To the North of Bardez, sprawls the village of Nerul caressed
by the warm waters of the Mandovi river on one side and bottle-green
hillocks on the other. Nerul belongs to Goa's age-old resort belt,
where Portuguese fidalgos holidayed in sweet seclusion amidst the
rustling of the tall coconut trees and the splashing surf, long
before modern tourism took shape.
The vast belt, where the affluent would retire for summer mudança
then, extended right from Pomburpa to Verem-Reis Magos and Nerul.
Close to Nerul's waterfront stood holiday homes like the palatial
residence of the Bishop of Halicarnasso, D. Antonio José
de Noronha, who was born in June 1763, in
Goa Velha, of Portuguese settlers. The Mosmikar
House at Darnarim and Joe D'Souza's mansion at Fortavaddo also reflected
In course of time, locals too came under the spell of sea-side picnics
and salt-water baths in summer. At the lovely Quegdevelim beach,
which runs all the way from Sinquerim to Reis Mragos, we met sprightly
Felix Morreira. Felix says, "Hundreds of people used to flock
here once, particularly in summer. At that time, there were no roads
to reach here and people used to come walking with bags loaded with
drinks and eats. But the place is transforming with all these hotels
coming to spoil the serene surroundings abounding in these palm
groves. Most of these large properties here belong to the Panvelkars
Until the riverine road came up, all that we heard about the village
was Nil'lichem nistem and Nil'licheo xinnaneo at the Mapusa
bazaar. People fall for the fish and mussels when
they hear Nil'lichem nistem, rarely aware where exactly the special
village called Nil'la i.e. Nerul lies. Few have visited enthralling,
beach-blessed Nerul proper. There's probably no more ideal setting
than this village, lazing comfortably at the confluence where Mandovi
river and the sea merge, giving a velvety perspective to a picnic
beneath tall palms, whose fronds open up to the sky like giant,
swaying umbrellas. You just can't depart from here at sunset.
There's no dearth of tasty seafood at the restaurants and shacks
lining the seductive riverside of panoramic Nerul, popularly called
Nil'la or Nirla . The river is laced with the fishing community, crab farming is done.
Hindus live at the far west at Firgueam bhatt, where the tiny docking
place has nearly 50 boats, many with outboard motors. Travelling
West, at the famed Coco beach and into Quegdevelim, the settlement
is more Christian. The Nerul Bridge was made famous in the Hollywood movie Bourne Supremacy where a few actions scenes were shot.