Famous Temples in Goa
Goa is a state which is blend with both Hindu and Christian religion. This popular state of Goa is a very exclusive holiday beach destination and dominated with many hotels with the influence of Portuguese rule over centuries. During Portuguese rule in order to expand Christianity in Goa state as it is a predominantly a Christian state Portuguese have destroyed many of the Hindu Temples.
But later when they left the country Hindu devotees built many Exquisite temples that show rich cultural heritage and architectural beauty. The Goa temples architecture is not typically Hindu but rather a mix of Portugal and Maratha influence.
Contrary to what most people think, Goa is not a Christian dominated state. It actually has sixty five percent of its population practicing Hinduism. Numerous temples dot the place. The city of Ponda, specially, has a number of temples in and around its area. Agreed that the temples are far from the coastal area (where most of the tourists go), yet that does not take away from them the fact that they make for an interesting visit. A lot about Goa’s history is bundled up in the history of these temples.
The most important temples include Shri Mangueshi, Sri Mahalsa, Shri Laxmi Narsimha, Shanta Durga, Shri Naguesh, Ramnath, Mahadev temple.
Shri Mangueshi Temple is dedicated to an incarnation of Lord Shiva, Lord Manguesh. Interestingly, this God is worshipped only in Goa. The architecture of the temples is a fine blend of Hindu, Christian and Muslim architectural forms. The temple festival is held in the last week of january when the idols are taken out on a chariot in a procession.
Shri Mahalsa Temple was built to honour the female form of lord Vishnu, Mohini. The surrounding areas of the temples exude tranquility and peace. The highlight of the temple is the 12.5 metre high brass oil lamp which is considered largest in the world. The lamp is illuminated during all major festivals spreading a beauty that captivates one and all.
Shri Laxmi Narsimha Temple honours Lord Vishnu along with his wife, Goddess Laxmi. Paintings and Carvings showing Sri Narsimha Purana adorn the temple and attract tourists along with an ancient tank that has amiable surroundings. The temple, usually, does not permit non believers inside but sometimes the priest does make an exception.
Shantadurga temple is dedicated to two forms of Goddess Parvati – the aggressive and peaceful. The aggressive and violent form is that of Goddess Durga while the peaceful form is of Goddess Shanta. Together the two form give the temple its name. Highlight of the temple include image of goddess Shantadurga, a five storey lamp, a big tank and an Agrashala.
There are many Hindu temples bestowed in Goa that have a modern architecture as compared to the rest of India. The temples of Goa are known for their distinctive structural design, spaciousness and peaceful atmosphere that are unique from other Indian temples. Some of the famous Goa temples are:
Sri Devaki Krishna Temple
Shri Damodar Temple
Shri Mahadev Temple
Shri Shantadurga Temple
Sri Datta Mandir
Shri Chandreshwar Temple
Sri Morjee Temple
Sri Kalika Temple
Sri Devaki Krishna Temple
Sri Vithal Temple
Sri Ananta Temple
Sri Bhagawati Temple
Mallikarjun Temple :
Most famous temple of Goa Mallikarjun Temple is a 16th century temple built by Kshatriya Samaj that enshrines with 60 deities surrounding the temple. The Mallikarjun Temple has beautifully carved pillars and is located at amidst an enchanting landscape teeming with lush greenery.
Mahalsa temple in Goa is one of the rich and famous temples. The MahalsaTemple enshrines Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Since Lord Vishnu has another Narayan the temple is also famous with its name Mahalsa Narayani temple.
Shri Shantadurga Temple :
Shri Shantadurga Temple has got its name through Sanskrit language in which Shanta means peace combined along with Goddess Durga enshrined deity Goddess Parvati in this Shantadurga Temple. This Shantadurga Temple was built by king Shahu of Satara in 1738. This is the largest temple and most famous in hotels in Goa.
It is believed that once there happened a quarrel between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu then goddess Parvati appeared in the form of Durga and helped to resolve the fight.
Mahalaxmi Temple :
This Mahalaxmi Temple is situated at the heart of the Panaji city in Goa. This sacred shrine of Hindu devotees Mahalaxmi temple enshrines the deity the Goddess of wealth Mahalaxmi. This Mahalaxmi temple is the first Hindu temple to be built in Goa after the Portuguese attacked by Alfonse de Albuquerque.
