Goa Heritage Action Group
GHAG is a registered body (Registration No. 160/GOA/2000) with close to 100 members all dedicated to the advocacy of preservation, conservation and restoration of Goa’s natural, built and cultural heritage.
Since its inception on 29th September 2000, the Group has held five festivals of the Arts in heritage homes in the precinct of Fontainhas-Mala, Panaji where artists from Goa have displayed their work in peoples’ homes creating a unique platform for an interface between heritage homeowners, artists and the general public.
As part of its awareness campaign, the Group has also held three Heritage Festivals showcasing various facets (performing arts, cuisine, music, lectures) of Goan heritage.
The Instagram page #goaheritage that builds awareness on various aspects of Goan heritage has over 1,293 followers. The GHAG Facebook page is regularly updated to include current news on heritage matters.
The Group has periodically held talks, lectures and seminars on heritage related subjects. A video on the Artisan Community of Goa, including the bamboo weavers and potters was created in collaboration with Hannah Sophia, and shared across platforms on World Heritage Day, 2018 highlighting the marginalization of these communities and their dying art forms. A talk on the “Role of PWD in Urbanizing Goa in the Long 19th Century” by Dr Alice Santiago Faria, a doctoral scholar from Portugal has been held in collaboration with Fundacão Oriénte, Panaji, Goa. A photoshoot to document the potters in Salvador Do Mundo was undertaken to generate content for social media and spread awareness. A talk on “Panjim: Heritage conservation for a Smartcity” was conducted by Ar. Raya Shankhwalker, at the event curated for Serendipity Arts Festival by Vivek Menezes on 20th December 2018, at the PWD complex. High attendance was seen, with an open discussion with the audience and live streaming of the event on the Instagram page.
The Group has made a consistent effort to highlight the status of Goan heritage both to the general public and to the Government of Goa. One of the most visible campaigns has been to draw attention to the absence of regulations for Goa’s heritage buildings and sites and the preservation of the unique Goan art form of kaavi. The GHAG has prepared a comprehensive report on kaavi art, headed by Heta Pandit and assisted by Shamika Shetty.
The 175th anniversary of Panjim City was marked by the announcement of the book The Mapped Heritage of Panaji Goa, 2017 on social media. The publication is currently being gifted to heads of government departments and government colleges to garner active support for framing regulations for Goa and exercises in listing of heritage buildings.
The Group engaged Arpitha Sreedhara, a conservation architect hailed from Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany to undertake field work and documentation of Courtyard Houses in Goa.
The Group endeavours to undertake regular engagement with departments of the government, with special focus on the department of Town and Country Planning on conservation regulations and with the Goa Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. On the conservation of the historic Aguada Jail at Sinquerim; with all concerned authorities on the impact of the double track railway line on the heritage houses on either side of the proposed railway line; on the impact of the proposed highway on the heritage houses between the historic village of Pilar and Old Goa, illegal concrete structure that is coming up in the Protected Zone adjacent to the St Cajetan Church in Old Goa, amongst other campaigns.
GHAG believes in working with the authorities whenever possible in an environment of dialogue. The Group also believes in the importance of documentation as a fundamental tool in the conservation, preservation, restoration and repurposing of heritage structures. It is currently engaged in working with the city authorities in the reconstruction/ restoration of the historic bridges in the city of Panaji and finding solutions for the endangered lighthouse on the bank of the river Mandovi as well as the highly endangered historic fort of Cabo da Rama, Khola in South Goa. Whenever requested, GHAG provides historical data and technical expertise to any government or non-governmental body.
We have recently brought out a video series titled GOENCHO DAIZ AMCHEM GIRISTKAI in collaboration with Goencho Avaz to bring about awareness on the natural and man-made heritage of Goa. We have also joined hands with the umbrella group GOENCHO EKVOTT in the campaign to bring awareness on the environmental destruction of the bio diversity hotspot at Mollem and Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Where requested, GHAG supports other sister NGO’s in the fight to preserve Goa’s natural, built and cultural heritage.
All the members of the GHAG in their own capacity are engaged in restoration, preservation, architecture and teaching and offer their time to the Group voluntarily over and above their working hours.
In the past three years, GHAG has built considerable awareness on the subject through its academic journal titled PARMAL, the fragrance of Goan heritage besides writing for various newspapers, magazines and e-journals on the subject of Goan heritage. GHAG has also collaborated on a web series with the Museum of Christian Art to bring about awareness on various aspects of heritage and history. GHAG has also collaborated with the Don Bosco College of Engineering on a web series on the technical solutions to be considered for conservation problems of monuments in Goa. On the front of cultural heritage GHAG has promoted and documented the performing art of kirtan and oviyos and will be publishing the same in its next issue of Parmal scheduled for release on 29th September 2022 to mark the 22nd Foundation Day.