Goa, a destination dream for every Indian teenage, a serene getaway for up the ladder generations and an escapade for families, this beautiful state on the South Western region of India is the most sought after vacation ecstasy for every Indian. For its foreign counterparts Goa is India’s answer to Ibiza, the place is laden with some of the best heritage sites, churches, adventure sports and not to forget the world class hospitality scenario of the state. As TTJ opens its windows to welcome monsoons, the team this time brings Goa to your reading tables for our monsoon special issue. Read on as we give you a first hand experience report on Goa’s monsoon magic…
Goa has always had a magical spell on its travellers, no personage returns without having endless stories to tell of this very scenic destination. While for some Goa has always been a beach paradise, for others the destination is a basket of plentiful niche tourism products. Coming back to our theme issue, this time we thought of exploring a destination that alters into a monsoon heaven during the downpour and what better than a destination which is blessed by water gods- ‘Goa’.
Orange sky, lush green fields and high tide gush on the beaches, these are just a few picturesque scrutinies that you can encounter on your next monsoon trip to Goa. This vacation bliss in its every true sense is a paradise for a water baby in you. The monsoon mojo of Goa leaves its visitors spellbound and wanting to explore more. The place has a plethora of activities that one can experience during the rains. Goa’s natural beauty blossoms with monsoon showers, water bodies come alive with gurgling springs and waterfalls, giving a boost to Monsoon Tourism in the State.
While getting drenched in Goa’s rain is one of the perks, there are several other activities that can actually give a kick to an adventure enthusiast in you. Activities such as eco trekking expedition and white water rafting are organised by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation that is held in the hinterlands of Goa during the downpour season. While on your expedition voyage you can encounter some of Goa’s most gorgeous hidden treasures like their flora and fauna, water bodies, waterfalls and the Goan monsoon culinary delights that you cannot afford to miss upon.
Goa has already set the stage for the much awaited ‘White Water Rafting’ on river Mhadei! The experience of rafting in Goa is simply amazing and one can enjoy the thrill of rapids even without knowing swimming. A daily taxi service to and from Panjim to Sattari is being introduced by GTDC to facilitate movement of tourists to the White Water Rafting Site. Two trips will be organised at 9:30 am and 2:30 pm.
The price of the trip includes `1800 per person with an age limit of 12 years or four feet in height. The duration depends on the water level then trip takes anything from 2 to 3 hrs. This includes transport to and from the meeting point at the Earthern Pot restaurant next to the Government Hospital in Valpoi Town.
Goa is also gearing up for its lesser known monsoon festivals starting from Sao Joao, Sangodd, Chikalkalo, Touxeachem Feast, Patolleanchem fest and the Bonderam which will make one and all fall in love with Goa.
The so called ‘off season’ in Goa offers a plethora of adventure activities and magical experiences that has converted even the most reluctant tourist into a fan. But if you truly want to soak in the spirit of a Goan monsoon, then you have to plan a trip during the festivals. These festivals are unique to Goa and each one has an interesting story behind it. Come, and discover a Goa that is beyond the ordinary. .
• Sao Joao : Goa readies itself for the gala Sao Joao fest celebrated on June 24. This monsoon feast has special significance in Christianity as it is dedicated to St John the Baptist, the firebrand prophet. The celebration of San Joao goes back nearly 150 years, when San Joao revelers from Chapora and Zhor villages of Anjuna, Badem in Assagao and Siolim would come up year after year in boats to the chapel of Sao Joao in Periera Vaddo, Siolim, to pay homage and take part in the traditional dali. The festivals takes place at the beginning of Monsoon season in Goa and people of all ages jumping into wells, streams and ponds.
• Ponsachem Fest : It is a Jackfruit festival called ‘Ponsachem Fest’ celebrated on the occasion of Sao Joao. Parish priest Fr Santana Carvalho said that the inspiration for the festival comes from Sao Joao itself. This is an occasion to savour Goa’s choicest jackfruits and the scrumptious items made from it.
• Sangodd : The Feast of St. Peter, also known as Sangodd, is a monsoon-based celebration by Goa’s local fishing community. Their boats are tied together to form rafts, which serve as makeshift stages. On these stages are erected miniature models of chapels or churches.
• Chikalkalo : Another happening event is the Chikalkalo. People celebrate Chikalkalo, a traditional festival, at Marcel, Goa. It is an annual traditional event in which people of Marcel village take part after the ‘Ashadi Ekadashi’.
• Touxeachem Feast : The magnificent Church of St Anne also known as the Santana Church locally is the scene of the very unusual feast every year. The Church located at Talaulim in Tiswadi taluka, is dedicated to St Anne. The couples come to the Church to seek the blessings of St Anne, who herself was blessed with a child after 40 years of barren life. They buy cucumbers from local vendors at the feast and offer them at the feet of St Ann and carry them home to eat. Touxeachem Fest (in Konkani) literally translates as the Cucumber Feast in English. Besides the huge number of devotees from all around Goa, a large number of newly married couples is in attendance.
• Patolleanchem feast : It is a feast depicting a rich old Goan culture. This festival is organised on the feast of Our Lady of Assumption and the independence Day. Patollio ( a sweet made of jiggery and rice covered with a turmeric leaf) is prepared by the villagers and is blessed by parish priest Fr Santana Carvalho and is served to all and this is how the name Patolleanchem feast derives.
• Bonderam : is a local to the quaint island of Divar, away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city. In remembrance of old territorial battles that took place on the island, mock skirmishes are re-enacted by boys and girls wielding fotashes (toy flags made with bamboo) and using berries for missiles.