Canaconna goa

GOA TODAY

Long beaches of golden sands fringed with waving palm trees; brilliant green paddy fields framing a gleaming white church; glistening mounds of silver fish amid the nets on the beach at dawn; superbly cooked meals abounding in masses of the most delectable shellfish; meandering conversations about every aspect of life and death, punctuated by copious draughts of feni; a guitarist, hauntingly singing Portuguese songs while our boat wandered through the inland waterways; the mad, exuberant crowd dancing through the streets during Carnival. All of these and many more are the memories which Goa evokes.

Salim wild life santuary

The great churches, the forts, the temples and palatial mansions, are all there as backdrops to an intensely moving relationship which everyone seems to develop the moment they encounter Goa. In this sun-drenched atmosphere, stimulated by the two thousand years of colourfully embroidered history which represents the whole sub-continent in a microcosm, a way of life has been evolved which has a great deal to offer even the most casual visitor. And this is emphasised by the marvellous way the Goans welcome you into their lives and homes to take part in that way of life.

Agriculture and fishing have supplied the needs of the people abundantly, the high protein content of the fish making the various sea-food curries an extremely healthy diet. Additionally the sea has also brought trade and it was as a great trading port that Goa made its presence known in history, both before and after the arrival of the Portuguese. Without her magnificent anchorages Goa would be simply another coastal strip on the immensity of India.

Traditionally the Goan economy has been based on a healthy mixture of the land and the sea. The Zuari and the Mandovi created the Goa that can be seen today and always.

while wandering around the streets of Panjim, one is conscious that this is really a port city. The old, narrow streets with their tavernas leading down to the river, particularly in the area of Fontainhas behind the main Post Office, all indicate the life of a sea trading community, even if the main port has now shifted to Vasco on the Zuari. Goa was, and still is the port which fed so much of southern India with a wealth of products, although her supreme position was long ago taken by Bombay, and it was the wealth from the trade which built the marvellous monuments which still remain.

This is one of the points which must be remembered when looking at the magnificent churches which stand in splendid isolation in Old Goa. When Old Goa and the churches were alive they were pulsing with the life of a sea port. The houses crowded up to the churches and convents in a maze of streets through which the merchant princes picked their way amid a milling throng. Its opulence dazzled all visitors so that the saying arose, ‘who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon,’ and still the wealth flowed in from all the areas of the far-flung Portuguese empire. The triumphal entries of the victorious viceroys were pagan in their splendour with flowers thrown down in front of the chariots and horses from the storeyed balconies of the seigniorial houses.

Wandering through the lush green parks which nowadays surround the few remaining churches it is difficult to picture the life which once pulsated all around put it is certainly worthwhile making the effort to clothe this green nudity with a little imagination.

One of the places where this is slightly easier is down by the river, past the Arch of the Viceroys. Some remnants of the massive walls that once girded the city can still be seen and, as other river boats discharge a rather mundane cargo, it is tempting to picture the merchant ships with their opulent contents, tying up at the same wharf and presenting themselves at the Customs House. This lay to the left of the road, outside the walls, and is now a grove of palm trees, but the wealth of broken pottery attests to its former state.

Candolim

View from the fort in north goa

From this point the visitors followed the road under the arch and were then engulfed in the hubbub of the streets of the capital. At this stage modern imagination tends to break down since nothing can be seen but empty roads, trees and lots of greenery, but perhaps for a brief moment some inkling of the former magnificent life may have been glimpsed. Now Old Goa has lost this dramatic aspect, along with the cholera and the malaria which eventually caused its disintegration, only the churches survive as relics of former splendour.

Panjim also has lost some of its more frenetic side with the transfer of the main port, but the fish market is still there, screaming with life every day as the buyers and sellers haggle over the prices. It also springs to life with the arrival and departure of the daily boat from Bombay bringing all types of people to enjoy the beauties of Goa, or bidding them a fond perhaps tearful farewell.

