Villages are the modest part of Goa’s civilization. The villages in Goa are famous for their simplicity and colourful lifestyles. People belonging to different religions and castes live together in villages of Goa. A typical goan village is a true reflection of rich culture and tradition. Moreover most of the goan villages are nestled amidst nature and are bestowed with the richness of Mother Nature. They have proved to be the repositories of most of the biodiversity that Goa has. Green patches of land are prime facets of Goa’s village. Festivals and other village functions are celebrated with fun and devotion.
Having said this let us take this pleasure to introduce you to a village called Verlem in Netravali which is nestled in and surrounded by the majestic hills and mountains of Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. The people of Verlem have to their acclaim, the credit of forming the first ever Eco-tourism Co-operative Society in the state and a project which is aptly and rightly named as “Aangan”. Under this project the society has developed homestays and various other programmes that gives the guest a rare insight into the life of the villagers.
Mrugaya Xpeditions has organised and hosted several exposure visits (trainings, school camps, nature orientation camps, cultural visits and one day programmes to this place which is a much-loved and preferred camping destination by most of our guests including Prof. Madhav Gadgil.
One such programme that we host every year is the “Community Exposure and Leadership Programme” for the students of educational institutes and any person who appreciates such concepts. It’s been two years since 2015 that we have successfully organised this programme for the school students.
This program has been designed wherein the students get an opportunity to spend quality time with the villagers. The program focuses on participating in rural lifestyles and understanding their day to day chores. It involves observation, understanding, documenting and experiencing the simple life at a goan village. Most of all, the guests here get an opportunity to witness and enjoy traditional accommodation, ambience and food.
Like always team Mrugaya Xpeditions (Shraddha, Parag, Omkar and Shivdas) along with Kalpesh and Suchita of VECS (Verlem Eco-tourism Co-operative Society) were overjoyed and excited to host the students and teachers of Rishi Valley School to Verlem for the second consecutive year. In the year 2015, 9 students and 3 teachers from Rishi Valley School experienced the never experienced life at the Verlem village with us. It was the success of this programme and the experience that this team had with us that prompted them to send their other batch of students this year as well. We just didn’t want to miss the opportunity of hosting them again. And as a matter of fact who would not want to host the most involved, well-mannered and curious students of Rishi Valley.
The 6 nights and 7 days took the students into a remarkable insight into the village life.
The team were split in groups and allotted their respective hosts in the village. The kids were very happy to stay in the complete cosy homes and enjoyed the humble hospitality of their hosts.
Dairy: Some homestays have a attached cattle shed. The kids woke up really early to help their hosts with milking and cleaning of the cattle shed.
Documenting biodiversity including the food system at the village.
The villagers at Verlem consume more than hundred forests berries, herbs, shrubs, fruits and other products altogether. Cooking time: the team had a wonderful time cooking with the women of the village.
Documenting village culture: Visit to sacred grove, and matching steps with the women on the traditional folk songs and performing the “fugdi”.
Nature exploration: trekking through the forests of Netravali WLS to the Don Nhai cho Vozor waterfall and Ravon Dongor
Getting hands dirty: kids helping Kalpesh prepare his fields for cultivating paddy.