Traditions still live on: A temple festival in Goa- Nov1
I am here in Goa for Tehelka’s Thinkfest. While this media blitzkrieg is being inaugurated at the posh Hyatt at Bambolim, I am sitting at a local temple near where my uncle lives, hearing some beautiful music!
Goa never fails to surprise.
Tonight, I have the opportunity to experience a temple festival of the Shri Pimpleshwar Dutta Mandir in Talegaon, a municipality close to Panjim, Goa’s capital city. Dattatreya is the Trimurti, the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, much worshipped in these parts. The festival features three local singers, artists of some calibre and plenty of confidence. Akshay, a young vocalist blessed with a mellifluous voice impresses me with his confidence and complete mastery of sur. Tanvi Valavalkar, also young, excelled at devotional music and her classical training comes through in her strong renditions. An older lady, whose name I did not catch, leads the group and has been singing in temple festivals for some forty five years! They carry on the vocal tradition of this region that has produced famous musicians and singers including the famous Mangeshkars.
The master of ceremonies is a colorful personality who fills the interludes with devotional stories, and quotes from a variety of ports and saints in a truly dramatic and traditional style of oration. A crash refresher course in Marathi for sure!
Temple festivals have been a long standing tradition in these parts. It is always heartening to see the strong sense of community in Goa. Today, I see the young and old, men and women, entire families with kids, the rich and the poor, even the resident dog gathered here. Most are truly enjoying the music, some are getting exposure to it. The music is semi classical and offers an opportunity for upcoming artists to showcase their skills to a relatively non judgemental audience.
This is a society bound by convention, faith and common interests. Shared beliefs and ideologies. Shared spaces. Shared rituals. Shared enjoyment. A society in which the whole is a bit more than the sum of its parts.