When you think of Goa, we are willing to bet that the images of the sun, sand and sea are what come to your mind.
While the state is undoubtedly a tropical paradise, there is so much more to it than the cliched perspectives that many of us have become acquainted with. And that is exactly what Make it Happen, a travel company wants to change.
Founded in 2015 as a travel club operating out of Bengaluru, Make it Happen is the brainchild of Maria Victor.
“It’s image as a travel destination was restricted to its coastal belt, while its rich cultural history and colourful local communities were forgotten. I realized that if this narrative had to change, travellers had to learn about the culture from the locals themselves in a way that would linger with them even after the walk” she explains.
With the online space opening up new avenues and internet savvy travellers looking for offbeat experiences, Maria foresaw the demand growth in this area and jumped straight in to connect such people with local communities and experiences in Goa.
Retired professionals and youngsters joined ‘Make It Happen’ as hosts for these experiences. “It was the idea of giving tourism in Goa a new narrative, as seen and lived by Goans that got them interested in working with us,” she adds.
She launched a project with three experiences: The Fontainhas Heritage Walk, the Old Goa Heritage Walk and the Chronicles and Echoes of Divar.
“Since we were the first to launch curated experiences through heritage walks and day experiences, initially, it was difficult to explain our work. But it’s no longer a challenge. We’ve seen a growing demand for our tours,” she points out.
Today, Make it Happen has expanded to over 14 experiences including the Saligao Village Walking Tour, the Campal Heritage Walk, the Chandor walking tour, the Kushavati Heritage Trail and the Backwater Sunset Cruise.
“The pace is slow and relaxed with conversations over Feni, or sweet stops at an old bakery. Each experience offers plenty of surprises, and you can expect something new every time you go “ says Maria.
Out of the lot, the Chandor walking tour, in particular, has gained a lot of interest from tourists around the world because in a span of only two hours, you can immerse yourself in pre-Portuguese history dating back over 1000 years, when Chandor then known as Chandrapur, was a buzzing trade center.
The walk starts at 10 am every day at the Chapel of St Tiago led by an English-speaking guide. It includes visits to two heritage houses which date back to the Portuguese era, followed by discussions over high tea on the history of Chandor and the decline of the Kadambas in Goa. There will also be a stop by the temple ruins along the Kushavati river.
For just Rs 1000, this 2-hour heritage walk is definitely something you should explore on your next trip to Goa.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)