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.