Goa is a little bit strange. It’s India and it isn’t. In the year 1510 the Portuguese conquered Goa, to be able to control the natural harbors of this Western part of India, where – in those days – ships came and went continuously to transport spices to Europe.
As they did in Europe the Portuguese forced their catholic religion upon the Indians. Traces of the inquisition are found everywhere. In this part of India not a lot of temples or mosques, but white crucifixes on the side of the road and churches with leaded windows with images of Jesus Christ.
After the Portuguese handed over Goa in 1961 to India – after been beaten by the Indian army – Catholicism stayed the main religion in Goa. Without any religious riots. Coming to religion India is a very open minded country. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Sikhism and some old, almost lost nature believes are existing next to each other. It’s an example for present-day Holland, where the political party PVV, with it’s leader Geert Wilders, is abusing the Islam to create racial-discrimination and is trying to use fear to become the biggest party in the Netherlands.
What makes Goa so attractive has nothing to do with religion, but everything with nature and the attitude of the locals, who lead tourists be, instead of trying to make money by selling them all kind of junk. The beaches, the lukewarm ocean, green nature and easy-going lifestyle worked as a magnet on hippies, who found their paradise on the shores of the Indian ocean. In the north of Goa they are expelled by hard drinking, drugs using Russians who have taken over the beaches, but the South of Goa is still standing. Loud music on the beach is prohibited and after eleven p.m. all lights go out.
Agonda is probably the quietest place of all. The town itself consists of a few blocks of houses, scattered together. Agonda beach is nothing more than a dirt road, full of potholes, with on both sides houses, sheds and ruins. Some painted very colorful, the other falling apart. Electricity is restricted to one side of the road. Because ‘the other side of the street’ needs electricity as well cables are hanging in palm trees. Every so often there is a short circuit and the whole town goes dark, except where the short circuit is happening. There a little flame colors the electricity pole or palm tree. Generators are nowhere to be found, so when the electricity goes down the whole town comes to a hold.How more charming can it be?
Where Agonda is pretty quiet at night, during daytime it’s a coming and going of bikes and scooters. Traditionally the man drives, his wife sits on the back. Cars are an exception here. In the fields between the houses pigs are looking for food, between the dumped garbage. Every now and then I hear a big bang. It’s either a pig that is condemned to the casserole or it’s an exhaust pipe that just blew out his last fumes. Besides this, there isn’t a lot of noise except for the birds and the wind blowing through the leaves of the palm trees. Sitting on the beach I stare over the ocean and can’t think of a better place to do a month of yoga and meditation.
This is and old story. I wrote this at the end of 2010, when I went to India for the first time, to do my first Yoga Teacher Training. I finally translated it in English. My first yoga teacher training was the starting point to walk to path of yoga seriously.