A Taste Of India - Goa

After satisfying our palates, we now jump towards the coastal state of Goa, to indulge our five senses. One may wonder how this relates to photography, and a doubt as such is perfectly understandable. Photography is the art of perception and capture. When we hold our cameras in hand, we prepare ourselves to catch glimpses of compositions that instinct tells us will be visually pleasing. However, perception is not merely related to the eyes. It requires one to use all five senses.

To illustrate this idea, I tried to divide the things Goa has to offer into the categories of the five senses. This was difficult, as any experience cannot be related to simply one human sense. However, by trying to do so, one is more aware of the experience. So, here goes.

Sight

Photo courtesy of WikipediaGoan architecture is an amalgamation of Indian, Portuguese and Islamic styles. Most examples of these are found in North Goa (or Old Goa), known mostly for its stunning buildings and rich heritage sites. Constructed in the 15th century, this area served as the capital of Portuguese India for two centuries. The remains of the city are now well preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beauty of these buildings is hard to describe but a treat to capture.

Sound

Photo courtesy of Satyaki Basu

If there is one thing Goans would love to be associated with, it is the celebration of life. These celebrations are often in the form of music and dance, and thanks to the diversity of population here, there is a wide variety. From traditional music to pop; the assortment of sounds and movements gives one an infinite number of possible compositions.

Taste

Photo courtesy of Mini Ribeiro

As can be predicted by the coastal location of Goa, its cuisine largely makes use of the bounties of the sea. Fish curry and rice is the staple dish of the region but one finds many preparations using shrimp, crab, prawns, lobster, shellfish and much more. The dishes are prepared with a variety of spices that add to their visual appeal as well.

Smell

Photo courtesy of Cajetan Barretto

How many of us relate the monsoons to the smell of damp earth? How many can tell when we have left the hustle bustle of city life and entered a more serene atmosphere just by how fresh the air smells? Well, one would certainly be awakening the olfactory nerve when one sets foot in the mountainous regions of Goa. Being a part of the Western Ghats, the rich biodiversity of this region is overwhelming for us camera bearers. 

Touch

Photo courtesy of Nilufer Akpinar

A touch is probably the most underrated human sense. One really does not appreciate its magnificence and it is always taken for granted. Here, instead of the conventional meaning of the term, I go for the more spiritual route. Goa is a region that gives importance to religion and spirituality. Many come here to get away from it all and get some peace of mind, and the landscape certainly reminds us of this fact. An example of this is the Little Vagator Beach in Goa, where a hippie carved the face of Lord Shiva and the snake in stone many years back.

Being sensitive to all that is around us is what makes us good photographers. A step in doing so is to be aware of our basic human senses, and to identify the intricacies of the elements around us. Our travel to Goa was largely meant to demonstrate this important fact, and the realization will definitely make our journey more insightful.