Although most tourists take the forty-five minutes flight from Bombay, landing near Vasco and then driving to their respective hotels, those with more time, or perhaps less money or simply with a more leisurely approach to life, tend to take the boat and spend about twenty hours on the journey. During the high season all the cabins are booked months in advance, mainly by Goan families returning home
for the holidays,which leaves the deck as the next best thing. This is usually filled with the more uninhibited younger crowd who have been coming to Goa since the early 60’s and who still represent the majority of Western tourists in the territory. Their arrivals and departures add a welcome colourful note of bustle and disorder to Panjim’s waterfront which momentarily, feels itself rejuvenated. After a few hectic moments as the travellers sort themselves out before heading for the beaches where they will live, the waterfront returns to its habitual, more somnolent lifestyle, the locals probably going into one of the nearby bars to relax after their exertions.

Mention of the bars brings one inevitably to a discussion of ‘feni’, the local Goan drink which is almost impossible to discover outside the state because the Goans very sensibly, drink it all themselves. There are two kinds of feni, palm and cashew, the one is distilled from palm toddy and is the milder version to which visitors are normally introduced whereas cashew feni is for the more regular topers.  This is made by first crushing the cashew apple, the red fruit which forms immediately above the cashew nut. The resultant liquid is then distilled and the result is pure nectar. Usually drunk with a number of mixes to make a long drink,

It is occasionally possible to obtain some eighteen year old feni which can be most favourably compared with many better known liqueurs and makes a splendid digestive drink. To appreciate the true flavour of Fontainhas an early evening glass at Joseph’s Bar followed by a well-cooked dinner in one of the many neighbourhood hotels or restaurants will present the balconied houses and little streets at their magical best.

Shops and offices in Panjim are often behind pillared arcades, particularly in the centre of the town, which means that it possible to shop and stroll while missing the heat of the sun. After the midday heat is over people move around more freely crossing the two central squares for example, either to admire the gardens or to see the Albuquerque memorial. It is also possible to stroll along the esplanade which lines the river bank, looking at the boats or simply looking at the other people strolling, however so much exercise soon gives rise to a thirst which requires quenching in one of the cafes or in the bar of the Mandovi hotel which has long been the place to meet friends and admire the view of the river.

During Carnival it provides a perfect view of the procession, the dancers being encouraged by frequent shouts from friends leaning out of various windows. For those people who like a little more exercise a westward continuation of the esplanade meets the Miramar beach, another rendezvous for an evening stroll.

pcciture of bibanca with ice cream

However an expedition to Dona Paula is best done by taxi.

This headland looks across the Zuari to Vasco da Gama and ferries, inevitably overcrowded, ply between the two points, although this is not the only reason for going there. The point is supposedly named after a viceroy’s daughter who, legend has it, fell in love with a fisherman whom she could not marry and so jumped into the sea from the cliffs. The pavilion which stands precariously on the edge of the cliff is a perfect place to catch the sunset across the dark waters of the Arabian Sea. The secluded beach nearby has some excellent tourist accommodation and the restaurant serves very good meals, specialising in the usual superb seafood.

The buildings at Dona Paula have been well-designed and, while not attempting blend in with the landscape, are attractive as are the majority of very new buildings, particularly those associated with tourism, which have appeared recently. Unfortunately there is a sad legacy from the early sixties. In the initial rush cope with the problems of a growing tourist market, which was immediately apparent after the incorporation of Goa into India in 1961, a number of tourist buildings were erected which will, hopefully, be rendered obsolete in the near future and removed or replaced. The creation of a Planning Department with towers to oversee all new buildings is a very healthy sign and the phrase, ‘nothing higher than a palm-tree’, should become an inspiring slogan.

Traditions & Customs Of Goa

Zuari-from-Air,-Goa

At the same time a vocabulary of traditional architecture is being created taking the principle elements which constitute the Goan houses and using them in any new buildings. Such ideas as Mangalore tiled roofs, the use of porches and balconies, particularly incorporating the balcão type seats so conducive of gossip, the idea of the courtyard house and even, occasionally, the use of oyster shells instead of glass for windows. Above all the use of colours which do not clash with the rest of the buildings. Perhaps the two colours most associated with Goa are ochre and white, although obviously many others have also been used, the important point, however, is to avoid colours that have no relationship with buildings around them, such as the unfortunate corporation green’ which has been so liberally daubed over much of the English countryside.

