A mere 15 minute drive from Margao lies the beautiful village of Curtorim. It is picturesque and peaceful, with the river Zuari flowing gently on one side. There is an abundance of paddy fields in the village as well as the well known Curtorim lake. The village is also home to a number old Goan homes, mansions really, given their sheer size. These homes also are similar to the ones that can be seen in the villages of Verna and Chandor as well as in the city of Margao.
Curtorim is a famous village in the state
Curtorim is a predominantly Catholic village like its neighbour Chandor. It is a widespread village filled with little hamlets.
Curtorim gets its name from either kuddtari or kuddtoddi since the agricultural village had kudds (rooms) built on the river bank (toddir). These were supposedly built to store kharif and rabi crops. The village is well known for its church of St. Alex as well as the lake which the church faces. Residents of Curtorim are known as ‘Kuddtorkars’.
The land in Curtorim is divided into three parts from the hills to the river – the topmost portion has the morod lands, the middle portion comprises of the kher lands and those bordering the river are the khazans. While the houses are surrounded by morod lands, the rest are all paddy fields and coconut trees.
Curtorim has 5 sweetwater lakes that are used for irrigating the fields. Unfortunately, as per a study done by the GSPCB recently, Curtorim’s main lake has been declared one of the most polluted lakes in the state. There are an additional 16 ponds in the village as well.
A copper-plate inscription was issued by King Viramarmadeva of the Kadamba dynasty in 1049 CE concerning a grant of a piece of land called ‘Tudukapura’ in ‘Kudtarika agrahara’ of ‘Chhat sathi desha’. This inscription suggests that ‘Kudatari’ or modern ‘Curtorim’ was known as ‘Kudatarika’ then. ‘Chhat sathi’ refers to modern Salcete, known as ‘Sashti’ in the local Konkani language. It had an ‘Agrahara’, which means an education centre or a university in the modern sense and was started most probably by the said monarch Viramarmadeva or by ‘Sasthadeva II’ or ‘Guhalladeva II’ of the Kadamba dynasty.
A predominantly Catholic village
As mentioned before, the residents of the village are mainly Catholic. There are over 50 wards in the village. One of Salcete’s oldest churches, St. Alex Church is located here. It was erected in 1597 and the builders built it differently from most churches in Goa. St Alex is located on the banks of the Angddi tollem (lake). The concept that this church is built on is very similar to Hindu temples constructed on the banks of a tank. This site is believed to be the location of an ancient temple dedicated to a powerful Hindu deity named powerful deity, Ravalnath. The remains of the temple still can be seen to this day.
Initially, it was built as a chapel. It was then elevated to a church in 1808 and once sheltered the Kudtari/Kundodari Mahamaya temple deities that are presently located at Ghudo Avadem.
The church has more of a contemporary 18th century styled design. As with most of the churches in Salcete, some part of the walls are plain red laterite and the remaining are painted white. Only the facade and porch area are plastered. The main altar is very elegant in its design. It has scrolled pilasters supporting the complex balustraded pedestals for the guardian angels in all their splendor. The column details are similar to those of the columns in Margao’s Church of the Holy Spirit.
Curtorim village feasts
Curtorim celebrates not one, but two feasts. The feast of St. Alex is celebrated with much joy on the 17th of July every year. However, it is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe that is extremely popular. This particular feast is known as the ‘Feast of O’ or Kelleam fest (feast of bananas). While the latter is due to the fact that bananas were traded at the feast fair in ancient times, the name ‘Feast of O’ comes from the days of yore when services were in Latin and every prayer from December 18 to Christmas Day on December 25 would begin with the alphabet ‘O’.
Some things are best seen through one’s own eyes. Therefore, do a roadtrip down to South Goa. Every village in the region is pretty in its own way and for history buffs, best experienced in the flesh. Enjoy the drive through villages like Verna, Nuvem, Loutolim, Raia, Curtorim and even Chandor. For information on the village, check out the panchayat website as well.
Information credit – Wikipedia/