BY ASAVARI KULKARNI
“History is not the past, but a map of the past drawn from a particular point of view to be useful to the modern traveller,” said Henry Glassie. Studying history helps us appreciate a region's culture, ideas and traditions.
Goa has a rich history and heritage story narrated by remnants of temples, ruins of forts and rock carvings, paintings, etc. It has gone through continual transformations, leaving an enduring impact on its socioeconomic development. To understand the true Goa, one has to travel through these places of historical importance.
The Vivekanand History Learning and Conservation of Heritage Cell of Keri, Sattari, Goa, organised a unique heritage walk called Parikrama. The aim of this programme was to explore the route by which the Shri Vitthal deity was brought to Sankhali from Pandharpur.
Shri Vitthal is a famous deity, also referred to as Pandurang or Vithoba and is worshipped largely in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. Vitthal is commonly believed to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu or Lord Krishna.
It is a well-known fact that Dulba Rane from Sakhali, who was a devotee of Shri Vitthal brought the idol from Pandharpur to Sankhali, somewhere in the 14th century. Dulba’s journey to Goa was long and tiring. When he arrived in Goa, instead of going to his home town, he went to his uncle’s place in Krishnapur. From here the idols were moved from place to place to reach their final destination in Sankhali.
Students of history, history lovers and children participated in this unique trail (Parikrama) to understand the journey of Vitthal to Sankhali. Renowned historian and environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar explained the journey of Shri Vitthal to Sankhali and also expounded on the ecological and historical significance of each of these places.
Students visited Ghodemol, Morlem; Poriem; Karapur and Vithallapur near River Valvanti during the Parikrama. They were given a deeper understanding of Morle Gad’s historical and ecological significance; the Mauryan Era stone transcription, which is the oldest known stone transcription in Goa; the shrine of Mahishasura Mardini; the importance of Shiva in the cult of Shri Vitthal; the significance of trade routes of Goa, and value of River Valvanti, which is tributary of River Mhadei.
This unique learning experience through Parikrama astounded the students. The Vivekanand History Learning and Conservation of Heritage Cell is an NGO that is leading the way in organising heritage walks to obtain a better understanding of Goa. These heritage walks will be organised every month to explore and understand the true history of Goa.