With a few exceptions the major new hotels which have been built in the past few years have taken into account the local architectural style and have blended sensitively into the landscape. An outstanding example of this is the Fort Aguada hotel, which forms part of the Taj Group. Set within the confines of the Portuguese fort, it has been landscaped back into the hill and does not in any obtrude upon the skyline. The main block is grouped around a terrace swimming pool, while behind rise a series of individual cottages set in an Portuguese styled setting.

The main hotel has now been joined by the Taj Holiday Village which is situated on the beach itself and consists of a series of cottages and villas modelled on original Goan buildings. Apparently the architects studied over three hundred houses in order to achieve authenticity and the buildings which they have created conform perfectly to the Goan architectural vocabulary. The presence of this whole complex at the southern end of Calangute beach has created a very luxurious ambience in which the most international traveller will find few things to fault.

However, further to the north along the beach, the atmosphere changes completely and in the area of Calangute itself used to be found the principle centre of the psychedelic movement. The beach itself is eleven kilometres long and has always managed to contain both types of traveller with absolute equanimity. Nowadays the majority of the more uninhibited younger set have moved to the beaches further  north but there is still a sufficiently large group to provide a friendly foil travellers at the other end of the beach.

Part of the magic of Goa consists in this ability to mix different groups and produce a happy amalgam and, since both groups seem to enjoy walking, there is a very friendly intermingling along the beach. This can be seen particularly in the early morning when the fishermen are hauling in their nets. One may come to photograph and the other to buy but at that hour of the morning everybody meets at the same level and there’s really not much distinction between bathing-suits.

Another very successful addition to the Goan scene is the Welcomgroup hotel called Cidade-de-Goa which is on a beach just to the east of Dona Paula. The a Portuguese village along the beach with main street, central square and several piazzas, as well as a splendid flight of steps leading down to the beach with a fantastic view across palm concept behind the hotel was to create trees to the sea. Staircases lead up and down to the various rooms which a arranged as though they were different houses while the piazzas form the bars and main congregational areas. Seen from the beach it looks like a small hill town and blends in perfectly with the landscape.

Salim-Ali-Bird-Sanctuary

The imaginative approach to hotel design is an encouraging sign and, as other major hotel chains realise the potential of Goa as a major tourist destination, it is to be hoped that they will also follow this initiative and create something which is in keeping with the Goan lifestyle. An additional incentive will surely be the attitude of the travellers themselves who will undoubtedly prefer hotels which provide some measure of local ambience and at least make a gesture of acknowledging the existence of the growing ecological and conservationist movements in the world today.

This attitude should not of course be restricted to the creation of the major hotels but can equally well be applied to much smaller units. The Baia do Sol Hotel at Baga beach just north of Calangute is an example of sensitive design on a smaller scale, blending in successfully among the palm trees of one of the most attractive of rural stand of the great Oberoi hotel at Bogmalo beach is being softened by extensive planting and lush greenery. The somewhat uncompromising architect tendency to concentrate on the interiors and the wide range of sea sports which the hotel offers along its superb private beach.

One other interesting result of the ecological movement has been the creation game sanctuaries within Goa. At the moment there are three of these, a small one at Bondla in the centre of Goa, the largest at Molem in the east, and a third, still largely h at Cotigao. The 80 square kilometres at Bondla are more
in the nature of a zoo with considerable facilities for education  attracts the local schoolchildren. There is also a well-landscaped garden a wild garden and a deer park and a series of tourist cottages in the centre near the restaurant.

The Baghwan Mahaveer Sanctuary at Molem is very different and more in the nature of a sanctuary. Its 240 square kilometres contain a magnificent herd of Indian bison as well as elephants, leopard, deer and other wild animals. So far it is in the early stages and still needs considerable planning at the moment it possible to enjoy pleasant bird watching walk before it becomes a major tourist attraction.

