Remember the popular Hindi film ‘Dear Zindagi’? The scene where the famous Bollywood actors ride bicycles on a coconut tree-lined street? That scene transformed Parra, a beautiful village in North Goa to become a massive tourist attraction.
At any time of the day, you see tourists occupying the street furiously snapping pictures and making reels. For those who still don’t know what this is about, we are referring to the ‘Maddani Road’ in Parra.
But the village of Parra is not just the ‘Maddani road’. On the outskirts of Mapusa – a mere 10 minutes from the town which is 3.4 km away – Parra neighbours Arpora, Saligao, Calangute, Assagao, Anjuna and Vagator.
Many people who visit this picturesque village would not know that in the past the soil here was sandy and so it led to the cultivation of watermelons and onions, and Parra is still famous for the former.
It is believed that Parra must have once been the bed of a river and there are possibilities that the effluent of River Baga, which at present comes up to Arpora, must have extended up to Parra.
Its beautiful topography can best be appreciated by a ride through the village. The green landscape consists of coconut palms and paddy fields.
Today we look at Parra beyond what it is popularly known for, and highlight four spots you can check out other than just the ‘Maddani road’.
St. Anne’s church
This beautiful church is located a little away from the village centre, at the bottom of a hill overlooking lush, green fields. The church, dedicated to St. Anne, was built in 1649 and later rebuilt in 1688 as it had got burnt down.
In the past the main attraction of the church was the painting on the ceiling of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. These exquisite murals were painted by unknown painters.
Behind the church is the new football ground, constructed in 2006. In addition there is also the St. Anne Community Hall, where events are celebrated. Do check it out when in Parra.
Holy Cross Chapel
Located in the field besides the famous ‘Maddani road’ is the Holy Cross Chapel, which was renovated in 2006. This quaint chapel, is surrounded by paddy fields with coconut trees lined alongside. To access this chapel there is a path leading to a small porch with benches in front of the chapel. In the evening you will meet locals here who have come to pray or have a chat. Considering the location, the scene around this chapel is mesmerizing.
Borahae Bake Café
This quaint café is located just before the Madani road. The attractive purple and pink decor is hard to miss. The café’s location is perfect, especially if you have had a long walk along the Maddani road, you are going to be exhausted and will need a drink. They serve some delicious shakes and fresh juices and for those who have a sweet tooth, they have some mouthwatering desserts on display just waiting for you to bite into.
St. Anne’s Antique shop
A locally-owned shop that sells some real pretty Macau crockery, wood works, ceramics, glassware and vintage crockery. Items on sale are reasonably priced in comparison to competitors. Everything you see in the shop is attractive and there is a variety to choose from in every segment. This quaint shop is located just before the Maddani road and is open from 10am to 6pm. So if you are looking for some vintage crockery at a reasonable price, you know where to go.
Parra has a lot of ground you can cover and explore, the village has evolved and there are a number of cafes to try out, while local vendors and shops at the Parra tinto are interesting too. The village has a number of old buildings and some old houses still stand. Visit them to appreciate the architecture, it is truly worth it.
So hop onto your bike and ride through the village, get to know the true essence of Parra and the people, beyond the famous Maddani Road.