Goa's rural landscape reverberates with 'Chovoth' cheer

Sweets like 'neuryos' and 'modak' will replace Goa's staple diet fish curry rice during the festival, which will see homecoming of scores of natives who have migrated in search of a eking out a decent living.

"This is the time when families come together. There is a reverse migration for time being. People leave their hectic urban life and rush back to villages where they belong to," Samir Upadhye, software engineer in Pune, who is headed back to his native in Borim (South Goa) told PTI.

Upadhye family is one amongst several families which has a reunion for five days. The elephant-headed deity is worshipped in almost all Hindu households in the state.
The returnees change the face of villages during these days as they rejoice and rush to countryside for rustic pleasure.

Alike Konkan and Maharashtra, celebrations in Goa are purely traditional, with aartis performed twice a day. Traditional musical instruments like shamel and taso, take centre stage as families gather to sing Ganesh bhajans.

Townships like Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa will wear almost a deserted look for five days with most of the shops closed and only a few restaurants open. Instead, walk into any village household and you will be offered sweets and tea.
As many as 100-odd public Ganeshotsav Mandals, worship larger than life size idols at various places especially bus stands, gardens or markets.

Police have tightened its security apparatus around idols installed by Ganesh Mandals after bomb blasts on Diwali eve in Margao last year. Two people were killed in the blast on October 16.

"Elaborate security arrangements are in place. The lower level staff and organisers of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals are being sensitised to ensure that strict vigil is kept during festivities," Superintendent of Police (North) Arvind Gauns said.
Police have been holding meetings with mandals since a fortnight to ensure proper security arrangements.

Few mandals have even employed private security personnel while in most places metal detectors have been installed to keep a check on those entering the pandals.
Chovoth, being a traditional festival, is also getting greener with environmentalists pitching in for Eco-Ganeshas.

A popular FM radio station is running a campaign in Goa to educate its listeners on how to have a green Ganeshotsav.
Says Station Head Ethel Da Costa, "It is our continuous endeavour to identify with local sentiment and keep a step ahead with our programming specials."

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