The first thing that comes to mind when someone calls Goa is a thriving party scene, loud music, beach huts, delicious seafood and people with a high standard of living who like to live in peace at their own pace. But India’s smallest state is more than a living experience and has much more to offer than the sight of the mighty Arabian Sea with its abundant beaches and all the stereotypes with which it has identified, albeit wrongly. Due to the changes brought about by the global corona epidemic, tourism will be different for everyone, but at the same time it will lead to greater responsibility for sustainable travel and perhaps even to an awareness of unity with the local population, but also with the indigenous people.
In an impromptu plan to travel in the state, the compulsive bachelor I am had to explore Goa at the beginning of this year, before our normality was questioned and completely nullified, by the prism of an art and culture enthusiast who wanted to see a small state with its huge legacy in every nook and cranny, almost like a local resident. But here’s the thing, improvisation or whatever, a solo tour requires some planning and a lot of courage. Strange as it may seem, it comes with its own luggage, which can sometimes even get damaged and lead you astray and possibly make you nervous.
Why travel alone?
Although the concept is not new, it has gained momentum in recent years, but women are more reluctant to travel alone in India. There may be many reasons, but the most important one is the fear of the unexplored, overshadowed by unnecessary suspicion. India is a melting pot of cultures and offers a mix of experiences that you can’t taste.
Speaking of Goa, a destination that attracts all ages and interests, the state has also witnessed many memories – from university to the beginning of a career, from secret relationships to guiding others.
However, this place deserves attention and focus on its true nature, on how people capture their day by living at their own pace, always with a friendly smile on their face, no matter how warm and mild the weather or how long the rainy season lasts.
Goa for the art lover:
Popular artist Mario Miranda embodied Goa in his rawest expression. There are scenes from the fish market, a traveller playing the guitar, a view of the Mangeshi Temple and the Bom Jesus Church in Old Goa, and characters such as Minister Bundaldas, Mrs Fonseca, Mrs Rajani Nimbupaani. His works have been published in exhibited books and also form an important part of the interior design of Mondegar Café in South Mumbai. Architect Gerard da Cunha has made great efforts to preserve Miranda’s work through versions of the Galleria Mario in Panjima, Porvorima and elsewhere in the state. The famous architect is also the inventor of a unique museum in Bardez, the House of Goa, which celebrates the fusion of architectural styles in this state, where cultures and peoples mingle.
IS OK: Oda Mario Miranda: The artist who brought magic and imagination into Goan’s life and landscape.
Where to start?
For the legendary Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, look for everything you see around you, from the bustling square where travelers and locals can sit and relax, to the shops selling summer clothes and jewelry, to bookstores and restaurants. To the right is the popular Sunaparanth Art Center, where exhibitions of participating artists are held almost year-round. The art gallery is housed in a bright blue old building and is connected to the beautiful and lively Bodega Café, run by a chef, where you will fall in love with delicious spices and pastries.
Facade of Sunaparanta Art Center, Panjim (left); Goan Beach (right)
Designer Wendell Rodricks, who made Goa his home after withdrawing from fashion, has also worked on the first museum dedicated to the legacy of the costume in his home – 450 years of North Goa Colvale heritage. The Goa Fashion Museum is expected to open in December 2020 in response to the coronavirus epidemic and its consequences.
Both North and South Goa have a lot to offer, and you may not be able to discover everything in one day. So try to take a few days to let the Goa discover his true face. During several trips I preferred walking, but cycling along the beach of South Goa for a car trip was part of a box of memories I would like to see again.
The villas, which are part of the Portuguese heritage, become museums, hotels and much more. (left) the future fashion museum in Goa; (right) the postcard hotel, Moira
Culture meets travel:
There are more than 300 villages in Goa, largely unaffected by the consequences of commercialisation, which are a haven for anyone seeking peace and tranquillity and wanting to get rid of the pollution overdose in their lives. Among the remarkable villages of Goan are Moira, Casaulim, Sandhalim, Sadolxem, Ukkasaim, Korjum and others, who enjoy life just as they used to. In some places the panchayats in the village have also banned the installation of mobile phone masts. In their search for peace and quiet, they don’t like loud music and parties that stand in the way of enjoying a quiet lifestyle. In an 11th century account. In May 2020 the Goa Herald declared that (the village) Saligao had closed its doors to all these events and would be known as the Goa Heritage Village.
