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Tis the Holiday Season! A Five-Point Guide to Goa- Live like a true Goan!

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Palolem Beach, Goa, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Dec 29, 2016: It’s the holiday season, which means packing your bags and setting off to a destination which has been sending you invites in your dreams throughout the year. And for most of us, that dream holiday destination is, “drum rolls in the background”- GOA!

The aesthetically pleasing beaches, the moreish sea food on the shacks, the colorful attires and jewellery in Goan flea markets, the artistic churches and the Bollywood famous- Dudhsagar Falls, everything calls out loud to every soul who craves for a soul soothing experience.

But what are the major attractions in Goa? What do the Goans do? How do they bask in the enriching air of Goa? Here is a holistic guide to enjoy Goa like never before. Because, when in Goa, live as a Goan!

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  1. Where to Shop

When you visit any foreign country, state, city or town, one of the most important things to do is shop in the local markets of that place. Just like Delhi has Sarojini and Mumbai has Colaba Causeway, Goa has its own flea markets and other markets which every Goan lives by! Anjuna Wednesday Market is a market which happensevery Wednesday has many goods and food stalls to engage people. Calangute Market is also a must visit for people who want to buy jewellery, souvenirs, clothes etc. Panjim Market, Mapusa Market and Margao Market are also a must visit for shopaholics. There are many night markets also like Baga Night Market, Saturday Night Market at Arpora and Mackie’s Night Bazaar where you can crash in after a day at the beach.

  1. What and Where to-Eat

Goa has its palatable cuisine of sea food. Fresh prawns, crabs, pomfrets, lobsters and many other varieties of fishes adorn the menus of the restaurants and shacks in Goa. Goan prawn curry, Fish Recheado, Bebinca, Rava fried fish, Chicken Cafreal are few of the delectable dishes of the vast Goan cuisine.

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Cafe Real in Panaji, Palácio do Deâo in Quepem which has amazing Portuguese food, Sakana in Vagator, Noronha’s Corner in Anjuna are few places where you can satisfy your hunger. Pousada on the Beach in Calangute, La Plage in Ashwem Beach and Surya Beach Cafe in Galgibag Beach are few places to eat on Goan beaches with the sun and sand.

  1. Hire a Bike

The best way to explore Goa is on a bike, said every Goan ever! There are many agencies in Panaji from where you can hire a bike to explore the streets and sides of Goa. The rates of hiring bikes are not very high and easily affordable also. Hiring a Bajaj Pulsar for around a day costs 800 rupees and a Honda Activa scooter for around 400 rupees.

Hiring a Royal Enfield is slightly expensive, it costs 1200 rupees a day but these are the rates for peak season. The hiring rates go a notch down in off season where a Bajaj Pulsar or Honda Activa costs 250 rupees a day and Royal Enfield costs under 1000 bucks ie. 900 rupees. So, hire a bike and scoot away to every beach and every shore!

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  1. Explore the Churches

A Goa visit is incomplete without visiting the beautifully architectured, majestic churches. Bom Jesus Basilica is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the oldest churches in Old Goa. S E Cathedral is another major attraction in Goa. It is the largest church in India and holds a strong Portugal history behind it. Monte Hill, Church of Lady Rosary, Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception are other few of the many churches that Goa has.

  1. Cruises and parties

There is an extravagant and shiny side to the Goan life too! Goa has beaches and parties are a very important and cannot-be-missed feature of the Goan beaches. So many themed parties and cruises happen in Goa all year round. One can also spot dolphins on a cruise. So, sail away!

– by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks

 

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Thanksgiving Day Across the World

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated across the world and for each country, it has its own tale and tradition around food and days.

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Thanksgiving Day celebrations
Happy Thanksgiving Day, Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

America
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.

Canada
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.

But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Liberia
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.

Netherlands
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.

But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.

Food:
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.

Black Friday:
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.

Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.

Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.

 

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Goa Can Be Transformed Into The City Of Venice

The development of its intricate network of inland waterways has the potential to transform Goa. in to Venice of East

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Calvim Ferry in Goa. Goa can be
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting. Wikimedia Commons

Panaji, November 21,2017:

Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting, suggests Rajiv Somani, chairman and managing director of Drishti Marine, promoter of the state’s first private ferry service.

Somani, whose agency also operates a private lifeguard service along Goa’s coastline, said that the ferry service also adds to the range of offerings, in terms of “things to do” in Goa.

“The only model really close to this is the one in Venice where one can travel through waterways all the time,” Somani told IANS in an interview.

“The ferry service is more of a leisure experience. The picturesque ferry service adds to the range of offerings in terms of things to do in Goa for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit the state. Additionally, it also acts as a premium transit service for tourists and local residents.

“We are only targeting less than five percent of the population arriving at the airport. We understand that there are people willing to pay the fee for the trip,” he said, adding that the service would begin later this month when the tourism season begins to peak in the coastal state.

The daily ferry service will function with the help of two 40-seater, high-speed catamarans, which will ferry commuters between designated pick-up points like the state capital Panaji, heritage centres like Old Goa, beaches like Baga, Aguada and Sinquerim and the Dabolim airport.

