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Goa became a landmark on the hippie trail through India in the 1960s, thanks to its too-good-to-be-true beaches and laidback lifestyle. But the first western visitors to reach this idyllic locale arrived much earlier: they came from Portugal in the sixteenth century and claimed Goa on behalf of their King and their God.
David Tomory explores the outside influences at work on Goa from the time of the Portuguese to the present day and how they have fused with local culture to produce a distinctly different India state. From the horrors of the Inquisition to the rise of Génération Techno, he provides an entertaining and informative tour through the life of Goa. He reveals what Goa is actually like for both westerners and Goans, and catches Goa as it stands on the brink of a complicated future.
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On the east coast of India is a place so shaped by travelers that it resembles less India than a projection of foreign aims and fantasies. Isolated from the rest of the country by a mountainous barrier, the province of Goa has drawn adventurers by sea and air, from tribal nomads and migrant Aryans, to the Portuguese (who ruled for 450 years), to the psychedelic conquistadors of the 1960s. These are all "old conquests" in this history of Goa as written by a self-described serial tourist from London. David Tomory, whose last adventure, A Season in Heaven, took him to Katmandu, delves deep into Goa's past. It's a slow-paced and nicely atmospheric journey through the area's checkered history, hopping seamlessly from politics to entomology to anthropology to geography. He imagines the Spanish inquisitions and analyzes their impact, and jumps into the Empire of the Hip, a wildly bohemian era during which the mix of hallucinogenics and loosely interpreted Indian philosophies drew oddballs from all over and Indian men took bus tours to see the fully naked Western women on the beach.
Tomory first visited Goa in 1976, not too long before the emergence of "Touristhan"--the kingdom of mass tourism, travel aspiring to the condition of television, and the new conquistador. Package tourism was promoted by the Indian government in the hopes of ridding Goa of hippies and infusing the area with dollars. Tomory, who has an eye for irony, contemplates this onslaught of modernity throughout the book, convinced that it has brought more changes than any of the other outside influences combined. While Tomory makes clear his preference--he still rents an old fishing house with the new, modern Goa hidden behind it--he does not force his sentimentality. He lets the people of Goa speak for themselves, and many defend the new cash economy. After all, Goa is a society of compatible incompatibles, and the cultural variation that has always characterized the place is more resilient and stubborn than any surface uniformity. --Lesley ReedFrom Booklist:
Goa is a state on the Konkan coast of India that before 1962 belonged to Portugal--a place that Tomory describes in^B his prologue as "a beach destination away from the winter, and cheap." It comprises three longitudinal strips: the beach and its hinterland, the midlands, and the Ghats, all of which are distinct from each other in geography and history. Tomory writes of its rivers and marshes, villages and temples, cactus, coconut groves, sand dunes, and the sea. He describes exotic birds, armies of ants, snakes, frogs, cicadas, mosquitoes--and always the oppressive heat. He analyzes the outside influences at work in the state from the time of the Portuguese to the present. Tomory, who first went to India in 1971, also gives us a history of the region, beginning in 1510 when 20 Portuguese ships arrived there and claimed Goa on behalf of Portugal's king. The author explores Goa's religions, culture, people, lifestyles, and geography, shedding light on a little-known part of the world. George Cohen
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Book Description Lonely Planet, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1864500611
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Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-1864500611