The mere popping sound of bubbles is enough to spark joy, be it a little child or a full-grown adult. Thus, hearing about Netravali, a little-known but wondrous place, fascinated me instantly.
By Clyde Tellis
You don’t come across a pond that bubbles by itself every day. We place artificial aeration systems in aquariums to keep ornamental fish in our homes. Who would’ve thought that this could be done naturally? The term “natural aquarium” sounds like an oxymoron. But in this case, it is real.
The Netravali Bubbling Lake/Pond or Budbud Thali, as the locals call it, lies on the outskirts of the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa. Even if it is called a lake, it looks like a Temple Pond to me. It’s rectangular with a little pedestal in the centre. The water is clear with a tinge of greenish blue.
It has earned the name because of a mysterious phenomenon of bubbles rising from the bottom of the pond. These little bubbles pop on reaching the surface causing concentric circles that flow outwards from the center. I watch these bubbles with great engagement because I never know where the next one will appear.
What Causes the Bubbles?
There are several local beliefs to explain this. One theory suggests that sounds like the chant of “OM” in the nearby Shiva Temple or loud clapping disturb a demon that lies under the pond. However, scientists haven’t established scientific proof for the relationship between clapping and the intensity of bubbles. The closest explanation could be that “the acoustics intensify the sound waves, resulting in vibrations which displace the entrapped bubbles. These bubbles then rise to the surface.” How’s that for an explanation by an engineer?
The bubbles themselves are methane and carbon dioxide gases that probably formed after the decomposition of organic matter under a layer of sand beneath the pond. It’s important to note that this theory hasn’t been proven. Due to the aeration of the water, there are hundreds of little fish in the pond. You could get your free pedicure if you wish as the fish(majorly tigerfish) swarm at your feet once you step into the water. Although I wouldn’t recommend it, people do get into the water and take a dip as it is clear and fresh.
About the Host Temple
There’s a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna next to the pond, called the Gopinath Temple. Gopinath means Lord of the Gopikas (cowherd women in Hindi). The Goa State Museum in Panjim now preserves the Krishna idol that originally stood in the temple around the 14th century. The temple was destroyed by the Portuguese rulers long ago, and it has subsequently been rebuilt in a modern style.
As this spot is away from the commercial hot spots of Goa, it is clean, quiet and peaceful. Also, the entry is free to all.
It’s best to visit Netravali during the monsoons because the view is pleasing. The drive to the place is also scenic because of the greenery. You can also visit the Savari and Mainapi waterfalls en route.
If you ever find yourself in South India, make sure not to miss this natural wonder.
About the Author
Clyde Tellis is an experienced curator and a tour and activities expert in Goa. With over 7 years of experience in the tourism industry, he aims to create world-class experiences and quality tourism in Goa. One of his latest projects is the Rio Luxury Dinner Cruise, the first carnival-themed family dinner cruise on River Mandovi. Clyde also loves to create content, travel to unexplored places and enjoy good food.
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