It is possible to enjoy a pleasant bird-watching walk without too many distractions for the animals in its vicinity. However, despite the various other attractions it is the beaches for which Goa is justifiably famous and which merit a complete section to themselves. Miles of white or golden sand leading into a gentle, warm sea, with swaying palms fringing the landward side, they are unsurpassed in this part of the world, the main problem being to decide which one to choose. Mention has already been made of the beach at Calangute which has always been described as the ‘Queen’ of Goa’s beaches. This is probably because of the life of which it was the centre during the 60s and 70s, much of which has now quietened down considerably during the more restricted 80s, but the beauty of the beach still remains. It may have fewer palm trees than others and the decline into the sea is perhaps less gentle but eleven kilometres of golden sand is still a very good beach. Baga, just to the north, is less crowded and still clings to its quiet charm with the additional advantage that it is only a couple of kilometres walk along the beach to join in the life of Calangute if so desired. At the end of the 70s, when Calangute had apparently been so totally over- exposed that it no longer had any attractions, everyone moved to Anjuna still further to the north and many of them still remain there to this day. It is still a place of few inhibitions and consequently retains its popularity among one group of travellers. Just to the north of Anjuna is Chapora, still one of the most beautiful and interesting parts of Goa. The area is dominated by a headland on which the fort is built and around which the village nestles under a canopy of dense coconut palms.

This is the area to which most of the Westerners flock, usually staying in houses in the village, although a new series of cottages, called the Vagator Beach Resort, now caters for a more affluent type of traveller who can, at the same time, enjoy all the other advantages of the area, including the small, sandy coves around the headland which make a change from the main beach.

saleli-agonda-canacona-aerial-view

The most northerly point of Goa is marked by Teracol fort and beach beautifully situated at the confluence of the river and the sea. The fort has now been converted into a tourist hotel with very simple accommodation but the utter peace and tranquillity are worth the journey and any marginal discomfort. Because of hotel development and the main tourist movement attention has largely been concentrated on the northern beaches but in the south of Goa are some of the most beautiful beaches to be found anywhere. Forty kilometres of unspoilt, clean white sand, fringed with palm trees and gently sloping into the sea make Colva beach unique. It has been described as ‘a touch of Paradise’, and it is easy to understand why a number of leading hoteliers are seriously considering expanding their operations into this area.

Around Colva itself the fishermen land their catch and also dry the fish which does tend to impart a fishy flavour to the atmosphere at this point, but a few minutes walk leads to total solitude. So far there are only a few tourist cottages around a good seafood restaurant. These have been well designed and hopefully, any future development of the area would follow the imaginative lines which other hotels have chosen and avoid the usual concrete blocks which have disfigured so many of the world’s best beaches.

Popular Beaches of Goa

Royal-Orchid-Beach-Resort,-Goa

Beyond Colva beach, beyond Cabo de Rama, the most southerly of the forts of Goa, there is finally the beach of Palolem for those people who are really wanting to get away from it all. Almost a secret beach, it is usually practically completely deserted and has a backdrop of the lower ranges of the Western Ghats leading down to the sea.

From Teracol in the north to Palolem in the south Goa has fantastic beaches to suit all tastes with similar varying styles of accommodation on them. Over the past twenty-five years they have attracted a wide variety of travellers, all of whom have fallen beneath their spell and have continued to return time and again. As the tourist infrastructure grows, so they have become available to an even wider range of travellers who will also, hopefully, want to explore beyond the beaches and to find out more about the rest of Goa. Because however beautiful the beach and the hotel, this is only a fraction of what Goa has to offer and the traveller should certainly see the Goan life in the villages.

