VASCO: The mysteries and secrets of historic village of Chicalim were revealed to a group of selective people at the history and heritage walk title ‘Walking With The Caveman’ at Chicalim on Sunday. In a first of its kind in Goa and India, Cyril A Fernandes organised this unique heritage walk to 48 locals and other individuals from Mapusa and Porvorim, who had registered to participate in this event. Dr Bolmax Pereira, parish priest of the Chicalim church was the special resource person who led the participants through the village of Chicalim in a two hour walk wherein the walkers travelled through time unravelling the past and present of the history and biodiversity rich village of Chicalim. Fr Bolmax has completed his PhD on the subject of Wetlands of Goa. Beginning from ward of Naquelim where exists 1970’s discovered three megalithic underground pits, Dr Bolmax led the walkers to the 17th century ruins of the St Bartholomeu Church, the first church to be built in Chicalim, and then covered the khazan and its network which feeds local fields and water-bodies of the wards of Gina-Penta, Deussa and Igreja. The heritage enthusiasts then savoured the view of the exotic Vareg Island that is a marine bio-diversity marvel that helps naturally breed the endangered Window –Pane Oysters besides other shell fish like tisreos, kalvam, which are extracted by the locals sustainably. Walking through the Chicalim village, the participants got to see some exquisitely designed Portuguese-era houses, some 500 hundred year old, the Lotus Pond of Chicalim and finally the tour ended at the 18th century St Francis Xavier Church which replaced the old St Bartholomeu Church. In between the walk, the participants got to interact with the local tribal farmers who grow vegetables following the traditional form of farming. In a ‘tete a tete’ with local cultivators, farmers shared their experiences of farming and gains and pains they face in continuing such activity without any support from the local authorities. The local farmers then presented to each walker one bundle of their day’s fresh product ‘Tambdi Bhaji’as a token of appreciation. The heritage tour wound up at the Chicalim church with a festive fellowship merging with the spirit of Christmas. Each participant was also given a brochure providing the history and heritage of each site visited during the said tour. The brochure included a certificate certifying that the participant took part in the walk and it carried a photograph of the participant taking part in walk. The participants expressed their appreciation at such novel ideas introduced in such tours in Goa and India for the first time. The event’s highlight was the T-Shirt each participant wore which was specially designed for the event by Cyril A Fernandes, a human rights activist who also researcher into the history of Goa. Fernandes is a resident of Chicalim and chairman of the Biodiversity Heritage Site Committee of the Chicalim Biodiversity Management Committee of the Village Panchayat of Chicalim. Last month a similar heritage walk was conducted by Fernandes at St Jacinto Island titled ‘Walk With The Pearl’ which also was a big success and well appreciated.