Garça Branca

 

20161009_131035Walking through the beautiful and green botanical garden is a very peaceful and pleasant feeling.

You may wonder, what Garça branca the name suggests? Well the ancestral name of this house was ‘Bokem’ which means white heron in Konkani, which the owner Mr. Carlos Mascarenhas translated it into Portuguese. That’s how ‘Garça Branca’ got its name

Garça Branca is known for the botanical gardens. It also serves as a picnic spot for friends and family. Located on the hills of Loutolim, this place is very refreshing and beautiful.20161009_132046

Speaking of the botanical garden, from a top view it looks like a garden of paradise. The variety of the medicinal plants and the fruit bearing trees  is very well maintained.

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Once you enter the Botanical garden a row of beetle trees greet you. A 200 year old Banyan tree trimmed properly is a beautiful image, at the bottom of the tree there is a huge statue of laughing Buddha situated.

 

 

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Also, on top of a cliff, there is a statue of Jesus Christ and water flows smoothly; this is a beautiful creation to be seen.20161009_124919There are many other activities for kids and in the botanical garden there is a fountain for birds and butterfly, a very well artistry statues of women fetching water near the well is showcased.

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The mostly important thing is the small tributary of the River Zuari at the end point of the Garden. Over there one can 20161009_130810also test their fishing skills. The place is very refreshing and very cool. Just sitting on the couch and admiring nature gives you tranquillity.

 
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The Garça Branca is a house belongs to the Mascarenhas family which is 200 years old. Mr. Carlos Mascarenhas is the owner of this plant paradise. He recalls after the death of his mother, he came from Canada for good and renovated the house which now provides guest rooms.

 

20161009_125331Soon after that the tourist visited this place. The backyard of the house was very forestry. One of the tourists suggested reviving the area to a botanical garden. This is story behind the beautiful botanical garden. This initiative by Mr. Mascarenhas is to encourage tourism in Goa. The various plant names and uses for various medical purposes provide important knowledge to everyone.

“We enjoyed recreating the botanical plants and we also got good response not only from the tourist but also from Goans” says Mr. Maschrenas .Many schools visit the botanical gardens to gain knowledge related to plants. And these classes are conducted by the owner itself.

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A visit to Garça Branca with friends and family is a worthwhile experience.

 

Go- Karting: A Speedy Adventure

20161009_175846Everyone wants a break from their busy lives and do something different and exciting. There are so many indoor and outdoor activities which can distress ourselves. Most of us want to do something out of the box and make the day memorable. There are many outdoor adventure sports in Goa and one of them is car racing.

Yes! Go Karting wonderful and enjoyable car racing track In Goulloy, Nuvem. Once you enter Nuvem from the main highway, just right next to the Tata motor showroom at the left is a small road which takes you to Go- Karting. If you are a enthusiastic driver who is looking at the speedy and competitive drive, this is the best sport you have!

The Track is situated right on top of the forestry hill. The track has many circular turns and car tyres are act as the boundary of the track which makes it safe. Besides that there is a huge metal fence that protects the area. The length of Go-Karting Track in Nuvem is 482 meters.

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Pic Credit: Tourmet.com

The car racing with friends and family can be a truly joyous and competitive experience. It’s not only the youngsters but also the older individuals who can enjoy this sport. Also the ticket prices are reasonable.

Goa karting was started a long time back in 2001 by the owner Christopher Moraes in the south and after some years the car racing track is also situated in Arpora in the North Goa.

Earlier, I remember that many locals and tourist would especially come to enjoy car racing. But now it’s not the same. The manager of the Go-Karting, Candy Pires says that “There are lesser number of tourist visiting this adventure sport place.”

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The fast pace of technology and different other mediums play an important role to make any place recognised and popular to others. Mr Pires also points adds that the lack of advertising of this place have also not people known about this place. But with the spread of word of mouth communication by the locals residing that area and the earlier visitors have attracted a decent number of people to actually come and visit the amazing car racing place.

