Goa – Portuguese way of life

Bound by the Arabian Sea, Goa shares a tiny piece of India’s land. Palm trees, never ending stretch of soft beach sand, sparkling water, crazy night life, tasty food and Portuguese-colonial architecture sum up the essentials of Goa. Yes, you cannot miss out on the beautiful Portuguese influences and the heritage remains of their culture, be it architecture or food.

The blazing sun lights up blue houses with pastel doors, and the breeze that cross ventilates through the tall-arched windows. With pastel color walls like mustard, pink, orange, to blue, Goan homes are a sight to see.

Goan food shares a rich cultural heritage (yes, it goes beyond Goan prawn curry and rice), and shares many similarities with Portuguese food. You’ll notice that authentic Goan food is a potpourri of flavours; beef, pork, coconut milk, jaggery, cashew and an endless variety of seafood. From Rechado masala and pork sorpotel to jackfruit and cashew veggie preparation, try it all! Finish it with a generous helping of Bebinca or Dodol. Some of our favourite places to enjoy these are Mum’s Kitchen (Panjim), Martin’s corner (Benaulim), Britto’s and of course Susan Lobo’s. Mum’s Kitchen uses a special ingredient called ‘bimli’; a fruit used to add ‘sourness’ to the curries (often substituted by tamarind or kokum), adding to the authentic flavours. One of the most authentic bebinca and dodol is sold in a small little bakery called Jackris in the sleepy town of Madgaon, but be sure to reach before noon or face a shut door (afternoon siestas is a religion!).

From trance parties, Casino’s and even Sunburn, you must have explored it all and still you crawl back to this place at least once a year! And yet, we are sure you have missed out on one thing, i.e. a typical Goan home. So, kick off your shoes, sit back and relax; live the Susegad life of a true-blue Goan.

#1 Live at Saligao, once a home to a famous Artist!

Situated in the heart of one of the prettiest North Goa villages, Saligao is believed to be a home to  the world famous artist Francis Newton Souza and once you are here, you realize what could have brought out the artist in him. This heritage home is close to the famous Calangute, Candolim and Baga beaches. It is a 15 minute ride to Anjuna & Vagator beaches. Thalassa might be your favorite eat around the corner when at Vagator beach, but for once give the greek food a pass, and enjoy delicious home cooked fish curry & rice, a staple food of Goa. Because when in Goa, you must live like a Goan, right?

#2 Charming country home in Colvale

Colvale villa Goa

Situated in the dreamy village of one of North Goa’s most unadulterated villages, Colvale, this house reflects the Portuguese influence and subtlety of art, on the outside and on the inside. If you are looking for a holiday with both, nature & sand, this is the place to be! A trip to this place can cure your bad mood.

#3 Let the traditional music at Bodiem get you on the dance floor!

Living in a Portuguese style home is a must experience when in Goa. Enjoy the laid back village life, leisure activities like walking around in the village or fields, swimming in the river, boating, fishing, bird watching or just simply laze around on the hammock, swings or in the pool and lose yourself to the music. They say, Goans are born musicians, and that music streams through their blood from a very young age. May be that’s the reason why Music can be heard here, both day and night! When at Bodiem village, you cannot escape the foot-stomping goan mandolin which was brought to Goa by Portuguese. When in Goa, you will find various music from traditional Konkani music, to Western, indigenous, to trance. Goa shares closer connection to western tunes due to the Portugal rule until mid 19th century.

Goa homestay villa

#4. Because South Goa is about paddy fields!

Surrounded by a Teak forest with a view of the fields this furnished house is a well maintained, 100 year Old Portuguese Goan home . The house has a balcony running around two sides and a Covered deck facing the 12000 sqft garden and Swimming Pool. The outdoor covered deck attached to the house is large and has an antique dining table for outdoor dining.

# 5. Explore the interiors of Ribandar, North Goa

Goa was the only overseas State of Portugal known as “Estado da India” and most of the history lies in this city of Old Goa. This is a location having world famous historical sites. The house is designed so that the view of the river, the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and adjacent islands are prominent from every location in the house. One of the lasting Portuguese influences is seen in Goan Cuisine and the craftsmenship.

# 6. Experience the Old European Portugal Architecture at Siolim

The cottage exposes to its guest a true Indian-cum-Old European Portuguese culture through its warm hospitality, old unbroken portugal trends of architecture and delicious local cuisine. The house is perfectly placed for the lovely beaches just to the north of Morjim, Ashwem, Arambol and Mandrem beaches and the action of the Candolim – Calangute – Baga – Anjuna beaches to the South. Goa offers a beautiful amalgamation of local markets  from Anjuna flea market, Mapusa market, Baga beach; Calangute market square and even Mackie’s night bazaar! You will get everything at these markets, chunky jewelry to Bohemian clothes; but the only thumb rule for shopping here is – bargain as much as you can.

#7. Immerse yourself into meditation at Mandrem Beach

The Portuguese colonisation played a major role in the development of the exquisite furnishings and decorations used in residential houses. And one can see the architectural influence in Goa even today. Located exactly by a riverside at Mandrem beach, the villa gives the guest the best of both the experiences of the beach which is just a wooden bridge cross distance as well as of the river which flows exactly through the house. For people who are on a laze around and do nothing sort of vacation, then Mandrem offers you just that. Chill around, eat at the seaside shacks, sink your feet deep into the golden sand, hear the waves beating on the shore, and just forget the world! You can even sit and meditate, its that peaceful.

It is difficult to imagine Goa without its Portuguese connection. The people are so imbibed in the foreign culture that this blend of east and west has now become a trademark of Goa. This unique blend is apparent every where, from art and architecture to food and music. It is clear that Goa has derived its modern-pop yet rich and traditional mix of culture from its shared past!

Cover Photo Credits: en.wikipedia.org

About the Author:

Keenjal Patel

A reader at mind, a writer at heart, a believer at soul and an achiever overall, is what she want to be. She loves to express through words. She’s a firm believer that imagination rules the world and the day this world absorbs the essence of her words, that would be a day of pride for her!

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