Hidden Gems Of Veling

HIDDEN gems of Veling, a walk curated by Soul Travelling, sounded like a treasure hunt and I found myself driving from my village of Benaulim early one morning. I wanted to catch the host, Bhavesh Velinkar of Soul Travelling before he set off on his walk with a group of heritage lovers. We were in time to catch the morning sun roll along the gleaming copper roof tiles of a temple as we were led into the first gem, precincts of the Shree Laxmi Narsimha Devasthan.

The enthusiastic walkers were then led in front of the temple, to the temple tank. The entire layout of the tank and its abutting structures were as awe inspiring as the temple itself. We were lucky to catch a young bhatji bathe and perform puja of the idols in the tiny shrines. Smeared with sandalwood paste and clad in a white dhoti, the bhatji went about his sacred duties very religiously.

A spout sculptured from stone in the shape of the face of a cow released spring water from its mouth and replenished the tank. One of the walkers gingerly stepped forward and after splashing her face, drank the water. Enriched with minerals and medicinal properties of different roots, the water is supposed to have curative properties.

Pointing at a tall structure beyond the tank, Bhavesh explained, “This is a room built at a height right in front of the temple. Every morning & evening four musical instruments are played from there which includes kasale, shehnai, dhol etc. This tradition is slowly getting extinct. This is because neither is any attempt made to preserve it nor are the artists paid well for it. The room is known as shejo (Konkani) or nagarkhana (Marathi).” 

Bhavesh led the way out to a nearby Shri Vetaleahwar Devasthan. Just beyond, sitting at the junction of three roads was a masonry plinth protecting an aapto plant.

The host explained, “In Goa, Dussehra is celebrated in every village by taking Palkhi procession. The Palkhi which leaves from a temple goes to a specific aapto tree. The tree is worshipped and a leaf is offered to God. Later the leaves are exchanged between those gathered. However the Veling Dussehra is considered special as three Palkhis meet at a Aapto tree. These are from the Shree Shantadurga Shankhwaleshwari Sausthan, Shri Vetaleahwar Devasthan & Shree Laxmi Narsimha Devasthan. This happens at 8 pm on the Dussehra day. The event is witnessed by over 2000 people”.

The next gem to be seen was the Jagor Maand or Jagaramonn, a sacred space on which the Jagor festival is held. Bhavesh elucidates, “The Jagor starts normally at around 10:30 pm. The divli (oil lamp) is brought from the hill with Dhol Ghumat vaadan. Once it reaches JagaramonnJagor begins. All night they perform various folk dances. Another unique thing about Jagor is that, women don’t participate and their roles are depicted in the plays that happen all night by male actors with get-up of females. This festival goes on till 6 am in the morning.

Jaagor is keeping spirits alive all night. It is a post-harvest event of music & dance all night. Jagor happens once a year in few villages in Goa.

These have travelled to various part of the world to showcase the unique folk dance of Goa performed for Jagor.” The final leg of the walk led to a kulaghar – an aracanut orchard. Traditional cottages dotted the orchard. The walking expedition ended with snacks and kasai – a concoction brewed with spices and milk. One could spot women – old and young performing different chores in their yards. 

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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