Bonderam Festival: The reason to visit Goa this monsoon

Goa is the number one in everyone’s bucket list of dream destinations. Goa never ceases to blow our minds away with its amazing beaches, breathtaking exotic parties, glamorous night life, finger-licking seafood and over-the-top shopping outlets and you can enjoy all of this in 5-star resorts in Goa with private beach. There is a lot more to Goa than the bright sun, sandy beaches, and amazing nightlife.

There are a lot of stupendous must-attend festivals in the monsoons in Goa – Grape Escapade, Goa Carnival, Goa Food & Music Festival, Goa Mango Festival, Sunburn Goa, Goa Arts & Literary Festival, Shigmo Festival and not to forget, the best among them all, “Bonderam Festival”. Bonderam Festival is a mega festival of Goa celebrated on 4th Saturday in August every year in Divar Island, 12 km from Panjim.

We will walk you through the facts about the Bonderam Festival held in monsoons in Goa.

  1. Origin of the Bonderam Festival

Origin of the Bonderam Festival.jpg

“Bonderam” originates from the Portuguese word “Bandeira” which means flags. According to the history, when the Portuguese ruled in Goa, there were always fights and bloody duels about property between the two parts of the Diwar village. To take stock of the situation, the Portuguese introduced a system which used flags to identify the boundaries of the two sections, Sao Mathias and Piedade. When the Portuguese introduced the flags to the two sections of the Diwar village, the rival groups of Sao Mathias and Piedade brought down each other’s flags to show their anger.

  1. Parody of the Past

Parody of the Past

The fight of Sao Mathias and Piedade is now commemorated with “Fotash”. Fotash is a fight between people where they use toy weapons (that are made using the bamboo stem) and soft missile weaponry (berries or peppercorn) to knock down each other’s flags imitating the past. This ritual is now discontinued as this had the danger of eye injuries to people.

  1. How to reach Divar Island

How to reach Divar Island

This is one of the unique monsoon festivals in Goa that you would never want to miss. You can reach the Divar island to attend the fantabulous fiesta via ferry from Ribandar to Old Goa. Your ferry will be draped with colourful flags that will give lead your path towards the mystifying mega celebration of Goa.

Once you reach to the dock of the Divar Island, you can drive straight towards the place where the festival is being held. If you want to enjoy the evening of the fiesta with a fresh start at the beautiful island instead of getting tired from the travel, you can book your stay in the best hotels in Goa that are located near Divar Island a few days prior to the festival.

  1. Divar Island comes to life

Divar Island comes to life

Divar Island becomes colourful and lively on the day of the Bonderam festival. People in the island start with the preparations from the early dawn. Music starts drifting throughout the village and reverberates in every street and corner in the surroundings. The festival starts at noon.

  1. And the Celebration begins…

And the Celebration begins…

The Bonderam festival begins with the opening ceremony comprising of the Flag Parade. After the parade, the zealous celebration reaches the height of zenith with the beautiful fancy dress competition and the conventional & traditional float parade that will take your breath away. Sounds exciting, right? What are you waiting for? You can plan your journey to Goa this monsoon and book your stay in the 5-star hotels in Goa packages for a luxurious as well as enriching experience with the mind-boggling touch of the Bonderam festival.

Wait…there is more. Have a look at some more specialities about the Bonderam Festival.

  1. The Traditional Float Parade

 

<> on February 12, 2017 in Viareggio, Italy.

Bonderam festival starts out as a carnival of fun and frolic with its traditional float parade. In this parade, each of the six wards in the Divar Island prepares their own custom float and try to build it as eye-catching as possible. These floats that are sponsored by the business houses in Divar are then sent to the parade. Each float has a distinguished local flavour to it that makes it stands out from the rest. You can also see live music and band along with the parade.

  1. The Colourful Monsoon Festival

The Colourful Monsoon Festival.jpg

The Bonderam Festival is one of the vibrant and colourful celebrations in Goa. Youngsters come out being dressed in colourful and beautiful attire to at to the zinger of the gala. People from the neighbouring regions of the Divar Island come and join in the joyful celebration.

