Until 2000, few outside Goa had heard of Canacona. This southernmost region of the state has it all: lush fields, forests, mountains, rivers, and secluded beaches. For long it had remained outside the ambit of the mass tourism circuit due to its relative remoteness and lack of facilities. But that changed in 2004 when the movie The Bourne Supremacy came along, with its opening sequence of Matt Damon gamboling on Palolem beach. The last remaining citadel of Goa’s pristine wilderness had crumbled. Today it has turned into a playground for the coarse proclivities of the tourist hordes.
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a lark through Canacona. It was a glorious monsoon morning when I got to the tiny hamlet of Loliem. The noted Hindustani vocalist Anjanibai Lolienkar of Agra gharana was born here. Later, I stopped by the village of Painguinim (Poinguinim), home to the old temple of Parashurama, avatar of Lord Vishnu, whom legend associates with the origin of Goa. I will have more material on these villages and their socio-religious traditions in future postings.