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The land of sages and thinkers

The land of sages and thinkers

Isidore Domnick Mendis
Since time immemorial, Poinguinim has been associated with ‘rishis’ and ‘munis’ (sages and thinkers). Located around 80km from Panaji via NH 66 (formerly NH 17), the village is a scenic and spiritual wonder. Situated in the coastal taluka of Canacona, it is spread over an area of 3,546.41ha and is abode to ancient revered places of worship.
“Apart from housing the only Parashuram temple in Goa, Poinguinim’s Patyali Vaddo is home to Shri Samsthan Gokarn Partagali Jeevottam Math,” says resident of Velvaddo, researcher Pandurang Phaldessai.
“The Parashuram temple and other places of worship are special as points of spirituality in Goa. It is a belief that Goa is Parashuram’s ‘khand’ – that is, he created and dressed Goa,” says Uday Prabhugaonkar, resident of Mahalvaddo and a member of the village’s Parashuram temple management committee.
Etymologically, the word Poinguinim is derived from two terms. ‘Poin’, which means a strip of land along the river, and ‘guinim’ or ‘gine’, which means a low-lying area flooded with high tide water. The rivers of Galgibaga and Talpona crisscross through the village and it is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the village panchayats of Loliem, Cotigao and Shristhal.
Poinguinim houses a population of 6,625 persons, of which 5,730 are voters. It has traditional village wards such as Marlim, Galiem, Mahalvaddo, Galgibaga, Talpona, Sadolxem, Ordhofond, Amonem, Partagali, Khargali Velvaddo, Bhatvaddo, etc.
Heritage Trail
Galgibaga Beach: Due to efforts that were put in by former parish priest of St Anthony’s Church, Fr Mariano Goes e Proenca, and a few villagers of Poinguinim in 1999, Galgibaga beach is today famous as an Olive Ridley turtle nesting site. Agonda is another beach in the Canacona taluka where turtle nests are protected by the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary.
Parashuram Temple: Located in Velvaddo, it is the only temple in Goa dedicated to Parashuram, the sixth re-embodiment of Lord Vishnu, credited for creating the seven coastal regions of Konkan saptah.
Gadyachi Zatra at Betal Temple: Gadyachi Zatra is celebrated in April, once every three years, at the Betal Temple in Velvaddo.
Tali (Holy Tank): The water body at Parashuram Temple never dries up. Water from this source is used by devotees to perform rituals and wash their hands and feet before entering the shrine.
Ancestral House: The oldest house of the village at Velvaddo is over 200 years old and it belongs to Kashinath Faldessai. Today, most members of this family, numbering over 100, live in various parts of Goa and elsewhere.
Shraddhanand High School: Set up in 1933, this Marathi-medium high school at Velvaddo imparts education to over 300 students.
Wreckage of a Chinese ship: It can be seen from the Galgibaga shore during low tide. The shipwreck is said to have occurred in June 1960.
St Anthony’s Church: Since 1824, it caters to around 4,000 parishioners. Another parish church in the village is at Chiplem and is dedicated to Our Lady – Help of Christians.
Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: Part of the 1969 ecotourism complex housing flora and fauna like deciduous trees, evergreen trees, four-honed antelope, and the flying lizard.
Tiracol Vir Alfred Afonso Marg: Since September 11, 2007, the Poinguinim-Ordhofond road has been named after a Goan satyagrahi, who braved all odds in Portuguese-ruled Goa to unfurl the Indian tricolour on the Tiracol Fort on August 15, 1954.
Residents’ Speak
Poinguinim is a treasure trove of natural beauty encompassing flora and fauna, dense forest hills, plains and so forth. Its cultural roots are depicted in its religious and educational structures.
Vallabh Tengse | ex-sarpanch and resident of Velvaddo
Shacks should not be permitted in our coastal village as they are not only a nuisance to locals, but also act as a barrier to the free movement of Olive Ridley turtles. Ill-conceived projects should never be permitted as they put a further strain on limited local infrastructure.
Caetano Barretto | ex-deputy sarpanch and convener of Poinguinkarancho Ekvott
Sarpanch’s take
The short supply of drinking water in many parts of the village aggravates from March till the onset of monsoon in June. One of the main reasons is water leakage from the many pipelines that are over 30 years old. Also, much needs to be done to give Poinguinim 24×7 power supply.
Ramdas Babu Pujari
Late Keshav Tengse and late Parashuram Acharya: Martyrs in Goa’s Liberation movement
Late Alfred Afonso, late Vithal Prabhugaonkar, late Rama Krishna Prabhugaonkar: Freedom fighters
Late Raja Ram Poinguinkar: One of the founding fathers of the Gomantak Maratha Samaj
Late professor maestro Fr Lourdinho Barreto: Former director, western music department, Kala Academy
Kashinath Faldessai: Last Regedor (senior-most government functionary in the village) in Portuguese-ruled Goa
Pandurang Phaldessai: Folk researcher and ex-member secretary of Kala Academy. He wrote a PhD thesis on cultural history of Canacona for Goa University in 2002
V B Prabhudesai: Noted scholar and head of Marathi department, Nagpur University

Dr Haresh Phaldessai: First medical doctor in the village

Shreya Manohar Tengse: Recipient of National Balshree Award for the year 2012-13

Ramesh Tawadkar: Former minister who has represented Canacona assembly constituency for three terms
This article was published on Times of India on 8th Aug 2017

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