The Hindu festival of Diwali (Deepavali) has multiple interpretations, all having their basis in the triumph of virtue over vice.

One version tells of the vile Narkasur, embodiment of the forces of darkness (tamas), ignorance (avidya) and baseness (adharma). The puranas recount his comeuppance at the hands of Krishna who deployed the sudarshan-chakra to behead the fiend. Narkasur‘s vanquishment lead to the restoration of dharma, and the Diwali celebrations represent a renewal of the memory of Krishna‘s triumphal moment.

In Goa is prevalent the quaint practice – perhaps unique in India – of the reenactment of the Narkasur mythos. On the eve of Diwali, effigies of Narkasur are mounted at village squares and towns. After a night of boisterous revelry, they are consigned to flames at dawn. In recent years, the merriment has assumed comical proportions with an explosion in the count of Narkasurs on display (perhaps an apt allegory of the times).

As a boy I looked forward to the Narkasur Nite, and the preparations in the days leading to it animated us little fellas. Although much has changed since those days, the spirit of the event persists. These photographs were taken in 2007.

My little nephew Yash prepping his Narkasur<br>5D, 24-105L

My little nephew Yash prepping his Narkasur
5D, 24-105L

 
 
My nephew & niece and their friends<br>5D, 24-105L

My nephew & niece and their friends
5D, 24-105L

 
 
Narkasur in Khandola, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Narkasur in the village of Khandola, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
 
Narkasur in Bhatlem, Panjim, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Narkasur in Bhatlem, Panjim, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
 
Narkasur in Santa Ines, Panjim, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Narkasur in Santa Ines, Panjim, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
 
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  • Diwali 2013 » Photo Blog by Rajan Parrikar - November 1, 2013 - 12:36 am

    […] my past entries here and […]ReplyCancel

  • Diwali 2011 » Photo Blog by Rajan Parrikar - October 25, 2011 - 1:28 am

    […] of Lord Krishna‘s beheading of the demon-king Narkasur as our motif for the occasion. See this blog entry from […]ReplyCancel

  • Fati Gawas - October 21, 2011 - 5:11 am

    Thanx..ReplyCancel

  • Arvind Pradhan - November 4, 2009 - 10:15 am

    The ‘quaint’ practice of burning old Nark comes from an even older Goan tradition of having fun every chance they get and even some they do not get.

    Goans are the most fun-loving people in India no doubt due to generous sprinkling of the Portugese DNA they have in their gene-pool.

    Oh to be born in Goa! Perhaps in my next life.ReplyCancel

  • Arun - October 16, 2009 - 8:06 pm

    If I believe Wikipedia, Narakasura is an Assamese tradition.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narakasura

    How it also left its trace in Goa would be an interesting historical question.ReplyCancel

  • Arun - October 16, 2009 - 6:36 pm

    Happy Diwali!ReplyCancel

The tiny settlement of Usgalimol (also referred to as Pansaimol) near the village of Rivona in Sanguem taluka in south Goa is host to an extraordinary site – a gallery of petroglyphs inscribed on a bed of laterite. The objects set in stone include human and animal forms, symbols, and implements. The area of interest covers approximately 60 x 30 sq. metres and is located cheek by jowl along a flank of the River Kushavati. During the monsoon season, much of it lies submerged under water.

The significance of this locale was realized only in the early 1990s. By then, navvies had begun hacking away at the laterite bed. The timely intervention of the Goa State Dept of Archives & Archaeology averted a major cultural tragedy. Look at the bottom-right in the first photograph below for the damage inflicted.

A serious study of the site awaits inauguration, but preliminary surveys have been done by, among others, the former Director of the Goa State Dept of Archives & Archaeology Dr. P.P. Shirodkar, and researchers at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa.

Prehistoric rock art gallery in Usgalimol, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Prehistoric rock art gallery in Usgalimol, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
 

The labyrinth symbol has been found all over the world. For more on this topic, click here.

Petroglyph of a labyrinth in Usgalimol, Goa<br>5D, 35L

Petroglyph of a labyrinth in Usgalimol, Goa
5D, 35L

 
Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa<br>5D, 35L

Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa
5D, 35L

 
Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa<br>5D, 35L

Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa
5D, 35L

 
Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa<br>5D, 35L

Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa
5D, 35L

 
Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Prehistoric rock art in Usgalimol, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
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  • Ruman Banerjee - June 11, 2013 - 9:58 am

    This is world cultural heritage, gradually fading away from the landscape. In other parts of the world, like the rock art sites of Tanum and Alta (see links)precious engravings such as these get preserved; in India they get vandalized and mutilated. Unless and until we take initiative towards preserving our own cultural heritage, nobody will do it from outside. Nobody does it. Historically, outsiders have only been interested for their own benefits barring a few, like the Pathans, Mughals etc. who really got integrated with the mainland contributing diversity and richness. But we forgot the undercurrent of our own cultural values, ethos, norms and imitated drastically different set of systems without understanding the meaning of it. It was not our brainchild. We copied it from elsewhere. Hence we lacked quality and originality, which this system could have imparted, if got implemented with proper understanding and context. Today, everywhere and by every means in India we are paying for those mistakes in this way.

