Tag Archives: Goa

Ganesh Chaturthi Meal

The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Goa has a charm of its own. But the beauty of the occasion celebration is enhanced when celebrated with friends and family!

Ganesha

I was one of the privileged few to be invited over to a friends’ place for lunch.

But one does not move hurriedly into lunch. First there are the multitude of sweets that have to be tasted!

What I enjoyed most were the modaks

modaks

(I hope the picture speaks for itself)

Aarti time

We then participated in the aarti, which are devotional prayers and hymns sung by the entire family, and then Amay Parrikar, our host, explained the various symbols and rituals of the celebration.

Two of these which I found very meaningful were the matoli (a canopy of fruits and flowers grown locally in Goa)

matoli

… and the tray which offered the first corn of the fields to the deity.

first crop

From the time we entered his house till the time we left I think I ate more than I did on in an entire day 😉

The lamp burns

Festivals are indeed occasions that keep the flame of brotherhood alive in society

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Summer fruits

Weekends at my Aunt’s house in Raia, Goa are always memorable. This time the highlight was the abundance of fruits in the garden.

summer fruits raia - cashews

Under the watchful eyes of these deadly red ants called domle  in Konkani, we “harvested” pineapples, cashews, mangoes and jackfruits.summer fruits raia - ants

Can you guess to what does this texture belong to in the pictures below?


summer fruits raia - texturesummer fruits raia - texture 2With the smell that still lingers in my car it may as well be mistaken for a fruit cart!

summer fruits raia - fruit cart

The Silent Beach – Agonda

If you want to see the way beaches in Goa should actually be, visit Agonda. The very remoteness of the beach from the main cities ensures its exclusiveness and for this reason it is gets the nickname, the Silent Beach!

Agonda Beach Goa - Shimmer

Agonda, does not have much to boast about. A mere 3 km long stretch of beach untouched by human incursions (read: no commercialization, no plastics strewn around, no noise of a million tourists, no souvenir stalls or hawkers).

I read online that the best way to reach this beach is by a scooter or motor bike. And that is the advise we followed.

Except for a couple of eating places and these pretty beach huts, there is nothing to draw the crowds here

Agonda Beach Goa - beach huts

For some reason, this fire dancer practicing his act reminded me a lot of Barney Stinson (from How I met your mother) 😉

Agonda Beach Goa - Fire dancer

While, this chap was “para surfing” for almost 3 hours (we all assumed he didn’t know how to get the parachute back to the ground!)

Agonda Beach Goa - up in the air

Sometimes you want a beach all to yourself, and Agonda beach is gives you that chance! Not only did it provide an opportunity to relax on the beach but the long drive that got us there is something I will cherish too.

Agonda Beach Goa

On our way back, we made a short detour. The place is called the Miraculous Cross of Baradi.

Baradi Cross

As goes with all miraculous crosses around Goa, this place too draws a lot of people from the villages around. Situated on a tiny hillock the view around was fantastic.

Betul Sal River panoramaThis panorama shows the river Sal meeting with the Arabian sea in the horizon. It is still left to speculate if this is a tributary or an estuary… but I guess that is a story for another day 😉

Shigmo Saturday

Shigmo (Shigmotsav/Shimga) is often called the Goa’s version of Holi (Rang Panchami). The annual Shigmo parade held on Panaji’s 18th June Road is the culmination of Shigmo celebrations. The parade is a kaleidoscope of Goa’s Hindu roots through folk dances in resplendent traditional costumes and larger than life floats depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.

Shigmo Goa - the stage

There are three categories on display: fugdi, romtamel and tableaux

The procession is led by a series of such Kunbi dances (a folk dance performed by village tribal women, dressed up in colourful sarees).

Shigmo Goa - Fugdi

The Romtamel included various village groups clad in their festive colors, their pulsating drums and blowing flutes accompanied with multicolored cloths, torans, flags and column-like red spotted Dwajas

Shigmo Goa - RomtamelShigmo Goa - Romtamel

and this is the amazing goff (the ‘ribbon dance’, through co-ordinated dance moves the dancers intertwine numerous ribbons into a braid)

Shigmo Goa - Goff

These were interspersed with lots of individual fancy dress entrants…

Shigmo Goa - Individual entrantsShigmo Goa - Individual entrants

And finally came the sights that I was waiting for the whole evening… chitrarath… the shigmo floats!

It began with Laxmi bestowing blessings on everyone

Shigmo Goa - Laxmi

and a series of other floats depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata

Shigmo Goa - The ExileShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo Goa

The waking of Kumbakarana, complete with a two-truck long float and the evil laugh hehe hahaha (which left me in splits!) was a sure shot prize winner!

Shigmo Goa - Waking Kumbakarana

And three others that were strong contenders were:

Shigmo Goa - Heaven on a float

The heavenly abode

Shigmo Goa - Abduction of Sita

The Abduction of Sita (Sita Haran) with Rama in close pursuit

Shigmo Goa and The Dance of Shiva

Shigmo stands in stark contrast with the commercialisation of Carnival. It is truly a celebration of community, culture and creativity.

