‘Chol passoik-ia’, was usually said when one wanted to feel the cool breeze in the evening while strolling around leisurely taking in the sounds and sights of a quiet life in Goa. Now, the same walks can be a learning experience too and it is not just limited to the evening time or in the calmness of nature. With the motto that ‘every corner in Goa, has a story to tell’, Goa Heritage Action Group is back with its GHAG Walk Fest. They will be organising 30 walks exploring Goa through its history, architecture, biodiversity, art and folklore.
The walks will be held in Anjuna, Assagao, Bicholim, Bondvall Lake, Curca, Marcel, Mandodari Lake, Mapusa, Netravali, Old Goa, Panjim, Saligao, Salvador do Mundo, St. Estevam and Vasco da Gama. Goa has a rich and diverse heritage that deserves to be celebrated and preserved. Through the festival, GHAG aims to create awareness around Goa’s art, history, cultural, natural and built heritage.
The walks will be led by 26 distinguished individuals renowned for their love of Goan heritage and dedication to preserving it. The walk curators, collectively called ‘passoikars’ fashioned after the Konkani word ‘passoi’ meaning leisurely walk, will include architects, botanists, engineers, educators and historians.
This year, the team has gone all out to curate 30 walks all around Goa led by resource persons, who are renowned in their chosen fields of research and experience. Open to all, these walks are filled with experience as one learns about the history through the walks. There are so many stories waiting to be relived and through these walks, architecture, cityscapes, biodiversity, arts and crafts history and folklore, will come to light. Every story will be told by experts in their fields, through their extensive research.
“Goa Heritage Action Group is 23 years old. We started with one walk 20 years ago. At that time, we got exactly five guests in the whole year. We’ve come a long way since then. Today, we have 30 walks over 15 days ranging from the khazans to sketch walks to water colour to poetry walks. Isn’t that something?,” says Heta Pandit, founder member of the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) and its vice-chairperson.
There are many new walks which are introduced for this edition of the fest too. “Many first walks like a craft walk and poetry walk are in this edition. There are new walk curators too. Fiona and Leandre are doing the sketch walk, Darpana Athale doing a crafts walk in Bicholim, Vinay Mhambrey will be doing a water colour walk and Rochelle D’Silva will be doing a poetry walk for the first time. Leaxan Freitas doing an art deco walk for the first time. Our team members range from the age of early twenties to late sixties!,” explains Heta.
Member of GHAG, Jack Sukhija will be joined Heta Pandit to guide the Sao Tome and Fontainhas walk, the only walk that will be held on two days, November 19 and December 2. “Anyone can register for the walks online and be a part of a great experience. We do two walks in a year, one in Summer and one in November. This will be the third edition as the previous edition was part of the Goa Heritage Festival. We have realised that there are a lot of people who want to learn about the place. Many young professionals are now settled in Goa and even Goans living here are curious about different places. The usual age group is around 25-35 years old but we also get young children and people from different professions,” says Jack.
“This year, we have gone beyond Panjim and we have there will be walks like Khazans of Ucassaim, Spring Walk in Curca, Tale of two Monuments in St Estevam and the Craft Walk in Bicholim. The walks receive a good response,” says Jack.
Depending on the walk, each leader, comes with a unique perspective or understands a certain landscape through their subject of interest. It could be plants, trees, animals, birds, monumental architecture, domestic architecture, written history, and oral history.
Tallulah completed the Low Tide Shore Walk at Zuari Bay as one of the opening walks which was attended by a young and inquisitive crowd. The walks will continue till December 2.
The highlight of the festival is the India Walk Slam on November 19, that’s being held for the first time. This is a GHAG initiative to bring together like-minded people from all over India to curate walks in their own villages, towns and cities in solidarity with the GHAG celebration of India Heritage Week.