If you travel to Goa's interior villages, you will find plentiful elements, customs and traditions, which are practiced by the local populace and are unique and interesting. One such practice takes place in Narve, Bicholim, and is popularly called Ashtamchi feri on Gokulashtami.
It takes place at porne tirth, or triveni sangam, which is said to be the place where three rivers meet.
As you walk towards the area, you find vendors selling an assortment of items, which includes items used for offerings. Local vendors are seen selling 'flowers', bilva leaves, tulsi etc, while, on the other hand, long queues of people make these offerings to Lord Krishna, whose shrine is situated very close to the river.
Devotees sit along the banks of the river, while a Hindu priest performs various rituals, while some devotees take a dip in the river, which is considered to be holy.
RITUALS & OBSERVANCES
Asthami is the eighth day of the full moon of the Shravana month. And, on this day, people make their way to the tirth area and perform religious rituals. Some observe a fast and break it after performing specific rituals.
"Devotees believe that whatever you pray for all, your wishes come true, and therefore, for many years people have been coming here, and making offerings and seeking blessings," said a priest, Ganpat Narvekar.
Married people also attend the festival on this day to ask for blessings in their married life.
Interestingly, on this day, you can find devotees coming to the place, carrying decorated palanquins bearing deities from neighbouring areas of Narve. These are beautifully lined up along the hill.
A local, who has been visiting this celebration every year said, "Earlier, there used to be many -- around 18 to 15 palanquins -- coming to the place, but gradually the number has reduced."
The palanquins of 'Ravalnath', 'Satpurush', Kankadevi, Shantadurga, Saptakoteshwar, Kalbhairav, etc are brought here.
Devotees make offerings to the palanquins, which are lined up on the hill, while some seek favours and blessings, and are firm in their belief that none of their prayers will go unanswered.
In the afternoon, the palanquins are brought down the hill, and are ceremoniously given a bath and taken back to their respective places. You will find people using canoes to take the deities back.
As the nightfall's you won't find anyone here as everyone moves out of the place.