  1. Best places to stay in the Divar Island

Best places to stay in the Divar Island

Divar Island in Goa offers an astoundingly amazing and opulent experience of a lifetime, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. There are great options on the island where you can choose to stay. You can do your research and do the Goa hotels booking that has the best services and proximity to the site of the festival.

Now that you know the specialities and some fun facts about the Bonderam Festival, you might want to pack your bags and plan out a trip in the monsoons to witness the most unique and incredible festivals in Goa. To top this trip a notch, you can visit the famous beaches such as the Calangute beach in Goa which is located just 66 km from the Divar Island.

You can book your stay in hotels in Calangute Goa and enjoy the beauty of the best beach in Goa – the Calangute. After you enjoy your days in Calangute, you can move to the Divar Island one or two days before the Bonderam festival. This monsoon, you are going to have a lot of fun! Kudos, people!

Accommodation in Goa

Accommodation in Goa is very easily available with many unique Hotels, Resorts and Guesthouses to suit everyone’s taste and Budget. Accommodation ranges from simple studio apartments and beach huts for backpackers to five-star deluxe luxury suites for the sophisticated traveller. However accommodation prices are high during the peak season which is around December-January. Therefore it is advisable to book early if travel is intended around this period.

 

Accommodation in Goa can be categorized as follows:

 

Budget Hotels

Budget accommodation is appropriate for the price conscious traveller or the backpacking tourist. This accommodation type includes basic, standard rooms with a few amenities. They are more affordable as compared to larger hotels.

 

Mid-range hotels

Mid-range hotels are found all across Goa and form a major chunk of the available accommodation. These hotels have organized reception areas, well-appointed rooms, room service and usually also include a restaurant. If you have to visit Goa during the off-season, these mid-range hotels are undoubtedly the best options for your stay. During the peak season however most of these hotels are occupied with International travellers.

 

High-end hotels

The higher range of hotels in Goa can be categorized as 4-star hotels and 5-star hotels. They are located in all major towns and cities and some of them even enjoy pride of place along the beach belt. Although some of the resort hotels are not beach properties, they are located not very far from the local beaches. Hard Rock Hotel Goa is one such hotel which is conveniently located in the heart of Calangute and is just 1 km away from the famous Calangute beach.

 

Beach Huts

Goa is considered as a tourist haven and is one of the most favoured destinations for international and local travellers. However, if you truly want to enjoy and experience the beach life, then hiring a beach hut is a viable option. These Beach huts are comfortable and affordable and they are a good choice for those who have a tight budget. They are ideal for large groups of friends or even married couples. As they are located all along the beach belt, you have plenty of options to eat with good restaurants just outside the huts. It is indeed a great place to unwind and experience Goa’s buzzing nightlife. The very popular beach of Goa is a pleasure to eye sight. You can consider few hotels on Calangute beach in Goa for a pleasant stay.

 

Service Apartments

If you are looking at a homestay kind of accommodation then service apartments are available at many resorts. You have a wide choice of luxurious, comfortable and cost-effective rooms to suit your style.

 

Villas

Villas are either situated on the beach or hidden in Goa’s idyllic villages where you can hear only the sound of birds and curious monkeys. Each privately owned villa has a distinctive style with unique antiques or modern décor with basic amenities.

Reviews of Goa’s top hotels

Taj Exotica Goa – Benaulim – “A lot left to be desired !”

Before I begin my critical analysis, let me start by saying this is an excellent property and has everything that you need from a Five Star Hotel/Resort. My honest critical assessment follows.

I am a Taj Hotels fan and a Silver card Inner circle member too. Had heard a lot about the Exotica. But there are delivery issues from their side while satisfying the Indian clientele. Food for most part except the lunch on our day of check-out was below par. If I have to compare the spread with the Taj Holiday Village, they are miles away from being even close to what the Holiday Village has to offer. The food is bland and suits the foreigner taste buds, there are a lot of flies in Eugenia. I also didn’t understand the fascination with Bhindi as a vegetable served in various forms on all days of our stay. The dessert offering was average. However, the waiters were extremely helpful.