Sharing memorable and merrier moments directs others also to join the remarkable car racing experience at the Go Karting in Nuvem, Victoria Samuel had a visited this place a while ago says that “ I had gone with friends, it was my car ride as I didn’t drive before. Initially I was scared but then I got the hang of the car wheel and enjoyed the ride. I had a wonderful time.” To drive the small racing car at Go Karting one shouldn’t have the knowledge of driving the car. It is just simple and fun.

A car racing at ‘Go Karting’ in Nuvem is truly must to do. I’m sure you won’t regret the fun and exciting adventure sport with appropriate safety measures taken.

Goa Chitra Musuem: A Initiative to Preserve Art and Culture

20161002_125257Located in the interiors of the Benaulim village in the South of Goa, Goa Chitra Museum speaks a lot of the traditional and the lifestyle of Indians and Goans. From the outside the Museum it looks really small but once you enter the gates; it talks so much. In this story I will tell you the things that fascinated me about the yesteryears culture and traditions of Indians and Goans. It is an ethnographical museum.

One of the Museum curator who escorted me said that the new structures of the Museum are made from the recycled materials of the old churches and ancestral houses.

The Museum is divided into parts. One is Goa Chitra which is dedicated Goan Heritage and Culture which was opened in 2007 and the other one is Goa Chakra which was inaugurated in 2014, this part of the Musuem displays the modes of transport, i.e. carts and carriages of the Indians in the earlier times.

Goa Chakra

Once you enter, you will a huge line up of carriages carts and palanquins which are collected from all over India. All the carriages in this section have a lot of significance. At the entrance itself, the oldest cart is from the jungles of Karnataka.20161002_123227

Earlier, mostly the wheels were made on wood. But as time passed by preceding 17th century, in Rajasthan the wheels were made of metal as there was abundant availability there and also being a sandy desert region the wheels would not sink in the sand because the wheels of the cart and carriage were made of metal. Even the carriages which were introduced by the British in India are exhibited in this part of the Museum.

20161002_124142The carts were used mostly by the merchants and traders to transport valuable goods and domestic items to other regions. The type of carriages used dependent on the class and social status of the family. The well-equipped and versatile carriages were used to carry the noble families than vice versa.

Most of the carts and carriages that are displayed in this part of the Museum are coming from Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.

It is said till today in Calcutta present day Kolkata the Tonga should be registered there. There are also baby cots and cradles from many regions of India.

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Regarding to the carriages of Goa, there are three hearse carriages from Panjim, Colva and Chandor. These were used to transport the coffins of the Christian community from the deceased home to the church. Also, the Hearse carriages were assigned depending on the social status of the deceased individual. The smaller hearse carriages for the lower class and bigger ones were for the aristocrats of the concerned village.

Goa Chitra

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The Goa Chitra section of the Museum widely provides information related to the preserved culture and traditional of the Goans. It is beautiful displayed and helps to get a better understanding of the original Goa.

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A range of earthen pots and vessels and diverse collection of bamboo items are also neatly displayed. The chapel which depicts the religious worship of the different saints by the Christians to keep their faith alive also plays a significant role.

 

The doors of the chapel are taken from the St. John the Baptist chapel in Benaulim 20161002_130745which is dated from the 17th century.

20161002_130947Another eye capturing the thing on the wall of the altar was the tapestry of the image of Mother Mary. It is said that in the olden times, the Goan Christian bride had to weave the image by herself as it was custom to the take the finished tapestry image of Mother Mary to her in laws home.

There are also different equipments and instruments used by the Farmers in the traditional years and also the clothing like ‘kapod’ and ‘ kamod’ which was used by the kunbis , the original inhabitants of Goa.

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A visit to the Goa Chitra Musuem gives you a knowledge seeking experience relating to the culture and traditions of Goa and rest parts of India. This Museum has taken a very good step to preserve the ethnicity of India and Goa for the future generation.

