Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Penha De Franca Church, Goa

 It was Easter sunday and we were in the mood for some sight seeing. Had been to this magnificent church, Penha De Franca,  in Bardez, Goa, last year. It was under renovation. Just went around the construction site and saw the work in progress.
The front of the church faces the Mondovi river, infact it on the river front. One gets a breathtaking view from the river rather than from the land. From the approach road, you can hardly see anything of the church, only when you go round the church and come to the back, that church is seen. The church and the river are an integral part of the scenery. You cannot see any part of the church without seeing the water from some opening!
There are two bell towers on either side holding large bells.
Could not recognise it as the same church; Turned out so beautiful! According to Jose Lourenco, in his book, The Parish Churches of Goa, The church of Our Lady of Penha De Franca was built by the Fransiscans in 1626. It collapsed and rebuilt in 1655. It is a large church of 3 bays and 3 storeys high.
What I liked about the design of this church is that, it has a long front entrance lobby. The main door, in the centre, has ornate wood shutters. The architecture is Mannerist Neo Roman style.
Since it is recently restored, everything in the interior was sparkling and clean. The ceiling was beautiful.
Another interesting feature of this church is attached to a square open courtyard next to it. Around the courtyard, is a colonnaded verandah, and rooms opening onto it. The courtyard is was designed beautifully with a small court in the centre with a frangipani tree, and around it is a water body or pool. A small wooden bridge connects the platform to the verandah around. The rain water from the roof, collects in the pool.
Landscaping around the church is a new feature. The idea was simple but the design is beautiful. The concept is to catch the rain water from the roof into pebble filled semi circular pools. Once the water level in these increases, it will flow into the common pool. Since the site is sloping, the water falling into the pool will naturally flow down and collect into another pool. from there it will flow into the river. rest of the open area is being developed into lawns. Already trees have been planted into circular mounds. The first monsoon since the developments has to arrive, then we will be able to see how picturesque the whole place will become.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Jugati Nature farm, Goa

It was a few weeks since we have stepped out of the city. Both J and I were feeling restless. We decided to head out on a sunday and look at some greenery and water. J wanted to go to the hills. Something about the rise and the fall of the mountains and valleys seem to give him a high!?! He looked up the map of Goa, and decided we are going in the north - east direction. It is surely Valpoi, and he found this name 'Jugati Nature farm', somewhere in it. 
Got up at a reasonable hour on a sunday morning, got ready with the caps, walking sticks, breakfast (J's responsibility), fruit, plenty of drinking water and a change of clothes.... 
It feels so good to get out of the house and on to the country roads, looking at the lazy scenery and enjoying the breeze, sun and the sound of birds!!! We never take the highway.
On missing a couple of turns and finding our way, we finally spotted the small board nailed to the tree. The Jugati Nature Farm run by Pilar Fathers is situated in Bhirondem village, in Valpoi in Sattari taluka for Goa. 
On entering through a gate, one can see the natural and organic way of farming here.
There is a small building here, used to store the farm produce and an attached pavilion for presentations and demonstration. When we were there, several people were consulting Fr.Santiago on natural cures for Diabetics etc.

A large part of the farm is covered with the Palm oil trees. For the first time in my life, I saw the palm fruit on the tree. There were jack fruit trees, Cheeku trees, and rows of Pine apple shrubs.
 At the end of the farm, the path goes down a few steps. There are a few places where you can have your picnic and sit and relax. From here the river Mhadei can be seen and traversed. Since it is the beginning of april, the depth of the river was only knee deep. There was family of 8, frolicking in the warm waters. Plenty of small fish can be seen.
The scenery was tranquil and breathtaking at the same time. One can either sit on the shore and gaze at the water, or get into the water and enjoy the beautiful feel of the water on the skin. In the monsoons, the river can be full and ferocious.
An old fisherman was busy collecting mussels. He was one industrious person, covered a large area in a short time!
It is an eco friendly farm, drinking and littering is not allowed. They allow people to go to the river, but with permission. If you are in Goa, and like this type of outing, hire a car and head out to Valpoi.        

