|Sub-district||Ilhas de Goa|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
- 1 Description
- 2 Religious institutions
- 3 Feasts
- 4 Landmarks (Ref. 2)
- 5 Occupation of Taleigãokars
Taleigão is a developed village in Ilhas de Goa bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, vast tracts of fields to the east, Odxel-Vaiguinim-Dona Paula to the south and Santa Inez-Bhatlem to the north. Located just five kilometres from Panjim, Taleigão was the granary of the north Goa during the Portuguese era, as vast tracts of agricultural land were under rice cultivation. The essence of Taleigão lies in its marvellous expanses of palm – fringed beaches, the bright green paddy fields and Nagalli hill, antique houses and mansions, broad roads, foot paths, antique church, traffic circles beautified with azulejo titles, chapels and temples, educational institutions, hotels and of course its friendly and fun loving inhabitants. The population is mixed with lot of settlers from other parts of Goa and outside Goa, especially on the Dona Paula Plateau and elsewhere. The original inhabitants are Gawda tribes who were (and still some of their descendants) involved in cultivation of the Comunidade land.
Church of São Miguel Arcanjo
The Igreja de São Miguel Arcanjo (Church of St Michael the Archangel) is one of the oldest churches in Goa which was built by the Dominicans in 1544. It is also the only church in the town, serving one of the largest parishes in Goa. The Chapel of Blessed Sacrament was annexed in 2006 during the tenure of Fr. Carmo Martins. The present parish priest, Fr. Conceiçao D’Silva, who took charge of the church in June 2011, took the initiatives to give a facelift to the church and renovate the parochial house and church office. The beautiful compound wall fitted with azulejo tiles bordering the Adro da Igreja de São Miguel and the illumination around it were added by Atanasio Monserrate. The Taleigão parish celebrates the harvest feast with pomp and gaiety on 21 August, and the feast of the patron on the nearest Sunday on or after 29 September.
Chapels in Taleigão
Taleigão also has at least twelve chapels and a number of road-side crosses some of which have been sheltered in the recent past. The oldest chapel was built by Franciscans in 1541 at Cabo. It is dedicated to Nossa Senhora Mãe de Deus. It houses some exquisite artefacts including a 17th-century portrait of the infant Jesus made of ivory. St. Pedro Copel, also known as Ruzai Saibinichem Copel (Nossa Senhora do Rosário) at Caranzalem was built in the year 1731 by Cónego Francisco da Cunha Souto Maior. St. Francis Xavier’s Chapel at Kerant originally known as Copela de San Francisco Xavier de Taleigão was built in 1928. It was blessed on 10 October 1930 by the then Bishop of Cochin and Administrator Apostolate, and the first mass was celebrated on 12 October 1930. It was enlarged in 1935 and renovated in 2002. Just 100 meters from this chapel is Nossa Senhora da Piedade which was constructed in November 1846 in Eugenio ward. Another oldest chapel at Odxel dedicated to Nossa Senhora de Lourdes was constructed by Querobino Martins de Taleigão in November 1891. The chapel of Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo Socorro at Dona Paula was built in September 1935.
There are about fifteen temples; the oldest ones being Shree Tulsimata Pandurang Sansthan at Vodlem Bhat and Shree Shankar Devasthan at Shankarwadi which were enlarged from Gumti structure which existed during the Portuguese era. Amongst the others, the most unique ones are Shree Satteri Ashram Trust Prasana at Aivao and Shri. Mahalaxmi Devasthan at Oitalem. Both these temples have a Cross inside the temple and candles are lit every night by our Hindu Brethren and Litanies are held occasionally with the help of the catholic community.
Taleigão has a mixed population of slightly over 17,000. The Catholics population is more than 12,000 followed closely by our Hindu Brethren and the Muslims. I came across two Masjids in this village one at Vodlem Bhat and other at Adarsh. The unique feature of this village is that the people of different faiths live in communal harmony.
