White shores. Red sun. Agonda.
A zen gift from the welcoming arms of India, and the Arabian Sea.
A burning red disk sailing across the sky – my welcome to India.
I’d heard tales of Indian sunrises and sunsets, but never did I expect such a divine glory as this.
A welcome like this doesn’t leave you. A journey across India never leaves you.
As red light bleeds through the dark sea, bleaching the white shore a bloody speculum,
your memory is frozen, eyes fixed, dazed. Your soul ablaze.
Spirit rising to a burning horizon.
After my crazy journey on the back of a stranger’s motorbike,
through the villages, towns and tropical woodlands of Goa,
I arrived in beautifully remote Agonda; just me, my rucksack, and my camera.
The tourist season had ended and there was not really a thing in sight,
just palm trees, little houses, grass huts, mopeds, and a single dusty road.
Occasionally a local would walk past, carrying rocks on their head,
water under their arms. A few smiles but no clues…
I had nowhere to stay, knew not a single soul.
After walking up and down the white sandy beach, getting followed by dogs,
reminding me fondly of my adventures in rural Greece,
I eventually found a little cafe by the side of the dirty road,
somewhere in the shade of the palm trees and little stone and wooden houses.
The heat was unreal – the air thick and humid. Almost tangible humidity.
Even the local people seemed to be suffering, sweat dripping down their faces.
The sun hot and powerful.
After some time, a cold bottle of Coke, and a bit of musing,
me and my rucksack hit the dusty road again in search of somewhere to stay.
I found a large house advertising rooms for rent.
I was just approaching, mad dogs and locals alike watching my every move
(I was the only white person in sight), when a lady came out to greet this pale stranger…
I asked if she knew somewhere I could stay on the beach itself.
I was so tired, hadn’t slept in days, and just wanted the sound of sea,
a big bed and a lot of sleep…
She gestured me towards a house just a little further down the road.
I arrived outside a couple of grass huts,
perfectly poised on the edge of the beach, under the shade of palm trees and tropical plants.
Birdsong all around – shade splintered by huge palm leaves,
coconuts, vibrantly-coloured flowers, butterflies, the smell of cooking.
Pigs and cows roaming freely.
I’d found my paradise.
After meeting the owner, we swiftly agreed on a price for a few nights.
I crawled inside this beautiful rice-grass hut on stilts… and died for a time.
Welcome to my paradise…
after the madness that is the Art of Going.
Yes, the art of leaving almost all your worldly possessions behind,
and hitting the unknown – the road of travel.
There was a single bar open in Agonda when I was there,
which was more-or-less a hole in the side of someone’s house.
There was also one restaurant – not too expensive of course – and lush!
I rather ate too much in India… after fending off the cows that is!
Normally speaking I hardly sit still. There’s never enough time in my day!
But not in Agonda – by day I peacefully walked the sandy beach,
enjoyed the shade of palm trees, the taste of coconut water and sugar-cane juice,
explored the local churches and temples, of course,
but mostly sat, mused, feeling the sand between my toes,
the waters of the Great Arabian Sea lapping at my ankles,
the power of the sun burning down from the bright, clear sky.
God’s great elements all round.
Singular beauty to behold.
Forever embracing the simple, the natural, the wild!
when a young Russian comes up and plonks a cut-open beer-can on my table,
full of some vodka concoction he’d mixed, introduces himself,
and the next minute we’re sharing drinks, a joint, and tales from the road until dawn.
He was absolutely insane… and so we naturally got on very well.
The sea gently clawing the shore beside me, the moon whole,
the sky full of stars, little red fireflies occasionally dotting past.
I had one of those ‘moments’ – a connection.
I became full of grace, thanksgiving, gratitude to God,
not just for the beautiful scenes that surrounded on all sides,
not just for this elemental spectacle, engulfing my senses,
cooling my ego, cradling my soul, igniting my fire,
but I also thanked Him for my incredible life,
for the blessings He brings me, the lessons learnt,
the path before me, and the path behind…
My journey to India was a difficult one… I almost didn’t make it.
But I had a calling to answer… and God had a plan.
I shall never forget the moment I first saw the sun setting across Agonda skies.
That orange orb, turning red. How I ran across the beach from my little hut to celebrate the sky.
Agonda skies come in many colours.
There are deep mauves and greys…
it is the red sun that is the most beautiful of all…
My welcome to India is immortalised in my mind, in these images.
And till the end of my time I shall never forget…
The red sun rising.
To experience Agonda’s Red Sun, and to book your own private hut on the beach,
all enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org