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Showing posts from 2010

Gau Pallan - An exotic event of mass evacuation

The Cannon ready to fire at the temple ground Its Time up.  The tent..... Villagers erecting the tent.  Erecting the tent. Getting Ready.... The Rameshwer Temple of Achra Three to four days before, the villagers start developing make shift tents, kitchens and the planning begins for a grand evacuation. Gau Pallan they call it and there is an excitement around the obscure village of Achra in Sindhudurg just 20 Km from Malvan (an age old port town). This is an event which happens once in three years just after Datta Jayanti (a important festival in the region). Gau Pallan is an age old tradition and there are various myths behind it. Some call it a purification of sought, others have religious believes that the grand evacuation pleases to local deity. In this costal region it is believed that the physical property belongs to God and the residents are just tenants. There are also faithful that believe that the event began during the days of plagues and epidemi

Mando - The Love song of Goa

Mando is called the love song of Goa . In fact in the past, mando did not deal with themes of love alone. There were also many other issues projected through the mando, but on the whole mandos were composed on different shades of love and hence it came to be known as the love song of Goa . Mando is also called the dance song of Goa as it is accompanied by a dance   while being sung. Family celebrations uded to culminate around the singing and dancing of mando. Goa has different types of songs and dance, it can be classified into religious, childhood, marriage, random folk, occupational, caste theatrical etc. Goan music in the past was mostly monophonic. Due to the Portuguese influence Goa was exposed to Harmonic music. The first type of Goan music to use harmony were those sung in the church. Subsequently other songs like the Dekhni, dulops, tiatr songs and mando all started using Harmonic music. Although the mando is alove song expressing varied emotions of love, the dulops bring

Omlette like never before

As you drive down from Coquiero circle in Porvorim towards Calangute you pass through villages of Sangolda and Saligao. The beautiful drive takes you through these sleepy villages in narrow road with old houses on both sides. After you cross Sangolda comes the village of Saligao which has one of the most photographed churches in Goa . Just before the church is Samrat Restaurant. A very small restaurant similar to a tapri, the restaurant has just 4 tables and 6 items on its menu. Rus Omlette is the star of the show here. Rus omlette is nothing but a regular omlete with chicken gravy on top of it. It is spectacular in taste. The chicken gravy is of the famous Xacuthi which is made of coconut paste and whole load of different spices, blend together in the right consistency to form a delicious dish. Chicken Xacuthi in itself is extremely tasty and famous export from Goa but when it comes to a perfect breakfast nothing to beat the Rus omlette. The omlette itself is very well cooked and

Shravan & the unique festivals of Goa

Add caption The Shravan month as per the Hindu calendar is a auspicious month and full of festivals around India . The climate is considered to be just perfect across the peninsula; there is a renewed energy & freshness in the nature around after the heavy rains of July. The fields are ready with their offering of the freshest of vegetables and produce, probably that’s why we have onam, rakshabandhan, narli poornima and various other harvest festivals around India . In Goa these festivals are more on a micro level. Every village has a different version of festivals, feasts & jatras happening. These festivals are a treat as the whole village gets together in celebrations. Vasco celebrates the famous Saptah Jatra, we have Saligao chapel’s feast which is famous around Goa for the earthen ware which is at display in the various make shift shops, bonderas celebrated in Divar island, Konsachem fest (harvest festival) celebrated in the various villages particularly uniquely in T

Vasco Saptah - Goa's largest fair or jatra

There’s a carnival like atmosphere, with over 700 make shift stalls selling everything from food to kitchen ware to clothes to furniture. The prayers and devotional songs continue from the Damodar temple nestled in the front portion of the Joshi Residence. This ancestral home witnesses long lines of lakhs of pilgrims who come to seek the blessings of the divine. The celebration dates back to 1899 when seeking to be saved from a plague that had gripped the port town, residence of Vasco traveled to Zambaulim in South Goa and brought back a coconut blessed at the Shri Damodar Temple . Constant prayers later the plague ended. Folklore holds. When the coconut was brought from Zambaulim, one Shreedhar Joshi was asked to perform the Puja. This tradition has continued for the past 112 years at the temple which is inside the Joshi residence in Vasco. Incidentally the statue of Laord Damodar was installed only in 1970 in the temple, earlier only the coconut was worshiped. The Saptah starts

