Goan Feni Is Now A 'Heritage Spirit'

By Team DraftCraft

DraftCraft's year old campaign starting December 2014 to promote Goa's hidden treasures through its Goa Chapter through campaigns that include the controversial resumption of mining in the state, promotion of a 30,000-year-old petroglyphs at Usgalimal, projection of heritage zones like Fontainhas and the popularisation of quaint and fragile Goan Feni that risks extinction finally gets vindicated as the Goa government decides to promote Feni as a Heritage Drink.

On 24 January 2016, Goa's Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said Feni has a lot of useful qualities, especially its medicinal value due to which it can be used to cure a number of ailments, while speaking as chief guest at the first stakeholders’ meet for the development of Feni organised by department of excise in collaboration with The Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association and All Goa Toddy Tappers Association at Taleigao.

“We have missed the bus in promoting Feni to outsiders and cashing in on its popularity with tourists. Both coconut and cashew Feni are not mere liquors and the cashew and coconut trees are part of our culture,” he added. So, we could expect nature tourism to receive a fillip in the state which will soon have tourists dropping in to see cashew plucking and the process of making Feni. Mr. Parsekar seems to be leaving no stone unturned to promote Feni as an intrinsic part of Goa's culture.

Steps in the production of Feni - A Walk-Through!

Step 1 - Cashew fruit being loaded in a motor crusher for crushing


By Gajanan Khergamker

Far from Mumbai’s raucous Ganpati celebration, many devout Hindu families in Goa celebrate the festival with dignity and quiet faith.

Ganeshutsav is Maharashtra’s most prized…and Mumbai’s landmark festival. In sharp contrast to the psychedelic ‘lighting’, the colossal ‘mandaps’ and endless sea of crazed dancers accompanying the ‘visarjan’, lies the festival’s traditional, family-centric avatar in India’s smallest state, Goa. The idols here are all made of mud and clay as a rule.

So, however far and wide a family’s members move beyond their ancestral homes in Goa, come Ganeshutsav, they make a beeline for their roots. Reliving the joint family saga, almost all Hindu families across Goa bring the God of Knowledge home for at least five days. The ‘hall’ is decorated with multi-hued plastic ribbons forming a play of patterns on the ceiling leading to the murti usually bought from the Maharashtra-Goa border at Sawantwadi.

In a modest house at a quaint Arambol in North Goa, Sarika Naik rushes to complete her daily chores and pre-pooja formalities before the pundit arrives. Work doesn’t stop for Sarika but there is a spring in her step as she hurries about offering tea to guests, getting the pooja samagri in place and attend to her in-laws visiting for the five-day fiesta.


by Gajanan Khergamker (in Organiser)

Despite a majority population in Goa and in Arambol, being Hindus, the temples and architectural marvels are hardly talked about or find mention in news, historical references or tourist itineraries. It is the skewed perspective of a pro-West media and a pseudo-liberal tourism industry that popularises fairly recent architectures during the Portuguese rule. There is an urgent need to change the perception.
Bharat’s smallest state has been in the news for a host of reasons, mostly for wrong reasons. However, and sadly too, the news has almost always revolved around beaches, churches, cheap alcohol and molestations. Why, look at Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses which won the BNL People’s Choice Award at the 10th anniversary of the Rome Film Fest. The film also picked up the runner’s up Audience Award in Toronto. Plugged as the first Bharateeya ‘female buddy movie’, with, a rape in Goa thrown in for effect, it went on to win awards much like Masaan.

Most recently, mining and the associated issues of “growth and development being affected adversely,” created ripples in Goa till the Apex Court had to intervene. Incidentally, the economy of the state is driven mostly by tourism and mining. With mining under pressure from all quarters, the focus has shifted to tourism. The state’s economic dependence on Foreigners vis-à-vis Bharateeyas to bolster the sector has been debatable though. Statistically, only a fraction of foreign tourists contribute to Goa’s welfare as compared to a colossal majority of Bharateeyas. And, the scales continue to tip even further, year after year.


The state of Goa is known best for its beaches, churches and cheap liquor. Tourism is its primary industry. This relatively small state, situated on the western coast of India, between the borders of Maharashtra and Karnataka, is better known to the world as a former Portuguese enclave.
European tourists mostly arrive in Goa in the winter months. Tourism, the backbone of Goa's economy, registers an annual spurt during five months towards the end of the year i.e., October, November, December, January and February before trickling off almost to a naught during the rest of the year.
Apart from its beaches, churches and cheap liquor, Goa has a lot more to offer. The Patto Bridge, the Latin Quarter and...the nearly 30,000 year-old rock carvings at Usgalimal are reasons to visit Goa even after the 'season' is over.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus located in Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
Reis Magos is a village famous for two of Goa's famous structures; the Reis Magos Fort and the Reis Magos Church -- the first church in Bardez. This Fort, surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portuguese turrets, was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of the Mandovi estuary. Restoration work on the fort began in 2008 and the fort is now converted into a cultural centre.
The one image of Goa that stays in public memory is that of the St Augustine tower in Old Goa. The 46 m-tall tower served as a belfry and formed part of the facade of a magnificent Church. Out of more than twenty churches which once existed in the old city of Velha Goa, only ten remain today. ...And, of these, four are actually chapels.
The churches were located on and between seven hills around the Velha Goa region. The Tower and Church were built in 1602 by the Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1587.
Garbage remains Goa's biggest scourge. If the state has to achieve its right potential as a world-class tourist destination for the discerning traveller, the garbage dumped along the countryside needs to go. Also, residents will have to exercise civic sense. You just can't dump garbage into the sea.


The Fairytale Bridge

The Old Patto Bridge, built between the years 1632--35, is also named Ponde De Linhares after the Portuguese Viceroy Conde de Linhares, during whose tenure this major developmental activity was carried out. The Patto Bridge is a symbol of Goa's heritage and a legacy left by the Portuguese.

Shades of Portugal in the lanes of Panaji

Fontainhas or Bairro das Fontainhas, as called in Portuguese, is an old Latin Quarter in Goa's Panaji. One can witness a distinct Portuguese influence here. There are narrow streets, old villas and buildings painted in lively colors. The quarter, earmarked as a heritage zone, gives a peek into how Panaji was during the Portuguese rule. The Latin Quarter should be given the recognition it deserves and, if projected well, could ensure a regular flow of tourists throughout the year.

History...On The Rocks

In 1993, local villagers discovered mysterious rock carvings on the laterite shelf at the bend in west-flowing river Kushavati outside the village. They lay on the banks of river Kushavati, in South Goa district. These engravings exhibit the earliest traces of human settlement in India.
These petroglyphs (rock art) are approximately 20,000 years to 30,000 years old and belong to the Upper Paleolithic or Mesolithic era. The spot, that lies about one km down from the main road between Rivona to Neturlim, is an archaeological wonder.
Goa will stand to gain immense mileage if Usgalimal is promoted as a prime tourist spot complete with directional information and state-guided tours.
Goa has a lot more to offer tourists than its beaches, churches and cheap liquor. You could: