April 27, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: W for Worship places - for the devout Goan.

My post for the letter ‘W’ of my A-Z series, today, is a topic very close to the heart…Worship.

Worship, to me, has always been sacrosanct. It is a way of connecting with a higher subconscience, my faith in a greater God. And that does not need me to visit any temple, mosque, or church. In fact, I think it is more of an intimate relationship rather than a public affair. 

Having said that, I’m aware that a lot of people think otherwise. The ambience of a temple calms their mind. The magnificence of a church soothes their spirit. Temple bells, the Church alter, the comforting presence of other devotees, gives most people a sense of solidarity and community prayer, and probably that is why they prefer to pray at temples than worship their God in their own homes. 

In my life, I have been to a lot of temples before reaching the conclusion that I just cannot pray with my whole mind and soul there. Jostled by people waiting for a darshan, on either sides, I’m either concentrating on safeguarding my purse or myself, and this leaves me with only half the attention on my prayer. 

India is blessed with a large number of worship places. Each state has its own unique places of worship. 

And my Goa, albeit the smallest state, is no different.

So today, I thought why not make a list of all the glorious places of worship my Goa is  blessed with. If you, like me, find it impossible to pray in the crowded premises of a temple or church, then maybe you can pay them a visit for their sheer architectural wonder, the magnitude of their brilliance, an exploration of their history. 

In previous posts of my series, I have spoken about some famous Christian places of worship; famous Goan Churches and shrines. You can read about them here and here

My post today is an extension along the same lines (of devotion). I’m going to talk about Hindu worship places in Goa. 

So further ado, here is a list of temples to visit during your next Goa trip: 

1) Shantadurga temple at Kavlem:

This temple is located in Kavlem village in the Ponda taluka and is dedicated to Goddess ShantaDurga or ‘Santeri’. In the temple, the Goddess is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva. 

As the legend goes, Lord Bramha called upon Goddess Parvati to make peace between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu who were fighting a fierce battle. The Goddess placed Vishnu on one hand and Shiva on the other and resolved the fight. The original temple was located at Quelossim in the Salcete taluka. But it was destroyed in the 16th century by the Portuguese, after which the idol of the a goddess was shifted to Kavlem. Initially a small laterite mud shrine was built and the idol was installed. Later, in 1730, the foundation stone for the temple was laid.  It took eight years to complete the construction. 

The temple has a huge tank, a Deepastambha and agrashalas (guest houses).

2) Shri Shantadurga Temple at Quepem, in South Goa.  

With people of all religious faiths coming here to offer their prayers, this temple is a true reflection of peace and communal harmony. 

3) Mangeshi temple 

A perfect combination of modern and traditional architecture, this temple located in Ponda, is bound to take your breath away. Especially when you see it in the evenings when the Deep Stambh is illuminated with a host of glittering diyas.

4) Mahalasa Narayani temple at Mardol 

The temple complex has smaller temples of Goddess Shanta Durga and Lord Vishnu. They are worshipped daily with Mahalasa. The temple is famous for its huge brass Divli/Samai and a huge brass bell that does not have a ringer. Back in the day it was believed that the Goddess Mahalasa would punish any person who lied by ringing the bell with death within three days. Owing to this belief, a testimony in this temple was considered acceptable in the Portuguese court of law. Visit during Navratri to witness this temple in its full splendour. 

5) Mahalakshmi temple in Ponda 

During the 15th century, the original idol of the Goddess was made of black granite. But after this got destroyed during the Portuguese rule, a beautiful Panchloha idol replaced it. Panchloha is a mixture of five metals mixed together, namely, iron, silver, gold, copper, and lead. 

6) No list of temples can ever be complete without mention of a Ganesh temple. I cannot end without mentioning the Maha Ganapati temple in Ponda, which is one of the oldest in the state. Originally located at Divar during Portuguese rule, this temple was moved to Khadepar, Narve, and finally to Khandala (Ponda) where it is located today. One of the major celebrations happening here is on Sankashti Chaturthi…a good time for a visit to pay your obeisance to the Vignaharta.

I could go on and on. Saptakoteshwar, Mahadev temple at Tambdi Surla, Brahma temple at Carambolim, Damodar Sal in Margao, Maruti temple at Altinho, Ganesh temple at Rawanfond, the list is long. 

The temples in Goa are small but beautifully designed with a rich blend of modern and ancient architecture. They are way less crowded than other places, creating an environment of tranquility for devotees visiting from all over the world. 

But at the end of the day, rephrasing the popular saying, I will say,  ‘Mid temples and  churches though we may roam. When it comes to worship, there is no place like home.’ 

For the devotion that Goa inspires in its people, for the faith it keeps strong, and for the rich cultural heritage it has preserved over the ages, we say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!

Come back tomorrow for another riveting feature of my amazing state. 

Until then,

Mog aasu di.

(Let there be love!)


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.


Sonia dogra said...

I've been to the Shantadurga Temple. You are right. We don't always need specific places to worship. Particularly crowded ones.

Pri said...

There, in India, lies the irony, Sonia. :)