Ceramic vessels and hand-painted ornaments are produced in two villages close to Mapusa. Cheap handmade clay ornaments, clay piggy banks (or elephants, chickens and other creatures) and festive items are popular. The unfired clay drinking cups once ubiquitous on India’s railways have now been replaced by plastic – though there is a move to reinstate them. During festivals the ceramic stalls stock thousands of brightly painted bowls which are filled with oil for burning at devotional shrines.
5pm. Spice stall. Chillis are a basic ingredient in Goan cuisine: traditionally, masala spices are ground and mixed daily. Although renowned for its spice stalls, most spices in the market are imported from neighbouring Karnataka. Agriculture is in decline in Goa with land left untended or sold for development. Today, work in the Gulf is more lucrative than farming and Shankar, who begins work when he finishes school, does not see working on his family stall as a life-long career.
7.00am. Municipal market cleaners arrive for work. In Corporation saris, Mapusa’s cleaners present a more positive picture of ‘sweepers’ than in much of India. Traditionally regarded as low-esteem employment, refuse collection remains a largely un-automated industry that struggles to deal with the volume of refuse produced. The job is hindered further by the numerous cows roaming the market ‘processing’ waste. More positively, since the Goa-wide ban on plastic bags in 2013 the blight of discarded plastic is gradually improving.
12. Drum Seller. During the Ganesh Chaturthi drum sellers appear in the market. The drums are beaten by children as plaster or plastic idols of the god Ganesha are taken to a water body and immersed. A practice that is increasingly causing alarm as the paints used to colour the idols are often toxic and are polluting the waterways.
Fish is a traditional staple of Goan cuisine and the basic ingredient for the classic Goan dish, fish curry and rice. Fishermen work at night in small trawlers or – inshore - unpowered canoes. The catch is landed at Siolim, a few miles from Mapusa market. Traditionally, it is the fishermen’s wives who sell the catch. The old fish market, pictured here, had no electric light and at night was romantically lit up by thousands of candles, illuminating the fish in their bamboo baskets.
8.00am A day vendor arrives with her basket of snake gourds. Every Friday thousands of villagers bring their produce to market. Most are not farmers but bring small quantities of produce grown in their gardens. The research traced their routes into the market. Whilst many are local, others arrive from further afield in the state and even from neighbouring Karnataka or Maharashtra. Goa is a wealthy state with many families receiving money from relatives working in the Gulf and Mapusa Market is a prosperous one and prices are relatively high.
7pm. The Ganesh Chaturthi – the Chovorth is a hugely popular celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed god. In Maharashtra, Chaturthi was reinvigorated at the end of the 19th century by Tilak who recognised Ganesha’s appeal as the ‘God for Everybody’ and popularised the festival to galvanise nationalistic fervour against British colonial rule. In Catholic Goa where Hindus were persecuted under the Inquisition, Ganesh Chaturthi is as popular as elsewhere in South India and often coincides with Christian festivals.
Noon. Goan chouriço. Goan culture remains strongly influenced by its heritage of nearly 450 years of Portuguese Catholic rule, Goa is unusual in India in that pork is still widely – and openly – consumed. Goan chouriço is distinctive for combining pork with vinegar, chilli and spices to produce a hot and spicy sausage. Goa is also noted for its bread rolls, pão, which are baked daily and delivered to a bakery section of the market close to the chouriço vendors.
This market plan, dating from the early 1960s hangs in Mapusa Municipal Corporation’s office building close to the market. It presents a schematised and highly organised impression of the market. Whilst many of the units shown in the plan have since been subdivided and new fish, meat and vegetable markets have come up recently, the market’s essential layout, shown here, remains unchanged. But the infrastructure has been neglected, and much of the market is frequently under several inches of water during the monsoon.
15. MIDNIGHT: At night the market is deserted other than for cows and dogs. Tourists shift to the popular ‘night markets’ along the coastal strips. The main alley of Mapusa Market at midnight reveals that Goa’s ‘no plastic bag’ push still has a way to go. Work clearing the rubbish will begin again each day, 365 days a year as the cleaners and early traders arrive for a new day of trading.