The village of Chopdem in north Goa has little of interest to detain the I Luv Goa T-shirt-flaunting visitor. But for the more discerning there are opportunities to be explored in a quiet and languid setting.
The old temple of Bhoomika – a form of Shakti, the Mother Goddess – is set by the main road cleaving through the village, and on this overcast monsoon morning the fresh coat of bold colours resting on a bed of green ensnared my lens.
The ancient deity of Vetal, its iconography and associated rituals, are important elements of – and perhaps unique to – Goa‘s Hindu tradition. Only 50 of the ancient Vetal sites* in the whole of Goa survived the destruction by the Portuguese, none at all in the Bardez and Tiswadi talukas. During 2006-2008 I went off on Vetal‘s spoor, photographically documenting 45 of these sites (5 still to go). I expect to get around to posting them by and by.
*Traditionally, Vetal images were cast out in the open with only a roof overhead provided for shelter. He was, after all, expected to be on his nightly rounds in his role as the village’s protector-in-chief.
Vetal–bab of Chopdem happens to be quite an arresting dude.