The extoller of art
Once Jackson Pollock quoted, “When I say artist I mean the one who is building things … some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen.” My guest, DeekshaThind has love for almost all the above. She is an extraordinary creator and an extoller of Art. Deeksha’s immense love for art has driven her to give a dramatic change to a 300-year-old Goan house. Being an architect, interior designer, landscaper and a project manager by profession, Deeksha utilized all her skills and expertise in developing her new project, ‘Saraya’. For her, Saraya is her new home rather than a mere business.
As the name suggests, Saraya resembles a dwelling place for the roadies, travellers or the hippies. The word “Saraya” derived from a Sanskrit word, “Saraye” which means resting place for travellers which matches perfectly for the eco-stays they have. However, Saraya is more than a dwelling. It is a place where one can feed their hungry art lover soul. Once I stepped in, I simply loved the place. The quietness, the act of reviving own talent, all was so organic and unique that I decided to stay there and enjoy their services. As I am always keen about people and their peculiar dreams and ideas, I was keen on getting to know Deeksha and her venture Saraya better.
Deeksha was born and raised in a Punjabi family, her mother owned an interior designing company. When she was 15, little Deeksha learnt and started assisting her mom. Deeksha’s mom closely worked with many Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, ZenatAman, HemaMalini. Deeksha’s mom was all involved in the infrastructure and designing projects for their properties. Fortunately, Deeksha too had a chance to be a part of it. Soon, Deeksha opened her own company and started providing services to prestigious restaurants and hotels across the world. Few of the names are The Shangriela Hotel, Dubai, The Leela, Mumbai and The Marriot, Goa.
Deeksha landed in Goa in 2006 after her husband expired. She was working for some time and later opt for retirement. Deeksha has four kids who are an architect, a Pilot, a Pizza Chef and a musician respectively. Long ago, Deeksha bought a villa in North Goa.The villa was given on rent to few jewellers however because of the burglaries happening around they thought of leaving the space and Deeksha and his family locked up the property. However, her enthusiastic children asked her not to sell the space (1 acre) for which they had thought of a wonderful business plan. In 2014, she came up with the idea of metamorphosing the vintage Goan villa into a space of creativity. They renovated the room, walls, doors and windows and gave the room an artistic touch with vibrant colours.
Today, the villa is known for being an art lover’s delight. It is not only for art lovers but it is a great place for the love birds too. Situated almost 8kms from the famous Baga Beach and 5.6 kms from Calangute beach, Saraya is situated in Chogm road, Sangolda, this place can be your favourite destination in Goa to step in. Saraya comprises of living spaces in the form of tree and mud houses, an Art Gallery and a Café. The vintage house act as the main centre for displaying one’s creations- different forms of art, hand-made Jewellery and Paper Quelling. Various exhibitions also take place at regular intervals. One can also enrol for their yoga sessions. People from different corners of the world come to exhibit themselves and their work. They conduct classes as well as workshops.
Back to the vintage block, one can find beautiful tree and mud houses surrounded by greenery and eternal peace. One can either book a room directly or can use any hotel booking app like ‘Makemytrip’. The surrounding will give you a feeling as if you are living in the midst of a jungle. Trust me, its very romantic as well as adventurous! The environment is silent and peaceful, the dogs barking outside during the night breaks silence. In midst of the tree and mud houses, one can found a small water body- fishes swim around, the clay produced is used to create the mud houses. The mud in turn soothes the guests inside the room even if one visits Goa in an unbearable summer.
The café is their third vertical. I must say, the ambience was really gorgeous. Whoa! The lights, the colourful paper lanterns, the ambrosial smell of the wood-fire pizza just got blended into the air tempting me to order one. Flamboyant travellers like me can even help the chef in making the pizza. I got to prepare one for myself and served onto my plate directly from the wood-fire. It was hot, crispy and of course yummy! Saraya has an outlandish menu; they have Indian meals and a wide variety of parathas to offer, such as Muli Paratha, Meetha Paratha, Aaloo Paratha, pastas as well as lip-smacking desserts. The hummus and the strudel are some of their best sellers. The most impressive fact about their food is that the ingredients are all organic and hand-made for example the pasta sauce and the peanut butter. To talk about the plastic, Saraya offers services of reasonable prices.
Saraya was launched officially in 2015. However, they opened their exquisite rooms during the holiday season in December. The art gallery opened on 5th January followed by the café on 11th January.
Saraya is basically run by the volunteers who come from different parts of the world. Freaky travellers come and offer their services to the rest of the world through Saraya. People coming from different cultures teach something new to Saraya team. It may be the preparation of pasta dough or a pizza base. Sharing of knowledge is one of the core values of Saraya. One can either volunteer in the kitchen- washing plates or act as a waiter in the café. One has to volunteer for five hours a day and six days a week. Food and accommodation will be provided in lieu of their services. If you are a talented guitarist, then why don’t you take a workshop here? Saraya has welcomed musicians, artists, Shamans, and many more at its doorstep. Every artist leaves a smile and their footstep behind. Saraya has become a growing community now and people who have visited so far prefer to call them as Sarayans. Saraya is indeed a home in the heart of the city. “One has to start with a dream-Saraya is also a dream and no matter if the dream looks impossible but if one really believes in it, it will become a reality one day”, Deeksha apprised.
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