The Insights of the Old Latin quarters in Panjim

 

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On a warm sunny afternoon, walking through the narrow lanes of the Fontainhas is a wonderful experience. It is my first time that I have been to this lane and I was accompanied with a college friend. Earlier, I had just seen this part of Goa, which is captured in many Bollywood films. There are shops and houses positioned both the sides of the lane.

The houProcessed with VSCOses are very unique in terms of architecture and style. The diverse colours like green, blue, yellow red of the houses stands out in this area. It gives a resemblance of the Old Portuguese era. This also gives an authentic and nostalgic feeling of the Pre- Liberation times. It is truly an old Latin quarter in the heart of the Panjim city.

 

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There are some aged old shops as well as some of the old owners have given their premises for lease for outsiders to set up shops. Here in this area, you will find small cafes, bistros, fash20160927_153337ion boutiques, art galleries and much more. This place has been captured in eyes of the domestic as well as international tourist.

The entire stretch of land of Fontainhas was declared as conservation zone in 1970. This has further strengthened the community bond of the residents.

I visited a resident in the neighbouring part of Fontainhas that is ‘Sao tome’. Questioning the resident related to significant changes that took place in this Old Portuguese quarters. Jessie Abreu a resident who is living in this place for 45 years says “Earlier, there were fewer vehicles but now increasing traffic has led a lot of pollution. Also, some residents have demolished their old houses and come up with the news homes maintaining the Portuguese style of architecture. But then government does not allow the residents to build a house with two floors, it should just have one floor because it is under the conservation rule.”

Mrs Abreu also adds that the residents are also facing frequent water problems and also there is deficit of street lighting in their area.

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With ever increasing popularity and commercialisation has opened a lot of tourist to come and visit the area. This is caused a menace to the local residents. Another resident says that “The Domestic tourist talk loudly during the night which leads to disturbance to their sleep. And also it is scary. We are not allowed to come out of our houses during a film shoot and they would shoot during the afternoon siesta time. After a protest from residents, the government ensured that the sanity of the area is maintained. Sometimes we feel that are area is invaded by outsiders as we see groups of people roaming openly in our area.”

It is important to promote culture  as well as the views of the residents are also important. The residents of Sao Tome hope that their aspirations will be taken up by the concerned authorities. The Old Latin quarters will not only have its charm with its historic value for the tourist but also with the contented residents to continue this legacy.

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Siridao- A Place with Wonderful Sites.

Covered with a thick layer of trees, you can see a small village called ‘Siridao’ from the main road on the way to Bambolim.

Siridao or Xiddona /Xidhan (in Konkan), ‘Xri’ means wealth and ‘dhan’ means gifts. Indeed this village is filled with wealth and gifts  . The wide stretch of the Siridao beach and Jezu Nodre kopal (Jesus Nazareth chapel )at the hilltop stands out in this place.Vehicles from Panjim frequently pass from Bambolim to Siridao and the Siridao bridge gives you an entrance to a village called ‘Goa Velha’. There are two bridges in Siridao. The earlier bridge was built in November 1852, during the Portuguese rule. And the second bridge is built lately which is used to travel constantly.20160913_105928

The Siridao Village

‘Sirodao’ is a small village with immense beauty and greenery. From the roadside it’s difficult to imagine lavish houses. Once I entered the village, there are a row of grand houses which are very unique from one another in terms of architecture and style. This gives a beautiful view and admiration for the commuters. The occupation of this people is fishing but now most of folks from this place have settled abroad leaving their houses locked.

The Siridao beach

The beautiful beach with the breezy and cool environment keeps the senses refreshing. In this b
each20160913_112453 you can find both sand and rocks. Variety of seashells are found on this beach. During my childhood I would come to Siridao beach with my family for picnics.

Besides dipping myself in water , I would love collecting sea shells and till date I have a collection variety of sea shells. The beach was accustomed to limited number of people as there is no public transport, only the ones who know the whereabouts of this place would come and enjoy here.

