Saluting Goan Heritage

By on May 14, 2013
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The Goa Heritage Festival held at Saligao recreated many Goan traditions that are rapidly being forgotten by the current generation

One of the challenges that tradition faces in this day and age is that it is quickly becoming a casualty to progress and modern times. There's an urgent need to revive these traditions and provide a platform for these traditions to be showcased to people so that they are not lost forever. It is this thought that brought together the Department of Tourism and Goa Tourism Development Corporation to organize the first Goa Heritage Festival which was held at the Saligao Football Ground near the iconic Mae De Deus church which is more popularly known as the Saligao Church.
The Festival was inaugurated by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar, MLA & GTDC Chairman Shri Nilesh Cabral, Directors of GTDC Adv Francis Braganza, Gurudas Shirodkar, Keshav Naik, Rajan Sawant and Sarpanch of Saligao Eknath Oraskar. In a unique twist to the inauguration ceremony, the Chief Minister lit the inaugural lamp which was a replica of the 'Deepastamb', the famous light tower at the Mangueshi Temple complex with the push of a button. He said, There is a need to conserve our heritage and to protect and preserve the identity of Goa. Festivals like this help to promote our rich culture to the tourists and the public. The Chief Minister also pressed another button to play the giant-sized replica Gramophone which played the record of the most famous Patriotic song, popular during the Opinion Poll, Goenche Majhe Goenkar written by famous poet Dr Manoharai Sardesai and sung by Ulhas Buyao.
Spread over four days, the festival was packed with stalls that had every possible Goan delicacies prepared authentically by members of numerous Self-Help Groups, which drew a steady crowd of foodies out to sample traditional Goan cuisine. Other stalls included Goan handicrafts like pottery, bamboo craft & coconut shell works, and the traditional way of producing items like Feni. All through the four days, the festival acted as a stage for a variety of traditional Goan dances and performances like Dhalo, Mando, Fugdi, Ghode Modni, Goff, Divli dance, Kunbi dance, Kalshi dance, fisherfolk dance and the likes along with other traditional Goan folk dances like Jagor, Morulo, Khel Tiatr, brass band, etc. There was also a Classical performance by Praveen Gaonkar and a performance of Konkani songs by Sonia Shirsat, amongst others. Goa's folk dance heritage was highlighted by Kanta Gawde & Troupe, Amelia Dias and Troupe, John Fernandes & Troupe, Ajit Kundaikar & Troupe, Pundalik Sawant & Troupe, Marianela Gina & Troupe, the famous trio combination popularly known as 'Mil Mel Nel' performance by tiatr artists Milagres Fernandes, Cezar D'Mello and Agnel  D'Costa, besides a traditional Goan brass band. The festival also saw Saligao talent take to the stage during the four days. On the fourth day, models took to the stage for fashion show by well-known Goan fashion designer Verma D'Mello which showcased traditional Goan wear.  
Commenting on the Goa Heritage Festival, the Tourism Minister & Local MLA of Saligao Dilip Parulekar said,
I am proud and happy to host the first heritage festival in Saligao, which has a rich history. The Goa Heritage Festival will not only highlight the history of Saligao, but also showcase traditional Goan arts & crafts, dance forms and cuisine to improve awareness not only amongst Goans but also among tourists. We intended to take the Goa Heritage Festival to other locations in Goa and highlight the history of these places. 
The Chairman of GTDC & MLA Shri Nilesh Cabral added, This is the first
of its kind festival we've organized. With the Chief Minister's blessings, we will organize bigger and better festivals in other parts of our state.

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