Temples of Goa
Temples of Goa
Have you ever seen bearded Lord Shiva ?? Strain your brain to recollect if you have indeed seen a picture or idol of Shiva with a beard.
No ? Read on….
Despite the Portuguese influence that dominated Goa over the centuries, it is fascinating to see how such a large number of Hindu temples have survived here. Shoved away from place to place, the deities were preserved and worshipped till they were finally installed in their present day hearths.
Most of the temples that we saw had something similar. They all looked like an amalgamation of three religions. They reflected Hindu, Christian and Muslim styles of construction. The overall architectural outlook was Christian; long lamp towers resembling minars welcomed us when we entered the temples and oh yes, they were temples after all.
We happened to visit a few of them; I’ll speak about only two.
The temples of Shantadurga and Shree Mangesh, two of the most revered patron deities of the Hindu Goud Saraswat Brahmin community are located in Kavlem and Mangeshi respectively in the Ponda district of North Goa. Both have many similarities.
The red coloured Shanta Durga or Shanteri Temple situated 33 kms from Panajim. It is said that this deity of Jagdamba was carried by Kaushik Gotra Saraswat Brahmins to Goa from Trihotrapuri (present-day Trihut division) in the Mithila region of Bihar.
It has an impressive idol of Goddess Shree Durga who stopped the ferocious war and mediated between Shree Vishnu and Shree Shiva. She is flanked by Vishnu and Shiva on both the sides.
The legend goes like this… A story speaks of how Lord Shiva, when defeated by his spouse Parvati in a game of dice, had left mount Kailash and gone to Gomanchala near Kushasthali for tapasya (penance). Sometime later, there was a battle between Shiva and Vishnu at mount Gomanchala, during which Shiva used the Pashupati weapon.
Lord Brahma, the creator, then prayed to the supreme Goddess Adishakti to intervene. She, in turn, sent Parvati in the form of Shanta Durga or Shanteri, who took Vishnu by her right and Shiva by her left hand and pacified the two.
The deity Shanta Durga, therefore, is shown holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva.
During the Portuguese inquisition, the trustees of the Shanta Durga temple decided to shift the idol to current place. Many renovations have been done over the years to the main temple and a dharamshala (guest house) is built on three sides of the temple.
A special feature at this temple is that Harijans are permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of this temple.
The Shri Mangueshi temple is located at Mangueshi in Ponda Taluka. It is the most prominent and well known among temples and is situated along the National Highway-4A about 23-km from Panaji. It is the hometown of the famous singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.
Lore has it that Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, came to Goa in search of him who had disappeared from Kailasa following an altercation between them. Parvati beseeched Shiva to protect her in these terms: ‘Trahi Mam Girisha’ (protect me the Lord of mountains). ‘Mam Girisha’ subsequently became ‘Mangirisha’ or ‘Manguesh’.
Again a ‘Welcome Gate’, an elegant seven-storey ‘Deepmal’ tower for oil lamps, a ‘Noubatkhana’ overlooking the temple tank and the ‘Agrashalas’ (guest house) on three sides. This temple is white in colour with the floor paved with marble, and bands of decorative tiles adorning the white walls. This temple is also dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It houses a Shiva Lingam. Inside the temple almost everything is golden. The ‘Shesha’, the Linga and an image of Shiva.
Lord Shiva with a beard
The most unique thing about this temple is that this is the only place in India where Lord Shiva is depicted with a beard !!
And the reason for beard ?? Well, the legend has it that Shiva came down here to relax from his Himalayan abode – hence the beard. He also needed a break from daily routine !! Isn’t that interesting ??
I also saw a priest demanding for some German coins after getting a hefty tip of 500 INR for showing the temple to three German ladies.