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/352

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/557ReplyCancel

  • Arun - October 12, 2009 - 7:41 pm

    Funny how the meaning of the once universal symbol of the “labyrinth” is now obscure.ReplyCancel

  • Mervyn Lobo - October 12, 2009 - 6:54 pm

    The first picture reminds me of petroglyph’s in Ontario. Ones similiar to this picture have been found near running water. The rocks are covered with turf and when a new chief was elected, he was taken to the secret site, the turf removed and he would understand the message carved in.ReplyCancel

    • asmi - September 8, 2014 - 9:32 pm

      I want more information about this..plz any one can help mi on it..plz suggest mi books or articleReplyCancel

The Church of Nossa Senhora de Belém (Our Lady of Bethlehem) cuts a smart picture in the diffuse light of the setting sun. Located in the Goan village of Chandor – corruption of “Chandrapur,” the ancient capital of the Bhojas (4th – 6th century AD) and the Kadambas (10th – 13th century AD) – the church was built in 1645. After the frontispiece gave way in 1949 “it was reconstructed in Neo-Gothic style, but the nave and sanctuary of the church retain their Mannerist character.” (vide The Parish Churches of Goa – A study of façade architecture by José Lourenço.)

Nossa Senhora de Belém in Chandor, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Nossa Senhora de Belém in Chandor, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
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  • prateeksha sharma - July 1, 2014 - 9:35 am

    Thank you for a nice post, which I encountered on google. I shared it further on my own blog. If you like please feel free to take a look here- http://aroundgoa.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/chandor-church/

    Regards from ChandorReplyCancel

  • […] Upon doing a google search for the same, I found an interesting post by Rajan Parrikar and his blog that talks about the same church, though his picture is a daylight one. So why not share that too, to give a different perspective. Please take a look of that here. […]ReplyCancel

  • Arun - October 9, 2009 - 7:25 pm

    IMO, the church needs rows of tall ashoka trees to frame it.ReplyCancel

  • chinmay - October 9, 2009 - 10:26 am

    isabella, i am sure you are right..the pilars do look out of place and kind of ugly..perhaps it s a post liberation addtion..
    i remember rajan posting a picture of some temple in hampi ( i think) where the ASi added a garish pilar to support the temple that was an ugly eyesore..ReplyCancel

  • Isabella Rebello-Hamm - October 9, 2009 - 8:40 am

    I’m from Chandor. As a child the pillars were not there. I see the church has beeen renovated.
    Looks beautiful.
    Isabella.ReplyCancel

The tiny village of Mauxi (pronounced “Mao-shi”) lies in the densely forested and as yet unmolested taluka of Sattari in northeastern Goa. I set out very early one morning from Panjim for the 60 or so minutes drive to sample sunrise in Mauxi and its pastoral purlieus. These tranquil settings and experiences, not long ago readily accessible, are becoming increasingly scarce in a Goa that is fast becoming uncivilized. As we shall see, even in this fairly remote settlement, unmarked on most maps of Goa, there are surprising delights to be found for the discerning.

Sunrise in Mauxi, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Sunrise in Mauxi, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
 

Nearby in a grove and out in the open lie ancient sculptures, among them an exquisite Vetal, au naturel.

Vetal in Mauxi, Goa<br>5D, 70-200L f/2.8 IS

Vetal in Mauxi, Goa
5D, 70-200L f/2.8 IS

 
 

The villagers then point me to a mass of rocks bearing prehistoric petroglyphs, unmarked and with no official protection. Only the recent intervention of a committed Goan environmentalist – Rajendra Kerkar – has alerted the villagers to the significance of this site.

Prehistoric rock art in Mauxi, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Prehistoric rock art in Mauxi, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
Close-up of prehistoric rock art in Mauxi, Goa<br>5D, 24-105L

Close-up of prehistoric rock art in Mauxi, Goa
5D, 24-105L

 
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  • Arun - October 4, 2009 - 5:26 pm

    I suppose an archaeologist would find many interesting things in that gravel pit.

    Is the Vetal anchored at the feet by mortar?ReplyCancel