Where nude hippies have been replaced by yuppie tourists

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As India’s economy booms and builds a middle class that barely existed two decades ago, Goa has transformed from a laid-back enclave for bohemian Westerners to a mass tourist destination for Indians.

Elisabeth Ramnacher, a German who prefers to go by the name Yogini, wanted to show her employees what Goa used to look like back in its hippie days. The only trouble was, she couldn’t find a picture of herself with clothes on.When hippies travelled overland from Europe to India decades ago, Goa was often the final stop on the trail, welcoming to its beaches Westerners who wanted to drop out in a place where living was cheap, drugs plentiful and swimming nude the norm.

“Goans’ attitude and openness allowed the hippie culture to thrive,” said Ramnacher, 58, who first came in the 1980s and now owns the popular Villa Blanche cafe here in Goa. But most of the original countercultural community is now gone. It has fallen victim to age, higher costs of living and the death of the hippie trail in the late 1970s, as wars closed the route. Today, Goa’s renegade lifestyle attracts an entirely new type of traveler — young Indians who are flocking here not to find themselves, as the hippies once did, but to celebrate their bachelorette parties or dance atop bars.

As India’s economy booms and builds a middle class that barely existed two decades ago, Goa has transformed from a laid-back enclave for bohemian Westerners to a mass tourist destination for Indians.

Tito’s shares a street crammed with similar clubs, like Bollywood Discothèque and Cocktails and Dreams. A stroll through the neighborhood is an assault on the eyes and ears, with neon signs glaring and drug pushers sometimes shouting to sell their merchandise, trying to be heard over a cacophony of electronic music bearing down from all directions of the night sky.

 

 

 

 

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