 

‘Jezu Nodre Kopal’ (Jesus Nazareth Chapel) in Siridao
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The chapel is situated on a hilltop.The patron of this chapel is ‘Anunciasanv Saibin’. But the Chapel is commonly called as ‘Jezu Nodre’. The feast is held with grand pomp on the second Sunday after Easter. On this feast day the life size statue of the risen Jesus is placed in front of the main alter. The Locals from ‘Siridao’ who have settled aboard come especially to take part in the celebrations of the feast.

On the feast day, large amount of pez (rice kanji) is served by the locals to people. A huge crowd of people from all over Goa come especially to eat the rice kanji. The people have the faith of getting healed from their sicknesses by consuming this blessed kanji. The ‘Dempo’ family own a lot of land in ‘Siridao’ who provide many sacks of rice to the locals to prepare the khanji ( pez).20160913_110300

Below the chapel there is aged old tunnel. This tunnel was built by the Portuguese. The reason was to hide and protect themselves from the attacks of the enemies. The villagers of ‘Siridao’ believe that the end point of the tunnel opens at the ‘St. Jacinto island’ or ‘Dona Paula’.

From this chapel you get an awesome view of the whole of the immense ‘Siridao’ beach .It is so breezy which is very relaxing. This enchanting and peaceful environment sends you in ecstasy.

Pics Credit: The writer

The Diverse Celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa

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Pic Credit: Goa News-Goa’s oldest online news website
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Pic Credit: Maria (Flavours of Mumbai)

The Ganesh Chaturthi festival brings the whole family together no matter the far distance they are from home .The celebration also enhances when people from the religious background are invited. The festival strengthens the bond of brotherhood across different religion.

I visited my Hindu friend for Ganesh Chaturthi in Mapusa. The huge amount of hospitality shown by the family thrilled me. The Ganesh idol from my friend’s home was a unique one. The statue was of Lord Ganesh sitting on the Dandhi Bull was beautiful. And on the either side of Ganapati the pictures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are kept. The ‘Matoli’ above the statue of Lord Ganesh is made of all seasonal fruits. There variety of sweets and delicious food made were a whole lot. Traditional sweets like Modak,Nevri,Patoli,manganey,shira and vegetables like channa ros, Mugaa gathi, puri, Karatyachi bhaji , Khatkhatey is a bhaji made of all types of vegetables.

The celebration of Ganesg Chaturthi in Goa is held for one and half day, five, seven, nine, eleven , nine and maximum to twenty one days. This celebration is an auspicious occasion for the Hindus.

“The importance of celebrating the Ganesh Chaturthi is to take away all the problems of the household and to bring happiness in the family and that’s why he is also known as Vignaharta.” says Purva Phaldesai from Porvorim.

Almost everywhere the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi are the same. But in some places there is a slight difference in the celebration. “ People from Pernem have Gauri Puja after the ganesh Chauthurti Gauri puja is said to be a festival of ladies, this puja is also known as Mangala Gauri in Maharashtra.” Says Chetan Gawas from Panjim. He also adds that during the Gauri Puja married women of the family bring here statue to their homes. Gauri is also known by the name Parvathi who is the mother of Lord Ganesh. Gauri Puja is celebrated before the arrival of Lord Ganesh in some regions in Goa.

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Pic Credit: Goa News-Goa’s oldest online news website.

It is also said that earlier in Goa, a lot of people were into the agriculture occupation. At the end of the tiring agricultural season, they would celebrate Ganesh for festive purpose. And the farmers would perform the ‘Shrustichi Puja’ means Nature worship. Earlier, the statue of Ganesh was made of mud as after worship the idol is immersed back in the sea. Nowadays most of the statues of Lord Ganesh are made of Plaster of Paris or other materials that can pollute the sea. Now, concept of eco-friendly Ganesh Idols are also come into picture. And in some Hindu households worship the picture of Lord Ganesh instead of Lord Ganesh for the Chaturthi. And it is called ‘Patrikecho Ganapati’.

