From sea to springs: A summer ritual in GoaJune 3rd, 2011 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, June 3 (IANS) The sea is not the only solace for summer-weary Goans. When the sun beats down in May-June, with humidity at a high, families move away from the beaches and head for the hills for numerous medicinal springs which dot the countryside.
Bathing in springs is a regular family outing in the summers in Goa, with most of the natural springs known for medicinal qualities.
That apart, the sheer pleasure of cold water christened by underground tubers, roots and purified by layers of gravel and sandstone, splashing on skin stained by humidity and scorched by the sun, is nothing short of a miracle.
“I used to go for a bath regularly at the Kesarval spring in Verna. It was a summer ritual, especially on warm nights. It completely neutralizes the effects of the summer heat from the body. It’s rejuvenating,” according to Chris Menezes, a resident of Panaji.
For Chris, the 20 km-plus ride to the Kesarval spring, which is located in a leafy gorge, just below the rocky Verna plateau, was worth it. “It was so rejuvenating. The water was supposed to be very good for the eyes,” he said.
According to Godfrey Gonsalves, springs surface whenever the water table and the ground level are at par. “The rainwater seeps through the hills and rocks bearing aquifers. Those that pass through limestone are non-potable and those through sandstone are potable,” he explained.
Apart from Kesarval, other springs, like the one in Rivona, in south Goa, Salmona in Saligao, 10 km from Panaji, and Pomburpa, also near Panaji, have their set of diehard fans.
“The Pomburpa spring was first fashioned into a bathing avenue in the 19th century by the Portuguese. Since then every year thousands of people flock here,” according to Raghuram Bhat, a resident of Pomburpa who bathes at the spring every day.
“You will add 10 years to your life if you have a bath in this water every day. It is medicinal, especially in summer, when the water is at its purest best,” Bhat said.
Spring baths are often accompanied by local cashew liquor in season, urrak, with fried fish.
The aptly named Waterfall Bar which overlooks the Pomburpa spring is testimony to the fact that a lot of folks who believe in the medicinal qualities of spring water pay equal homage to the spirit sold here too.
“Every summer I sell large quantities of urrak. Summers are the best time for my trade. Nothing like urrak and fried fish during and after a nice cooling bath,” said Madhu, who runs the bar.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Tags: cold water, diehard fans, family outing, goans, gonsalves, medicinal qualities, nothing short of a miracle, panaji, rainwater, salmona, sandstone, seeps, sheer pleasure, solace, south goa, summer heat, summer ritual, underground tubers, verna, water table