CRT Report of Tiracol
by Pantaleao Fernandes
Tiracol is a tiny fishing village situated at the northern-most tip of Goa, in the Pernem Taluka. This tiny village offers all the characteristics of Goa – a river, beach, fields, springs, fort, caves, church, chapel, roadside cross, and of course plenty of high grade feni.
To enter the village, one has to cross the Tiracol River separating Goa from Maharashtra via ferry boat from Querim, another quaint village of Goa. Once you cross over, you will be greeted by the locals with tender coconuts.
Then we head to the Tiracol fort and walk into the annals of history. The guide will explain the significance of the fort and the sacrifice of the freedom fighter, whose monument lies outside the fort. The church of St. Anthony that lies within the fort walls looks like a miniature of the grandiose churches that dot Goa. We walk on the ramparts of the fort and take in the mind blowing view of the Arabian Sea as it meets the Triacol River.
VIEW FROM THE FORT
CHURCH OF ST. ANTHONY
HIDDEN CAVES AND COVES
Yes, Tiracol is well known for its solitude, isolation and the most pristine beach in goa. However, the locals will now steer you via some hidden pathways to some hidden caves and coves. And if you have the spirit, grab a fishing rod from them and try to lure some rock fish. These favourite spots are well guarded secrets and known only to the locals.
We return to the village maand, an ancient sacred are for community rituals. This is where the chapel now stands. Just outside is a very typical Goan house with a long verandah. Seated here, the locals, who are very adept at playing the gumot, (an earthen percussion instrument) that provides the beat to some intoxicating local folksongs will play and sing their folksong to their heart’s content. These songs are not the typical ones sung in other parts of Goa but have a unique flavour. They may put up their festival attire consisting of green crowns and colourful cloaks and even have a rain dance. You see, these songs originate from the San Joao celebrations of this village. And it is our privilege to witness them round the year.
This encounter with the local culture, the long walk, the rejuvenating sea air and the stomach soon starts growling. The locals have now prepared a meal out of their festive menu: of locally caught fish, milgor, and hot puries which are a rave among the locals.
Sample their pure local brew if you are a feni connoisseur.
Rest a while while a local woman demonstrates the art of matting a coconut palm leaf. Try your hand at the art and weave the useful mats from discarded palm leafs in your own neighbourhood!
If yor are game, jump into the little canoe by the cove near ‘padri ghor’ and let the boat man row you around. You will spot the ‘mama ani bacho’ two rocks far in the sea with a legend of their own…
It is time to say good bye with a steaming cup of coffee and some cashew nuts roasted on fire right in front of your eyes. Mind you, the flavour of nuts roasted on fire and those in factories is totally different. So don’t miss this rare treat!
As we cross the ferry to head back home, the fort appears to say good bye!