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Old 27th March 2011, 13:47   #16
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Default Re: Goa - Land of Temples

Nice travelogue interspersed with bit of amchigele.
Thats the fun part about travelling to Goa and all the way till Kasaragode. You can speak Konkani and get away with it at most places
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Old 27th March 2011, 14:57   #17
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Default A small interlude

Ragul, thanks for that bit of poetry - had missed out on that.

Some more socio linguistic introspection before proceeding with the travelouge. I am afraid I may ruffle some feathers.

The last few days, apart from hectic official activity, had also seen some very hectic social activity; among which was more than a couple of Konkani (the language) related events. Right from the time I was a toddler, I have been in the sidelines of various Konkani related events. In KL, Konkani-the-language was synonymous with the Gowd Saraswat Brahimin, its speaker.

Non-brahimin Saraswats, had fled Goa during the Portugese aggression, along with the Saraswats. But there used to be a time they were not interested in preserving their Konkani heritage. They took extreme pains in distancing themselves from the language. While the Saraswat Brahimin had fled Goa to preserve his culture, and language formed an integral part of the culture. For the non-brahimin, the same culture meant his (caste) identity. Therefore, the "low caste" image. They took great pains to integrate into the greater social culture (at least, in Kerala).

While I was on the sidelines (because I was to small) of the agitation for inclusion of Konkani into the constitution's 8th schedule, talks like "XYZ community is not interested in this" was frequent. And non-brahimins were conspicious by their absence. In other parts of India too, the "include Konkani in the 8th schedule" agitation was mostly confined to the Brahimins. In Goa, the agitation was mostly centered around the Christians. This lead to a very interesting situation - the Christians wanted the official script for Konkani to be Roman; but others (read - brahimins) wanted devanagari (and Devanagari itself was a compromise).

Even after the language was included in the 8th schedule, the non-brahimins would not touch Konkani with a bargepole - they would rather distance themselves from a language which reminded them of the caste system, which they desperately wanted to shake off.

That was till a recent executive order from the government of India, which granted OBC (Other Backwards Communities) status to non-brahimin saraswats. This means job reservations among other things.

The tide turned suddenly. Brahimins suddenly found themselves out numbered at forums for Konkani. And new arrivals were NOT speaking in Konkani. though they claimed to speak for Konkani. In rhe recently concluded Kerala local body elections, a large number of seats in disperse pockets of Kerala were fought on the basis of the Language card. And I wa surprised to hear of the seats and the places - there were'nt any Brahimin Konkani speakers residing in those areas.

It is very much clear that with onset of reservation, the communities which were trying to forget the Language, and the culture associated with it, the same people who were integrating with the large culture, began to assert their social identity. The language which they had been sweeping under the carpet (for at least for the three and half decades I could relate to) was the only tool available to them for asserting that "minority" identity.

This trend was evident in the two events I was observing - the large number of non-brahimins was very much apparent.

Even outside KL, the large number of non-saraswats asserting their Konkani heritage is swelling. Sometime in November, Mangalore hosted a major meet of Konkani language speakers; going through the list of participating / contributing organisations, I can find only one organisation which can be identified with the Saraswat brahimin community.

And no - I am not complaining. A language cannot thrive on religious literature alone. The Konkani as I know and speak is devoid of romance. It does not know about the "baser" emotions and feelings. The common man would find it very difficult to relate to anything higher than his most basic emotions.

And I often find it very strange that most of our devotional songs (which are not always in Konkani) are, strangely in Marathi, a language not a single KL based Gowd Saraswat Brahimin would know. It was not any different in Goa too. :-D Several bhajans were in either Marathi or Sanskrit. Yes, a large body of Konkani language bhajans do exist - and DD chandana telecasts Konkani programmes once in a while - on Saturdays or Sundays - I am not sure.

