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The uniqueness of Goa captured in pictures

April 30, 2008
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Goa mapA lot has been written about Goa and a lot of photos are out there. I thought I would share something different. Recently I went to Goa for the 7th time (our kul devat or family diety is in Goa) but did not visit the usual places that tourists visit. Except the beaches ofcourse.

I want to share a collage I made of the colourful buildings in Goa. A lot of buildings are built in the Portuguese style of architecture but I am not an expert and what I want to show are the colours of the buildings…the solid colours of blue and yellow and red which are unique to Goa buildings. Yellow is a predominant colour.

Building Collage

Here is another collage of the photographs taken while driving through Goa’s streets. Goa is beautiful, clean and peaceful.

goa streets collage

These are some sculptures I saw in a shop by someone called Mario (not Miranda). They were over Rs 15000/- each! About 8 inches in height.

Sculpture collage

I thought I would use this opportunity to bust some myths of Goa and I will quote Rajdeep Sardesai here. He is a native of Goa. He makes two points in his write-up. One is that Goa is conservative. As conservative as the rest of India. Mumbai is a far more liberated city than Goa. Traditional values prevail in Goa. There is only a very small section of Goa (Anjuna Beach side for example) where you find people walking around in skimpy clothes and taking drugs (mostly tourists). Here it is in his own words:

There is the Goa of the beachcombers, of the hippies who discovered Baga in the early 70s, of the rave parties, of paedophilia, of decadent hedonism. But there is also the Goa of deep social conservatism, of folk religiosity in its village temples and churches, of simplicity of lifestyle within rural communities, of a premium on education and of immense pride in its plural, multi-cultural heritage. The Goa of a tiny strip of beach between Candolim and Anjuna is constantly in the media gaze and makes front page headlines.

Second point: Goa is not majority Christian which many people believe. Goa is majority Hindu and the statistics are as follows (out of a total population of just 1.3 million spread over an area of 3,702 kmΒ² ):

65.7 percent hindus
26.6 percent christians
6.8 percent muslim
Rest are Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other religions/atheists
Total Literacy: 82 percent

Sure, the number of Christians are perhaps the highest in any state in India (barring some North-Eastern states) particularly if you compare the demographics with Mumbai. It may not be an apt comparison as Mumbai is a city while Goa is a state, but while Mumbai’s area (603 kmΒ²) may be small, its population is huge (13 million), larger than Goa’s. Mumbai has almost the same proportion of Hindus within its population. Here are the statistics:

68 percent Hindus
17 percent Muslims
4 percent Christians
4 percent Jains
The rest are Parsis, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews and other religions/atheists
Literacy: 86 percent (source: wiki)

O Coqueiro

My favourite restaurant in Goa is O Coqueiro and we always visit there for authentic Goan cuisine. Popular dishes here are stuffed crab and rolled papad stuffed with prawns. A trifle spicy but then authentic Goan food is spicy. The place is inexpensive as well and without any frills, although they do have an AC section. I don’t know why they make such a big deal of the fact that the criminal Charles Shobraj (French serial killer of Indian and Vietnamese origin) was arrested here though. They have actually put up a huge bigger than life-size statue of his On the verandah!

Charles Shobraj statue

Now to some beach photographs. There is this one I took when we were walking along the beach trying to find a shack to eat dinner. Finally I managed to get some decent night photos!

Beach Night

2 in 1 night beach

Some famous beaches of Goa…this one is the Coco beach (this photo is taken from a cell phone).

coco beach

This one below is Anjuna Beach and the biggest shack you see is where Scarlett was last seen alive (photo from a cell phone). Amit…see I did go there! Though not to investigate… just taking a round of the pretty beaches.

Anjuna Beach

This is the place where her body was found…looks so safe doesn’t it!

Scarlett body

This photograph has been taken of the beach at Taj Holiday Village (3 pics combined in 1):

Fort Aguada beach

This is a ship that ran aground on the shores of Goa. It’s been here for years…though they seem to be trying to salvage it.


As we were walking towards this grounded ship we came across this hair salon… I guess the saloon was closed as it was off-season! πŸ™‚

Hair Salon

And as Ruhi wanted a photo of me, here it is! Its taken by my husband as I was wetting my feet in the dark sea. I photo-shopped it, basically distorted it by using the pallete knife function.

Nita on beach

(All photographs are by me and copyrighted, except for the map which is for a government of Goa site)

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2008 8:56 am

    2 things
    1) 15k for a 8 inch big clay figure is a bit tooo steep.
    2) your picture is πŸ˜€ all we want is to be able to recognize our fav blogger so that we can recognize her next time we see you on the streets.

  2. April 30, 2008 9:56 am

    Hey… Goa is a place that I really want to visit.. and u r visiting it for 7th time ?? cooool…

    and thanks for the info that Rajdeep is from Goa…

  3. April 30, 2008 10:56 am

    should visit goa oneday…sounds like a nice place…shouldn’t people tell the media to show the other stuff about Goa?

