A Walk to Remember

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The Navhind Times Planet J in association with Make it Happen, tour designers, organised a heritage walk of Fontainhas on Monday, May 14. The aim of the walk was to acquaint the participants with the art, culture and architecture that abound in this quaint area that has been described as “a small chunk of Portugal washed up on the shores of the Indian Ocean.” Fontainhas, the oldest and largest Latin quarter of the state, had many treasures that the participants were surprised and delighted to find and see.

The walk began outside the general post office at 9 a.m. and participants who had come equipped with their caps/hats and bottles of water were more than ready to start. The presenter Maxie Miranda guided the participants through the narrow streets and stopped at all the important monuments giving information and recounting its history. The first stop was the Tobacco Square, which Maxie explained was so called because tobacco imported from Brazil, waiting to be exported to Portugal, used to be stored in warehouses here. One of the warehouses has now become the general post office.

The Adil Shah Palace and Casa de Moeda were the next stop. Maxie then spoke about Surgeon General Miguel Caetano Dias whose statue is just outside the mint house. “He was a native Goan who studied medicine in Portugal and then rose through the ranks of the army.  He was credited with eradicating the plague in Goa during the 1910 outbreak in Panjim,” explained Maxie.

The sun was out to spoil everyone’s fun but the lively colours of the houses lifted everyone’s mood and the beautiful house number plates were a delight to see. As he pointed out the shell windows in many houses in the area, Maxie spoke about the significance of the shells and said, “Mother of pearl shell was preferred over glass as it allowed for filtered light to come into the rooms of the house and cut out the glare of the bright light inside.”

Sao Tome chapel, the Pousada of Panjim Inn and Fundacao Oriente were some of the other attractions on the walk. At Fundacao Oriente the works of the Goan artist who painted in European style in the 19th and early 20thcentury, Antonio Xavier Trindade were on display.

Despite the scorching sun and stifling humidity, participants thoroughly enjoyed the walk which ended after a couple of hours at the home of renowned Goan musician who has traveled around Europe, Chico Fonseca. Fonseca who specializes in Latin and Fado music and sings in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Konkani, warmly welcomed all the participants into his home which houses many treasures from the Portuguese era. He then entertained the group with Konkani and Portuguese songs which transported all present to bygone times. The walk was one the participants will remember for a long time!

Feedback

Saw the other side of Panjim. Colurful, quaint, picturesque and historial. Thank you Navhind Times and Maxie Miranda.

Alison Amaral, homemaker

Informative trip.

Cyril Rebello, service

Thank you Navhind times and Maxie for this wonderful experience which I will carry in my memory for many years. Whenever I come to Panaji, I always thought there is a lot of unexplored mystic charm and history behind the hustle and bustle of the capital city. Thanks to this walk, I was able to explore the heart of the city and it doesn’t end here as I am going to come for many such trails agan and again.

Sukriti Kapur, teacher

I liked the art galleries. Thanks Navhind Times for this opportunity.

Siddharth Kalra, student

Today was a nice day and I liked walking with everyone and seeing all the old houses.

Prathit Fernandes, student

Thank you Planet J for organizing such an educational yet fun and interesting tour of Fontainhas. Do organize such tours of other places in Goa. Maxie was great!

Aldrich Amaral, student

Excellent concept, well executed. Congratulations Planet J and thanks for familiarizing us with a side of Panaji we hardly know.

Jucy James, lecturer

Very informative and lively. It was a great way to create interest in all especially youngsters regarding Goan culture, art and architecture.

Dr A Koli, professor

The houses, and monuments were mesmerising.

Seattle Rodrigues, student

Lovely educational tour of Fontainhas.

Anupa Akhre, service

Absolutely amazing to rediscover the Portuguese side of Goa.

Bhargava Bhatkurse, student

I liked it a lot. It was a great experience.

Kaitlin Rebello, student

We felt very nostalgic and happy to be here amidst our heritage. Very proud to be Goan! Absolutely loved being serenaded by Chico! God bless.
Varenka and Yelena D’Souza, teacher and student respectively. I came to know many aspects of the culture of Fontainhas that I never knew before. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Shreya Gadag, student

Great experience.

Rama Kenkre, student

It was very nice.

Priyanka Parab, student

I enjoyed the walk very much and got to learn the very interesting history and heritage of Fontainhas.

Vandit Naik, student

Extremely interesting and informative session. I have now become interested in Portuguese culture.

Rahul Kalra, student

It was interesting, informative and enjoyable.

Siddesh Amonkar, student

Thank you Planet J, Make it Happen and Maxie for this wonderful walk.

Sheldon Mendonca, student

Excellent! It was a wonderful walk through memory lane. We never knew there existed so many lovely houses in this area even though we pass through it everyday.

Paresh Kenkare

It was an great experience learning carving. I learnt many new things. Thank you very much.

Jenisca Fernandes, student

So you so much for a great experience.

Shallen Carvalho, student

Overwhelming experience and I just loved it! Got to learn beautiful things in only a few hours. Enjoyed thoroughly. Thanks to Planet J for giving me this opportunity.

Rutika Sawant, parent

Awesome workshop and I enjoyed a lot. Got to learn amazing carvings from Taeng.

Priya Vaz, parent

The workshop was really very effective and will help me in the future. What I learnt was very beautiful and creative art.

Sonia Naik, student

Fruit and vegetable carving may appear easy but after trying it I realise the amount of patience it requires. Thanks for organising something like this for all of us.

Blake Azavedo, student

It was an amazing experience and hope to come for more workshops.

Shreya Dessai, student

This was my second Planet J workshop and I enjoyed this one even more than the last. Waiting eagerly for the next one.

Belinda Fernandes, parent

I enjoyed the workshop.

Bhavya Gupta, student

It was a wonderful experience and everyone was so helpful. Thank you very much.

Rutuja Tendulkar, student

We all learnt so much and had fun as well.

Komal Sardessai, student

I really enjoyed making the flowers and carving the watermelon even though they were not perfect. I would love to learn more about this amazing art.

Utkarsh Sawant, student

The workshop was very good, loved it!

Niharika Kamat, student

Thank you for a lovely workshop. I enjoyed a lot and learnt even more.

Anjana Swanat, student

Thank you Taeng for teaching us such a lovely and beautiful art.

Pratiksha Hegde, parent

Thanks Navhind Times for an amazing workshop.

Meenakshi Hiremath, student