On the banks of the winding Chapora River is the idyllic village of Siolim with its lush green fields, historical forts, elegant churches and temples with deep historical significance, cultural heritage and abundant beauty.
This picturesque sleepy little village with a population of about 10,000 epitomises the Goan way of life and captivates you as you wander around the densely forested lanes with its rambling brooks, colonial era houses and colourful fruit and veg markets. The name “Siolim” comes from two words: ‘Xinv’ and ‘Halli’; “Xinv” means “lion” and “Halli” refers to a village or place. This probably means that there once were plenty of lions in the hills of Siolim.
This quintessentially Goan village retains most of its old-world charm and is a hotspot for cultural/heritage tourism. It is very famous for its culture, traditions, sea food, historical monuments, handicrafts, traditional food, churches, beaches and of course, Feni. It produces some of the world’s best Feni, a uniquely Goan alcoholic drink brewed from cashews or coconuts.
There are some beautiful walks to be enjoyed by the river and along the shady lanes. The landmark Siolim bridge affords breath-taking panoramic views of the Village; watching the sun set on the Chapora River from the bridge is an unforgettable experience. The famous Siolim Church is dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua.
The famous Siolim bazaar is a typical rural happening as the village folk bring their rustic produce and traditional Goan sweets for sale.
Siolim is also known for the Sao Joao Festival associated with the onset of the monsoon celebrated on the feast of St John the Baptist, who baptised people by immersing them in the river Jordan. Villagers jump into rivers, ponds and wells on this day to commemorate John’s baptisms. Villagers wearing the traditional copel (a colourful headgear made of flower and fruits) jump into the Siolim River.
After that they share fruits and sannas (a type of steamed rice cake) singing with traditional instruments. Newly-married couples play a very important role in the celebration. Generally, the bride carries all the goodies to be distributed among the youth of the village and the groom carries all the hard drinks like the Goan ‘feni’, beer and others. The Siolim Boat festival with colourfully decorated boats on the Chapora River also draws huge crowds annually.