Why this lingusitic talk on a travellouge? The Zimbaulim based taxi driver did not know any other language other than Konkani. But there was often a very huge communication gap between us, though we both spoke the same language.
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Old 27th March 2011, 17:52   #18
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Default Re: A small interlude

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post

Non-brahimin Saraswats, had fled Goa during the Portugese aggression, along with the Saraswats.
You mean the Goan Inquisition don't you? Because the Portugese were present as traders for a long time and there wasn't just a singular event that was an external act of aggression or war as I recall. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goa...ion_%28book%29 and also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goa_Inquisition.

A very calamitous event in Indian history totally buried and kept out of sight from history books.

The Original and most reliable account of the Inquisition was given by Historian Alfredo de Mello.

Quote:
It is very much clear that with onset of reservation, the communities which were trying to forget the Language, and the culture associated with it, the same people who were integrating with the large culture, began to assert their *social identity*
I think the phrase "political identity" is more apt here. Very interesting insight into on-goings not visible to the public at large.

Quote:
And no - I am not complaining. A language cannot thrive on religious literature alone. The Konkani as I know and speak is devoid of romance. It does not know about the "baser" emotions and feelings. The common man would find it very difficult to relate to anything higher than his most basic emotions.
Curiously - Since Marathi and Konkani are similar aren't there any borrowed words that express baser emotions that common people can relate to in Konkani? I do think Konkani leans rather heavily on Marathi so I am stumped!! Correct me if I am wrong!!

See this quote http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecu...an_Inquisition

Quote:
During Portuguese rule, the ancient language of Konkani was suppressed and rendered unprivileged by the enforcement of Portuguese.[7]. The result this linguistic displacement was that Goans did not develop a literature in Konkani nor could the language unite the population as several scripts (including Roman, Devanagari and Kannada) were used to write it [8]. Konkani became the lingua de criados (language of the servants) [9] as Hindu and Catholic elites turned to Marathi and Portuguese respectively
--Ragul

Last edited by Ragul : 27th March 2011 at 18:02.
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Old 27th March 2011, 19:43   #19
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Default Re: A small interlude

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
You mean the Goan Inquisition don't you? Because the Portugese were present as traders for a long time and there wasn't just a singular event
Yes, I should I have been a bit lax in using words; after all, a travelouge, right?

Quote:
A very calamitous event in Indian history totally buried and kept out of sight from history books.
Absolutely; and plenty of Konkani literature has been lost - especially the written works.

Quote:
Curiously - Since Marathi and Konkani are similar
Almost a decade back, I was travelling by train the Pune, and it was heavy rain there. The train arrived sometime around midnight, and approx six hours before that, just before sunset, a lady gets into the train. She is very agitated, and asks "tumi khentay votay?" (Where are you going?). "Pune" I answer; and she goes off into a longish rant. A friend, whose father was in the IAF, and therefore had some knowledge of almost every language, says that she is talking Marathi, and is saying about some train diversion.

I sheepishly ask back to both "but you first spoke Konkani?" The lady gets totally confused. And I suddenly realise that both languages have plenty in common.

Quote:
aren't there any borrowed words that express baser emotions that common people can relate to in Konkani? I do think Konkani leans rather heavily on Marathi so I am stumped!! Correct me if I am wrong!!
Unfortunately, I do not know Marathi; but I cannot vouch for the phrase "leans on". All the same, having interacted with (not many) Konkani speakers from all parts of India, including several who have setteled in Mumbai from KL in past 30 years, IMHO "has much in common" would be more apt.
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Old 27th March 2011, 20:23   #20
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Default Re: Goa - Land of Temples

Great write up and fab pics backseatdriver.

BTW, what is a 'non Brahmin' Saraswat? I thought all Saraswats were brahmins whose ancestors lived on the banks of the mythical Saraswati river and came from north India ( you have Saraswat brahmins in Punjab, Kashmir, UP and Rajasthan). Curious to know.

