Monsoon Musings from Goa

It’s raining cats and dogs and you are itching to travel and are also strapped for cash?

Well, well, take heart and give a thought to good old Goa! No, we are not kidding…

During monsoons, you will discover another delightful side of this merry destination. Of course, the allusion is not to the same old sun, sand, and surf as the sea becomes an unpredictable furious beast and is best watched from a distance during this season. However, there are other myriad monsoon charms to look forward to, and yes, most of the hotels and airlines come up with some juicy off season discounts on fares. So, without further ado, let us give you a quick peek into Goa’s monsoon charms.

Goa in Monsoon, Goa rains
Lush Rainswept Goan Landscape

Img Src:

After summers, the rains breathe fresh life into the sun scorched destination, and turns Goa into a dazzling carpet of greenery. This is the time when Goa’s wooded trails and waterfalls are at their natural best. Places like the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park become enchanting picnic spots, while the much talked about Dudhsagar Waterfalls makes for an indescribably exhilarating sight.

Dudhsagar falls, Goa, Doodhsagar  waterfalls, Konkan waterfalls
The Magnificent rainfed Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Img Src:

No less captivating is the Savoi Spice Plantation reached by way of a magnificent drive across verdant valleys and forests. Monsoons also spell as hours of leisurely sightseeing across indoor attractions such as churches, temples, art galleries, and museums. The good part is that you get to skip those maddening crowds of loud mouthed city tourists.

It is also a treat to watch the colourful monsoon festivities celebrated by the merry locals. Especially, well known is Sao-Jao or the fertility feast of Saint John the Baptist.

Se Cathedral Goa, Goa Church
Gleaming rainwashed Se Cathedral in the sunshine after rain

Img Src:

As part of the festivities, villagers jump into wells. Don’t gasp. It’s not mass suicide but a traditional ritual wherein they come out with gifts thrown in the wells. Similarly, the June end feast of Saint Peter and Paul also makes for grand festive times.

So…strap on your travel boots and get set for Goa. Bye, until next time.

About the Author:

Pinak Shome is a member of the enthusiastic iXiGO fraternity and an avid traveller.

Cinema Weds Tourism

Cinema is a phenomenon that has been an enigma since the time of its inception. An enigma that has not only shown what happens around us but has been a greater source of what we want to watch, experience, see through, and by what means we basically want to nurture the escapist in all of us. It is no hidden fact how Cinema through ages has been a successful reflection on what society has gone through, whatever changes that it has demanded, what people have admired and listed the things that were needed to be mended. Similarly, it has undoubtedly been futuristic in its essence showing us the larger picture and what happens when everything has an ideal solution. Through ages, it has always caressed the emotional selves and the crude people that we are; not only that, it has led to the realizations which no other medium has ever been that successfully able to do. But you know what, all these hard core insights for some other time. For now, I want you to focus on something really interesting. I am sure, many of you have always wondered what would our ever favourite films have been like without the jhatka matkas, the glamour and most importantly the exotic locations, the places that we have never ever dreamt of visiting ourselves, the corners of the mother Earth that were unexplored, unreachable till the time the wide stretches of our very own Cinema became the platter and we started relishing these visual treats. Cinema has not only introduced us to various aspects of life that was deeply hidden somewhere around us but has also tried to make us take shelter in the wraps of places that were never even existent for us. For many of us who have not been that lucky to travel to places, for the people who only has access to different places through other people’s adventure tales or some travel magazine, Cinema has brought every destination so close. The spots world over that were only a mystery for us is now a reality, a reality that the characters share with us, the reality that the cinema shares with us. With films, the world has become such a small place that we are just a movie ticket away from traveling to any place, be it our very own Kashmir or Goa, or some international wonders like pyramids of Egypt in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham or the busy streets of New York city in Kal Ho Na Ho.

The place where cinema has reached in this context is not a matter of a few years. The marriage between cinema and tourism has been existent since the early 60’s and 70’s when great filmmakers like Raj Kapoor dared to shoot a larger chunk of his movie in Europe. A thing which was next to impossible was done in that time and the film industry never looked back. The films like An Evening in Paris, Around the World, and Night in London followed in that same era. However, it would not be fair to say that cinema always aimed at including something which was international, films like Kashmir ki Kali and Daag explored what was hidden in the realms of our own country. As time passed, the need for eye candy factor increased and hence the entire spree of Yash Raj films came in with their trend setting Switzerland-Alps song sequences from Silsila, Chandni to Darr, Dil to Pagal hai and…and? there is no ‘and’ is still going on.

Gradually the locations that were only seen and visited through the silver screen became accessible to common people. People got acquainted with destinations and a large number of people started moving to these international places. With that turn in the entire scenario, in response to a massive increase in middle-class and non-resident Indian audiences, especially in the UK and North America, film-makers began addressing the desires and anxieties of the Indian diaspora. Films started including the different locations not just for a song or some dream sequence but as an integral part of the story that wove the backdrop of the characters and their stories. No one can possibly imagine Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge without the Europe trip because that trip becomes the factor that brings the two pivotal characters together. No body can imagine films like Provoked and Videsh without the Canadian Backdrop because the movement of the space becomes the basis for the plot.  Films like Namastey London and the classic cinema like Purab aur Paschim often  allow for an exploration of the encounters between Eastern and Western cultures through the different locations.

Cinema has undoubtedly grown in how films are made. The grandeur of films has been nourished and caressed by the filmmakers in such a way that cinema has today become one of the biggest business across the world. In the last couple of decades, Bollywood’s footprint has grown considerably beyond borders of the country. Sometimes the reason is the above mentioned but at almost all the other times, it is only because overseas shoots enhance a movie’s glamour quotient. With the increasing globalization of cinema in its entirety, the need for the international look of the films has increased. To satisfy those instincts in the audience, film makers have always tried to explore the locations that are rare and even the ones that were always considered hard to survive. Classic examples for such cinema is Lucky shot in Russia and Gangster shot in South Korea with the successful Dhoom 2 shot in Brazil, Namibia. With time,  film-makers have started exploring more offbeat locations that give movies an exotic edge and where the choice of locations also indicates new or potential viewership for Hindi cinema.

This is not a concept which is specific to Bollywood but is stretched out to Hollywood in equal vigour. Hollywood also has with time tried to explore different rare locations and has even headed to the Middle Eastern Countries and Asian Subcontinent for doing so. There have been stories like Holy Smoke! and The Darjeeling Limited that have been set in India completely even after being Hollywood productions. The crossover of such a kind has since ages proved beneficial for the tourism industry of both the worlds. The emergence of the new era of tourism inter wined with Cinema has led not only to its growth but has also made audiences more tolerant towards different things, has led to an exploration of stories, nuances, experiences and most importantly people. Cinema has brought the world closer and we no longer think find ourselves alien to some of the most exotic places that the Mother Nature has in store for us. We are not afraid of exploring the world because of the second hand experience that we get through cinema which is liked by everyone. It would not be fair to say that Cinema has selfishly used tourism for its own needs and growth. We all know how tourism industry has grown through the process of film making. We know that because ministries of different places have asked Bollywood to shoot movies at their locations time and again and that is no hidden fact. World over, it is a well settled fact that the amount of exposure that Cinema can provide to anything is unbeatable and incomparable and smart ones understand and execute on same grounds. The soulful relation that Films and Tourism has, has grown into this mature giving and taking and sharing business with no signs of any inhibitions in the near future.

As selfish and ever desiring viewers, we wish them all the luck. May they have a long and beautiful life together!!!

-Kshitiz Ahuja