CLA News / Going to Goa
In March 2022, having selected Goa as the CLC Conference venue for 2023, a further site visit took place.
Having flown into Mumbai and experienced a brief city tour in the morning, a short flight to Goa brought us to the Grand Hyatt, Goa.
We wished to experience the opportunity for delegates to enjoy short and longer excursions, and we were able to take part in visits to some amazing Portuguese cathedrals. One church, the Basílica do Bom Jesus, was fascinating in terms of its history and religious artefacts, including the preserved remains of St Francis Xavier.
We then visited a Hindu Temple and enjoyed both the walk to the Temple, with the colour of the stalls and the stall holders, and the unexpected domestic wildlife. The Temple was busy and having, we hope respectfully, examined the interior, we then embarked on the next short excursion to a spice farm. This proved to be a wonderfully interesting and memorable experience.
As our guide took us around the dense foliage we were able to experience the smells of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, five spice and lemon all from leaves, berries and bark, within a short and fascinating walk. With a profusion of birdlife and a peculiar silence from the jungle-like environs, it was amazing to experience such pungent smells and aromas. After the tour we enjoyed lunch and then set forward for the next short excursion.
This was a boat trip on a quiet back water, and we were just in time to see the sun set over the mangroves from the calm waters of our slowly moving vessel. Again, a most memorable and rewarding experience for an excursion within a short distance of the Conference hotel.
On Monday, while the conference team were meeting with a transport company and viewing additional hotels in the region to provide a price range for our delegates, Santhaan, who had flown to join the group, and I, went to the High Court of Bombay at Goa. There we met the senior presiding Judge and we also met the President of the Goa High Court Bar Association. Mr Coelho Pereira is an energetic and engaging colleague. He noted in particular that we wanted the Goa Bar to promote the CLC23 and encourage colleagues to attend and to suggest speakers from the Bar who could participate during the Conference. We were delighted to be invited to a dinner that evening hosted by Mr Pereira and the Committee from the Goa High Court Bar. This was in a Portuguese Goan restaurant, where we enjoyed the amazing local cuisine.
On the following day, Santhaan and I headed to Delhi to prepare for the Soli Sorabjee Memorial Lecture the following day. That evening, we were entertained at the home of our co-chair of the Papers Committee, Madhavi Divan, and her husband Shyam. They had gathered an amazing collection of senior legal colleagues, and this was a perfect opportunity to talk about the 2023 Conference and encourage these legal colleagues to attend.
The next day we were able to talk a walk in Nehru Park and enjoy the flowers and quietness of one of Delhi’s many parks. However, that was not before Santhaan and I attended very early in the morning, a meeting with Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Minister of Labour and Employment. Mr Yadav is a lawyer and had attended the CLC in Hong Kong, formally inviting delegates there to the next conference in Hyderabad. He showed great interest in the fact that the CLA were returning to India, and indicated that he would be willing to accept an invitation to speak. Such was the time he devoted to Santhaan and I, that he even walked us through the grounds of his ministerial compound to the gates to see us off – much to the surprise of the security personnel.
That evening we were hosted by another prominent Indian Lawyer practicing in Delhi, Mr Sukumar Pattjoshi. The opportunity to interact with colleagues and to talk informally about the conference and the CLA will, I feel, prove to be of enormous benefit.
The day that we were to return to London, we decided to start early and take a trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra. Although a long motorway journey, it was not without interest in terms of the agrarian scenes from the bus and we enjoyed a welcome stop for Chai.
I am not sure what I expected to see at the Taj Mahal, but every delegate to CLC 23 surely must make time for a tour to the Taj Mahal.
It was truly epic and beautiful and interesting and amazing. The symmetry of the building, the whiteness of the marble, the appearance of floating against a bright blue sky and the story behind the building of Taj Mahal were all fascinating. We thoroughly recommend this as a trip to make either before or after CLC 23.
There is no doubt that there is much for delegates to CLC23 to enjoy by way of short or longer excursions. I hope that this will encourage all who read it to book their place early for CLC 23.