Cheers!
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Old 27th March 2011, 20:43   #21
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Default Day 2

As HVK has rightly pointed out, most of the main important temples are in and around Ponda. If one is staying in one of these temples, we can complete a darshan of all the main temples in half a day's time.

One important "feature" of the Goa Kuldev temples is that they stay open throughout the day, unlike the other temples (the ones that I know, that is).

Unfortunately, we could not find accomodation in our own kuldev, Mahalasa Temple. The annual festival at Shanta Durga, plus two marriages on consecutive days meant tha the temple's accomodation was very full, and all the nearby temples' accomodation too was full.

And I was in no mood to go to a hotel / lodge till the pilgrimage part of Goa visit was over. So, we decided to stay at Damodar temple. This one is farthest from the "main" temples in Goa. The plan was to finish the visit to other temples and then go to Panaji and stay for the "touristy" part of trip. That plan B, however did not happen, as it turned out.

We had to rely on the driver for temple locations; and were in no mood to tell him "take us to temple X next" kind of talk. In the process, we seem to have missed the Nageshi temple. Instead, he took us to the "Gomantak Balaji" temple - which is NOT a kuldev temple. This is oen a Balaji temple, under the management of the Sringeri Kamakoti peetham. Dont ask me why a primarily shaivaite math would conduct a prathishta of Lord Vishnu, that too within the past 15 years - it beats me.

There were plenty of foreigners doing the circuit.

What pained me most was the inconspicuous beggars - not the ragged-clothes-and-tin-pan-in-hand kind; but the decently dressed, but famished Saraswats. I was thinking that this clan were confined to Kerala alone. It is not that they have chosen begging as a profession, it is more that they have no other option. They would corner you as you are sitting in the temple or doing the pradikshina, strike up some small talk; and suddenly pop the question.

"Can you spare N rupees"?

I used to get irritated at these guys initially. But, after some social work, which gave me an opportunity to visit several households, I realise that they really have no other option. But, some kind of donors (mostly businessmen), who are often a bit too open handed have actually encourage them; but do precious little to readicate the causes for such poverty.

I very quickly realised the limitations of P&S (point shoot) camera during course of this day. One of them had a view finder, but used a normal battery, which would run out pretty fast. I had got a dozen of them (nothing less) through ebay, but forgot to take them on day 2. Needless to say, the pair in use ran out pretty fast. The other one was a panasonic lumix, which uses a BL5c (or similar) battery which is common on mobile phones. But it has no viewfinder. Photography inside the temples was prohibited. Outdoor photography was - well - without a view finder, composing the image in bright sunlight was impossible; and the camera with a view finder had no battery!!!

The mobile's camera was therefore, put to good use. Shielding it with hand meant I could do a bit of composing; but not too much. The pics witha date stamp are from the Kodak.

Most of the "publishable quality" pics have been posted.

Note the portugese influence in temple styling.

External view of Sri Ramnathim, Bandora. Especially the rooms on the left and far side of the photo reminded me of the commercial buildings at Mattancherry.

Goa - Land of Temples-ramnathimarchitecture.jpg

At Sree Damodar Temple, I had more time at hand and could take relaxed photos. Here are two snaps of the exterior of the temple; second is more a closeup of the first. Note the Portugese influence.

Goa - Land of Temples-damodararchitecture.jpg


Goa - Land of Temples-damodararchitecture2.jpg

The temple's vimana, however, in spite of the "modern" additions, has a distinct Indian flavour to it. Viewed in isolation, it would pass for any North Indian Mandir.

Goa - Land of Temples-damodarnorthindianarchitecture.jpg

While most of the roads in Goa were good, we encountered only a small stretch of bad roads - from Zimbaulim to Shiroda. This appeared to be the handiwork of mining trucks. See this:-

Goa - Land of Temples-nonroadshiroda.jpg
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Old 27th March 2011, 21:22   #22
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Since we had discussed the topic of Marathi connection - it is interesting to find some of the Sants' (did the word "saint" originate from "sant"?) images at base of the Tower at Sri Ramnathim.

