It is a small village in the Taluka of Bardez in the state of Goa known for producing a number of famous Goans. Aldona otherwise is quite far away from the hustle-bustle of beaches, night markets, restaurants, etc;
Aldona is one Village that still has its own susegad intact.
Arguably, but not to locals, Aldona is the most beautiful village in the world and the more you explore, you would like to agree with the local beliefs. The locals are not concerned about other places in the world but very forcefully even put it across to you that Aldona is the ultimate in beauty.
Aldona or Haldona as it was earlier known has two theories going about the origin of its name. The first lies in the word Haldi or Turmeric – a crop that was planted in the village while the other is that it originates from the word Hal or Plough. Being an agricultural village the name has been derived from this instrument.
Mr. Soares the first principal of St. Thomas School way back in 1923 has is a statue in the village square. An amazing feature as we don’t often see educationists being celebrated this way.
Aldona boasts of some spectacular places to visit when you are there.
Village life in Goa is usually entered around their Church. This Church was built in 1596 CE on a plateau next to the Mapusa river. This charming edifice surrounded by loads of greenery is a sight to behold as it stands tall in all its whitewashed pristine glory. If you are lucky enough to get an inside tour of the Church you will come across some lovely paintings. There was a rectory around a courtyard outside full of a number of fruits. Truly a wonderful experience.
This is one of the most beautiful, serene places where the dead live. The cemetery gate in its pristine whites again has a very meaningful saying in Konkani – Aiz Maka Falea Tukaram meaning ‘Today it is me, Tomorrow it is you’. It is just a subtle reminder that no one is infallible. A very humbling experience.
Cable Bridge or Corjuem Bridge
It is Goa’s first cable bridge and therefore holds a special place in the hearts of the people of both villages as it connects them. It is a bridge you may cross or just laze around on it and get a scenic view of the beautiful mesmerizing and absolutely picturesque greenery and the quietly flowing Mapusa river beneath. It is a surreal visual treat at the time of sunset.
On the backwaters of Aldona in the wilderness stands a small bridge with three arches telling its own tales of years gone by. Just the right kind of place to soak in the quiet and tranquillity of the surroundings. A cluster of small colourful fishing boats rests on the banks. Another of those places to enjoy the sun going down.
Calvim Bridge Aldona
It would be just another common bridge but for the tragic story attached to it. In Feb 2012 4 schoolgirls and 2 adults, unfortunately, died while crossing the river. It was after this very sad incident that the bridge was commissioned. The Plaque on the bridge still shows the names, date of birth, and photos of the deceased thus showing respect for the souls lost. Across the bridge, you get some sumptuous Samosas sold by a local which attracts a considerable number of people.
The Fort itself is a unique piece of architecture. A square structure with four tiny towers on ll four corners looks more like an outpost. As you step inside the Fort you come across a chapel. The inscription on the gate suggests it is of Portuguese times but locals disagree and say it is much older. The original construction is attributed to Desai’s of Sakhalin before changing hands to Bhosle’s of Samantwadi. Local laterite stone has been used so it could be even older. A small hint of Islamic architecture lies in the 4 tiny corner towers.
The most intriguing part inside the Fort lies in the bay, with 4 wide ramps in all 4 corners leading to the roof that runs around the fort wall connecting to all 4 ramps.
It is thought that these ramps were used to roll down supplies of some kind or take animals to the top.
As it is not a very massive structure maybe the place was used as an outpost to keep an eye on surroundings or invaders.
There are legends galore going around the place but no one to vouch for them really.
Overall there is so much to Aldona that it cannot be put on a list, all you need to do is explore around and discover for yourself how truly beautiful Aldona is.
By Sunil Malhotra | Images: Armaan Malhotra