A look at Goa’s Culture from the Traveller’s view
As the saying goes, “in Rome, you do as Romans do”. And when it’s GOA, who would mind, right? The amazing nightlife, where the party never stops; the endless stretch of beaches, leading towards the bustling of the most colorful and vibrant market place; the mixing of different cultures and so on… But for the ones who are willing to see beyond this traditional image, the smallest state of India has something completely different to offer.
Known as the ‘Rome of the East’, Goa’s distinct culture is strongly influenced by its history, with the Portuguese ruling over it for four & a half centuries, as well as having a multi-ethnic population in considerable proportions. Here’s a sneak peek at the inside stories of Goa, which you can look out for while planning your next trip to Goa.
THE BEAUTY OF RELIGIOUS UNITY
It’s something which is probably expected from the land of wonders, but the irony of Goa being equally famous for its religious foundations, alongside being famous for its party-frenzied crowd, is something which the state pulls of beautifully. The numerous churches, temples, and mosques, with their heavy Portuguese influence, are one of the major tourist attractions here.
Though most of the establishments have been restored or reconstructed over time, a few cultural heritage sights have been maintained till date and are part of UNESCO world heritage sites. One of the most prominent places is the Fountain has in Panaji, an old Latin Quarter, which displays the life and architecture of Goa.
Apart from it, there is an endless list of must-visit religious places in Goa like the
- Bom Jesus Basilica,
- Mangueshi Temple,
- Church of St Francis of Assisi,
- Church of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception,
- Masjid-Ul-Abrar, Chapel of St. Francis Xavier,
- Nageshi Maharudra Temple,
- Jama Masjid, SurlaTaar Mosque,
- The Bramha Temple
and so on…
THE STARTER, THE SIDE DISH & THE MAIN COURSE
Goa is one of the few places that have maintained the influence of their culinary art to mix perfectly with its visitors and locals. Though the mouth-watering fish curry & rice remains the staple diet of the locals, the western influence is found in the kitchens here and one can be sure to find the food of one’s choice, be it Italian, European, Chinese or Regional.
The Goan Cultural and Food Festival is something that is not to be missed. The Konkani style preparations of Fish, the traditional Goan preparations like Vindaloo, Xacutti and Sorpotel top the list of must-try Goan cuisines. For those visiting Goa during the Christmas season, the egg-based sweet dish, Bebinca, is an added delight.
THE ART OF LIVING
For someone who is at the heart of living life to the fullest, dance, arts, theatre and music are bound to be the biggest influences in the state’s culture. Guitars and Pianos are a regular sight in the Goan cafes and households. Just like everything else, the Portuguese influence has seeped into the Goan art forms as well. However, the Goans have taken the best of both the eastern and western worlds, to create a very unique Goan music identity.
When it comes to dancing, no one might be able to stop the Goans from shaking their legs. Dancing is an integral part of almost every celebration and festival. The Goan Cultural Festival boasts of being one of the most awaited festivals each year, with the participation of thousands of people in it to celebrate music and dance.
The most popular dance forms of Goa are the Fugadi and Dhaalo, performed by women. The traditional tribal dance of Kunbi and the devotional dance forms like The Lamp Dance and Dhangar are also seen. Apart from these, other dance forms like Zagor, Dekhni, and Morulem show great influence on both eastern and western cultures.
Theatre is also one of the most loved art forms here. With the Kalo and Dashavatar being popular amongst the Hindu’s here, Tiatr is a common entertainment form amongst the Catholics.
EARNING THE BREAD – THE GOAN WAY!
Picturing the average Goan will definitely not be in a suit or blazer, running in a rat race to achieve deadlines or earn lots and lots of money. Tourism being at the hub of all activities, most Goans are occupied in allied jobs. Tourist Guides, Running Shacks and Cafeterias on Beaches, Masseurs and Event Organizers are some of the jobs commonly seen here.
The handloom and handicrafts industry in Goa is always on the boom. Apart from this, the proximity to the sea and the climate also enables fishing and agriculture on a large scale.
Just like every other state in India, Goa also has its own unique culture. When one plans to see it from a different perspective, he is sure to be amazed at what the state has to offer and what lies beyond the traditional image of Goa. So the next time you plan a trip to Goa, let the experts prepare your itinerary.