The pioneering Goa Heritage Festival which first focused attention on Panaji’s cultural and architectural heritage over two decades ago, is set for a spectacular renaissance from 15-19 November, in the Campal Heritage Precinct on the Mandovi riverfront, organised and curated once again by the Goa Heritage Action Group – to celebrate India’s smallest state’s rich and diverse cultural legacies, there will be walks, talks, music, dance, literature and poetry, food, beverages and entertainment for the entire family from morning past sunset. All are welcome, states a press release.
Explained Heta Pandit, Vice-Chairperson of GHAG, “For most visitors to Goa its heritage is restricted to the historic monuments and picturesque bylanes of the city. Goa has so much more to offer. Goa Heritage Festival 2022 will showcase glimpses of that heritage through art, music, books, talks, heritage walks, dance and more.”
The five-day event will witness 40 Goan artists, 43 Goan craftspersons, 20 heritage walks and tours which explain facets of Goa’s heritage and over 20 local culinary and beverage experiences during the festival.
This edition of the festival will be zero waste. “Goa Heritage Festival will aim to be a zero – waste festival”, added Heta. “Through partnerships with various companies, waste – collection rewards and other systems we will leave the Campal area clean as it is”, she added.
The Campal Heritage Precinct will play host to this edition of the festival. “While many of the houses in this area still reflect the architectural style of an era gone by, the quiet bylanes and the beautiful F.L. Gomes garden with its beautiful bandstand make it the ideal backdrop to showcase some of Goa’s vibrant culture and history,” said Heta.
Activities through the festival include guided heritage walks across various parts of Goa, an insightful lecture series, literary and poetry sessions on Goa related themes and live music across genres. The Kids Corner will be a zone dedicated to children where they can immerse themselves in a range of activities, craft sessions, games and reading sessions.
Vivek Menezes is curating an interesting and insightful segment on literature which includes talks and book launches. Mallika Sarabhai, Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Rana Safvi, Pragya Bhagat, Nature Conservation Society and Heta Pandit (Stories from Goan Houses) will be launching their books at the festival.
Jack Ajit Sukhija is curating the heritage walks along with Heta Pandit. He said, “A unique perspective on Goa’s abandoned history, heritage, and culture will be provided through the series of walking tours planned for the Goa Heritage Festival, which will be led by local experts such as Soul Travelling, Make It Happen, and other organisations. Nowadays, we have seen numerous visitors choose heritage excursions, which indicates that they are interested in learning more about Goa and how it has evolved over time.”
Speaking about Goa being an art hub, Cezar Pinto, member of GHAG who is a curator on the art component said, “Today many of the country’s creative luminaries have moved to live in Goa. Coupled with our local artists from the state, Goa is a hub for art. Cultural heritage includes tangible culture which includes art artefacts, sculptures and buildings. This is the reason we are showcasing different forms of art in this heritage precinct.”
A unique pop-up bazaar will feature at the festival where select local, home-grown brands will offer a glimpse into Goa’s varied handicrafts, art, and other traditional produce as well as organic food and fabric stalls. The initiative by Natasha and Bhakti will offer a platform for local talent to showcase their offerings.
A Goan festival is incomplete without its cuisine, music and entertainment. Goa is famed for its cuisine. The five-day event will have an array of local Goan delicacies, culinary and beverage offerings. Music and dance will be part of the celebrations.
Since its inception in 2000 the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) has brought to the fore Goa’s heritage and culture through a series of events, festivals, talks, seminars, research projects and white papers. GHAG has made a consistent effort to highlight the status of Goan heritage both to the general public and to the state authorities and bureaucracy.