Travel Dhamaka




# Bhagwati Devi Temple (Pernem)

 The temple of Sri Bhagwati is quite unique and is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati who is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The Shri Bhagwati temple is an ancient temple in Goa. It is said to be more than 500 years old and is situated by the side of the main road.The Portuguese rule was quite disadvantageous for the existing temples in Goa as they had to face destruction and devastation at the hands of the foreign rulers. Very few temples survived the wrath of the invaders. Shri Bhagwati Temple is one of the few temples that were allowed to stand.


The presiding deity of temple is Goddess Bhagwati in Ashtabhuja (eight hands) form. On a high pedestal in a standing position the Goddess Bhagwati is also very imposing. At the entrance of the Bhagwati temple, visitors are welcomed by two life size statues of elephants in standing position, made of black stone.The main festival celebrated at this temple is Dussehra. The festival is one of the main attractions here and is celebrated with gaiety from Ashwin Shuddha Pratipada to Poornima. At that time more than twenty five thousand devotees assemble at the temple.Shri Bhagavati temple complex has five temples, main temple being of Shri Bhagavati, other temples are of Shri Sateri, Shri Dev Ravalnath, Shri Dev Bhivangi Panchakshari & Brahma (Shri Vishnu, Shri Ganapath, Shri Shankar).


# Radha Krishna Temple ( Vasco )

The Magnificent Radha Krishna Temple at the BITS Pilani Goa Campus in Zuarinagar, Sancoale Vasco is becoming the popular tourist spot in the State of Goa. This temple is an architectural wonder. During night time the temple is well illuminated with designer lights and looks fabulous.

 # Brahma Temple

Legend has it that Brahma the creator of the Hindu holy trinity was to have just one temple at Pushkar, in Rajasthan. However, little known to many, there is another Brahma temple, this one tucked away in a remote village of Nagargao in Valpoi, Goa.“The Brahma statue in this temple stands tall and elegant. The statue of Lord Brahma blesses all those who come to see him. The beautifully chiseled image of Brahma is dated to the Kadamba period and belongs to the 12th century.The importance of this temple and Brahma idol lies in the fact that it is the original piece of sculpture chiseled out of a black stone during the Kadamba period. Inside the temple the idol of Lord Brahma stands at the center and wears a beard. Brahma is shown in Trimurti form that is the trinity of Brahma – Vishnu – Mahesh.

According to historians in Goa, it was in the 16
th century when the island of Tiswadi was conquered by the Portuguese and there was a fear of destruction of the temple.Hence in 1541, the devotees of Brahma smuggled the deity out of Karmali village in Old Goa and in a clandestine manner, carried it to the Sattari taluka which then had not come under Portuguese rule.Sattari taluka came under the Portuguese rule as late as 1781. The devotees then took the idol to Valpoi village and from there to dense forest area of Nagargaon and installed the image in a small shrine on the banks of a stream. This small hamlet later came to be known after the deity Brahma and the village of its origin Karmali (in the Tiswadi taluka) and hence the name Brahma Karmali.

# Kamakshi Saunsthan Temple

 The temple of Shri Kamakshi is located amidst the hills of the picturesque village of Shiroda and was built in the late 16th century.In the village of Shiroda, a huge Mahadwar or temple gate leads to the Kamakshi temple complex known as ‘Sthal’ or more commonly called ‘Thal’. After passing under the Mahadwar, as one descends the flight of stairs. The temple, crowned by an octagonal, two-storied tower, with a golden Kalash perched on its Shikhar or peak, can be seen prominently.The temple of Shri Kamakshi has a large Sabha Mandap or the traditional open entrance hall. In front of the temple, one can see a tall Deepasthambh or the lamp tower and a holy water tank. The square shaped chowk, Gan is used for conducting the Prasad ritual. The deity Shri Kamakshi can be seen in the Gabhara or the Sanctum Sanctorum in all its splendor.

The Kamakshi temple also has Kshetrapals or affiliated protector deities like Shri Vetal and Shri Kalbhairav. Another shrine in the Prakar or precinct has deities like Shri Rayeshwar or Lord Shiva, Shri Lakshminarayana or Lord Vishnu with his consort, Goddess Laxmi, and Shri Shantadurga.The palanquin procession of the idol of Shri Kamakshi and Shree Laxmi Narayan is taken around the temple premises, every Amavasya or on the New Moon Day. Thousands of devotees throng the temple for darshan on this day. In addition, the palanquin procession of Shri Rayeshwar is held in the temple premises on Chaturdashi or pre-New Moon Day, and that of Shri Shantadurga on Panchami or fifth day after the New Moon Day.In addition, the annual festivities are held at the temple during the Navratri/ Dussehra period and at the time of Jatra in spring. The Divja procession held during the Jatra, offers a spectacular site, where countless married women walk around the temple in the evening, holding Divja or clay lamps.


