The city of Goa, wakes up with the rustling sound of palm fronds of the coconut trees. Goa is well-known as the state of holiday destination and also a home to variety of artistic handicrafts. Goa is also one of the state which has largest number of coconut tree and coconut based products. Coconut is the oldest crop that are grown in India and it is believed that the cultivation of coconut trees are the most important after rice in Goa. Coconut production enhance the economy in large way and is grown extensively in Goa. They are grown widely as major crops for its sap, which is the famous drink called ‘Feni’ are produced exclusively in Goa.
Since the dawn of human civilization coconut palm trees are been into existence. Coconut is an ancient word derived by the term “cocoanut” in 16th Century by Portuguese. It is derived from the Spanish word, where coco means “Skull” or “Head”, from which the three scoops on the coconut resembles some facial features. Philippines are the first and Indonesians are the second, largest country which produces coconut in the world. India is the third largest in producing coconut in the world. In India Kerala state tops in coconut production and other major coconut growing states are Tamil nadu, Karnataka, Andrapradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Lakshadweep and many other states. Goa state stands between seventh positions in producing coconuts products in India.
Coconut tree is known for its versatility, where one can find its uses of all the parts including leaves, wood and fruits are widely used. Nothing of a coconut tree ever goes as waste. The copra is essential source of cooking oil, cosmetic, industrial products, delicious eatables, and also makes our curries tastier. Husks are used in manufacturing of several handicrafts like mats, ropes etc. Fishing nets, which are the essential source of livelihood of many people in Goa are manufactured using the coir. The tender coconut has a very refreshing water within its shell which is highly nutritious and delightful. The fronds of coconut tree are used in making basket and thatching for roofs. It has a cultural and religious significance in many societies.
In Hindu tradition, Coconut plays a main role as it is an important element of rituals. In Sanskrit it is known as “kalpa vriksha”, which provides all the requirements of life. Coconuts are offered during the worship and it is a belief that while beginning any new work or activity these coconuts are broke, so that to ensure the blessings of the gods and successful completion of the works.
Classification of coconut trees are made into two types generally, that is tall and dwarf trees. The tree has large palm leaves and normally grows about 10 to 15m tall. All older coconut plantations are cultivated with tall varieties. Some tall varieties of coconut trees may attain the height of 20 to 30m and the leaf stalks are around 1 to 1.5m long. The coconut palm are highly tolerant and thrives on sandy soil. Abundant sunlight and regular rainfall favors the tree, but it is intolerant in cold temperatures.
Coconut trees are native to Goa and some town make use of its fronds and create an old traditional art which are almost vanished. Loutolim is one of the small town in the state, which has the attractive landscape in the whole Goa. Coconut plantations are also widely seen in this town. Loutolim has conserved a beautiful Open- Air Museum called “Big Foot”, which is the center for Preservation and Promotion of Art, Culture and Environment started in 1995 by Maendra Alvares. The Big Foot museum is also known as Ancestral Goa which is dedicated to catalogue the lifestyle of people who existed in ancient times in the state Goa.
This place is one of the main attraction in the town. In this museum artisans are still preparing rain coats or covers made with the coconut palms fronds. It is one of the traditional method of art made with natural materials. Coconut palms gives free movement and light in weight. This museum with artisans are trying an attempt to renew a dying tradition. The process of making this art is very simple and the materials are eco-friendly.