TEMPLES OF GOA
Location : Goa
Hindu Heartland : Ponda
Famous Temples : Shri Mangueshi Temple, Shantadurga Temple
Important Festivals : Vijayrathotsav Festival, Gade Procession, Shigmo
Shantadurga Temple, Goa
Every architectural heritage in Goa has a dual demeanour.
For the temples, they are sanctity and beauty. Popular as an exclusive
holiday beach destination, Goa is studded with exquisite temples that
remain a silent but cogent witness to the ardent religious history of the
people who lived here. Steeped in a deeply religious ambience, the temples
contrast sharpely with the highly playful spirit prevalent on the Goan
beaches. Basking in the glory of its rich cultural heritage, these temples
stand for much more than just their architectural beauty. They are a
signature of pride and glory of this paradise state.
The history of the earliest known temples date back to over a thousand years. Despite the Portuguese influence that dominated Goa over the centuries, it is fascinating to see how such a large number of Hindu temples have stood the test of time. Countless devotees from all over the country and abroad too, cloud these places of worship to pay their tribute and imbibe the beauty of their architectural splendour. Come to Goa, and watch timeless history come alive with the ancient shrines during your holiday vacations!
Situated 9 km north of Ponda near the pristine village of
priol, Shri Mangueshi Temple is one of the largest and most frequently
visited temples in Goa. The temple nestles on a hillock, hemmed in by lush
green hills carrying an air of spiritual elegance. Walk through its lofty
white tower at the entrance, a popular landmark of the colourful
countryside. Its principal deity, Lord Shiva in his beneficent form,
Mangueshi, presides over a silver shrine, flanked by a solid gold idol and
illuminated by oil lamps. Ask Mahesh Karande, the 'bhatt' (priest), and he
will gift you a small fact you could miss in all the opulence: "Only
in Goa will you find Shiva sporting a beard, and that's because Shiva came
down from the Himalayas to Goa to relax". A holiday destination for
Drive on NH 4A from Old Goa past Banastarim to reach Mardol, where you can see the famous 16th century temple of Shri Mahalsa Narayani, dedicated to Mohini, the female form of Lord Vishnu. The pièce de résistance is obviously the 12.5 mt brass lamp tower housed in front of the temple, believed to be the largest lamp of its kind in all of India. During the Vijayrathotsav Festival (February-March), when this huge piece of art is lit, life suddenly seems to be enlightened with its crowning glory.
Shri Mangueshi Temple, Goa
Standing with its back to a wall of dense forest and its
front facing a flat expanse of open paddy field, Shri Shantadurga Temple
beckons with interesting legends and exquisite architecture. Walk into the
interiors of this russet and cream-coloured temple and you will be amazed
to see marble and glass chandeliers shielding an alluringly worked silver
screen. Here you can see the divine effigy of garlanded Shantadurga Devi,
flanked by images of Vishnu and Shiva on either sides. Plan a holiday trip
to be a part of the grand 8-day 'Zatra' (procession) when magnificently
carved wooden chariots carrying the deity is pulled around the temple by
teams of enthusiast devotees.
Drive 13 km on the Bicholim-Dodamarg Road from Assonora to Sal, to reach Mahadev Bhumika Temple. If you happen to be there in February, you can't resist a revolting mind and a gaping mouth. The 3-day Gade (pronounced 'gudhey', men who get possessed by spirits) Zatra is marked by Devchar Darshan (seeing the devil). At night, as the dancing and drumming reaches fever pitch, the 'gade', gets possessed by 'devchar' or devils. Asl any locale and you can hear a shivering voice " the gade run up the hill beyond where fires burn on their own, dying down suddenly, and appearing in a new part of the hill. Where feeble men run with unnatural strength, you just cannot explain it." Now what about you, want to come?
Goa's temple trail dominates seven of Goa's 11 talukas, stretching from Pernem to Canacona. Surrounded by betel-nut trees, swaying coconut groves and lakes of pure water, the temples are known for their distinctive structural design, spaciousness and tranquil atmosphere that reflect its uniqueness from other Indian temples. Ponda is Goa's Hindu heartland. It became a part of Potuguese Goa only in the 18th century, by which time the Portuguese has lost their stomach for implacable extirpation, so this is a good place to begin looking for a connection between Goa's powerful deities and their passionate devotees.
Top 5 Reasons to visit Temples of Goa
Portraying An Impeccable Blend of Varied
The Illuminated Towers of Devotion
A Divine Journey
The Devil's Procession
The Devoted Land of Ponda
Best of North and South
South India & Beaches