# Madanant Mandir

 Shri Madanant temple is situated in Savoi, Verem in the Ponda Taluka and is surrounded by hills and fields, betel nuts, coconut and cashew nut trees.The deity to whom this temple in the Ponda taluka is dedicated, Shri Vishnu is lying on the Sheshyasan. Shri Laxmi, the consort of Vishnu, is sitting at the feet of Lord Vishnu. The temple is believed to be 500 years old.


# Mahadev Temple (Tambdi Surla)

 The most ancient temple in the whole of Goa is Mahadev temple located at a place called Tambi Surla at Mollem.The temple itself was built in Jain style in the Twelfth century. There are some interesting details about the construction itself which has led to debates about the actual origins of the temple. The temple is built in a place which is quite inaccessible and away from the main settlements of the time.The small, beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva is considered to be the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture in basalt stone preserved and available in Goa.

The temple faces east so that the rays of the rising sun fall on the deity at the crack of dawn. Bas-relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, with their respective consorts appear on panels at the sides of the temple. Surprisingly the mandap is covered with a roof of plain grey sloping slabs.The river Surla flows nearby and can be reached via a flight of stone steps. There is a headless Nandi (bull, Shiva’s vehicle) in the centre of the mandap, surrounded by four matching columns. The symbol of the Kadamba kingdom, an elephant trampling a horse is carved on the base of one of the columns.There is a linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum and local legend has it that a huge King Cobra is in permanent residence in the dimly lit interior.The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with all pomp and gaiety at the temple by the local people residing in surrounding villages.


# Maha Ganapati Temple

 According to the Archaeological Survey of Goa, the idols of Maha Ganapati and Mahamaya (also referred as Durgadevi and Shantadurga) were located in Ella at Tiswadi, Goa along with Shri Gomanteshwar and its affiliates.During the Muslim invasion in Goa in the 13th century the temple in Ella was destroyed and the idols were transferred to Navelim and Goltim. Until the early 16th century, the deities were worshiped on the island, following which they were evicted by the overzealous Portuguese missionaries. The devotees had no choice but to transfer the idols to Khandepar and from there to their final destination at Khandola.


# Mahalaxmi Temple

 The village of Bandode or Bandivade is the location of a number of temples among which is the large and beautiful temple of Goddess Mahalaxmi.The temple of Goddess Mahalaxmi has been in existence since at least the year 1413, when information about the rituals of the temple is found on stone plaques carved during the reign of Nanjan Gosavi Pratihast over Goa.However, there was another temple of Mahalaxmi in the fifteenth century in the town of Colva in Salcette. As is the case with most Hindu deities in Goa, the idol of Mahalaxmi from this temple was also smuggled away in the middle of the night to avoid persecution by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century.

Two devotees Safto and Fato, took the idol away in a trunk and first took her to the town of Talauli near Ponda. Till today, the people of this village worship the sign of the feet of the goddess. The idol brought from Colva was then taken to Bandode and installed along with the existing idol.So today there are two idols of Mahalaxmi in the temple premises, along with other deities such as Shri Ravalnath, Shri Baleshwar, Shri Narayan Purush and interestingly also idols of the two devotees i.e. Safto and Fato who managed to save the Goddess from Colva.The second Goddess Mahalaxmi from Colva is taken out in a procession only once a year on the auspicious day of Ramnavmi when she is taken around in a palakhi (palanquin) and a chariot.On the second day of this festival, both the idols are taken out in one chariot to be paraded in a huge procession. The main idol of the Goddess Mahalaxmi is also taken out during the festival of Mahashivratri, on a chariot carried on the shoulders of devotees.


# Mahalsa Temple (Mardol)

 The temple of Mahalsa Narayani is located at the small village of Mardol, just about a kilometre from the famous Mangueshi temple and about 22 kms from Panaji, the capital city.Originally, the deity was housed in a temple at an ancient shrine in village of Verna which is now the site of an industrial estate. Along with other Goan temples, this beautiful temple at Verna was also marked for destruction by the Portuguese around 1543.However, before the actual demolition could take place the idol of the deity was smuggled away across the river by faithful devotees, to the safer locale of Mardol, where it is located today.Mahalsa is a Hindu goddess. She is venerated in two distinct traditions. As an independent goddess, she is considered as a form of Mohini, the female avatar of the god Vishnu and is called Mahalasa Narayani.