Konsanche fest of Taleigão (Harvest feast)
In the entire Ilhas de Goa, the Taleigão village was officially accorded the privilege by the then Portuguese Governor Afonso de Albuquerque to cut the first sheaves of corn and present it to the benevolent Creator on 21 August. Traditionally, the harvest feast is celebrated with enthralling music of brass bands, colourful ceremonial umbrella, cannon fire, procession and high mass at São Miguel Arcanjo church. This thanks giving ceremony commemorates the Festa da Espiga or Novidade– a time for rejoicing and worship for the cultivators, as a gratitude to the Almighty for the bountiful crop he has gracefully bestowed.
History of the Novidade
The Novidade has a history of nearly 500 years dating back to the arrival of Portuguese in India in 1510. The King of Portugal Dom Manuel-I wanted Portugal to become a major player in maritime trade with Asian countries by establishing sea ports (feitorias) for trading spices. The King deputed Admiral Alfonso de Albuquerque to conquer Hormuz, Aden and Malacca. However, Alfonso de Albuquerque received an invitation from an exiled Hindu admiral from Goa, Thimayya who had received appeals from Hindu population in Goa to relieve them from Muslim rule. Goa was a great and prosperous trading port on the Indian coast which was ruled by Sultan Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur under the Ottoman Empire of Persia. Alfonso de Albuquerque seized this opportunity and reached Goa in February 1510 with a powerful fleet of twenty three ships and 1200 soldiers. The assault on the Muslim troops took place from March 4 to May 20, 1510, but the Portuguese were temporally defeated. With the monsoon setting in, the warfare logistics became difficult due to high waves in the Aguada Bay. The Portuguese fleet could not leave the Mandovi river as the exit route was blocked by the sand bar formed at the entrance of Aguada Bay. So the troops got stranded and were forced to take shelter on the rafters at the edge of the Mandovi river at Britona. It was a thick forest area with no inhabitants in those days. As days went by the troops ran out of provisions and had to survive on rats. The fishermen from Taleigão who ventured into the river learnt the plight of the Portuguese troops and they informed the people of Taleigão. The Taleigão Gauncars who cultivated fields and had stock of food grains took the initiative of supplying provisions to the troops at the dead of the night by risking their lives from the Muslim troops and inclement weather. They would load the provisions on bullock carts and transport them towards Aivão (a small fishing hamlet in Caranzalem), where the fishermen used to anchor their canoes. After unloading the same in the canoes they would sail with the aid of an oil lamp towards Britona at the dead of the night. In those days, Panjim (Pangim), which was a ward of Taleigão, was originally a small fishing village with lots of coconut groves between creeks and fields. The only structure in Panjim was Adil Shah’s summer palace which was surrounded by a moat. After three months of waiting, Alfonso de Albuquerque was joined by more reinforcements led by Diogo Mendes de Vasconcelos from Malacca. After fighting for less than a day, they captured Goa from the Muslim ruler on November 25, 1510.
Alfonso de Albuquerque was appointed Governor of Portuguese India by King of Portugal, Dom Manuel-I. He gradually elevated Goa to a political and commercial capital of Portuguese India. In the memory of the conquest of Goa, Alfonso de Albuquerque build a chapel dedicated to St. Catherine at Old Goa which was enlarged into a big church which is now known as Sé Cathedral. In recognition to the help rendered by the people of Taleigão, by offering food provisions to his troops, Alfonso de Albuquerque granted them the privilege to cut the first sheaves of corn on 21 August, prior to other villages in Ilhas. The decree that was issued to this effect on 16 September 1526 is referred to as Flora de Alfonso Mexia.
Alfonso de Albuquerque strengthened the foundation of the existing agricultural association and named it as a Comunidade. He introduced rules and regulation (Código de Comunidades) which empowered them with administrative, financial and judicial powers. He took the initiative in appointing managing committees of Gauncars to administer and monitor the distribution of agricultural land (aforamento & shares) and collection of revenue from the agricultural produce, which was used for the welfare of village community and paying dividends (zonos). As a result of these reforms and transparency in the system, the Comunidade of Taleigão prospered economically from the rice cultivation on vast tracts of land and earned the distinction of being the granary of Ilhas de Goa. As a tradition, on 24 August the President of the feast and the representatives of gauncars present the first sheaves of corn to the Governor who is the custodian of Comunidade land. As a part of the Hindu culture, the then Gauncars who were Hindus worshipped the first fruits of nature and sought blessings from the village deity. After embracing Christianity, the Gauncars continued these traditions with Eucharistic celebration in church and worshipped the patron of the village- São Miguel Arcanjo. This explains why the Comunidade Gauncars have the privilege of celebrating the Festa da Espiga and the feast of patron São Miguel Arcanjo.