The vast majority of people still live in the villages which dot the landscape, usually clustered protectively around a white-painted church. Here can be seen the bustling markets, all noise, scents and smells; a strange mixture of fish and flowers peculiarly Goan. The buxom, garrulous fish wives, who were up at dawn haggling shrilly with fishermen on the beach as they pulled in their nets, are now smilingly enticing people to buy their fish, using quite different tones from the earlier raucous cries. Wonderful fresh fruits are displayed in a riot of colour and the bargaining is loud and vociferous. Fortunately there is always a bar next door where which everyone can have a beer or a feni and relax.

In Goa there is always a bar next door, and there is always time to stop for a drink and a chat Conversation is one of the living arts of Goa, all house porches have seats built into them so that people can sit and watch the world go by and discuss it all in great detail, preferably while it is all still happening. The uncharitable would call this gossiping, but to the Goan it is the very breath of life, and nothing helps the conversation flow as much as a glass of feni, or possibly two!

The villages also contain really beautiful examples of the Goan house style, most of them painted white with colourful doors and windows, and flowers everywhere. Many of them are also grouped around some big house, which, while not perhaps in the same class as some of the mansions already discussed, is still of considerable architectural value. Some of these have been deserted because the families have either emigrated or can no longer maintain them, but even in decay, they have a timeless quality which comes from original good breeding and fine lines. Some of course are still the homes of the local landlord, who is very likely to receive guests wearing elegant striped pyjamas. This is to make sure that everyone realises that he doesn’t have to work and is a member of the leisured classes.

Miramar Beach

Goa still enjoys a considerable class differential, although this is rapidly changing under the exigencies of modern living. The church is still however the centre point of Goan life in the Old Conquests, particularly in the villages, and the local priest exercises an important and much
respected role in the community. He is the local counsellor and is called in to advise on all occasions, even those which may have little to do with his spiritual calling but of course, he comes into his own on the great occasions such as weddings and the numerous festivals which enliven the calendar. Weddings can be either simple village affairs at the church, but also enormous festivities afterwards where the bride and groom soon fade into the background as the festival spirit quickly envelops everyone else.

Such receptions either take place in one or other of the big houses, or, if the ceremony is being conducted in Panjim, it might he held in one of the gracious clubs, such as the Club Nacional, which also play such an important role in organising the greatest event of the Goan social calendar, the annual Carnival or much grander occasions which call for, not merely a great display.

Festivals, either Christian or Hindu, occupy an important place in the Goan year, and they are all celebrated with considerable gusto. Every parish has the feast of its local saint, but certain saints seem to be venerated all over Coa, or else in special places which equally attract all Goans. The Feast of the Three Kings is celebrated on 6 january in Cuelim in South Goa and also with a great fair at Reis Magos near Fort Aguada. The fort at Reis Magos is one of the oldest, and the church was the first to be erected in North Goa and has many viceregal associations.

In Goa Velha,  St Andrew’s church is the proud possessor of twenty-six statues of saints which are brought out in procession on the Monday following the fifth Sunday in Lent. Rome is the only other place in the world which has a similar procession, and when the Goan one was started in the seventeenth century it featured sixty-five statues. As the procession moves through the streets, people line to run under the palanquins on which each statue is carried as a way of winning the saint’s blessing. This feast is also accompanied by the inevitable fair at which hand fans are sold as a regional speciality.

Carnival celebration in goa

One of the biggest fairs is held at Mapuca on the nearest Sunday sixteen days after Easter on the occasion of a feast which is jointly celebrated by Hindus and Christians. This is that of Our Lady of Miracles, who is also venerated by Hindus as Lairaya, the goddess of the Sirigaum Temple. Mapuca is the centre for the Friday market to which all Goans come, and this feast is simply an enormous extension of the usual market, but one which has also been given religious overtones.

The feast of St Anthony on 13th  June is associated with the coming of the rains which have always been crucial for the life of the farmers, and the songs which are sung on this occasion are all along the theme of asking St Anthony to send rain. If for some reason the rains don’t come on the 13th there is still another feast on the 4th of June, a traditional second resort for a late monsoon. The Feast of St John the Baptist is usually a thanksgiving for the rains, and mainly consists of groups of young men singing their way around the village requesting contributions of feni.