Mahalsa is also worshipped as the consort of the folk god Khandoba, a form of the god Shiva. In this tradition, she is associated with Parvati, Shiva’s wife as well as Mohini. It is also believed that she is incarnation of Parvati with the beauty of Mohini as per Lord Shiva’s wish.In the Mahalasa Narayani form, Mahalasa has four hands, carrying a Trishula, a sword, a severed head, and a drinking bowl. She stands on a prostate man or demon, as a tiger or lion licks blood dripping from the severed head. She also wears the yajnopavita (sacred thread), which is generally dedicated on male deities.Goud Saraswat Brahmins as well as Vaishnavas from Goa and South Canara identify her with Mohini and call her Narayani and Rahu-matthani, the slayer of Rahu, as told in the Bhavishya Purana.During the Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean of milk) by the gods and the demons, the demons steal the pot of amruta (elixir of immortality). The god Vishnu took the form of the enchantress, Mohini. Mohini seized the amruta from the demons and served it to the gods. Mohini is worshipped as Mahalasa Narayani or Mahalasa.


# Manguesh Temple

 This temple had its origins in Kushasthali Cortalim, a village in Saxty (Salcette) which fell to the invading Portuguese in 1543. In the year 1560, when the Portuguese started conversions in Salcete taluka, the Saraswats of Vatsa Gotra moved the Manguesh Linga from the original site at the Kushasthali or Cortalim on the banks of river Aghanashini (Zuari) to its present location at Mangueshi in Priol village of Atrunja Taluka, which was then ruled by the Hindu kings of Sonde of Antruz Mahal (Ponda), to be more secure.Since the time of the shifting, the temple has been rebuilt and renovated twice during the reign of the Marathas and yet another time in the year 1890. The final renovation occurred in the year 1973 when a golden kalasha (holy vessel) was fitted atop the tallest dome of the temple.

The main temple is dedicated to Bhagavan Manguesh, an incarnation of Shiva. Bhagavan Manguesh is worshipped here as Shiva linga. According to the legend, Lord Shiva had manifested into a tiger to scare his wife Parvati. Paravati, who was frightened at the sight of the tiger, went in search of Lord Shiva and cried out, “Trahi Mam girisha!” (Oh Lord of Mountains, save me!). Upon hearing the words, Lord Shiva turned himself back to his normal form. The words “mam girisha” became associated with Lord Shiva and over time the words got abbreviated to Manguirisha or Manguesh.
The Sabha Griha is a spacious hall which accommodates over 500. The decor includes the chandeliers of the nineteenth century. The central part of the Sabha Griha leads to the Garbha Griha where the image of Manguesh is consecrated. Like most temples in Goa, Mangueshi Temple has a large number of pujas being performed daily. Every morning, Shodshopchar pujas, namely Abhisheka, Laghurudra and Maharudra, are performed. This is followed by Maha-Aarti at noon and Panchopchar pooja at night.Every Monday, the idol of Manguesh is taken out for a precession in the Palakhi accompanied by music before the evening Aarti.


 # Shanta Durga Temple

 Shri Shantadurga Temple is situated at the foothill of Kavalem village in Ponda Taluka, Goa. A small laterite mud shrine was built and the deity was installed here. The mud-shrine was converted into a beautiful temple whose foundation stone was laid in 1730 and the temple was completed in 1738 and renovated in 1966.The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. The deity is also called ‘Santeri’ colloquially. Local legends tell of a battle between Shiva and Vishnu. The battle was so fierce that the god Brahma prayed to Goddess Parvati to intervene, which she did in the form of Shantadurga. Shantadurga placed Vishnu on her right hand and Shiva on her left hand and settled the fight.

Shantadurga is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva.The original temple at Quelossim (Keloshi) in Salsete was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564. The goddess was transferred to Kavalem and worship was continued there.The current temple was constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Chattrapati Shahu, who was the grandson of Shivaji Maharaj, of Satara in about 1738. Naroram Mantri (Naroram Shenvi Rege) originally from Kochara village in the Vengurla region was a Mantri (minister) in Shahu’s Court around 1723. He obtained finances to construct the new temple for the goddess from Shahu. The temple construction started around 1730 and, with the help from other Mahajans, the present temple was completed. Due to his efforts, the village of Kavalem was bequeathed to the Temple by Shahu in 1739.The temple has a huge tank, a Deepastambha and agrashalas (guest houses).