The Airport Ferry Terminal is located at Baina beach, Vasco da Gama, and is approximately five kilometres from the Goa airport in Dabolim. A free shuttle service will be available between the ferry terminal and the airport for the convenience of passengers arriving at the airport.

Fares for the ferry service range from Rs 100 for a ride between Old Goa and Panaji to Rs 800 for a trip between the Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina and Panaji.

The ferry will operate from 22 temporary jetties spread across the state, including tourism vantage points.”

In Phase 1 and 2 we are looking at a mix of about 22 jetties. Of these, 11 are existing jetties and 11 will be floating jetties which will be constructed by us. The present government jetties exist at Panaji, Old Goa, Chapora and Sinquerim, among other places,” he said.

Asked if the service would be competing with the state’s aggressive taxi lobby, which has been combative vis-a-vis introduction of alternative modes of mass transport, Somani said: “We are not competing with the taxi operators. One thing we were always clear about: We will not do anything which is competition to the local community”.

Somani also said that ferry services had immense potential in Goa, which is crisscrossed with waterways.

“Goa has an excellent network of waterways; what’s needed is the right kind of infrastructure. One doesn’t need to erect concrete jetties everywhere; a floating jetty like the one we are currently building in Baina works just as effectively,” he said, adding that the ferry would help better water-related experiences for visitors. (IANS)

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Monsoon Bliss: Drenched in Rain Kutch is a Must Visit (Environmental Feature)

The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green

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Kutch
Rann Utsav in Kutch. Pixabay

Bhuj, Sep 09, 2017: White, fluffy clouds hanging low over green hills, little pools of still water teeming with migratory birds and an omnipresent cool breeze — the semi-arid region of Kutch in Gujarat transforms into a completely different avatar during the monsoon.

And although winter — the time detailed as “ideal” to visit this region — shows you a side of hers that’s truly unique, Kutch makes for a pretty picture during the rains, perfect for a rejuvenating holiday.

Nestling on the country’s western border, close to the Arabian Sea, Kutch had recently been in the news for the cyclonic storm-induced thundershowers that lasted five days. Before that, and like the rest of the state, floods had also hit the region in July.

“Heavy showers are normal during the monsoon,” local taxi driver and long-time Bhuj resident Anwar Khatri said, indicating that the heavy rainfall was not out-of-the-ordinary. “But in the last three-four years, we have had very scanty rainfall. The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green.”

Kutch occupies an important geographical location when it comes to birds, said ornithologist Jugal Kishor Tiwari, since it falls on their migration route. His organisation, Centre for Desert and Ocean (CEDO), works on wildlife conservation and promotes nature tourism.

And although the winter is a brilliant time to spot a host of migratory birds, one can indulge in some bird-watching during the monsoon as well. CEDO, which is based out of Moti Virani village, some 400 km from Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, organises tailor-made tours of such nature.

A visit to Kutch would however be incomplete without witnessing its rich treasure trove of handicrafts. Ajrakh (block printing), camel leather craft, Bandhni, different forms of weaving, bellmetal craft, Kutch embroidery — the list is endless — and nothing beats the wonder of watching an artisan work on his or her craft.

After the devastating earthquake in 2001, several NGOs took up the initiative of supporting artisans and their art, even reviving some, and helping them find suitable markets to showcase and sell their products beyond the state’s and the nation’s borders.

There are many such NGOs within a radius of 10-15 kilometres from Bhuj — the point you will either fly down to or reach by train — and one can visit their campuses to see some of these exquisite crafts take shape and understand the story behind them from the artisans themselves. Some names to look out for would be Shrujan, Khamir, and LLDC (Living and Learning Design Centre).

About eight kilometres from Bhuj is a village called Bhujodi, which has the Ashapura Crafts Park set up for artisans to display and sell their work. Again, one can meet weavers, tie-dye artists, block printers and others here. Needless to say, it will leave you wanting for more shopping bags to fill!

From the well-known to the lesser known — a monsoon visit to Kutch would also remain wanting without a trip to one of its pristine beaches. Mandvi is the closest to Bhuj and there are many resorts close by with their own private beach enclosures. The high point of the beaches here — Pingleshwar, about 98 km from Bhuj, a hidden gem — is witnessing the marine life. Jelly fish and hermit crabs are a common sight and the multi-coloured sea weeds look extraordinary.

Also Read: History of Rigvedic river Saraswati

If the children are more in the mood for some fun and frolic, Mandvi has ample opportunity for water sports as well — which may be restricted when the weather is grey. But a ride on a camel would more than compensate for that!

With the temperature hovering on the pleasant side of the scale and a constant breeze, one can also opt for some historical sight-seeing. The Aina Mahal, with its blue tiles, Venetian-style chandeliers and walls studded with mirrors, is a must-visit. Next door is the 19th century Prag Mahal, a brilliant example of Italian-Gothic architecture.

As you travel around the place and move on the fringes of the main town of Bhuj, it is difficult to miss the vast expanses of agricultural land with acres after acres of pomegranate plantations, palm groves and cotton fields — all this thanks to drip-irrigation, which has brought about a sea-change in the region’s crop pattern. With the green hills in the backdrop, it’s a sight to behold. Soak it in, for, with the changing season, Kutch will soon reveal a different face. (IANS)