The Mapusa Market

The Mapusa MarketEven before the advent of roadways, Mapusa has been the market hub of North Goa. It's location as the nexus of all overland routes in Bardez taluka and its proximity to the Rio de Mapusa, (the Mapusa River, which in ancient times was a popular waterway used in the transport of agricultural products and spices) has enabled the town to develop its commercial reputation since time immemorial.

The first mention of the Mapusa market was in 1580 by a Dutch Chronicler, who even described it as the "Bazaar Grande". The town's name evolved from the Konkani words "maap" meaning 'volumes of measure' and "Sa" meaning 'to fill'. The popularity of Mapusa as a market center grew out of ancient festivals in honour of the God Kanakeshwar Baba, venerated at the Bodgeshwar Temple. The festivals attracted large crowds seeking to fulfill their individual wishes, who needed pots and oil lamps as offerings to propitiate the Gods. Both Mapusa's location at the hub of commercial activity and its proximity to a place of religious pilgrimage have caused the Mapusa market to grow to its current size and scope.

Today's market is as authentic and lively as ever, and a walk through gives the visitor a taste of the 'essence' of the land of Goa. Here women from the surrounding villages gather to sell their wares, fighting for a space in the shade of a building, under an overhang, or if all else fails, beneath the shade of a hand-held umbrella. Goan customers prefer to buy their foodstuffs fresh every few days, thus the Mapusa Market has an abundance of fresh fish, a variety of locally produced vegetables, and exotic fruits from jack fruit and mangoes to plantain bananas. Pickles and preserves, spices, earthen pots, coir mats, and the famous Goan 'chouricos' (sausages) are also found in abundance. Those shopping for special occasions find no dearth of saree and sweet shops, as well as tailors and goldsmiths. In fact, all that Goans need in their everyday lives can be found in Mapusa on fridays.

The Mapusa MarketIn recent years new shops have come in tailored to the backpackers and the charter tourists. Thus in the entrance of the market one finds several stalls selling trinkets and other articles often picked up by foreign travelers as souvenirs. But don't be fooled! behind the tourist stalls is an authentic market full of activity and life which offers a unique window into the lives of locals and shouldn't be missed by anyone stopping in to visit Goa!

Article & Photographs by
Karin Larsen