While defining that which is Goan and encouraging people to participate and be proud of their rich ancestry, Goa Chitra goes beyond the walls of the museum.
“It is so easy to demonstrate a lifestyle to tourist that visits the state and speak about the way of the Goan life. But to become part of a community and share with them this heritage is a special occasion for all”.
Victor Hugo Gomes the curator of Goa Chitra museum speaks on the occasion of the launch of his extended tours – the heritage trails. “These heritage trails are initiated more for the younger generations who were unable to connect to their roots because of industrialisation and changes in a way of life” he says.
“I want Goans and especially the children and youth to connect with the indigenous people of this land; Maybe from them we shall learn a few lessons on how to preserve and be kind to this earth and the natural surroundings that houses all of us”, he says.
This trail is not only about enjoying yourself but it gives one the opportunity to discover hinterland Goa and its people in a special way. The first heritage trail was to Netravali. A group of 25 enthusiasts of all ages and different professions drove through to the Ambe Ghatt waterfalls and proceeded to spend time with the Dhangar community of Gauli waddo in Vichundrem.
The children and their parents had the opportunity to participate one to one with these indigenous people and watched in fascination intricate rope weaving done using kombyo tree fibre. In the earlier days these ropes were used to tie animals as they were much softer to the skin explains Victor Hugo while also highlighting the knowledge and use of local material in construction.
Close to the budbudeanchem tollem, the bubble lake in Neturlim, in the backyard of a traditional house was traditional Goan lunch prepared by Desai and his wife.
Saving the best for last of course was a thirteen kilometre drive and trek through the once submerged villages of Curdi, Curpem and Potrem. Sometime in the early 80’s these villages were evacuated of about 15000 people to accommodate the Selaulim dam water reservoir that quenches the thirst of most of Goa.
Driving through roads that have been submerged passing through remnants of once functioning villages; barren land that was once fertile; stubs of trees that gave fruit and wood, places of worship and burial grounds, climbing stone carved steps, is an experience that doesn’t come easy. Pantaleao who had accompanied the group stresses about the sacrifice these villagers made for the rest of Goa to have sufficient water supplied via the taps.
Parents with their kids trekked and discovered the market place, the police station, the rice mill, the temples, the wells, a traditional distillery, a dumti, old road side crosses, half-submerged tulsi vrindavans, a deepasthamba etc that showed remarkable workmanship of our ancestors.
These trails are going to be a regular feature of Goa Chitra in association with well known photographer Mr Pantaleao Fernandes.