of Goa have none of the intricate carvings which are a usual feature
elsewhere in India, yet they are grand and magnificent in their
attracts visitors not only on account of its irresistible pan-oramic
charm but also due to its rich man-made heritage comprising age-old
houses, temples and churches. It is said that when Sri Parashurama
conquered the territory of Shurparak (which means land in
the form of a winnowing fan), today called Konkan, from the sea, he
gave it to 60 Goud Saraswat Brahmin families. These families had
come from Trihotrapur (West Bengal) bringing with them their deities
in whose honour they built magnificent temples.
Hindu temples of Goa with their characteristic interior decorations
in silver and their ritual tanks of water, surrounded by tapering
colonnades of lanky betel-nut trees, are precious ornaments of Hindu
architecture. The temples built of locally available laterite stone,
lime and mud were moulded in a wonderful architectural blend.
(districts) like Ponda, Pernem, Bicholim, Satari, Sanguem, Quepem and
Canacona in Goa are noteworthy for their temples. Spread throughout
Ponda, one sees a string of small temples nestling amidst swaying
palms and abundant greenery. A few temples of Pernem, the
northernmost taluka of Goa, are worth seeing. A curious traveller can
also savour a couple of temples in Bicholim, located towards
south-east of Pernem. The taluka of Sattari is noted for its temple
of God Brahma. Temples of Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona unfold
historical and religious significance.
temple has a special characteristic: the khamba (tower) of Sri
Manguesh (Ponda Taluka); the tolli (tank) of Sri Naguesh
(Ponda Taluka); the chouco (central rectangle) of Sri
Mahalakshmi (Ponda Taluka); the ghuda (dome) of Sri
Shantadurga(Ponda Taluka); the gana (secondary deity placed at
the entrance of the temple to chase away evil spirits) of Sri
Kamakshi (Ponda Taluka); and the sthala (general outline) of
Sri Mahalsa (Ponda Taluka) and so on.
all the temples keep musicians called in local parlance chouguddo
or vazantri. These musicians also take part in religious
ceremonies and dances in honour of the deity.
temple of Sri Manguesh is situated at Priol, six kilometres from the
town of Ponda and 20 kilometres from Panjim. The name of the deity
Sri Manguesh has its origin in a curious legend. It is said that
Goddess Parvathi, wife of Lord Shiva, one of the divinities of the
Hindu Trimurti, got annoyed with her husband over a game of chess.
She left her residence on Mount Kailash and wandered into Goa,
sparsely peopled in those days and covered with dense forests
inhabited by numerous wild beasts. On arrival at Cortalim (in the
administrative area of Marmagoa), Parvati was attacked by a huge
tiger. Frightened at the sight of such a big beast, Parvati invoked
her husband, shouting in terrible affliction: Mam Girish
trahi (help me Girish). Suddenly, Shiva appeared and killed
the tiger. The expression Mam Girish later gave rise to
Mangirish or Manguesh, the names by which the deities are
went by and it so happened that one day a shepherd found out that one
of his cows was giving less milk everyday. Curious to discover the
cause, he later observed that the cow shed milk drop by drop over an
object during her pasture. He was baffled to discover that the object
was a linga in whose honour the cow was performing the
ceremony of the sacred bath, the abhisheka.
shepherd ran to apprise his master, Lomasharma, a Goud Saraswat
Brahmin who adored Shiva, of the mysterious fact. The Brahmin then
took the linga to his house and worshipped it with great
fervour. Some days later, Shiva appeared in his dream and said: This
linga is my symbol. I wish to be called Manguesh and I will
protect all who adore me.
on the side of a hill, Sri Manguesh temple is small but elegant in
its outline. Around it, there are a dozen of agarshalas
residential quarters for pilgrims. Right at the entrance, there rises
a majestic tower, characteristic of Hindu temples. In another place,
there is a sacred tank which during certain festivals is illuminated
with lighted cups that cast dazzling reflections on water.
short distance away from the temple of Sri Manguesh along the
Panjim-Ponda road lies the temple of Sri Mahalsa at Mardol. Sri
Mahalsa is the incarnation of Vishnu. A huge dipa stambha
made of five metals (panchalayi) greets visitors at the
entrance of the temple which was built in the 17th century. It has
exquisite wood carvings of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Sri Shantadurga temple in Kalve shows three gods together: Shri
Shantadurga in the middle with Shiva and Vishnu on either side. The
temple has a tank and a tower in the front and huge agarshalas
on either side. Shantadurga (Goddess of Peace) is said to have
appeared in the course of a fierce battle between Shiva and Vishnu.
At the call of Brahma, Goddess Jagadamba appeared and separated the
combatants. Hence this divinity is known as Sri Shantadurga.
little away from Sri Shantadurga temple lies the temple of Sri
Ramnathi, a deity formerly venerated at Losthavali (now Loutulim in
the administrative area of Salcete). It is worth seeing the
Sabhamandap (amphitheatre) built in the style akin to the
Golden Temple of Amritsar. Like all other temples, there is a tank, a
tower and pilgrim quarters.
temple of Sri Mahalakshmi at Bandora was rebuilt in 1913 but the old
outline and the style of architecture were preserved. The deity of
this temple was worshipped in the 16th century at Colva
(administrative area of Salcete). In one of the galleries of this
temple, there are a series of 22 carved images in wood of Vyuha
representing various deities. This rich collection is considered
unique in the Indian subcontinent.
four kilometres from the town of Ponda lies the temple of Sri
Naguesh, a deity always worshipped at the present site. In front of
the temple, there is a beautiful and well-built tank where the image
of Sri Naguesh is reflected together with the lights of the altar
producing a magnificent effect on the surface of water. The
sabhamandap has galleries containing intricate wood carvings
of the episodes.
temple of Sri Kamakshi is situated in Shiroda, a village on the
southern side in Ponda taluka. This deity is believed to have come
from Kamakhya, Guwahati in Assam which is her original abode. In Goa,
the original location of Sri Kamakshi temple was Raia in Salcete
Taluka. In the main temple, there are images of Betal and
Kalbhairav. The smaller temple in the complex, is dedicated to
Rayeshwara. A Nandi bull is in front of this deity.
People irrespective of religious faith and hailing originally from
Raia still venerate Sri Kamakshi.
age-old temple of Navdurga at Madkai lies amidst lush green settings.
In the centre of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), a stone
idol of the Goddess is placed on a raised platform. It is in standing
position and measures approximately four feet in height.
Panjim-Ponda national highway, close to the turn near Banastari
market, a road takes to Marcela. After a drive of three kilometres,
one sees the imposing temple of Sri Devki Krishna. The garbhagriha
contains the beautiful idol of Devki and Krishna. The idol of
Devki is in standing posture with child Krishna sitting astride her
hip. This particular pose is considered to unique in Goa. The idols
are beautifully carved in black stone. Devki Krishna is the only
deity of that name worshipped in Goa.
few kilometres from Marcela on the eastern side, lies another famous
temple of Ponda in the village of Savoi Verem. This is the only
temple of Ananta in Goa. It is surrounded on all sides by water with
beautiful scenery around. Besides the main deity Ananta
Sheshashayi, the complex has Shantadurga, Kamini,
Narayan and Grampurush temples. The idol of Ananta
is carved in black stone. Though the structure of the temple is
small, it is quite inviting. In the interiors, there are wooden
pillars and supporting beams artistically wrought with interesting