"Wander Wander Wander" jamie_goa's Profile

A liitle bit of Lakshadweep

Located in the Arabian Sea, it consists of twelve coral atolls, three coral reefs, five banks, and numerous islets that lie between 200–300 km off the coast of Kerala. The total land area of the territory is 32 km..

The first westerner on the islands was Vasco da Gama, but the English were the first to explore the islands. They are also mentioned in great detail in the stories of the Arab traveller, Ibn Batuta. The Portuguese established a fort on the islands in May 1498, but the inhabitants rose up against them and chased them away.

Only eleven of the islands are inhabited!!!

Goa ... my love

The name Goa came to European languages brought by the Portuguese colonisers, but its precise origin is unclear. The Indian epic Mahabharata refers to the area now known as Goa, as 'Goparashtra' or 'Govarashtra"' which means a nation of cowherds. 'Gopakapuri' or 'Gapakapattana' were used in some ancient Sanskrit texts, and these names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindu texts such as the Harivansa and the Skanda. In the latter, Goa is also known as "Gomanchala". Gove, Govapuri, Gopakpattan, and Gomant are some other names that the region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such as the Puranas. It has also been known as "Aprant".

The most popular celebrations in Goa are Christmas, Easter Sunday Ganesh Chaturthi, New Year's Day, the Shigmo festival and the Carnival. However, since the 1960s, the celebrations of the Shigmo and carnival have shifted to the urban centres, and in recent times these festivals are seen more as a means of attracting tourists. Celebrations for all festivals usually last for a few days and include parties and balls.

Western English songs have a large following in most parts of Goa. Traditional Konkani folk songs too have a sizable following. Manddo, the traditional Goan music which originated in the nineteenth century, is sung and danced on special occasions. Goa is also known for its Goa trance music.

Arambol Beach is located in Goa a few kilometers from the city of Mapuca. It lies within the Pernem administrative region or district in north Goa. One section of the beach has a salt water lake close to the sea, enclosed between the mountains that hide the spectacular Banyan tree. The beach attracts many International tourists, mainly during the winter season between December and February.

Currently no major hotels exit in this area due to local pressure and consequently rooms are available at very reasonable rates when compared to tourist laden beaches such as Baga and Candolim. Arambol beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa, amongst many other popular locations including Vagator, Anjuna and Palolem.

Harimandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib (also Hari Mandir, Harimandar and other variants) is the most sacred shrine in Sikhism, located in Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is widely known as the Golden Temple, but its true name is Harimandir Sahib. Literally, Harimandir means "the Temple of God", 'Hari' being a term for God and 'Mandir' meaning Temple. Sikh devotees, for whom the Temple is a symbol of freedom and spiritual independence, come to the Temple from all over the world to enjoy its environs and offer their prayers. In addition, the shrine is increasingly becoming a tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world.

A temple or palace??

P.N. Oak, President of The Institute for Rewriting Indian History, has repeatedly asserted that the Taj Mahal was a Hindu temple of the god Shiva, usurped and remodeled by Shah Jahan. The temple's name, he says, was originally "Tejo Mahalaya"; this was corrupted over time to "Taj Mahal".

Oak also claims that the tombs of Humayun, Akbar and Itmiad-u-Dallah — as well as the Vatican in Rome, the Kaaba in Mecca, Stonehenge and "all historic buildings" in India — were also Hindu temples or palaces.

The Taj is only a typical illustration of how all historic buildings and townships from Kashmir to Cape Comorin though of Hindu origin have been ascribed to this or that Muslim ruler or courtier.

He further says that if Taj Mahal was not a Shiva temple, that it might then have been the palace of a Rajput king. In any case (he says), the Taj Mahal was Hindu in origin, stolen by Shah Jahan and adapted as a tomb — although Oak also claims that Mumtaz is not buried there.

Oak further states that the numerous eyewitness accounts of Taj Mahal construction, and Shah Jahan's construction orders and voluminous financial records, are elaborate frauds meant to hide its Hindu origin.

His many provocative assertions have gained a lot of popular interest and made Oak a well-known media figure.

He has sued to break open the cenotaphs, and to tear down brick walls in the lower plinth: In these "fake tombs" and "sealed apartments", Oak says Shivalingams or other temple items were hidden by Shah Jahan.

According to Oak, the Indian government's refusal to allow him unfettered access amounts to a conspiracy against Hinduism.

Oak's assertions are not accepted by legitimate scholars. But these stories are widely believed and publicized by some contemporary Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) activists.

In 2000 India's Supreme Court dismissed Oak's petition to declare that a Hindu king built the Taj Mahal and reprimanded him for bringing the action. In 2005 a similar petition was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court. This case was brought by Amar Nath Mishra, a social worker and preacher who claims that the Taj Mahal was built by the Hindu King Parmar Dev in 1196....

Oh Boy!!!

Back to good old Goa...

Rice with fish curry is the staple diet in Goa. Goa is renowned for its rich variety of fish dishes cooked with elaborate recipes. Coconut and coconut oil is widely used in Goan cooking along with chile peppers, spices and vinegar giving the food a unique flavour. Pork dishes such as Vindaloo, Xacuti and Sorpotel are cooked for major occasions among the Catholics. A rich egg-based multi-layered sweet dish known as bebinca is a favourite at Christmas. The most popular alcoholic beverage in Goa is feni; Cashew feni is made from the fermentation of the fruit of the cashew tree, while coconut feni is made from the sap of toddy palms.

The majority of the locals are either Christian or Hindu. The Church 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' serves the religious interests of all the Catholics in the area. The Catholic locals worship the 'Mother Mary' and she is referred to as 'Saibinn Mai' in the local language called Konkani.

Goa has two World Heritage Sites: the Bom Jesus Basilica and a few designated convents. The Basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, regarded by many Catholics as the patron saint of Goa. Once every decade, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing. The last such event was conducted in 2004. The Velhas Conquistas regions are also known for its Goa-Portuguese style architecture.

  • Intro Updated Sep 8, 2006
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