# Shri Chandranath Temple

 Shri Chandranath is located on the top of a 350m high hill of Chandranath, Paroda in Quepem. The main Deity is Lord Chandreshwar.Lord Chandreshwar was the titular deity of the Bhoja kings who ruled South Goa before the coming of the Portuguese, till the middle of 8th century. They had named their capital Chandrapur after the deity.The temple has the famous Shiva Linga, which was supposed to ooze water with the touch of moonlight. Some sources say that the temple has been designed in such a way, that moonlight falls directly on the Shiva Linga on full moon nights.


# Shri Datta Mandir

 Datta Mandir is located at Sanquelim in the Bicholim Taluka of North Goa.It is known as the hometown of the Ranes of Sattari who played a key role in Goa’s freedom struggle. Sanquelim is very famous for some of its Hindu temples.There are also a number of places to visit around Sanquelim which include the Arvalem waterfalls which are just 2 kms from Sanquelim. Also one can find the Arvalem Caves nearby.The deity of the Datta Mandir, the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar, is said to have cured many people who were of unsound mind.The most important festival, which is attended by devotees from all over Goa, is Datta Jayanti which falls in the month of December.


 # Shri Gopal Ganapati Temple (Farmagudi)

 About 90-100 years back, a cow herder called Hapo, who was employed by King Soundhekar of Bandiwade, found a 1 foot stone Ganesha idol in the forest. He consecrated it in a mandapa made of coconut branches.Even today, a Gudi is erected here every Anant Chaturthi.The first chief Minister of Goa, the late Shri. Dayanand Bandodkar, was inspired to build a new temple here. He had the Idol, which was made of metal alloy, consecrated on April 24, 1966.It is a good specimen of Indian Temple architecture, synthetizing both the ancient and modern forms.


# Shri Navdurga Saunsthan

 Shri Navdurga Saunsthan in Goa is situated at Borim which is about 34 kms. from Panaji and 12 kms. from Margao. The temple is among the famous religious places in Goa and houses an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva known as Goddess Navdurga.The temple is dedicated to goddess Navdurga, the temple is believed to be more than 500yrs old and was renovated in the year 1603.

The presiding deity worshipped at the temple is Mahishasuramardini who is the ferocious form of goddess Durga and this beautiful idol of the deity is carved out of a stone which is about 4 ft in height.Other gods and goddesses worshiped here are Lord Ganesh, Narayana, Betala, Ravalnatha, and Grampurush.Thousands of devotees throng the Shri Navdurga Saunsthan during the month of November from Vidya Chaturthi to Dashami for the annual Jatra, which is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety.


# Shri Ramnath Temple (Ramnathi)

 The idol of Lord Ramnath was initially housed in a temple at a settlement called Lotli (present-day Loutolim) which was set up by Gaud Saraswat Brahmins who had migrated from Rameshwar on the southern shores of India.Lord Ramnath, like many other deities in Goa, was removed from the original temple at Loutolim and smuggled away to its present day abode of Bandivade, to avoid persecution by the Portuguese regime. Bandivade was under the control of Bijapur at the time.The temple also houses other deities viz. Shri LaxmiNarayan, Shri Kamakshi, Shri Santeri and Shri Sidhanath. Unlike most temples in Goa, the sabhamandap (grand hall) of the temple has no pillars and yet has a special gallery for the ladies. There is a five-storied deepstambha (lamp tower) in the courtyard with images of Hindu saints carved on its base.

The door to the inner sanctum has some exceptionally beautiful scenes depicted on it in silver metal. Once scene depicts devotees worshipping a linga, and the other shows Lord Vishnu with his consort Lakshmi sitting on his couch of a coiled snake.The annual festival or Jatra of the temple is celebrated with pomp and gaiety by the devotees with the traditional palakhi (palanquin) parading around the temple carrying the idol of the deity.


# Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple

 This is also an ancient temple, Saptakoteshwar having been the deity of the Kings of the Kadamba dynasty around the twelfth century. Coins found from this era mention the name of the deity along with that of the King Jayakeshi.After the Portuguese conquest, in the year 1540 during the years of the Inquisition, once again the linga at the temple was removed. Soon afterwards, it was smuggled away by one of the locals named Narayan Shenvi Suryarao and taken to a place called Latambarsem where it remained for 3 years. In 1543, it was installed in a temple near the island of Divar.

The Maratha King Shivaji conquered the area in 1664. On one of his many expeditions to Goa against the Portuguese in 1668, he gave the order for the Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve to be rebuilt and the linga installed in its proper place. The stone plaque mentioning this order can still be seen near the temple entrance today.
The legend behind the name Saptakoteshwar is also quite interesting. According to the legend, seven holy sages once set out to pray to Lord Shiva near the place where five holy rivers met the sea. They prayed for seven crore years at the end of which, Lord Shiva appeared to grant their wishes and agreed to stay at the place in one of his incarnations. This incarnation is known as Saptakoteshwar (sapt means seven and koteshwar means lord of crores).The most important festival celebrated at the temple, attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India, is Gokulashtami which is considered to be the day on which Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to grant the wishes of the seven holy sages.


