Monday 19 November 2018

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Economy | Tourism

Ancestral Goa : Pride of Today

 

Ancestral Goa is a sole creation of Mahendra Alvares, an artist running an advertising agency, from a picturesque Loutolim village. While the village, hardly 8 kms from Margao, is slowly getting "converted" into a modern era of concrete jungle, the landlord-turned-artist has converted his property on a small hillock into a century-old village.

You enter it not to enjoy the crude fun on the beaches, but to know visibly how Goa was 100 years ago. More than academic part of the history, Alvares stresses here more upon the culture and life-style of a typical Goan then..

It's basically a mock-up village, consisting of different kind of houses, belonging to every strata of the Goan community, whether a Hindu or a Catholic, a landlord or a farmer or a potter or a fisherman and even a Kunbi tribal.

One enters the village through a traditional front door of a Catholic Goan landlord's house, where a Goan lady, attired in traditional sari, welcomes you with aarti and kumkum on your forehead. But you cannot step into the mock-up village, hiding from the mukadam - a statue of a caretaker of the landlord's property.

What one finds immediately is typical fisherman's hut, where Victorin is sitting with his hand-made wooden needle and weaving the fishnet. Similar is the case with one-room house of Joao, a Kunbi tribal, made of mud and stone, depicting a typical farming community. The other side of the village will find a potter's house, equally tiny, but with variety of traditional earthen pots.

Much different from it is Dona Maria's mansion, a typical Catholic landlord's house, having found influence of Portuguese architecture right from its structure to the painted Chinese pottery and artefacts hung on the walls. Even its firewood kitchen is fabulous, where you find onions and sausages hanging above the fireplace.

Totally in contrast to it is the house of Anand, a lower middle class Hindu, where a tulsi planted in a decorative tullas outside the house welcomes you. Instead of depicting the lifestyle, Alvares here depicts chovoth, Goa's most popular Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

Tintto, a small market place still found in Goan villages, shows you people selling fish, vegetable, fruits, coconut, rope and other commodities. In one corner of it is a cobbler and the hair cutting saloon of the village, found under a thatched roof. Little ahead is the Escola da Musica, where a maestro is holding music classes.

Somewhere in the middle of the village, you will find a small cross, a simple white-washed stone structure, around which the villagers get around in the evening to sing the litany. Similar is the case with a pedd, a banyan tree surrounded with a round stone structure, at the village border. People lit six lamps here while leaving the village, praying for a safe journey.

Also flows right in the middle of the village a spring, where water flows through mouth of the cow, called Boca-da-Vaca in Portuguese. It was the main source of water for the villagers in olden days, though most of these springs are in a pretty bad shape these days.

On the other side of the village is a typical garden found in Goan villages, divided into spice garden, the kitchen garden, the fruit orchard, the hill orchard and the kullagar, considered to be soul of Goa's greenery, with coconut and beatlenut trees all over.

And last but not the least, Alvares figures in the Limca Book Records for his own creation found on top of the hillock in this village. It's India's longest laterite sculpture of Sant Mirabai he has carved through one stone.

Bigger than the sculpture is the Big Foot, a dancing floor, he is running purely as a commercial venture. The paw of the foot is the dancing floor while its fingers are used as platforms for the singers and musicians.

No wonder if a tourist, who wants to know the real Goa, falls into love of this small but wonderful village. Thanks to the tourism department, it now figures into its South Goa tours.






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