Goa is definitely known for its beautiful sandy beaches which attract visitors to the state in hordes. But until one takes a trip into the heartland of the state, only then does he come to know just how much more there is to this place. Which is what ItsGoa learned on its trip to South Goa with Mackinlay Barreto and Raul da Costa from The Local Beat Goa. And it was an experience definitely worth having and seeing through the eyes of proud Goans.
The South Goa experience
The very pretty Ilha da Rachol
South Goa has some of the best beaches in the state but this trip was definitely not about them. The hinterland of Goa, however, is an experience that everyone should have. The Local Beat Goa took us on a beautiful drive through the villages of Loutolim, Raia, Rachol and ended at Curtorim. We made a pitstop at the beautiful Ilha da Rachol at the banks of the river. As with any beautiful spot, the opportunity for a small photoshoot arose and we grabbed it with both hands.
The supposedly haunted Rodrigues house
As we left Ilha da Rachol, we passed what we were told was a haunted house. Known as the Rodrigues house, this massive structure stands tall and proud despite its abandoned state, on the main road. Goans love a good haunted house story and therefore a stop was definitely in order. Not sure if there were spirits around but it was really eerie. In Goa, it is common to see such supposedly haunted houses or cursed as this is what they are often called. In most cases, there is often a family dispute that leads to the abandonment of such grand old Goan homes.
The Rachol Seminary
The next part of our journey took us to the Rachol Seminary. This was the oldest seminary in India and one of the oldest in Asia with a long and rich history. The church and seminary stand on a small rise and the architecture and sheer size will fascinate any history/heritage/architecture lover.
The Maina lake, the paddy fields, the ‘mannos’ and more
The Maina-Curtorim lake was the second last stop on our road trip to South Goa. Here, we got to taste some fresh coconut toddy, hear about how the local fishermen sometimes use the ingenious method of fishing at the ‘mannos’ or sluice gates. Of course, it’s quite intricate and the no one quite explains it like Raul da Costa from The Local Beat Goa. Soon after, we got to watch a ‘padekar’ or coconut plucker shimmy up a tree and get us some tender coconuts to sip on. It’s important to note that this is a dying tradition of Goa that needs quick attention and a definite revival.
The area is extremely beautiful with the huge Maina lake on one side and the gorgeous green paddy fields on the other. This particular is also the location of the famed Handi Khuris cross which is the site of the Harvest feast in August. It’s the perfect location to unwind and even do a bit of fishing just like the locals do. Which is what we did. We were handed basic fishing rods which consisted of a long, thin stick fashioned from a branch, that had some fishing line with a tiny hook on which bait was hung. The bait was a tiny prawn. But luck wasn’t on our side and no one caught anything.
High tea at the Moniz home
The last part of this South Goa experience took us to the lovely Goan home of the Moniz family in Curtorim. High tea and a delightful conversation were on the agenda with Mr. Joaquim Moniz and his lovely wife. Homemade Goan sweets like bebinca, pinaca, and dodol were served in pretty trays along with pots of hot tea. Mr. Moniz showed us around his lovely home which was built in 1924. He also does a little business of selling homemade wines and pickles.
We even got to try some jambul wine, guava wine and ginger wine which are some of the wines that he sells to people on a non-commercial basis. It’s an interesting story of how this Goan gentleman, once a medical rep and a contractor in his former professional life, came to make wine. And of course, it’s one that only he can tell.
The Local Beat Goa provides this kind of experience on a regular basis to different parts of Goa. They call it a ‘Village Loaf’, not to be mistaken for bread. Each experience is different and not to be missed out. For more details, you can contact them using the below details. Get ready to Chill like a Goan.
Contact: Mackinlay Antonio Das Merces Barreto – The Local Beat, Goa on +91 90499 76761 / 70201 68189.