Goa - Land of Temples-baseoframnathimtower.jpg

Other side of Ramnathim Temple - I have posted one pic from the Lumix camera (resized for complying with forum rules) in the previous post. Here is a pic of the other side, (not changed) from the Kodak P & S.

Goa - Land of Temples-ramnathimotherside.jpg
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Old 28th March 2011, 23:01   #23
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Default Day 3

End of day 2 was very tiring; we were grateful to reach back to Damodar temple. It was Palki puja at the temple; and we managed to reach on time for palki puja after a light dinner at a nondescript restaurant at Quepem. Kids and a long travel (we covered close to 120 KM - and about 1 1/2 hours at each temple that day) meant full "vrath" was not possible.

For day 3, we initially planned to move to Panjim. The driver is very nonchalant about going to Panjim. "Nothing to see" is his refrain. I wonder why.

On way to Panaji from Zimbaulim, we visited the Museum of Goa History. Nice place if you want to watch an audio - visual presentation of Goa's rich cultural tradition (bereft of the darkl events, of course).

On way from this Museum to Panaji, we passed what appeared to be the barge repair yard of Chowgules'. (now part of the Sterlite group).

We wanted to visit the commercial area / market in Panaji just for the heck of it; but mother was having problems walking around, and my kids were getting restless, being put on a tight leash. So, ended up driving inside the city for about half an hour. Lunch was as Kamat's. What stuck me throughout Goa was that unlike KL, one can walk, with some degree of confidence, on the footpath. In KL, I am under the constant fear that the slabs would give away under my feet.

The Panjim bridge; sorry, not sure of the name. One crosses this to go to Calangute.

Goa - Land of Temples-panjimbridge.jpg

A ship at Panaji harbour.

Goa - Land of Temples-shipatpanjim.jpg


And I saw a cute yacht - and have posted the pics in a more appropriate thread -

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shifti...hts-boats.html (Yachts and boats !!!!)

I sorely missed a good camera with good zoom capabilities - I wanted to shoot some of those iron ore barges. And I am now regretting not taking enough pics. Too bad I cannot post most of the pics because there is a family member in the frame.

I missed driving my own car - or rather, being my own boss - every time I wanted to take a pic - the vehicle was moving; and I simply could not tell the driver to stop every few minutes. The cameras took some seconds to start up; so most of the pics were from the mobile.

Our plan was to move to a hotel in Panaji for the night, and then travel to Madgaon next day - the hope was that we could avoid a 70 KMs odd travel after few hours on the beach. We had vacated the rooms at Sree Damodar Temple too. But, apparently, some convention was happening in Panaji, and the friend who had volunteered to find rooms for us could not find any in Panaji. The only place he could find was the Goa Tourism Development Corporation's place at Old Goa; where we were in for a real rude shock.

The staff members were getting smart. First, "sir, no room"' "We know no Mr. XYZ (the friend who did the bookings)".

And after some phone calls, "Sir, only luxury rooms available, we will give it at good discount. I lose my temper and walk out; and go back to Zimbaulim. I realise that the staffers are suffering from "fleece the hapless tourist" syndrome. Have seen / suffered and tackled it in several hotels in the days when I used to go "interview hopping" just after graduation. "saar.... no single room, only double room" at which I smile and say "ok, then I will go else where". And I end up with one of the best rooms they offer.

Too bad a beautiful trip had to end in frayed tempers; and even bad that only my temper was lost. (the staffers were of course, disappointed at a lost "opportunity").

Remaining part of the journey was to Kollur, Mulki and Udupi; very pedestrian, and quick trip; and both places are, obviously, not in Goa. ;-D

But, saw this interesting board at Udupi Railway Station.

"cold reception assured, saar!!!"

Goa - Land of Temples-coldreception.jpg

(or that is what happens when some letters fall off from a board).
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