Hotels in India »  Pilgrimage Tours India » Goa pilgrimage

Goa pilgrimage

Venerating Hinduism

Temples of Goa have none of the intricate carvings which are a usual feature elsewhere in India, yet they are grand and magnificent in their simplicity

Goa 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.

The 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.

Talukas (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.

Each 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.

Almost 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.

Temples in Ponda

The 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 invoked.

Years 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.

The 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.”

Situated 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.

A 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.

The 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.

A 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.

The 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.

About 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.

The 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.

The 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.

On 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.

A 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 bold reliefs.

¤ Ajmer Sharif ¤ Amarkantak ¤ Amritsar
¤ Bodhgaya ¤ Chidambaram ¤ Chitrakoot
¤ Dargahkaliyarsharif ¤ Dharamsala ¤ Dilwaratemples
¤ Dwarka ¤ Gangasagarmela ¤ Garhwal
¤ Goa ¤ Guruvayur ¤ Hardwar
¤ Jageshwar ¤ Jambukeswaram ¤ Jambukeswaram
¤ Kailashmansarovar ¤ Kamakhya ¤ Maheshwaromkareshwar
¤ Mathura ¤ Parashuramkund ¤ Pilgrimagecenters
¤ Pilgrimagesofsikhs ¤ Rameshwaram ¤ Rishikesh
¤ Sabarimala ¤ Shatrunjayahill ¤ Shivapur
¤ Tawangmonastery ¤ Thirukalikundrum ¤ Tirupati
¤ Travelofgods ¤ Trichur ¤ Tripureshwari
¤ Tungnath ¤ Vaishnodevi ¤ Varanasi
¤ Vrindavan ¤ Yamnotri