Hey there wanderers.
There are so many wonders in every corner of this world that it’s literally impossible for anyone to know it all. From the small tiniest villages to the biggest cities. Everything or to say everywhere has a story.
So in the pursuit of knowing my homeland, my own little state-Goa a bit better I went ahead on a tour with SOUL TRAVELLING to one of the biggest village in Goa- Aldona in the Bardez taluka in North Goa. Situated some 17 Kms from the state capital Panaji and approximately 8 kms from the city of Mapusa is this beautiful village.
Aldona is a village which has seen a lot of past and where life takes a slow turn-walks past in slow motion relaxed. I’m glad I took this village tour with Soul-Travelling out of all the curated tours they have to villages like the historic Chandor, the relaxed village of Candolim, Island hunting in Divar, The back waters of Chorao , The stories of the village with a said haunted church- Cansaulim, the peaceful- Saligao trail and many more
So, I set out on this tiny endeavour on a Sunday afternoon and while I was riding through the village to reach the designated area I could see how vast a Portuguese influence the place have had with huge highly decorated mansions throwing out its arms open with grandeur .The host Darryl was a jolly friendly chap from the neighbouring village and seemed to know a lot of details about the place.
The Aldona trail started form the ‘Tercena’ or the main center of the village which constitutes the community centre, the communidade-(fun fact Aldona being amongst the few villages having two communidades/Community systems, literally divided into two parts due to their internal conflicts), The church and the market area. We were giving crisp details about all the conflicts and assassinations that had happened there and how peace was brought about by erecting a statue of the local educationist Mr. Edward Soares, the founder of the famous St. Thomas school and a person looked up to by everyone in the village.
The next stop was to a lesser known fort in Goa, ‘Fort Corjuem’. This 18th century fort though small in size, was one to be passed on to almost four rulers-from the Bammons to the Marathas to the Bhonsle’s and then to the Portuguese. I’m a sucker for myths and legends and who wouldn’t love one. Here I heard about a famed Portuguese general ‘Balthazar do Conto Cardoso’ who was celebrated for his bravely and valour having fought many wars for the Portuguese and when he reached Goa-to be precise at the Corjuem fort it was revealed that he wasn’t really a man but a woman named ‘Maria Ursula D’Abreu e Lencastro’, who dressed as a man fulfilled her dreams of living a life of adventure. But with the big revelation she was stripped off her title of a captain. Yet another sad story of human being discriminated due her gender, no!
Moving ahead from here we made our way to a Goan house. The owners had their own piece of land which they turned to a farm producing organic veggies and fruits from mangoes to corn to pointed gourd to sweet savory stuff like local Bimblee and star fruit. Lara who was our host there was kind enough to take us around and show us her gorgeous house flooded with furniture speaking tones of heritage, some of which was astonishing and never heard of like the indoor potty pit. They also had a marvelous collection of antiques- cameras, Gramophone records and loads of other thing. It was great seeing all of this.
We were all having a jolly good time here in Aldona but were yet to visit the church which we had earlier skipped due to a funeral service going on but since it was the sunset hour we headed to the Manos or to say the backwater bridge where Daryll told us about the mysterious Rakhno or the guardian of the place- a local folklore deity the villagers hold a strong faith in as a protector of the land, we sat there watching the sunset, sharing our stories until the sun went down.
We later hurried to the St. Thomas church which is 400 plus years old and has some pretty interesting history. The yearly feast cerebrated here is called the ‘choranche fest‘ or the feast of the robbers, surprisingly! The story behind this literally gave me goose bumps and it goes this way- a gang of robbers appeared in the middle of the night to rob the church as well as the communidade vault which was housed in the church and tried to break in the safe. An alert church worker noticed them and rang the church bell, alarming the locals. What followed was a massacre of the robber. It is said that the robbers were killed and buried right there in the church compound itself – the exact ground we were standing on while Darryl was narrating us this tale. ….Now you know why I got the chills, right!
Moving on after that strong dose of history was our last stop for the day at another Portuguese Goan villa where the owner of the house served us delicious homemade Goan sweets like ‘Alle-Belle’/pancakes and Pinagr and we sat there listening to their stories, ogling at the mansion with a happy satisfied tummy.
That was it- three hours had flown by us pretty quick. We bid farewell to all, the fellow explorers we had just acquainted with and with a satisfied soul made our way back home –happy to unfold yet another quiet village packed with so much action in my own little state. It was all possible because of Soul-Travelling who organised this tour,touching every facet of the place and giving us a thorough and wonderful experience.
A local village tour is something to be added to your Goa trip the next time. It’s the best way to catch a glimpse of the place you’re visiting and dig deep into its roots. And if you plan on doing so do book your tour with Soul-Travelling. Soul-Travelling takes you on unprecedented journey to some spots that touches the very soul of the place and they have such amazing well curated and well thought of village tours lined up, linking them down below.
Hope you enjoyed this virtual word tour of Aldona with me.
Let’s keep exploring