Naturally things tend to get slightly out of hand, and as the evening wears on the Feast gets celebrated by the young men jumping into the wells. These are situated in almost every courtyard, so no one has very far to go, and the water level is usually fairly high so that there is little danger. The custom is fairly widespread, but it can be seen very successfully at Calangute.

The monsoon is obviously one of the high points of the year, and there are a number of water associated festivals at this time, apart from which there is not much else to do when it’s raining. One of these is naturally that of St Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, which falls on 29 June. The festival takes place near Fort Aguada where three local fishing villages lash a number of boats together to form a stage, and then re-enact a sort of pageant on this stage as it floats majestically down the river.

The custom is fairly widespread, but it can The monsoon is obviously one of the high points of the year, and there are a number of water associated festivals at this time, apart from which much else to do when it’s raining. One of these is naturally that of patron saint of fishermen, which falls on 29th  June. The festival takes place at Aguada where three local fishing villages lash a number of boats together to form a stage, and then re-enact a sort of pageant on this stage as it floats majestically down the river.

Another of these monsoon festivals is the Feast of St Lawrence on 10th August, at the end of the rainy season. The church of St Lawrence was built in 1630 and is a superb white edifice on the north bank of the Mandovi near its mouth. In Goa St Lawrence is the patron saint of sailors, and the feast signals the opening of the sandbars which have built up in the Mandovi during the monsoon and obstructed shipping. For some inexplicable reason they usually do break up on this day and the boats are able to sail out the next day.

St Peter Novidade is the great Harvest Festival of Goa and is celebrated on 21 August each year. The first paddy is cut, and offerings are made to the priests, and on 24th of  August some more rice is carried to the Cathedral at Old Goa, and then to the Governor and Archbishop. There is also a dramatic re-enactment of the battle between Albuquerque and the Adil Shah’s soldiers which used to take place in front of the Governor’s palace, but now takes place more privately on to the Lieutenant Governor’s palace.

The Hindus of Goa, as all over India, celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna in late August with bathing in the river Mandovi off Diwadi island, a spectacle which the Inquisition frowned on considerably in former times, and also have a maion procession and firecrackers to celebrate Divali, the New year, which occurs around the end of October. Both religions however seem to celebrate Easter and Christmas in one way or another, and everyone possible goes mad at Carnival.

Leela-beach-goa

For weeks beforehand people are preparing costumes, and having endless meetings trying to decide on themes and float designs for the great day, all of which is greatly helped along by copious draughts of beer and feni. As the day draws near rehearsals begin, and the various groups begin to practise dance steps to an appropriate record, although the record player seems to have a mind of its own and keeps breaking down. Tension mounts, and last minute costumes are quickly made and fitted, in furtive backstage rooms.  The atmosphere is full of secrets, and the rivalry between certain groups is obviously well-established, although everything is done in the spirit of Carnival.

The great day dawns, and people begin to gather at the rendezvous points, that by late afternoon the various processions are ready to move and gather near the Secretariat where the main procession route begins. The crowds are thick, the music boisterous from twenty different groups, some of which are a hundred strong and all dressed in wild colours. The parade begins and dances and twists its way through the streets of Panjim, until finally it is over for another year. Somebody has won the prize, but nobody really minds who, as the dancers reel back to their homes off to prepare for the dance in the evening.

For four days Goa sleeps during the day so that it can dance all night. Each of the big clubs arranges a dance for one of the nights, and traffic and everything else must make way for this. The Vasco da Gama Club has a dance in the central gardens, while the Club Nacional manages to get the entire road closed in front of their clubhouse and traffic is quite simply diverted, along with the rest of Goa. After four days of this Goans reel back to work, and the austerities of Lent begin, but by then nobody really minds, and there is always next year to start planning for.

The sense of drama which is naturally inherent in Carnival finds its expression in other ways during the rest of the year. Well known for a rich tradition of theatrical performances, over a thousand shows are reportedly staged in Goa annually, vast majority of which are produced by amateurs during festival occasions. These have received considerable support from Goa’s Kala Academy, now housed in splendid modern quarters along the Miramar road, which has arranged a series of annual drama contests.

