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Coconut: The wonder fruit

by TravelCurators Editorial | 11 March 2010 | 0 comments

According to Hindu Mythology, the coconut was created by the magic of the sage, Visvãmitra to prop up King Trishanku to enter heaven as a mortal. However, the story of the coconut goes back 15 million years when the first fossils were found in regions of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra....

According to Dr. Roland Bourdeix, scientific research on the coconut palm began around 1905 in India.

Coconut

 

The coconut palm (Cocos. nucifera) is the most common palms of the tropics and can grow up to 30m tall. In India, it is referred to as ‘Kalpavriksha’ or the wish-fulfilling tree. Can the Goan identity exist without the coconut tree?

Popularising of coconut-based horticulture was started by the 225 village communities of Goa, the Gaunkaris who promoted dense plantations as reliable wind-breaks in the sub-coastal region.

Coconut is the second major plantation crop in Goa after rice. A coconut tree is known to yield 400-500 litres of toddy, from which 18 bottles of vinegar can be produced per year.

There are three well-known varieties of coconut in Goa:

  • The Siolim and the Calangute varieties which are known for their large size and for the copra content
  • The Benaulim variety which is smaller but produces in good numbers
  • The Rivora variety which lies somewhere between the previous two varieties in terms of size and numbers

The coconut tree is used in hundreds of ways by the Goans. For instance, the vheerachi sann or the khutaro is a broom made from the thick, fibrous ribs of the dry coconut leaf and is Goa’s innovative and eco-friendly product.

In addition to the ecosystem, the coconut links to the diversity of man's creative and cultural expressions. One such creative coconut craftsman who cuts and shapes humble coconuts in diverse shapes is Goa’s very own Vijaydatta Lotlikar. This Parra-based artisan has recently released a book titled Coconut: The Art of Coconut Craft.

 

Telephone       Craft       Craft by Vijaydutta

 

Lotlikar has been promoting coconut craft as an alternative to plastic and also as a means to build skills and provide employment. He owns a unit named Kalpvriksha Kala at Parra in Bardez (Goa) manufacturing handicraft of utility value, such as pens, pen holders, bowls, cups, kitchenware and lamps.

The next time you plan a trip to Goa add Kalpvriksha Kala to your itinerary.

 

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