Remembering a distinguished son of Goa.

Today is the birth anniversary of Abbé Faria (May 31, 1756 – Sep 20, 1819), a pioneering researcher in the field of hypnotism. Pace Franz Mesmer, Faria recognized that the agency of hypnosis is the power of suggestion.

Abbé Faria was born in the coastal village of Candolim in Goa. He died in Paris and is buried in Montmartre although the exact location of his grave remains unknown. A fictionalized Abbé was featured in Alexandre Dumas‘s novel The Count of Monte Cristo, later adapted in a number of films, the last in 2002. Read the brief account of his eventful life in the Wiki entry.

In 1945, a monument honouring this great man was erected in the heart of Panjim, and the Goan sculptor Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat commissioned to create the artwork. The plaque on the northern side reads: JOSÉ CUSTODIO FARIA (ABADE FARIA) FUNDADOR DE DOUTRINA E METODO DA HIPNOSE PELA SUGESTÃO (José Custodio Faria, Abbé Faria founder of the Doctrine and Method of Hypnosis by Suggestion). [Reference: Snapshots of Indo-Portuguese History – I by Vasco Pinho]

In the first image below, the Palácio do Idalcão (Adilshah’s Palace), built c. 1500, is to the left of the frame and on the right, the heritage Mhamai Kamat House (19th C).

Abbe Faria statue in Panjim, Goa

Largo do Palácio, Panjim
5D Mark II, TS-E 17L

Abbe de Faria statue in Panjim, Goa

The power of ‘suggestion’
5D Mark III, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

Abbe Faria monument in Panjim, Goa

Abbé Faria: Artwork by Ramchandra Pandurang Kamat
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 100 Makro Planar

  • Bee Dee - June 21, 2018 - 8:17 pm

    R … You have disguised very well the years of neglect of this monument.ReplyCancel

  • Olinda Rodrigues - June 1, 2018 - 8:18 pm

    It is always good to be reminded of worthy stories. In this case also it is heart-warming to remember Abbe Faria on his birthday. I am in awe of the work of Ramchandra P Kamat. Thank you for this post Rajan. Best regards from Dubai.ReplyCancel

  • Roland Francis - May 31, 2018 - 2:11 pm

    Very heartening to be reminded of the life of one of Goa’s illustrious sons, where did they go, to be replaced by the scoundrels that we meet today,

    What a magnificent statue sculpted by Ramchandra Kamat, worthy of one of Europe’s old city’s picturesque plazas.

    Thank you Rajan-bab for remembering a great Goan on his birthday.ReplyCancel

  • Premanand - May 31, 2018 - 6:22 am

    I first read about Abbe Faria while reading ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. It warmed the cockles of my heart when I googled him and found that Bab Faria was from Goa. One sentence from his life which has stuck with me is when his father pepped him up by saying “Hi sogli baji; cator re baji (they are all vegetables, cut the vegetables)”. Refer to the Wikipedia entry mentioned in the post above.

    Last weekend we went on an island and while on the ferry I was narrating a watered-down version of ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ to my son, as it also has island prison and escape from the prison. I told him about Abbe Faria and how intelligent he was and how he helps Edmond Dantes escape. And here we are today, Parrikar Bab making a post on his blog about Abbe Faria! What should we call this, conincidence? Nah, may be ‘Animal Magnetism’! 🙂ReplyCancel

Saturated colours in the real world.

These images from 2007 were taken at the temple zatra of Goddess Navadurga in the Goan village of Madkai.

Madkai jatra, Goa

Towers of bangles
5D, 24-105L

Madkai jatra, Goa

Line for darshan of Goddess Navadurga
5D, 24-105L

Madkai jatra, Goa

Lord Shiva takes a call on his iConch 6s
5D, 24-105L


Forlorn terrain.

Close to the Arctic Circle, the far-flung Langanes peninsula on the northeastern corner of Iceland is a world unto itself. Not in Langanes the visual drama found elsewhere in Iceland with its cast of mountains, fjords, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and geysers. Instead, there is a subtle, staid beauty on offer here.

The headland tapers into the cold waters of the Greenland Sea, and when not lashed by ferocious storms, its still and lonely expanse evokes a sense of melancholy, what the Portuguese aptly refer to as saudade. Summer brings an astonishing array of birdlife to Langanes, including one of the largest gannet colonies in the world.

I have visited this area multiple times over several years, always accompanied by the local farmer Skúli Ragnarson of Ytra Áland, and my friend Börkur Hrólfsson. Their intimate connection with the land has given me a richer perspective not readily available to an outsider.

The photo essay that follows tries to convey some of the saudade experienced in Langanes.

Skálar in Langanes, Iceland

5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

Route to Skálar, Langanes

Route to Skálar
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar


This cross memorializes 11 British fishermen who perished here in 1955 after their trawler “Daniel Quare” ran aground on the north side of Langanes. The hapless men tried to walk to Skálar but died from exposure. The inscription translates to, “Here rest 11 British seamen.”

Memorial to 11 British seamen, Skálar, Langanes, Iceland

“Here rest 11 British men”
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

Driftwood in Langanes, Iceland

Driftwood washed up from Siberia
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

Abandoned far, Heiði, Langanes, Iceland

Abandoned farm Heiði
5D Mark II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II

Fishing boat in Skálar, Langanes, Iceland

Alone, in still waters
5D Mark II, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar


A long drive on a rough track brings us to the Fontur lighthouse at the very edge of Langanes, seen in the image below to the left of the vanishing point (barely visible at this image size).

Route to Fontur lighthouse, Langanes, Iceland

Final stretch to Fontur lighthouse
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

Fontur lighthouse in midnight sun, Langanes, Icland

Light of the midnight sun: Börkur Hrólfsson at Fontur
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar


Goa’s bedrock.

The Konkani term tambdi maati – lit. red clay – has special meaning to Goans. It refers to the red soil of our land derived from the bedrock laterite that spans Goa‘s demesne.

Traditional Goan dwellings – homes, temples and churches – were built with laterite and coated with lime. Post-1961 we saw the retreat of laterite and the dismal spread of Third World concrete.

Chapel windows in Arpora, Goa

Laterite wall and windows of nacre, in Arpora
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

House of Dattaram Wadkar in Thivim, Goa

House in Thivim
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 Makro Planar

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa, stripped of its lime plaster
5D, 24-105L

  • Vivian A. D'Souza - May 17, 2018 - 3:43 pm

    Laeterite is Goa. That is why I built my home with exposed Laeterite exterior walls. I have received a lot of compliments
    Actually, I wanted to have the entire home of exposed laeterite
    as this was how my Grandparents home used to be (except for the
    living room).
    Since I was in the USA while the house was being built, the
    Architect and Contractor took liberties with my instructions, and the interiors and the balcao area were plastered.
    I love the warm cozy look of Laeterite !ReplyCancel

    • Rajan Parrikar - May 17, 2018 - 4:17 pm

      Vivian-bab, having seen your home I concur that it has the “warm cozy look” that you mention.ReplyCancel

  • Premanand - May 17, 2018 - 8:02 am

    We used to play from morning till sundown in ‘tambdi maati’ and by the end of summer vacations I used to invariably get the ‘tambdi maatiche phod’, small water boils and blisters, on both of my legs. After looking at those photographs I so want to be in Goa, right now! 🙂ReplyCancel