# Shri Sapteshwar Bhagavati Temple

 Not far from Morjim are located two temples -the Shri Bhagavati temple at Parshem and Sapteshwar Bhagamati at Mandrem in Pernem Taluka. The Shri Bhagavati Temple at Parshem is situated at a distance of 7 kms from Pernem in Pernem Taluka.The Shri Bhagavati temple complex has five temples, the main temple being that of Devi Bhagavati. The other temples in the complex are those of Shri Sateri, Shri Dev Ravalnath, Shri Dev Bhivangi Panchakshari & Brahma (Shri Vishnu, Shri Ganapath, Shri Shankar). The unique feature of the Shri Bhagavati temple is that it has two ‘Deepstambhas’.

The major festivals observed are the 7 days ‘Bhajanisaptah’ at Mandrem, which is celebrated in the Indian month of Kartika. The annual Jatra, Dussehra and the Shimgo are the other festivals that are celebrated here. These festivals are attended by large crowds of both devotees and tourists. Surrounding the main temples can be seen some exquisitely sculptured ancillary deities.


# Shri Rudreshwar Temple

 The temple of Rudreshwar is located in the Bicholim Taluka at a distance of 45 kms from Panaji. Shri Rudreshwar Temple is newly built on the site of an ancient site and is also known as the temple of Lord Shiva, where devotees go to seek blessings for themselves and their ancestors.The beautiful Arvalem waterfalls is located just next to the temple. The image of Lord Rudreshwar lies facing the waterfall.Early in the morning, devotees flock to the temple to pay their obeisance to the deity. The temple is accessed by stairs that start near the mouth of the waterfall.The festival of Mahashivaratri draws big crowds amongst the locals. However, the temple assumes importance as Hindus perform rites for the dead here.


 # Shri Vitthal Mandir

 Situated at Vithalwadi, Sanquelim. Shri Vitthal is the ancestral God of ‘Ranes’ who had put up prolonged memorable resistance to Portuguese rule.The main festival is Chaitri (April). Its celebration is a lavish affair for the people miles around The ancestors of the present Rane family, who are believed to have migrated to Goa from Udaipur about 600 years ago, built the famous Sri Vitthal temple situated on the bank of Valvanta River.The temple was reconstructed in 1942 AD, incorporating the North India style of temple architecture though sanctum-sanctorum was left untouched. The main festivities at the temple are held during the nine days preceding “Chairtra Purnima”.An exquisitely carved wooden chariot symbolizing the chariot of Arjuna of Mahabharata and driven by Lord Krishna is an important attraction of the temple complex.


# The Lairai Mandir

 The Lairai Mandir in Sirgao displays a combination of the northern and southern styles of art and temple design. The Shirgao Jatra is famous among devotees and tourists alike for the celebrated walk on hot coals raked from an enormous bonfire.The Jatra takes place in early part of May, when thousands of devotees of Devi Lairai descend on the small town and religious rituals and poojas dedicated to the Goddess are performed throughout the auspicious day.Hundreds of people from the villages in surrounding areas also take part in these celebrations. Groups of these villagers from villages such as Maulingem, arrive in the early morning hours and participate in events throughout the day.

Late into the night, as midnight approaches, the devotees perform a frantic dance inside the temple which is all lit up for the occasion. The dancing takes place to the rhythm of drum beats, in a tight circle in front of Goddess Lairai. While chanting and moving in a tight circle the devotees hold the special sticks clashing them against one another.The circular dance reaches a feverish high with a single drum beat denoting the end of each dance session. The dance sessions end around midnight when all eyes are on the huge pile of wood kept in a large clearing near the temple. The final and most spectacular part of the Jatra then begins, when a specially chosen person races from the temple to the wooden pile and lights a massive bonfire with a blazing torch.
In the early hours of the morning when the fire has died down, the raking of the coals begins. The devotees await their turn to walk on the holy path of hot coals. Around 4 am, the actual ritual starts, with the devotees running through the hot coals carrying their sticks and shouting the name of Devi Lairai.As the crowd watches in stunned silence, some devotees do the ‘hot run’ once, others do it several times. Those who have finished their run, then remove and throw their flower garlands onto a nearby Banyan tree and return home. The Jatra reaches its conclusion as the sun rises in the distant hills.


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