Traditions of the Novidade (ref 1)
Taleigão is the only village in Goa where the Novidade is celebrated traditionally for 4 days (21–24 August). The feast is celebrated in rotation among the Gauncar families in the following order: Mendonça, Viegas, Martins, Luis, Gomes, Faria, Almeida, Falcão, and Abreu.
21 August: Cannons (fosné) are fired at noon and during the pealing of the Angelus bell on the previous day to convey to the neighbouring villages that Taleigão is all set to celebrate the Novidade. On 21 August, the Alvarado de Música played at dawn in the village lanes heralds the celebration and sets the village folk into festive mood. At 8:30 am, President of the feast marches under the cover of a colourful ceremonial umbrella to the São Miguel Arcanjo church to the beats of brass band. From the church the parishioners proceed in a procession to the field at Tolliant earmarked by the Comunidade for cutting of the sheaves. In 90’s the procession used to be led by dhol caxia (drum)and a trumpet, followed by Adao representing the village tribes dressed in colourful costumes and dancing with bamboo sticks and swords. They are followed by flag of holy trinity (previously it was Portuguese flag)and the parishioners, the Confrades carrying the statue of the patron São Miguel Arcanjo on Charol, the feast President, the Parish priest, and the brass band playing religious tunes. The procession proceeds along the Estrada de Santos Passos which joins to Rua de Novidade. This 1 km long route is traditionally decorated with 24 arches of bamboo shoots. After a short prayer, the Parish priest blesses the sheaves by sprinkling holy water and burning incense. Then the feast President cuts the sheaves with a silver sickle and carries them in a silver tray to the church. While returning to the church, prayers and sheaves are also offered at the São Miguel Arcanjo chapel en route. High mass is celebrated at the church at 10:00 am. After the mass, the parishioners participate in the Quermés (games) organised by the parish youth, with the background music of brass band. In the afternoon, coconut breaking competitions are held at every nook and corner of the village and the football finals of Säo Miguel trophy is organised at Dr. Alvaro Remigio Pinto ground by the Clube de Säo Miguel de Taleigão. In tune with Goan cultural traditions, the day ends with a Tiatr in the late evening.
22 August: With the boom of cannons in the background and accompanied by the traditional band, the feast President sets out to distribute fov (beaten rice) to nine Gauncar families living in different wards of the village. In tune with the Christian teachings, this act of distributing beaten rice represents sharing of joy and happiness of the rich harvest.
23 August: At 4:00 pm, the President of the feast accompanied by traditional band and the boom of canons proceeds to the church and offers fov at the altar of São Miguel Arcanjo. After prayers by the Parish priest, fov are presented to him at the parochial house. This act shows the Act of sharing of joy with the Parish Priest.
24 August: The male representatives of the nine Gauncar families and three members of the Comunidade managing committee carry the blessed sheaves, fov, and flower bouquet to Sé Cathedral, Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa until the 18th century and the Sé Cathedral was the main church. The group is received at the church entrance by the Parish Priest of Sé Cathedral with the pealing of the golden bell and playing of the traditional band in the background. A special mass is celebrated on the occasion which is also attended by devotees residing around Old Goa. The blessed sheaves are then distributed by the priest during the mass. After the mass, fov are also distributed by the President of the feast to the congregation and the resident priests. Later, the group presents fov and sheaves to the Archbishop at Paço Patriarcal and to the Governor of Goa at Raj Bhavan. At Raj Bhavan, the feast President reads out a short speech highlighting the various difficulties faced by villagers in cultivating the fields, drainage system, etc. In the afternoon the group is treated to a sumptuous lunch consisting of twelve dishes at the feast President’s residence, with a boom of cannons in the background. It is customary to play a game of cards for entertainment.
The traditions of Novidade revive the bond of friendship between the families under the tutelage of the Comunidade de Taleigão and blessings of the patron São Miguel Arcanjo.
