• this is india 117

This is India! 117

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I’m in Bangalore this weekend for work. Anyone in Bangalore wanna meet up for dinner Saturday!? I have a list of places I want to try out :)
  • I’ve gotten a new camera! I decide since this blog is actually my job and it’s becoming pretty competitive in the travel blogging world, I needed to up my game. As of now, I only use images I take on my MI 4 which is a Chinese phone that costs about $180 bucks. Not exactly giving me national geographic material but no complaints and you guys seem okay with it :) But, I got a
    Panasonic Lumix GX80 which is a mirrorless (a step between a point and shoot and a DSLR) It’s the cutest brown leather and looks vintage. I’m still learning but here’s two shots I took on it at the wedding I went to in the states. I love it so far and will write a lot more about how to use the camera, as I learn myself.

A photo posted by Rachel Jones ✈ Werkenntwen (@hippieinheelsblog) on

A photo posted by Rachel Jones ✈ Werkenntwen (@hippieinheelsblog) on

Now your story,

I don’t really have a story this week so I’ve decided to share a little bit about the Portuguese influence here in Goa.

India has been ruled by outsiders in the past, and each area had different rulers. While you see Dutch influence in Kochi, French in Pondicherry (where some still speak French now and sell maccaroons), British in many places like Mumbai, Goa is very Portuguese since they once ruled here.

“In 1542, St. Francis Xavier mentions the architectural splendour of the city. It reached the height of its prosperity between 1575 and 1625. Journeylers marvelled at Goa Dourada, or Golden Goa. A Portuguese proverb said, “He who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon.”

The wiki page about Goa history is really interesting if you want to read up more just click this link.

The first Portuguese thing you cannot miss is the architecture. Panjim is the smallest capital city in India. It has those tiny one way roads and very unique buildings.

how to rent a house in goa

old goa guide

olaulim backyards the other side of goa

The capital city might as well be Lisbon in terms of the buildings, but the huge Portuguese mansions are still here too and it’s where many people end up staying as those are often the luxury villas you find on airbnb.

In interesting thing is that when the Portuguese were finally kicked out there was a law where people “squatting” could take the land/homes for themselves. Well, the housekeepers and “servants” (as they call them in India, which I don’t like!) were the ones who stayed in those home and eventually came to own them. Pretty cool!

wildflower villas goa eco resort

goa eco resort

the next thing you’ll notice are all the Catholic churches, nuns (yes really!), and lots of festivals which are a mix of Catholic and Indian style.

old goa guide

ultimate guide to goaThere are so many old churches in Goa and “Old Goa” (click there for a blog post about it) is a huge tourist site where there are very old HUGE churches that you would see normally in Europe.

As you drive through the villages, you’ll see small churches everywhere in Goa, about as often as you see temples.

olaulim backyards the other side of goa There are a lot Christian holidays here that we don’t have in the states and maybe not anywhere other than India and Portugal. Have you heard of Sao Joao? Here’s a little about it on Wiki. It seems Goa and Porto, Portugal are the biggest celebrators!

Except in Goa they add their Indian twist which seems jumping in wells and getting super drunk. It celebrates John the Baptist and getting in wells and pools in the name of the game. I wrote about it more here.

sao joao in goa

sao joao in goa
Another big thing they left in Goa is SIESTA! All the shops in the market shut down from 1-3 PM.

Goans love their siesta. It’s too hot those hours to be out and about but when you really need something, like at the pharmacy, you’re outta luck at nap time.

tropical spice plantation goa

The last thing to mention (although there are many more) is the “goan sausage” which is actually chorizo. They do a nice rice dish with it mixed it among other things. In fusion restaurants you’ll often get a Goan sausage pizza. There are definitely Portuguese influences in the food!

What do you like the best that the Portuguese left behind?

This is India!

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Betsy September 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel!

    Nice info!
    Also, I think it is great you got a mirror – less camera! I think they take great photos. I am a photographer and I want to buy one. They are so much easier to carry than a dslr. As soon as I make some money I will buy one.
    Can’t wait to see new photos!
    Enjoy Bangalore!


    • Rachel Jones September 5, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Yeah and even the mirrorless I got is pretty heavy, so I can’t imagine carrying a DSLR. It takes great pics and I have a session lined up to learn more about how to use it :)

      • Betsy September 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm - Reply

        That’s great that you have a session lined up to learn more about the camera!

  2. Anna September 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    I just saw your post about you being in Bangalore! :( I just moved here and would have loved to go out for dinner with you. If you’re in Bangalore again let me know.
    I’m also into photography so if you ever need some tips or a guide through the manual settings let me know, and I would be happy to help.

    • Rachel Jones September 6, 2016 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anna. It would have been great to meet. I don’t come to Bangalore often, but let me know if you’re in goa. I can always use photography tips!

  3. Tim UrbanDuniya September 10, 2016 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I loved “Old Goa” – which for me, was the most visibly Portuguese-influenced part. Thanks for refreshing my memories – I must get back there some day.

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