a Maimé beach. A few developers from outside the state have created beach villas and a couple of boutique hotels that face the river and get the best of the sea breeze that blows inland. Coco Shambala is one such beach villa property that is located in Nerul. During the Portuguese era, this beach was known to be a holiday spot for high-ranking Portuguese officials. It is said that they used to spend most of their time here in seclusion with just the swaying coconut palms and the breeze for company. This was long before modern tourism hit the shores of Goa. As time progressed, the locals discovered that it was indeed a lovely picnic spot and more people started visiting. And this was the beginning of the end for this quiet spot.
It is important to note that Coco beach is not at all safe to swim at. This particular beach sits at the mouth of the Mandovi river and is prone to a lot of strong currents.
Nerul is a seafood lover’s paradise
Being so close to the sea, Nerul is famous for its seafood and even its coconuts. The mussels from Nerul, in particular, are mouthwateringly divine. Rice, groundnuts, and vegetables are grown on a large scale but the shellfish like Tisreo and Khube are very popular amongst the locals.
You will find popular restaurants in Nerul and it’s surrounding areas that serve up some of the best local fare anywhere in North Goa. There’s Rita Bar and Restaurant on the way to Coco beach, Bhatti village located close to the backwaters of Nerul and Babazin’s Shack in the neighboring village of Verem. These are open throughout the year given their popularity and truly delicious seafood.
Other little tidbits about the village of Nerul
Nerul has a population of approximately 6000 people or more. Catholics form the majority here and the village has its own parish. The parish church is known as Our Lady of Remedies Church. The Our Lady of Remedies Church was constructed in 1569 by the priests from the Franciscan order. The feast of Our Lady of Remedies is held in Nerul every November with pomp and splendor. This year happens to be the start of the church’s jubilee year. The parish celebrates 450 year of the church’s existence. Celebrations end in May 2019. A temple dedicated to Goddess Shantadurga is also seen in the village, which has an interesting history.
Nerul is quiet and peaceful in spite of being so close to the busy tourist areas of Sinquerim and Candolim. Even then it has managed to maintain its charm and beauty. Unfortunately, it won’t be long before more land developers get their hands on the pristine beauty of this village and turn it into something ugly and unfriendly.
Information credit – Goa Holiday Homes website