Kapil Chopra, a hospitality veteran who founded his own brand The Postcard Hotel in December 2018 at three locations in Goa, is trying to change the way people see the world. A limited number of rooms, a complete hotel experience and the idea of comfortable check-in and check-out procedures is at all times a step towards a journey of well-being that is still taking place in the Indian tourist diaspora. He talks about Goa as a favorite destination for travelers (if we are all willing to travel), he says: Goa has a rich history and a unique combination of culture and design, excellent cuisine, great beaches, churches and temples. With its Indian-Portuguese architecture, Goa has the potential to become the design capital of the country. More and more travellers are including Goa in their travel plans, as they can now enjoy a luxurious stay focused on the transformative and compelling experience of the destination. Our hotels do not harm the environment or the local culture. This corresponds to a minimalist aesthetic, true to purpose, inspired by local history and heritage.
That’s not all, Goa also has secular fortresses, namely Reis Magos Fort, Chapora Fort, Terehol Fort (Tirakol Fort). A day trip from the north of Goa can also lead to the lost village of Redi, where a statue of Lord Ganpati is believed to have been found during mining.
This year the Goa Carnival takes place from the 22nd to the 25th. February, spread important messages such as drug withdrawal, veganism and more and was a great event for residents and tourists in the state.
Seen during the Carnival of 2020 in Goa on the last day of the Mapus.
If you want to enjoy the cultural heritage, forget your car (and help the area) and explore the capital on foot. Fontainhas in Panjim/Panaji is a cultural centre with chic restaurants, backpacker hostels and a sense of beauty that comes alive every hour.
View from a walk in the Fontenas district of Panjima.
Sahapediya, which organises annual cultural heritage walks as part of its Indian Heritage Walks programme, is an introduction to Goa’s rich culture. Waibhav Chauhan, director of the festival (IHWF) and secretary of Sakhapedia, says that this year, in February, we had a walk and an interactive session in the Goa Local History Museum, a nature trail through the mangroves of Pandjima, a walk in the traditional Portuguese architecture of Goa and a walk in the Goa Chitra Museum, to name a few. These heritage sites are often overshadowed by the popular image of Goa as a festive city and beach.
Sunset around Mapusa (left); Moira, a village north of Goa (center); Moira’s church was built 450 years ago. (right)
From the unexplored beach to the banks of the Goan River, there is much to discover in the state. It is a paradise for every creative person, whether an artist, a novice writer or just someone who wants to accept art for doing nothing. Wake up to the sounds of silence with the singing of the choristers as you swallow a cup of homemade coffee or a cup of Earl Grey tea with or without lemon and honey flavours, giving your soul a little peace and quiet with every sigh.
View of the landscape of the village of Goa in the early morning.
Susegad: The way of life or just the way of being?
Susegad comes from the Portuguese word Susegad, which means neighborhood and peace. It is a serene attitude of the Goans, in which they seem to live in eternal contentment. During my trip this year, I had the opportunity to talk to a heritage guide, Flight Magos D’Souza, who has been helping tourists understand Goa for over 20 years and who wanted to understand a little more about this wonderful concept. Is it right to call this a serene attitude, or is it something more spiritual you want to achieve in life instead of tormenting yourself and achieving nothing?
The robbery explains: The real life of the Goan takes place in the villages and we try to promote this to the people. When we say that life in Goan the Susegad is, we are proud of this person, because this person makes us, it means that we accept life as it is, day after day, so that we can turn more to our family, our friends, and everyone else. It’s not that we’re lazy, we work hard, but we do it at our own pace.
While we live in a constant state of stress with many life issues, it may simply be time to embrace Suzegad and seize the day, or, say, carpe diem!
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