The day we landed in Goa, en route to our hotel on the Baga beach stretch, we noticed preparations underway for some kind of festivities outside a small temple. We got to know that the temple was that of a deity called Babreshwar, quite popular among Konkanis, and considered to be very powerful. We also got to know that the temple was shiny new, and that the inauguration was to happen two days later. The preparations that we had seen were for the inauguration festival – a fair that would continue for about a week or so.
This place, Khobra Waddo, was at walking distance from the hotel we were staying at, and we would pass by it every day while on our daily walks around the area. Soon, it became a sort of pit stop for us. We began to love looking at the stalls being set up, and the temple beautifully lit up in the nights.
The day of the inauguration dawned, and we stopped at the temple to pay our respects to the deity. We were amazed by the way the roof of the temple was being decorated – with huge bunches of raw bananas that devotees were bringing in. There were hundreds of bunches on the roof, which was quite amazing. We had never seen anything like that. It was beautiful.
That night, the festivities started and the whole place came alive. There were hundreds of people visiting the temple, feasts being cooked, pretty lights, an orchestra, and everything from clothes and jewellery and snacks to flowers and copper utensils and decorative items on sale. We managed to buy a few clothes and decorative items from the fair as well – everything was of great quality and quite reasonably priced.
In the days that followed, we observed the bunches of bananas being taken down from the roof of the temple one by one – they had ripened by now – and being auctioned off among the devotees. Again, that was something we had never seen before!
We continued with our practice of stopping by the temple and the stalls till the day we left; it was such a charming experience for us. Yes, there were loudspeakers blaring and traffic congestion, but there was something very small-town-pretty in all of it.
This is one of the reasons I love travelling – sometimes by design, sometimes quite accidentally, you walk smack dab into the middle of something very local, very quaint, very traditional and end up getting awed by it. Experiences like this are what I seek when I travel.