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Holy Cross Church at Cavelossim, South Goa

The Holy Cross Church in Cavelossim, in South Goa is situated in a quaint sea side town. During our trip to Carmona, Cavelossim and Agonda, we visited this church. At the intersection of roads, the Church stands on a huge rectangular site in front, which is paved and used for feasts and events. A very pretty Pavilion is situated to the right of the front court yard. 
 Built in 1763 AD, the church has 5 bays and it is 3 stories high. The front facade of the church is beautifully maintained. But the sides and rear are left unattended. There is dry black moss on all the side and back external wall surfaces; infact grass is growing on the horizontal surfaces. 
There are twin bell towers on either side of the main entrance. The one on the right side of the entrance, holds the larger bell. Sitting atop the bell tower are urn shaped finials. 
 Bell tower, seen from the side and from rear
 It is a large church and exquisite on the inside, with beautiful wooden pews and antique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. 
There is a gallery running along the back and sides. During most of the day, one can see daylight streaming through the glass windows from the gallery.


It is a beautiful church; when in Goa, please do visit it. The staff is also very helpful.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 8, International women's day

March 8th. is celebrated every year is International Women day. I remember, one year, my dad gifted all of us women in the house with Handkerchiefs! I loved it so much, saved it for years. 
Every year, it is publicized, written about, and we all make it a point to wish each other. With social media, it has become much easier to forward the many photos and posts. 

For me, it is a day to celebrate how far we have come, from the caveman days, and to remind each other how far to go yet.    
Since purple is the colour for women's day, badges were made for all.
Some of us ladies at our complex have decided to hold party on our terrace, just a couple of days prior to 8th.. It was amazing how easily and seamlessly the whole event was planned. Trust women to organise and carry off with zero defect! Certain conditions were set down. The party was for women only. for one evening between 7 and 9, no entertaining children, husbands, relatives! Women wanted time for themselves, just to meet others in the complex, talk, eat, dance and have fun. Fair enough! Next came the eats. The 'volunteers' offered suggestions and offered to place orders and pick them up. We decided against formal dinner and go with snacks and small eats. Then came the venue and arrangements. It was decided the terrace would be an ideal location overlooking the sea, with a lovely march breeze blowing. A couple of ladies took the responsibility for arrangements.
Balloons were blown and strung up, lights put up, chairs arranged, and food reached the venue on time. All the ladies came shimmering in their best clothes and shoes. Oh, I forgot the games. Some silly and fun games were played.
Group photos
Towards the end, there were requests for fast nos, bollywood songs etc. We all shook a leg and everyone had a good time. 
The downside of it all was some women couldnot make it due to not having support at home; no one to baby sit for a couple of hours in the evening on a working day. What a shame! Because of which they had to miss out on fun and games in their own building complex. It may not be a great loss not to attend a party. On the other hand, it points out the vulnerabilty of women with small children, how completely tied up their lives are. 
I am making a limited point here. is not it a responsibility of the husbands to mind their kids some of the time? Should not they give wives a break from the parental responsibilities once in a while? Atleast on the international women's day? I believe one such husband goes to the extent of saying 'Is your party more important than my job?' For a couple of hours between 7 and 9 in the evening, Is it too much to expect? 
Ladies, buck up, get organised, stop depending on others to take care. It is a day to remind us of women's empowerment. What does it mean? To me it means:
  • To have options - what, when and how to do with one's time, money ...
  • To be able to make choices - not be forced into situations by others ....
  • To not live in fear constantly - afraid of consequences all the time, real or imagined ....
  • To have one's own money - have the freedom to buy, spend, or save .....
  • To acquire skills and education - be better informed and skilled, for self respect and to make a living ....
  • To live a life of conviction and belonging - think for yourself, decide for your self,by taking inputs from others where necessary ....

Till next March 8th. have an empowering year!!!