  4. April 30, 2008 11:39 am

    Goa is a lovely place. People know how to enjoy their life there. I think you must visit Andamans also, where you find the landscape is more beautiful than Goa and Kerala.

  5. April 30, 2008 12:37 pm

    Well, well, these are definitely nice pics and different than what we usually see.

    Good for telling me palette knife function in Photoshop. I like knowing even if I am not going to use it. Which tool did you use to make such neat collages?

    And I had read that Rajdeep Sardesai article, it was published on HT edit page.This article should be eye-opener for many. πŸ™‚

  6. April 30, 2008 12:38 pm

    hey i want to see goa: -)…. . Infact would love to feel its culture and life style !!!

  7. April 30, 2008 1:11 pm

    Nice skill of photoshop πŸ™‚

  8. April 30, 2008 2:01 pm

    Ankur, thanks. Well, there are other pics of mine on this blog. πŸ™‚ However I acknowledge they are a little blurred. About the figurines, I too thought they were too costly. They were beautiful and I was tempted to buy decided to give it a miss.

    Dinu, you are welcome.

    Vishesh, the media is more interested in the sensational stuff!

    OldSailor, I have been wanting to visit Andamans for a long time. Once we had even planned a holiday there as my husband’s cousin was posted there…but unfortunately it never worked out. One of these days…

    Poonam, thanks. Actually I know just the basics of photoshop. In photoshop to make a collage you need to open a new doc (of the size you need) and then open a resized pic (I use either Irfan view or photoshop or sometimes zoombrowser) and then drag the pic on to the blank screen. One by one you do it with all the pics and then you can arrange them. It takes a long long time! To drag each layer the right layer has to be selected and to drag itself the right buttons have to be selected. For the pallete knife function you just open the image you want to distort and go to “Filter” and there you have various options. It takes a lot of patience but its worth it. Photoshop is cool if you don’t have it, get it!

    Tara, Goa is a different world! A relaxed lifestyle and simple sweet people. I hope you get a chance to go there soon.

    Kartik, thanks. It took me more than an hour to do just one collage!

  9. April 30, 2008 6:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing all the pictures Nita. I would never have the patience to do a photo collage. πŸ˜€

  10. April 30, 2008 6:45 pm

    You brought back so many memories. I have seen the beached ship and recognise some of the shots. Goa is a much loved part of India for me.

  11. April 30, 2008 8:52 pm

    Thank you so much for your wonderful pictures, views and insights on Goa. I’ve long been fascinated by Goa, and I hope to visit some day.

  12. April 30, 2008 9:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing the pictures on Goa, I was waiting anxiously. (I am one of your ardent readers.)

    Last month I went there for the first time and it was an experience in itself !! Have started documenting it now.

  13. April 30, 2008 10:52 pm

    Thanks for clearing the myth regarding the % of Christian population. πŸ™‚ That saloon pic is quite funny, actually. We used to call such saloons “Eeta-lian” saloon (Pronounced as Italian saloon), because they the only thing permanent about them is the rock on which the barber sits. πŸ˜›

    I have found that switching off the flash and using a wider aperture actually gives decent night photos. Maybe you can try that the next time. πŸ™‚

    And thank you for that distorted picture of you. Haha..I’ll try to connect that with the other pic that you had posted sometime back (the pic of your face).

  14. Ravi permalink
    May 1, 2008 12:32 am

    I have never been to goa. The pictures of buildings in goa reminded me of some European city that I had watched on discovery when I was a kid. Regardin charles shobraj – I didnt even know exactly who this guy is but I heard him name like million times πŸ™‚ Nice collection nita.

  15. Ravi permalink
    May 1, 2008 12:36 am


    My mom always tells me that I m a very keen observer. I m kind of surprised with the speed by which my comment was posted. I was not regular to your blog all this month cause of tests but I have noticed that comments are posted readily which out the web page getting refreshed unlike a month ago. Thats really cool. What do you did? I m kind of curious. Did anyone already made this observation just wondering!

  16. Joss permalink
    May 1, 2008 2:42 am

    I’ve just today done a collage of printed photos of my son. But now I definitely want to have a go at doing one on the computer. It will be far less lumpy! Yours look great, especially the top one of all the coloured buildings. I really want to go to Goa now. Thanks for sharing those pictures of where poor Scarlett met her end. Scarlett’s mother has been demonised by the press in Britain, but when you see how lovely Goa is it is easier to understand why she felt confident about leaving her daughter there.

  17. May 1, 2008 8:24 am

    Thanks to all of you for responding!

    Ruhi, I use the auto function without flash! But shall try your suggestion!

    Ravi, I think the wordpress people have made some major changes. I didn’t know about this though.

    Joss, Goa is extremely safe, but certainly leaving her in the care of drug addicts was not safe.

  18. May 1, 2008 9:45 am

    This is a great post Nita. We need to drill into people’s minds the REAL goa – simple, honest, lazy.