The bicycle facility offered is very innovative and we enjoyed it. They need to however take a look at the maintenance of the bicycles, they screech, they are hard to pedal, the seats keep moving etc etc.

I also found a lot of their staff sucking up to the foreigners while we were left to be served. A particular experience was during our check-in, just during this period another bald foreigner with a male companion was literally carried in on the head while we waited by the side and watched, they came later but were taken to the room first. We walked behind in another buggy. The same guests were attended to by the waiters for 100% of the time they were there for dinner, as if the man was a king and the waiter his private servant. This is what I never expected from a Taj Hotel.

I hope the management can tackle the issues. I don’t think I will visit the Exotica again. I would still give full marks to the Holiday Village. To sum up, I didn’t feel it was a value for money holiday. I expected much more for Rs.16000 a day.

 

Hard Rock Hotel – “Calangute’s right choice”

Loved it just for the location. It is music lover’s den. If you love to sing, play any of the instruments you have it all. You can pick a guitar and play as well in your room with all fixtures readymade. Poolside is cool with the humidified fans. Ideal for GOA (Goa Own Adda). It’s a different & definitely a recommendable hotel in Goa.

“Happily Forced to write this review.”

We had a wonderful stay at rock. The pool attendant was very helpful. The front desk staff was very cordial. There are no much activities besides Music events, Swimming pool, Gym, Spa & Salon inside the hotel, which can keep you busy all around the stay.

My husband is a regular gym visitor where they make him do 500 crunches. The gym instructor at rock managed to leave my husband panting for breath in just 6 mins. My husband loved the workout in the gym offered by the trainer.

The entire service was on time and spot on. The food was yummy and my friends truly enjoyed it. We will surely visit again.

 

Stonewater Eco Resort – “Nice place require attention”

It is a good property but not managed properly. Housekeeping is very bad. Our room was not at all clean. Food at the restaurant is horrible. Free Breakfast was good. The worst thing is there is no privacy. Transparent cream colour curtains are see through and anybody passing by can peep inside through plain glass windows and doors. Requested staff to replace these curtains with dark shades so that nobody can see inside. If above points will be taken care of, it will add value to the property.

 

Bougainvillea Guest House Goa – “Huge rooms and great staff ”

When we arrived in the standard room we thought there was a mistake as the size and the quality of the room amazed us. There is a little area with two chairs to relax and a big fridge with drinks before going to the actual room, which is huge! There s a little balcony too. The bathroom is also spacious and very clean. The only down side I found is that we can’t open the curtains due to the room being overlooked by the next building.

 

Acron Waterfront Resort – “Quaint little property, nice staff”

So you should know that this property is not exactly on the beach – you will get a sea view from some of the rooms though. You’ll have to take a short walk through a road that runs by the side of the resort to get to the beach. Having said that, the property itself is quite pleasantly set – there’s a stream (okay, fine lagoon – if you insist!) that flows right beside the property – which is essentially what most of the rooms are facing. Clean pool – that could be a little too small for your liking. I found it a little weird that most of the pool chairs and decks were set up so that we would be facing the stream with the ocean to my right and not visible, yet definitely audible.

I think the staff is ex-Taj/ITC so they’re of course, very courteous – address you by name. At some cases, I did find that the staff came up short – for example when they couldn’t do much to address the mosquito problem near the outdoor seating at the restaurant. Another one – I was a little miffed at the maître d’hôtel when I ordered what was clearly mentioned in the menu as “pasta with bread” and was served only pasta. When I highlighted this to them, we actually had a discussion on English Language where he was trying to convince me that the wording meant that “it is enjoyed best with bread which has to be ordered separately”. Ha ha – that was a fun conversation! 🙂

The limited number of rooms makes this place a great escape – especially if you’re looking for a quiet retreat. If you’re looking to get high on “the Goa life” you will find other stay options that are more bang for your buck!

Room Tip: Choose a ground floor room if you’re not too hung up on privacy – everything is literally a step…