Life of Luxury | The Vibrancy of Goa’s Villages – Sotheby´s International Realty
Karan Singh and Samir Saran – India Sotheby’s International Realty
The wealth of Goa belies its size. While this breathtaking stretch of India’s western shoreline boasts the greatest GDP per capita in the country, it’s the tiniest of the 28 states in geographic area. And its social fabric is not a patchwork of commercial centers, but a vivacious coastal quilt of towns and villages.
Assagao, a village whose original claim to fame was its abundance of flowers, is now appreciated as a hub where unique local flavors and factors unite. Picturesque streets have proved a perfect setting for the founding of luxe cafés, captivating boutiques, and studios where writers and weavers, painters and potters, photographers and filmmakers create through old and new forms.
This is the location of Cotton House, and like its surroundings, it’s a visionary mélange of cultural styles. Spend a day there, and let your imagination inhabit one of India’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.
Morning: Start the Day with Mindfulness Meditation
It’s dawn, and you open your curtains and windows to the world. It’s not just the astonishing sights that awaken you, with paddy fields and forests of palms filling the valley at first light. The sounds and scents also rouse you: birds singing in the canopies, and the heady aroma of tropical flowers perennially blooming in this balmy climate.
The sights inside your home are themselves wondrous. The plush custom rugs on the bedroom floor, crafted by Jaipuri artisans, juxtapose strikingly with the sleek Danish fixtures in the adjacent bathroom, and detailed decorations adorn your capacious walk-in closet as you dress. You head downstairs and step into a light-saturated great room that connects directly to the verandah. Already feeling rejuvenated, you leave your villa, and head into the village.
With the ambience of an affluent bohemian neighborhood, it’s only natural that there are plenty of places for a therapeutic yoga getaway in Assagao. There’s nothing better than saluting the sun swathed in the glossy luster of tropical greenery.
Noon: Take a Stroll Through Mapusa’s Marketplace
To be in India during the five-day festival of Diwali, the country’s largest and most important annual holiday, is an inimitable experience. Held in the middle of fall, it’s a great time for a little shopping: a Diwali custom is to start the festival with a clean house, new clothes, and unused utensils, along with decorating and gift-giving.
Browse Assagao’s one-of-a-kind shops and treat yourself to brunch at any of its trendy local restaurants. Fridays provide the perfect opportunity to drive over the nearest town, Mapusa, for its world famous street fair. This authentic Indian bazaar gathers a colorful convention of vendors from all of Goa’s towns and villages, selling wares from jewelry, ceramics, and textiles to organically grown fruits, vegetables, and spices.
When you return home, you’re ready to add some whimsical, festive flair to your own home, such as a rangoli near the front door. These radiant arrangements of brightly-hued flowers and powders bring good luck and pay tribute to auspicious divinities such as Lakshmi and Ganesha.
Of course, Cotton House has no shortage of natural decor. Not only is it custom-curated with international art and design influences, but its sophisticated architecture and landscaping have given it the distinction of being the only platinum-certified sustainable property in the state.
Night: Illuminate the Dusk to Commemorate Diwali
Diwali, first and foremost, is a festival of light—the Sanskrit deepavali translates to “row of clay lamps”, which refers figuratively to the triumph of light over darkness, and literally to the lamps placed outside of residences. But other light-related activities you might do at this time of year include releasing sky lanterns or taking in a fireworks display.
Both can be done at the beach, and Assagao happens to be a short drive away from two of Goa’s most iconic: 20 minutes to Anjuna Beach, a former hippie oasis which has since become a chic oceanside retreat; and 25 minutes to Vagator Beach, a sublime stretch of rainforest cliffs whose slopes cascade down to a waterfront. Both locations play host to beach shacks—a go-to for Goans—where you can buy a delicious dinner to savor while watching the sunset.
Back at Cotton House, you pass through your private garden, with its luxurious pool, patio, and courtyard, and settle in for a restful night. Outside, flickering lamplight casts an aura of warmth and comfort; inside, rich throws and drapings of ikat and mashru add to this sense of serenity. It might be Diwali right now, but here in Goa, the whole year feels like a holiday.
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