Landmarks (Ref. 2)
Prominent landmarks in Taleigão include São Miguel Church, which was established in 1544 by the order of preachers called Dominicans and is currently one of Goa's oldest churches. Taleigão hosts one of the finest football grounds in Goa - the Dr. Remigio Pinto Football Ground and the best all season spacious Community Hall which caters to weddings, social functions, trade fairs, etc.
Educational institutions (Ref 2)
Taleigão plateau hosts the main hub of higher education- the Goa University. There is a higher secondary school at Dona Paula and a number of high schools, middle schools, primary schools, and pre-primary schools in Taleigão catering to the educational needs of the children. Don Bosco at Odxel run by Salesians caters to the all round development of the children from the weaker sections of the society. The Bookworm Library situated behind the church is a knowledge bank of our youngsters and meets the increasing demands of the readers. The National Institute of Oceanography at Dona Paula is one of the pioneer centres for oceanographic research in India.
Playgrounds (Ref 2)
Football is in the blood of Taleigãokars. The church square (adró) served as main playground where most of the village lads practiced football under the mentorship of Dr. Alvaro Remegio Pinto. Thereafter many of them, including Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, brought laurels to Taleigão by playing for professional football clubs and winning national tournaments. The Portuguese constructed the first playground at Borchem Bhat which was handed over to a club known as Grupo Desportivo de Caranzalem to encourage football in Taleigão. Dr. Alvaro Remegio Pinto was instrumental in organising football tournaments at the church square (adró). As a memory of his contribution to the football, the playground besides the Community hall bears his name. inundation
Parks (Ref 2)
Taleigão has been beautified with number of parks which has also become a place of entertainment for the children. The biggest park in Taleigão is the jogger’s park at Caranzalem on the Miramar – Dona Paula road. The park and play ground next to the Dr. Remigio Pinto ground is also crowded with children. The parks at Durgawadi, Posrem Bhat, Nagali, Alto Nagali and landscape garden at Dona Paula are also worth mentioning.
Beaches (Ref 2)
Taleigão is blessed with beautiful beaches which are well connected with roads. The beach at Odxel, Vainguinim, Dona Paula, Aivao, and Caranzalem are known as picnic spots since decades. People from far off places like Old Goa, St. Estevam and Ponda still come to these beaches in summer vacation for bathing to improve their health. The Aivao-Caranzalem bay is known for fishing activity. In the Portuguese era, the canoes used to land here with a large catch of fish including mackerel and sardines. These were salted and dried on the sand, while the excess catch was auctioned. Locals and farmers from far off places like Merces used it as manure for agriculture and horticulture.
Hillock of Dona Paula (Ref 2)
This place is named after Dona Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto. Dona is a title given to married noble woman under Portuguese customs. She was the daughter of Portuguese Viceroy in Sri Lanka who along with her family arrived in Goa 1644. She married Dom Antonio Souto Maior, a wealthy Fidalgo in 1656, who owned large properties extending from Cabo to Caranzalem. She was known for charity and worked for betterment of the villagers. After her death in December 1682, as a gratitude to her kindness the villagers renamed the place as Dona Paula, which was originally called Oddavell. The statues of philosopher couple Mr and Mrs. Robert Knox which were carved by Dutch sculptress Baroness Yrse Von Leistner are seen atop the rock. One gets a splendid view of the Arabian Sea and the landscape from the hillock. The jetty which is used for navigation has been renovated and the route has been paved and illuminated recently. The water sports facilities in the vicinity also attract tourists. A large part of Hindi movie Ek Duuje ke Liye was shot here, which popularised the place further.
Casa do Povo de Taleigão
It was the community hall which was built and inaugurated by the last Portuguese Governor of Goa, General Vassalo de Silva on 21 August 1961. It houses a hall with stage, and offices of the Comunidade de Taleigão and Club de São Miguel de Taleigão. Tiatrs used to be held in the hall on the occasion of church feast. Wedding receptions were also held in olden days.
