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"Goa is not just sun, sand and sea. The true culture of Goa is in its 347 odd villages. At the heart of every Goan is a villager and Ancestral Goa is a mock village which will bring you face to face with the life in Goan villages."
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Goa and villages! Don't be surprised. Goa is essentially a village state with 347 villages as compared to 44 towns. Behind all the modern beaches and trance parties is that Goa which is close by yet so rural, so untouched. At the core of this hot tourist destination and modern beaches is a rural Goa and the heart of every Goan is essentially a villager. Whichever part of the earth they might travel, their heart remains connected to the roots.

Goan villages by and far are better than other villages in India. They might not fit into that mental picture which comes to your mind with word 'village'. Goa has one of the highest literacy rates in the country and education and civic sense reflects in them. Though villages in Goa these days are having the trouble with garbage disposal.

Goan villages are generally densely packed with houses. Alleyways broad enough to pass a bullock cart separate the houses, however more than bullock carts you will spot scooters.

The houses these days built in Goa are of concrete, the second floor is kept open for grain storage. The older houses are of laterite (red stone) though now days you will see it being used to give a decorative touch to municipal buildings. These traditional old houses were protected from rains by palm frond screens but this has now been replaced by concrete and plastic roller blinds. Though piped municipal water is available in houses but they also have traditional wells in houses and some have roof tanks also.

Ancestral Goa, Loutolim

If you wish to relax after a tiring day, a visit to a Goa village will be perfect. You can catch a close glimpse of life in rural Goa and unwind. Commercialism has hit some of the Goa villages as an increasing number of tourists visit them with each passing year.

To cater to such tourists who show interest in the history, culture and life of rural Goa, 'Ancestral Goa' in Loutolim was started in 1995. From the dream of a Goan artist to carving a niche for itself on international tourist map, Ancestral Goa has travelled a long road.

A privately owned enterprise of Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares, Ancestral Goa has been dubbed by the government of India as the 'most innovative and unique project in India's tourism industry'. The Education department recommends it strongly for students.

Ancestral Goa is actually a miniature village recreated which will take you hundred years back into the history. Life size structures in a mock up village recreate that ambiance of the colonial past and time seems to stand still.

Be prepared for a cultural experience when a sari clad Goan girl greets you with the 'aarti'. History unravels here when the aura of Goan Portuguese ambiance is recreated complete with a palanquin, sepia-toned photographs, domed lamps and a designed marble floor.

Move over to nine acres of a panorama of glimpses from the life of a Goan villager together with the special moments. You will come across Goan artisans at work, a fisherman's hut, marketplace mansion of 'Dona Maria'. Completing this scene is a natural spring. Once here, you can not only enjoy the Goan feni but also see how it's prepared with cashews at the 'Bhatti' (distillery).

Natural harmony and the big foot are two important highlights of the ancestral Goa. Measuring 14 metres by 5 metres, Natural harmony is a national landmark, the longest laterite sculpture in the country sculpted single handedly by Maendra Jocelino Araujo Alvares within thirty days. Big foot is a legend where a foot mark is present on a rock and whosoever stands on it with a pure heart, it brings good luck for them. There is also a dance floor in the shape of a large foot which is a multi purpose place for functions, seminars, anniversary and birthday celebrations etc.

A green pastel soothes eyes. It includes a vegetable, spice, fruit and a herb garden. Near the natural harmony, there's a hill untouched by the human beings making it a perfect natural habitat for the birds. It is.called the Rustic bird sanctuary.

Ancestral Goa also offers you unlimited souvenirs which you can carry home. There is a big foot At Gallery, an Art Cottage and Handicrafts Centre for you to shop. To soothe your taste buds traditional Goan food specialties are available here (famous Goan bread Undo and feni) in a tavern like place. Music and dance programmes in the big foot keep the atmosphere light.

And if your visit to ancestral Goa happens to coincide with a feast or festival then don't miss this golden opportunity to see the traditional style celebrations, the customs and rituals.


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