Team CaféThis may be a small beginning, but an important one for Goa’s tourism. The international ‘lens’ as it were, is finally moving away from the beaches. Now the Discovery Channel, has opened its new series, Lost Essence of India, with Goa. As a pleasant surprise, they did not head to the beaches but to the famed Rovona caves. To top it all they asked Professor Prajal Sakhardande, one of Goa’s foremost heritage conservationists and historians, to co-anchor the episode. The first episode was hosted by Meiyang Chang. Sakhardande, Professor of History, Dhempe College helped him explore the Rivona caves inSanguem taluka. Sakhardande said “Discovery Channel got in touch with the Mumbai team who in turn got in touch with Madhav Gad, (well-known producer of ‘Home Sweet Home fame’) and Mohit Kakodkar, (cinematographer) who coordinated everything here. They got in touch with me to provide inputs on the places that were of interest to the channel”. Professor Sakhardande aid he was very excited to be involved in the project because it would give him an idea to show the country and the world the other side of Goa which was not showcased ever. He said “People think Goa is all about fun and frolic and a place where only one community dominates and where everyone drinks and dances. The channel wanted to show Goa of the hinterland which is blessed with heritage, temples and rock paintings. Basically South Eastern Goa which is not projected”. The episode focused on the Rivona caves, springs Pansaimoll rock art heritage site on the banks of the Kushavati, Netravalli and the bubbles pond in Savari waterwalls in Netravalli. The show required shooting for the entire day. Sakhardande took Chang to the secret caves where the rishis would meditate in silence. The place he said was known as the forest of the sages. This how he said would showcase Goa as a cultural destination. People, he said would be able to see the rock art on the laterite banks of the Kushavati river which is approximately 20,000 years. Chang described Goa as a kaleidoscope of a bit of everything. As he put it, this drive off the beaten track exposed him to a side of Goa not known to a lot of people in the world. Sakhardande said his ambition to showcase Goa as much more than just parties had received a fillip and he hoped tourists would visit these places off the beaten track and give a boost to responsible tourism.