Folk Flock to Beaches

With just about a month of summer remaining, a rush is witnessed at the beaches of Goa by Goans for the annual ritualistic and traditional dip in the sea waters. It is believed by locals that the venturing into the seas in the month of April and May cures one of prickly heat, rheumatism, pain in the joints and limbs etc. "The sea is a gift to human kind and not only because of the fish that we get to eat and other riches but also because it is blessed with many other wonderful things that we may not even know about". My land lady tells me. She also adds that the annual bath includes staying or visiting the beaches for 3 or 4 days continuously can have a good effect on your body. This is a age old tradition in Goa. These days the concept has changed into a picnic where food and other necessities are carried to the beach and families laze around for the whole day in the beach by just sleeping, reading, listening to music, singing some songs together etc. While the young hav

Cash Deposits for Vindaloo

I recently so a commercial on TV of ICICI bank about how the employees go out of the way in delivering a personal touch to the services they provide. Some commercials really do touch you but not this one. The farce in the add was way to evident to me, having experienced the bank many times. I have always found the bank to be very chaotic though they have brought in some good changes to the way Indians bank. On the other hand I find more at home at our own SBI Bank where at least the staff is not trying to ape some MNC's. ICICI on the other hand I feel is trying to put up a face of genuine care and concern but is as chaotic as any of our local banks would be. My routine bank visits include a trip once in a while to our local village corporation bank. There is no reason for me to be there but I have to be for the sake of some delicious Vindaloo or some other delicacies which Antao aunty trades in favor for her cash to be deposited. The offer is too tempting for me to consider. The

The summers and the Jungle Juice

The summers are here and so is the aurrack, the favourite drink of Goa. It is the juice of the cashew fruit which is mildly alcoholic. There are various ways to have it but the best one is the way my friend Denniss makes it - Loads of crushed ice, 180 ml of the juice, lot of lime squeezed into it with a dash of salt in a tall glass. It doesn't give you a kick like the other drinks thats why we have 180 ml in a glass instead of the standard 60 ml or 30 ml. From March if you get a chance to travel through the hinterlands of Goa, I bet you will not miss the sweet, fruity striking smell of the ripe cashew fruit. One of the greatest imports by the Portuguese, this fruit has influenced the way I beat the heat about 350 years after the first fruit was born on this land. These fruits are seasonal and starts riping from February to April.  It is a richly flavored fruit so it is had lightly sugared or salted. Another way to have it is with the recipe mentioned above. Which I think is much

Fish - The life line of Goa

In Mumbai it is the local train network. But not here. Squids, Mussels, Prawns, Kingfish, Mackreal etc is something which Goa and Goans cannot live without. The day of my Goan friends begin with their moms waking them up to go to the local market to buy the fresh catch. There is always an anxiety and excitement during this period which ends with the consumption of the catch at lunch. The success of your day is measured by the freshness of the fish you manage to Get. Some common questions when 2 Goans meet each other. "What fish have you brought to day and from where"? When you go to a restaurant in Goa you do not ask the menu you ask "What is the fresh catch available today"? In between conversations the Fish strikes - "These days you do not get fresh fish at all". I heard that Siolim market has better and fresher fish". Fish is always on a Goans mind. My Goan friend landmarks his way to our apartment in Kharghar by the fisherwomen sitting by

Gudi Padva - Happy New Year

There wouldn't be a better day to start blogging than on the first day of the year. Gudi Padva is widely celebrated in Maharashtra & Goa as the first day of the new year.  This year is my first Padva as a married man & my wife began this year with a bang with some awesome Carrot Halva. It really set me up for the coming year. My wify is one of the best cooks that I have come across and her style of cooking is my favorite, less masala, very simple style of cooking and delicious. She cooks Indian food the way you would have European food & I am now looking forward for a delicious culinary year ahead. The new year began with the delicious Carrot Halwa and then proceeded with reading the local news paper and when you read that a new Monginis store is opening in the neighborhood you realize the world around you is fine at least till the borders of Goa. Goa being a very small state with a small population you end up having newspapers with headlines of store openings and robbe