Supermoon Saturday

The moon on the night of March 19, 2011 was different because it was 356577 km from the earth, one of the closest approaches in the past 18 years… and it gets the label… Supermoon (or scientifically speaking, a lunar perigree)! Going with all the hype created by the media I had to witness this first hand!

supermoon saturday - Dona Paula

The most convenient location that came to mind was the Dona Paula jetty. Good thing I went out here, because at “moon rise”, the moon actually took on a reddish hue…

Supermoon saturday Red Moon

I could not resist taking this night panorama (click on it for a better view)

supermoon saturday pano

But then as it goes with every spectacular “breaking news” everything went back to normal, there were no high tides in the sea, no other celestial phenomenon and the biggest news discussed next was how India crushed West Indies to enter the World cup semi final!

Carnival Time

It’s difficult to separate the word Goa from the concept of Carnival.  Any tourist brochure, travel package or billboard describing Goa will have at least one snapshot of the vibrance and joie de vivre seen at a Carnival parade in Goa.

CARNIVAL 2011 King Momo Entourage

This year may have not been a very colorful parade, but the spirit was there!

CARNIVAL 2011 - Traditional Goan Sweets "Kusvar"
Spectators stamped on toes, broke barricade restraints and stretched their necks as hard as they could to watch the floats going by (at least that is what I had to do to get a few clear shots :))

CARNIVAL 2011 - Live MusicCARNIVAL 2011 - If its Goa it has to be Fish!

Here is a snapshot of the many snapshots that I managed to take that day… which I call, the Faces of the Carnival.

CARNIVAL 2011 - MaskCARNIVAL 2011 - "Real" estateCARNIVAL 2011 - My rideCARNIVAL 2011 - One Man bandCARNIVAL 2011 - Titos! Where else?CARNIVAL 2011 - The Horror of InflationCARNIVAL 2011 - Wild BouncerCARNIVAL 2011 - Pirate de River PrincessCARNIVAL 2011 - Those Demon EyesCARNIVAL 2011 - The Old and the Beautiful

CARNIVAL 2011 - Government Servant?Can’t wait for the carnival next year!!!

CARNIVAL 2011 - Waiting

Monte & Music ~ Take 2

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Brochure

The second year that I made it for the Monte Music festival (here is the earlier post). This time I could only make it for the second day. Two reasons why I eagerly await this festival. First and foremost, the Monte festival is a great photo op and secondly words fall short to describe its magnificence.

Monte Festival Goa 2011 PANORAMA

The Monte Music Festival 2011 organised by Fundacao Oriente and Cidade de Goa was held from February 4 to 6 at the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount, Old Goa. This was the 9th edition of this festival which began in 2002 after the restoration of the Chapel, which was in ruins, was undertaken by Fundacao Oriente.

With a greater emphasis on Indian music and dance this year, I got to experience the Bharatnatyam-Odissi dance performance titled ‘Temple Bells’, by couple Raul and Mitali D’souza from Mumbai. Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple BellsMonte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells (7)Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells (3)Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells (6)Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells (5)Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells (2)You cannot deny that watching a dance performance silhouetted against such a gorgeous sunset and capturing it in a perfectly framed shot is a dream come true!  😉

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells (4)

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Temple Bells DIPTYCH

This was followed by an Indian-Western violin recital by Hans Versmeersch from Belgium.

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Hans Versmeersch (1)

Not did the notes of the violin tug the heartstrings of all those present, but Mr Hans Versmeersch was an excellent entertainer too.

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Hans Versmeersch

He took us through the nuances and interpretations of the various pieces that helped identify and be part of that time and age in which they were composed… His musical stream built up in tempo and emotion, from melodies of the time of the East India Company, to soulful compositions of Rabindranath Tagore, flowing through Kashmiri and Hindu love songs and culminating in a blend of Carnatic music and Bach.

A short interval followed, where I pointed the camera to the famous “tree” on the Monte that does not escape any photographer 😉

Monte Festival Goa 2011 TREE

Monte Festival Goa 2011 (7)

Nobody challenges the fact anymore, that the natural acoustics of the Monte chapel projects the sound naturally and needs no amplification.

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Paranjoti Ensemble

To conclude the second day as predicted by Ms Yvonne Rebello (of Fundacao Oriente), this year the most commendable feature was in fact the performance of the 32-member Paranjoti Academy Chorus from Mumbai conducted by Coomi Wadia .

By a rare chance of fate, I experimented with my camera to try a panorama shot.. and succeeded!

Monte Festival Goa 2011 - Paranjoti Ensemble PANORAMA

Over the years, the Monte Music Festival has become a much awaited event for music lovers… and I just can’t wait for take 3 😉