It comes as a surprise to many but the people of Goa, the Goans, are very attached to their villages, their Goa villages. Despite Goa becoming a hot tourist spot across the entire world, it has not been able to change the love the Goans feel towards their Goa villages. Though commercial hubs catering to the needs of the tourists have managed to creep into many Goa villages, the Goans still try to keep their Goa village culture in tact. All this comes out very clearly in a recreated village called ‘Ancestral Goa’ which is situated in Loutolim.
‘ANCESTRAL GOA’ IN LOUTOLIM
Ancestral Goa, the recreated Goa village at Loutolim, clearly depicts the life in a village at Goa. You will find many examples of Goan handicrafts at this recreated Goa village. Do spend some time examining the furniture and other artifacts displayed at the reception cottage, including the reclining chair and the palanquin. They set the tone of the way of life that is virtually a thing of the past. The landlord of the village exercised the sort of authority that the Lord of the Manor did in England once upon a time. Here, in Goa, however, their authority was restricted by the democratic conventions that had existed for countless generations. The Goa village was a self-contained entity and if any family stepped too far out of line, the social system would put it back into its ordained place. Custom and tradition had a stronger hold than money; and the Goa church was the great arbiter.
Thus, in Ancestral Goa, the Sant Khuris, the white cross, reminds all inhabitants that the rule of God and the authority of His church must be respected. And when you enter the Mansion of Donna Maria in Goa, the landlady, you’ll find an altar inside. Here, the family priest offered Mass, his presence also underscoring the status of the landlord. A further assertion of the landlord’s position in the Goa village is the fact that the mansion has been clearly patterned on traditional Portuguese architecture: it bears the imprint of the overlords!
In contrast to the mansion is Joao’s House roofed with tiles and with a small verandah in front. Near it is the Taverna which served much the same function that a pub does today. Tavernas are still very much a part of the Goan scene. In most Goa villages, in the past the gin-like feni was locally brewed.
In Ancestral Goa, visitors can walk round a mocked-up bhatti or distillery which shows the family at work used cashew as its main ingredient. Cashew feni and fried seafood go well together, so you should also visit the hut of some of the fishermen. They are very humble dwelling built on a wooden frame and thatched with coconut fronds. Finally, there is the ‘downtown’ area of the village: the Tinto or market square. Here the fishwives, the farmers, the homesteaders, potters and peddlers of trinkets assemble to sell their produce to the villagers.