In Goa ‘Sarvajanik Ganesh’ is celebrated in many places all over the state. Sarvajanik means people from all works of life can pay a visit to worship the idol. The statue of Lord Ganesh is enormous and it is also kept for worship for many days.
I have visited the ‘Savajanik Ganesh ‘celebrations in Vasco, Margao and also at the ‘Kadamba bus stand’ in Panajim where the idols are placed and various competitions and coupons sold out with exciting prizes.

The festival is so merrier that people have a procession at the time of immersing the idol of Lord Ganesh. The air is filled with playing of music and people dancing on the songs been played.I feel the ‘Ganapati Visarjan’ is tearful experience to the Hindus but at the same time it is the hope, love and faith that this festival brings them together. Until the next Year.

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Pic Credit: 2016 Marathi Kalnirnay Calendar

A Region of Solace

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An urban girl like me who is used to the busy and noisy environment of the city with a lot of infrastructure and traffic find solace in the interior rural surrounding.

There is such place which is part of Chinchinim village in the south Goa, a place called ‘Veroda’. The drive to this place is so peaceful and relaxing. The people don’t care too much of the whereabouts of the outside world. They are very comfortable with the old traditional way of life. On the way to ‘Veroda’ I encountered an old man to who was riding a bicycle and happily tending towards his cattle.

This land is filled with so much of greenery and also with enormous beautiful landscape. There is a huge range of mountains surrounded with a thick layer of fog, which gives a beautiful and calming picture to the eyes. At one moment I didn’t feel like leaving the place as I was absorbed by the beauty of the mountains. At the start it is very hard to believe that there are households. But as I moved in the interior there were small huts as well as lavish houses.

20160823_174316At far away distance, there is bright orange temple called ‘Ram Purush’ which is owned by the Lotliker family. Yet in the far stretch there is a village named ‘Thalwado’, there is another temple which belongs to the Goddess ‘Shantadurga’ . This temple is 400 years old but it was renovated for the last 3 years. Originally the ‘Devi Kamali’ (the temple goddess)was in Old Goa and it was later brought to ‘Sarz20160823_182143ora’ (name of a village).

There is a story behind bringing of the goddess to ‘Thalwado’. The Hindu Pandit commonly called20160823_182221 as ‘Bhattmama’ says that “ The Goddess appeared in a local Lady’s dream to bring the her statue to Thalwado”. So the goddess was deported from Sarzora to ‘Thalwado’. From then onwards the goddess is kept in the ‘Shantadurga temple’ in Thalwado. Interestingly, this temple is under the ‘Sath devala’(seven temples) which is headed by ‘Shree Chandreshwar Bhootnath’ Temple in Paroda which is on the way to Quepem.

The ‘Shantadurga Temple’ at Thalwado cannot perform any religious activities without the permission of the seven temples and also if a major a religious event takes place at the Chandreshwar Parvarth, the celebrations are forbidden in the Thalawado temple. The religious festival in the ‘Shantadurga temple’ will be in the first week of December.

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Our Lady of Assumpta Church, Sazora.

A few kilometres away from Thalwado, there is the Sarzora church named ‘Our Lady of Assumpta Church’ which was built in 1848. The Sarzora church is also a part of the Chinchinim village. The church is facing the wide area of green fields. The whole environment sends a chilling and positive feeling.

 

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A view of the Sarzora Lake

The Sarzora Lake is relatively famous among the neighbouring villages and travel enthusiast. Care must be taken while travelling to this lake because it’s situated in a lonely location. The lake is at end of a hilly terrain which is filled with immense amount of water. It’s beautiful and a very cool place. A trip with family and friends to ‘Sarzora’ lake is worth it and you will have great and awesome memories. Honestly, after being to this lake you will find it difficult to live this place as the beauty will capture your eyes and soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note : All pictures in this post are clicked by the writer.