From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich
For decades, a trip to Europe meant simply a visit to London, Paris and the Swiss Alps. Today’s Indians, however, look beyond proven destinations and try to explore the rest of Europe as well.
A more integrated global economy also led to a more widespread Indian diaspora. In fact, if you know where to look, you will find traces of Indian culture, even in some unlikely cities.
Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include on your trip to Europe, as both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here is a guide to everything that is Indian in Lisbon and Munich, when you need a break from all the tourists and bars you are likely to deliver.
Lisbon is known as one of the most dynamic cities in Western Europe. In its streets, the old and the modern coexist in harmony and without effort. This shows that the celebrations of the main festival in June gave way to a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado, theatrical performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest rock festival in the world, the Rock in Rio Lisbon, which sees an incredible change.
The cultural life of the city underwent a renaissance under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other citizens of Indian origin prominent in the political, commercial and leisure scene of Portugal, Lisbon illustrates the deep bond with India. From trips to Vasco Da Gama in India, the historical connection from Lisbon to Goa is well documented. Their footprints can still be seen in the streets of the two to date.
While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, some diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the 90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese Diuese and lives in Lisbon.
Ekvat (meaning “roots” in Konkani) is its art arm and culture that aims to preserve the heritage of Goa in Portugal. Throughout its nearly 30-year life, Ekvat presents traditional dance and music performances from Goa to Portugal and abroad.
Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Center for the unknown, acclaimed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, designed by a critically acclaimed architect Christian Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find old Indian influences such as windows and cut autonomous pillars.
The National Museum of Ancient Art has also exhibited a collection of jewelry made from Goa traditionnelment. In Lostin – Esplanada Bar, half of the people that are in the Indian kurtas and shawls. There is also a Krishna Bal mural painting and a traditional Rajasthani style door to complete the picture. But it is not just cultural references that reflect this connection.
Goans’ integration in Lisbon is so profound that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture inside their interiors, and most families have adapted Goa curry in their kitchen. During the last two decades, the city has also increased the number of Indians who are not Goas. The specialties of northern India, for example, are readily available and can be found in Zomato, which has a presence in the city.