- May 5, 2017
- Posted by: Planet Goa Team
- Category: Things to Do
A few kilometers away from Quepem (South Goa) is the sleepy village of Tilamol and tucked away from the hustle and bustle of rural engagements, just at the foot of the Western Ghats besides a gentle canal, lies Pala Farms.
The ride to Pala Farms is in Monique Pala’s red pick-up truck that moves along its familiar bumpy, dirt track with ease except for when cattle have the right of way. And as you reach Pala Farms, a sprawling 55,000 sq mts of lush greenery, tall coconut trees and gentle stream running through it, you’re struck by the sheer simple beauty of it all. At first glance, the place seems like a scene out of Yash Raj set in Switzerland, what with all the natural beauty. But look closely and you will find that it’s much more than that.
As soon as the pick-up stops, you’re greeted by Monique’s five dogs and get licked, sniffed and loved by all of them. And very soon you receive the same warm welcome from the horses. Yes, horses! Monique, who has been in love with horses since she was in nursery school, has over the years managed to add to her family, thirteen majestic horses that she lovingly takes care of and trains. Talk to her and you will realize the deep bond she shares with each and every animal at her farm, be it a horse or a dog and how each one has a different personality and temperament.
They’re all friendly, curious and warm, completely comfortable with the presence of strangers on their property and the way each one nuzzles you, you feel they’re trying to forge a friendship right from the word go. As a trainer, Monique has done an excellent job with her animals that have impeccable manners to say the least. The animals move around freely all over the estate, in the house, the kitchen anywhere and everywhere they feel like, exploring, experiencing and simply loving the freedom of it all.
What you’ll love most about the whole experience is the respect that Monique has for her animals. While riding lessons are an important part of her farm; it is not a place for joy rides as soon as you land up there. She insists that one needs to bond with the animals in the stables, wash them, walk with them, feed them and spend time with them before one can hope to ever ride them. Trust and respect need to be earned for both man and beast.
While Monique and Nazir (her husband) don’t have a formal set up for guests and tourists, the farm has a little room with an attached outdoor bathroom meant for ‘free-spirits’, a place where you can truly enjoy the beauty of the surroundings in the company of loving animals. The farm is a good option for a family outing especially kids who would like to learn about horses and horse riding.
Though the typical tourist infrastructure of huts /shacks/rooms is missing here, they do plan on putting up some tents on the property some time soon. Pala Farms is a place one can go to if you’re in the mood to do something different.
Here you need to forget about the beaches, the parties and the nightclubs. Come here if you’re looking for, in Monique’s words, ‘shanti’. So the next you wish to take the road less travelled, turn away at Tilamol, give Monique a call and look out for the red pick-up truck that smells a bit like horses, a bit like dogs and lot like love!