Shri Damodar Temple :
Shri Damodar Temple enshrines deity lord Shiva. In Goa this Shri Damodar Temple is one of the most tranquil temples in Goa hotels located on the banks of river Kushavati. This Shri Damodar Temple has medicinal properties.
Earlier, during Portuguese rule they destroyed this temple and built the Church of the Holy Spirit in its place, but later when they left again the temple was constructed with modern architecture The main festival celebrated at this temple is Holi or Gulal. Loads of devotees from all over hotels in Goa join in the celebrations.
Shri Mahadev Temple :
Shri Mahadev Temple enshrines with deity Lord Shiva. The temple of Shri Mahadev faces the east so that the sunrays at dawn fall directly on the deity. This is the temple that belongs to the Kadamba architecture that was built in 13th century. The Shri Mahadev Temple was built with black basalt, which was probably brought from across the borders, as this rock is not found in Goa.
At the centre of Goa hotels Shri Mahadev Temple has a statue of the Nandi bull a Lord Shiva’s vehicle. But due to some attacks on the temple the head of the bull no longer exists.
Mangueshi Temple :
The Mangueshi temple is located about 21 km from Panaji in Goa. This Mangueshi temple stands tall amidst the scores of Hindu temple that dot the Goan landscape. This temple is one of the survivors of the destruction unleashed by the Portuguese.
Popular shrines to visit in GOA
Sri Maha Lakshmi: It is located about 4 km from the town of Ponda. Lakshmi is the main deity of Panji and people believe it to be the holy abode of Shakti cult. This temple is not very old and was built recently. The festivals of Navaratri and Chaitra purnima are celebrated in a very grand manner. There is special chowka here which is very beautiful. Besides Devi Shakti, Sri Narayan, Sri Baleshwar and Sri Ravalnath idols are also placed here.
Sri Ananta: Located in the Ponda Taluka near Panji Sri Ananta is one of the most famous worship place for Hindus. It is also the only temple of Goa which is dedicated to Lord Ananta. The idol here is carved out of a black stone and the architecture is very small and appealing. The roof was made in the pyramid shape with tiles. Sri Ananta is quite charismatic holy abode of Lord Vishnu.
Sri Devaki Krishna: It is located 3 km from the Banastari bridge near Panji-Ponda road. Here the idol of Devaki is standing and Krishan is sitting beside her. It is the only temple of India where Krishna and his mother Devaki are placed together. One can worship other deities also which were brought from Chorao.
Sri Kalika: It is one of the most popular religious place for Hindus living in North Goa. It is located about 14 km from the Mapusa town and has a magnificent architecture. It is dedicated to Devi Kalika and is famous for its sculptures.
Goa state has many famous temples which are constructed in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Temples are used to cultural and social activities in every village. Mostly famous temples are constructed on hill place.
Shri Chandreshwar temple is dedicated to God of Moon. This is constructed in 17th Century in the Bhoj Kings empire duration. This location is 45 kilometer from Panaji city at Paroda town on Chadreshwar hill. Tourism buses are available from capital Panaji city to Shri Chandreshwar Mandir.
Shanta Durga Mandir is dedicated to Shantadurga Goddess. Shantadurga Goddess is mediate middle of Shiva and Vishnu. This was constructed in 1738 by Chatrapati Shahu Raje because original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese rulers in 1564. This location is 33 far from Panaji city in Ponda Taluka at Kavalem village.
Sri Mangeshi Mandir is dedicated to Gods Mangueshi. This was constructed in 1764 by Shri Ramchandra Malhar. But original temple was destroyed by Portuguese rulers in 1543. This location is Mangeshim village which is area of Ponda Taluka; 26 kilo meters from Margao city.
Mahadev Mandir is oldest temple in Goa because was constructed in 12th century. This is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This was constructed in 1271 by Ramachandra king. Temple location is Bolcornem village which is region of the Mahaveer Sanctuary; 65 kilo meters from state capital.
Shri Bhagavati Mandir is dedicated to Bhagavati Goddess. This location is Pernem taluka north Goa which is 28 kilo meters from Panaji city.
Shantadurga and Mahadev Temples are most famous for the Hindu people. People celebrate pilgrimage festival every year.