Mapusa – A tete a tete with the city
Also known as : Mapsa
Location : Western India
Best Time to Visit : October to March
Local Transport : Motorcycle taxis, mini buses, and taxis,
Souvenirs : Fish, incense, exotic fruits, Moira Bananas, handicrafts, shell articles,
Places to see : Churches, beaches, Mascarenhas Mansion, Kalika temple
Mapusa – Rendezvous with the city
Mapusa is the meeting place of all the routes in the Bardez taluka. It is close to the Mapusa river. This river in ancient times was a major source of waterway, which is used to transport agricultural products, spices etc. It is a combination of the ancient and the modern. This is an important gateway for the beaches of North Goa. It is very close to most of the beaches in Goa. Therefore, it is a convenient resting place for the tourists.
Mapusa – Network of Transports
Many buses available to connect Mapusa with other places. Buses also available for Belgaum, Hubli, Pune and Chapora, Candolim and Arambol. A motorcycle, auto rickshaw or taxi could take a person to Anjuna or Calangute.
The Tale of the City
Goa has been an agriculture-dominated community from many years. Even before the Aryans or Maratha, Portuguese conquered Goa, the Goa community comprised of the Gaunkari or Community Farming System. This is a system where villages formed associations and worked on a land belonging to the community and profits were shared. The reason Mapusa is a major market place is because from earlier days, Market day was a major occasion. Goods were brought in from every district to a single area and things were sold. Thus, the market place and the concept of a market day has been there for centuries and since it started in Mapusa, it still continues.
Mapusa – Travel kitty
The most important factor of visiting Goa is that it is always bursting with activity. The most important attraction in Goa is the Mapusa Friday market. In the past, trading was carried out on one day and that was in Mapusa. Gradually Mapusa got synonymous with Friday market. The actual raw nature of Goa is here in the market. This is a must see in the tourist’s diary here. The vibrant color and the noise around is to be seen to be believed. Goan women are all dressed in vibrant colors and looking their best. They gather and bring whatever they are going to sell. It could be lumps of seedless tamarind. It is called “amot” locally. It could be colorful sausages, which are spiced and absolutely deliciously cooked in ‘feni”. The Goan “churis” are world famous.
Therefore, it is seen that through the week, the sedate, calm and morose looking buildings are all over the place. Suddenly on Friday, it becomes vibrant with activity. Mapusa derives its name from “map” which means measure in Konkani and “sa” which means fill up. This bazaar is real and is a haven for the foodie. Fish, incense, spices, exotic fruits are all piled up and arranged to be sold. One also has lottery tickets, then the absolutely delicious bangda or mackerel, huge sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and the Moira bananas all for sale. Some sell agricultural produce, plants, straw hats, and trinkets. The way to go about in this Friday market is that we should know to bargain with half the price. Due to this market, Mapusa, the Friday Market city has really come up to be a famous tourist spot. Thus, the Friday market is the travel kitty for the tourist who visits here.
Mapusa – Joie de vivre in this city
Goa means party time for many who stay away from Goa. For some reason celebration is directly linked with rest and relaxation in Goa. The blue sky and the serene calm waters, the white snowy clouds and the red sun setting all seem so real when we are in this place. If we have the remotest plans to know how paradise is, then just visit Goa and its beaches. You are in Paradise. The most popular pubs and eating joints are here and the churches give equal amount of solace. A tourist coming to Goa can see the following here:
Our Lady of Miracles : This is locally called St. Jerome. Famous for its annual feast, it is considered and revered as a sacred place by all communities. This is also known as the Mapusa Church. It is known as the St. Jerome’s church during the celebration of Saint’s feast in the month of October. However, the same church is known as Our Lady of Milagres or Miracles when the Milagres feast is celebrated every 3rd Sunday after the festival of Easter. There are hundreds of Hindu and Christian devotees who participate in the feast with the same amount of dedication and love. The entire festivities of Milagres are held for three days with a lot of cultural activities. The whole ambience is electric and enthralling.
Calangute Beach : This is situated around 8 km from Mapusa. This is the most popular beach in Goa. It has become very commercial due to the crowd here and offers facilities for sunbathing and a little bit of safe swimming. This beach is also famous for its delicious food by the beachside.
Baga Beach : This is also a very famous and well-known beach in Goa. It is crescent shaped and is not as crowded and frequented as the Calangute beach. The sand here is white and looks beautiful with green bushes and trees in the background. Baga Beach is ideal for water sports like para sailing, jet skiing, body boarding and surfing. It is however only for amateur surfers. This beach is also famous for dolphins. The cruises that the tourists take often enables them to see dolphins playing in the beach. The nightlife here is famous and is exciting. Lot of music, wine and dance flows here. It is the ideal hangout for a weekend break or a holiday outing.
Anjuna Beach : This has always been known to be a place for rave parties. It is the favorite spot for people who want to visit Goa for a party or for a trek. The beach parties here are enthralling and amazingly interesting. The Christmas parties in Goa mostly are held here. The sand here is golden and the tall coconut trees give the place its beauty. The sea here is safe for swimming. The place is ideal for a hangout and the tourist finds it the best place to be in. People are safe here as the current is not much here in this beach.
Arambol beach : This is also called Harmal. The vast expanse of white sand gives a lot of peace to the mind. The parties that are held here are very relaxing, exciting and enjoyable because of the ambience here. There are sometimes full moon parties here.
Mascarenhas Mansion : This is one of the most sought after tourist spots. This was built when the Portuguese were there. The architectural elegance of the Portuguese is seen in the construction of this mansion. With lovely beautiful balconies, and magnificent designs this mansion is famous for the floral engravings it has on its stained glass structures. There is also an L shaped seat, which is there in the front porch. This is also a work of art and is made out of expensive wood.
Kalika Temple : This is one of the most important Hindu temples in Goa. It is situated 14km from Mapusa. Any kind of local transport will take us to the temple from Mapusa. The presiding deity of the temple is Kali. The temple is unique with its perfect combination of aesthetic modern architectural construction.
Sri Morjee Temple : This is located a little away from Mapusa. This popular temple is frequented by most of the tourists coming here. Kanakeshwar Baba is the presiding deity of this temple. He is also known as Bodhgeshwar or Bongini. It is believed that the deity has the powers to fulfill the wishes of all those who pray here with a lot of dedication and faith. The temple is located under a banyan tree. It is lighted with the help of earthen lamps and a lot of reverence is felt here. Bodhgeshwar is supposed to be a very helpful God who used to sit under this tree. Goans of all faith and communities used to approach this Baba for solving their problems. Even today, there is a pad representing this Baba and people come here, rest, and relax with the belief that the Baba is listening and would solve their problems. There is a huge fair that is held at this temple and this is a gala affair. Besides the Bodhgeshwar Baba temple, there is a Hanuman Theatre, which is located just down the road. There is a beautifully constructed hall here for entertainment. It is famous for its Konkani “tiatrs” and Marathi “nataks”.
The Kansarpal Kalbadevi temple : This is believed to be 800 years old and lies about 14km away from Mapusa, the Bodhgeshwar city.
With all these factors, Mapusa, the Milagres festival city is anyday a much-preferred destination of the tourists coming to Goa. Any person coming here would be immediately struck by the charming ambience and the enthralling power of nature. Mapusa is to the tourist what a glass of water would be for a person who is thistly. AS someone aptly said,” Thoughts are actions, similarly Mapusa is pleasure.”