    There are truckloads of misconceptions about Goa .. thanks partly to the media ..and partly to the exaggerated accounts of people who did visit!

    I have stayed 8 wonderful years (through most of my teens) in Goa. It pains me when people talk about Goa as though it were a drunkards’ and paedophiles’ paradise and nothing else! I used to stay in a hostel in Karnataka for 2 years.. and whenever I introduced myself saying I have stayed in Goa; ppl’s reaction towards me instantly changed. I was transformed into a hero .. everyone’s envy.

    “Man .. this guy has alcohol running through his veins .. instead of blood” .. “Man .. this guy must have lost his virginity to some firang babe on a so-called Goan-nude-beach at the age of 10”. This is what everyone thinks of Goa .. and many people even said it on my face.

    Everyone who thinks this way ought to read a couple of articles written by friends –
    musafiri archive and
    goa just holiday land

    The second article was published in Rashmi Bansal’s magazine – JAM.

  19. May 1, 2008 9:58 am

    Goa seems to be a very beautiful place,Nita,looks like a mix of Iberian,Afro-Caribbean/Latin American and Indian . . . nice photos!

    Does Goa have a separate “Portuguese Quarter” and “Indian Quarter” like in Puducherry? What happened to the Portuguese language? I hope Goans have not given up Portuguese . . .

  20. May 1, 2008 10:20 am

    Thanks Kiran, will certainly check those links out. Today is Labour Day and am taking a holiday! πŸ™‚

    Raj, Goa is indeed beautiful. However there is no portuguese quarter as such. Looks like the portuguese have fled! πŸ™‚ The official language of goa is Konkani, and main languages spoken in the state are Marathi, Kannada and Urdu. Great huh!! No English even! Also no discrimination against Indian tourists and I think its because foreigners are concentrated in a small part of Goa which most Indian tourists don’t stay near! Also I think that the religious cult which is present in Pondicherry isn’t here. Goa gets loads and loads of Indian tourists (so I guess the locals have to be good to them!) unlike Pondi which seems to get a greater proportion of foreign tourists. In fact we got utmost respect from all retaurant owners. Foreigners who came in after us were never served first which was a routine habit in Pondicherry.

  21. May 1, 2008 10:34 am


    // Foreigners who came in after us were never served first which was a routine habit in Pondicherry. //

    I think it is because foreign tourists in Puducherry behave much better than the Indian ones,even those from TN,”tourists” from TN go to Puducherry mainly for the cheap booze!

    I guess it is the exact opposite in Goa . . . Indian tourists seem to be better behaved than the foreign ones there.

  22. May 1, 2008 11:05 am

    @Raj and @Nita,

    Although it is true that Konkani is the official language and Marathi, Kannada are the other widely spoken languages; Portuguese has not really disappeared. In fact, Portuguese is an optional 3rd language in high school.

    Of course the number of people who speak the language is quite less. Further, there is no separate colony for Portuguese. Its the “locals” who have kept the Portuguese language going!

  23. May 1, 2008 1:58 pm

    The photos remind me of my own trips to Goa.I love Goa, unfortunately I haven’t been there for the last 6 years.
    //This is the place where her body was found…looks so safe doesn’t it!//- it made me sad.I hope it never happens again.Goa is a beautiful place and incidents like these bring a bad name to it.

  24. May 1, 2008 2:47 pm

    Raj, I guess thats another way of looking at it! But I assure you we were well-behaved. πŸ˜€

    Kiran, Goa is Indianised as compared to Pondicherry. I am not sure of the all the reasons.

    Prerna, thanks. I have tagged you for a meme, have you seen that?

  25. May 1, 2008 6:12 pm

    Hello Nita,

    I like the new layout. Of course, it might not be too new – I have been crazy busy. In any case, wow… beautiful place. Actually, my kind of place.

    I tagged you. It’s on my page under “It’s that time again.”

  26. May 1, 2008 8:10 pm

    Nice pics Nita. I found the Charles Shobraj one very amusing – I guess anything to pull in the crowds. πŸ™‚

  27. lallopallo permalink
    May 2, 2008 2:24 am

    Nice pics and interesting information.

  28. May 2, 2008 3:02 pm

    Great pics. That Charles Sobraj one was great. And 7th time??? I have not even visited it once. 😦 The collage are beautiful. And your photograph does not have a head. 😐 Its actually looking quite funny. πŸ™‚
    I always thought that the Christians are in majority there. Thanks for providing the info.

  29. May 2, 2008 4:34 pm

    Thanks for tagging me Nita.I will reply soon.

  30. Padmini permalink
    May 4, 2008 5:25 pm

    Wonderful pictures. I have never been to Goa – your article has made me curious to see its foreignness – a place in India and yet so different.

    Thanks Padmini. True, Goa has a different look because of the architecture. It is also very tourist friendly as the economy depends on tourism. – Nita.

  31. August 9, 2008 3:08 am

    very beautiful…
    sorry, im spanish.

    perfect! ;D

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