Taleigão Community Hall
One of the attractions of the village is the impressive, spacious and ultra-modern community hall. This all-season hall is famous for marriage receptions, international and national meetings, social gatherings, parties, etc. The interiors, illumination, outdoor stage and spacious parking are some features that attract the people from all over Goa to organise various social and cultural events. The basement houses the office of the village Panchayat.
There are many Portuguese-style antique houses in Taleigão. Santissimo ward - the house of Mulgaonkar (vodlem ghor) at Voilem Bhat, the double storied house of Dr. Remegio Pinto, Jose Martins house (currently occupied by Asha Mahal), Jervasio Viegas house (behind the church), and Almeida house (opposite Cidade Haven); Oietalem- Viegas house (Las Viegas); Bodiem- houses of Mendonça and Prof. Carlos Viegas (taken over by Shirodkar family); the house of Fernando Martins at Martins Morod; Kerant - Villa Zacarias, Raposo house, Vas house (opposite the rice mill), and Keni house at Adarsh; Caranzalem- Vivenda Prazaires (opposite Auxilium high school) and Casa Decha are some of the antique houses that have still retained their old architectural style, antique furniture, and ambience.
Cabo Raj Nivas
This 16th century structure was originally a convent built by Franciscans. Given its strategic location, it was later fortified to act as a sentinel over the confluence of the Zuari and Mandovi rivers. It was later converted into a palace where the Portuguese Viceroys and Governor Generals resided. Now it is the residence of His Excellency, the Governor of Goa. The palace has a sumptuous Darbar hall, spacious verandahs with magnificent view of the Arabian Sea, Bohemian glass chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, antique tableware, assorted paintings and a spacious garden. The Capela de Nossa Senhora Mae de Deus is annexed to the Raj Bhavan, whose feast is celebrated on 15 August with solemnity. The zig-zag steps leads to a grotto with a rock-carved altar dedicated to 4th-century saint - Santa Paula. There is also a small museum that displays replicas of sculpture of Hindu gods dating back to 11th century and beyond, besides some Christian icon and figurines.
It was in the 18th century that the British garrison led by Sir William Clarke entered Goa on the pretext of protecting Goa from the French invasion. They were stationed at Cabo (Dona Paula), Fort Aguada and Fort Mormugao. They stayed at Marivel from 1799 and 1813. They built a cemetery in the neighborhood of Cabo Raj Niwas to bury the dead soldiers. It has an ornate semi-circular archway that leads to graves and memorial stones.
Statue of Jack de Sequeira
The 9-metre bronze statue of João Hugo Eduardo de Sequeira, popularly known as Dr. Jack de Sequeira, was unveiled on 20 April 2007 at Dona Paula circle. It is a tribute to the great leader who demanded Opinion Poll in the first Goa Legislative Assembly to retain Goa’s identity. In the run up to the Opinion Poll, he traveled extensively to different parts of Goa and Mumbai to create awareness among Goans of the dangers of merging Goa with Maharashtra. For his tireless efforts which led to the rejection of the merger, he is called the father of Opinion Poll.
Occupation of Taleigãokars
Traditionally, agriculture and horticulture was the main occupation of the villagers. Taleigão is blessed with vast tracts of land where rice is used to be cultivated during monsoon and vegetables were grown in summer. The flat portion on the hill tops were utilised to grow lady fingers, raggi, snake gourd, ridge gourd, etc., in monsoon season. Taleigão’s tambdi bhaji, sweet potatoes, brinjals, chillies, bottle gourd, etc., are famous for their taste all over Tiswadi taluka. Since the last decade, farming is on decline because of high labour costs, flooding of the fields in monsoon due to non-maintenance of water channels, youth taking up different jobs, migration of families to other countries, etc. Concrete structures have taken over the agricultural land in Taleigão which has transformed the village into an urban settlement. The Progressive Farmer’s Club of Taleigão has taken initiatives to revive agriculture by availing government schemes. The influx of migrants have had a tremendous impact on the culture and traditions of the villagers.
1. Article by son-of-soil Dr. Alvarinho J. Luis in parish bulletin - PORZOLL dated 21/8/2012 titled - "The Traditions of Taleigao's harvest feast"
2. Article by Luiza Luis in parish bulletin - PORZOLL dated 25/12/2012 titled " Uniqness of Taleigao."