The sense of drama which is naturally inherent in Carnival finds its expression in other ways during the rest of the year. Well known for a rich tradition of theatrical performances, over a thousand shows are reportedly staged in Goa annually, the vast majority of which are produced by amateurs during festival occasions. These have received considerable support from Goa’s Kala Academy, now housed in splendid modern quarters along the Miramar road, which has arranged a series of annual drama contests.

Harvest Festival in Pilar Goa

These contests have been divided into three classes, one in Marathi and two in Konkani and, not only have the number of contestants steadily increased each year, but also the quality has risen. The vast majority of the plays performed in Goa are Marathi, generally written by playwrights from Maharashtra, but an increasing number of Konkani plays are being produced, written by Goans.

With all of these festivals Goa has also managed to develop an excellent cuisines which owes something to India, something to Portugal, and a great deal to the excellent raw materials which are so abundantly provided by nature. Chicken pork, duck, mutton, and of course suckling pig, are ingredients which abound and complement the rich variety of fish of all kinds which fill the rivers and the nearby sea, so that the Goan menu is anything but restricted. Shellfish in particular is a
Goan speciality, and crabs of all sizes, lobsters, and magnificent tiger prawns, big enough to form a meal in themselves, are practically staple fare. Rice is the most general accompaniment, but other vegetables are available, and indeed anything will grow in the rich soil.

Like all Indians, Goans have a sweet tooth, and from a very limited range of ingredients have managed to produce an incredible variety of desserts and special sweet concoctions which are the highlights of all festivals, and especially Christmas. Using coconuts, rice, semolina, eggs and flour, all mixed with various spices and essences, they create a list of sweet delicacies, all the more astounding in that each is so different. The names themselves are redolent of hidden delights. Bibinca, Kulkuls, Teias de Aranha, Bolinhas, Bolo Gostoso and Sans Rival and are worthy of the hours, sometimes days spent preparing them.

Most of these delicacies are made at home and are the pride of the family kitchen, with a certain amount of friendly rivalry existing between families. At all of these feasts parcels of a particular speciality will be sent to different houses each of which reciprocates with the pride of their own kitchens. The children are the natural messengers for this exchange and the equally happy recipients of samples at every destination although the serious moment is only reached when each cook tastes her rival’s specialities. A number of hotels and restaurants also serve a wide variety of the seemingly inexhaustible Goan cuisine in addition to the more usual international menu, but when it comes to preparing one of the special sweets as a dessert offering, there is usually a nearby Goan lady, whose Bibinca is locally famous, who provides a fresh supply each day.

goa-beach

Thus, in so many ways, the older Goan customs and skills are being assimilated e present and this is an assimilation which can only be advantageous to both sides. Change is inevitable and natural but should always proceed out of the past rather than attempting to reject it. At the moment, with very few exceptions, this amalgam of old and new is working very successfully in Goa and should be both continued and developed. Despite attempts to industrialise, modernise and generally standardise, Goa remains maddeningly, delightfully different as are so many of the other states in India.

A number of hotels and restaurants also serve a wide variety of the seemingly inexhaustible Goan cuisine in addition to the more usual international menu, but when it comes to preparing one of the special sweets as a dessert offering, there is usually a nearby Goan lady, whose Bibinca is locally famous, who provides a fresh supply each day.

Thus, in so many ways, the older Goan customs and skills are being assimilated into the present and this is an assimilation which can only be advantageous to both sides. Change is inevitable and natural but should always proceed out of the past rather than attempting to reject it. At the moment, with very few exceptions, this amalgam of old and new is working very successfully in Goa and should be both continued and developed. Despite attempts to industrialise, modernise and generally standardise, Goa remains maddeningly, delightfully different as are so many of the other states in India. India herself is a total world, containing all possible varieties of people and places, so that the jewel which is Goa, simply adds yet another facet to the whole which in turn benefits by such an addition.