Popular South Goa Temples
Shri Shantadurga Kunkalikarin Temple, Fatorpa
Shri Shantadurga Kunkalikarin Temple is located at Fatorpa of Quepem Taluka and is one of the oldest temples of Goa. It is also one of the prime places to visit in Goa. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Shri Shantadurga. Originally from Cuncolim village in Salcete Taluka.
The temple complex is on the foothills of a mountain chain bordered by greenery in all sides. At the entrance of the temple of Shree Shantadurga Kunkalikarin, there is a massive doorway called Mahadwar. The temple has the big gold plated kalash that is built on the main dome with ornamented designs. The annual 'Zatra' falls in the month of Pausha Shuddha Navami and attracts thousands of devotees and tourists from all over the world. Every year thousands of visitors visits Shantadurga temple. There is agrashala or guest houses within the temple compound to accommodate the visitors.
The Mangueshi temple is situated 22 kms. from Panaji at Priol in the Ponda Taluka. It is dedicated to Lord Mangueshi, a form of Shiva, which is recognised only in Goa. Mythology says that Lord Shiva came to Goa after having lost everything in a game of dice against his wife, Parvati. When Parvati came looking for him, he disguised himself as a tiger and frightened her. In a state of shock, Parvati uttered the words, "Trahi Mam Grisha", which when translated means, "O Lord of the Mountains, save me".
Shiva then reverted into his normal form and returned with her. The words, "Mam Grisha" came to be associated with this story and Shiva came to be known as 'Manguesh'. The main annual festival of the temple in held during the Magha Purnima, which is towards the end of February every year. The Ratha Yatra i.e. the pulling of the chariots, which is the main event during the festival, attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
Mahalasa Narayani Temple, Mardol
The Mahalsa Temple located at Mardol in Ponda is one of the most famous temples in Goa. It is also known as the Shri Mahalasa Narayani Temple and is dedicated to the Goddess Mahalasa. Lakshmi (Mahalasa), the goddess of wealth and prosperity is the presiding deity in this temple.
However there is another belief that proclaims that Mahalsa is the female form of Lord Vishnu. Once, Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, an extremely beautiful woman and lured the demons away from their evil intentions of destroying the world. 'Mohini' was eventually disrupted and came to be known as 'Mahalsa'. At the entrance to the Mahalasa Narayani Temple is an artistic, seven storied lamp tower, which is known as a deepstambh. Made entirely from brass, this tower stands 12.5 metres high. It is indeed a sight to see the tower aglow with oil lamps during festivals.
Naugesh Maharudra Temple
This Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is situated in Bandora village, about four kilometers to the east of Ponda. The presiding deity is Shri Nagesh Maharudra and other Deities are Shri Laxmi Narayan and Shri Ganapati. This place was known in the past as "Bandiwad". Shri Nagesh Maharudra temple is situated on Pharmagudi-Kavalem-Ponda road at about 800 meters from Pharmagudi, a point 26.2 kilometers away from Panaji on Panaji-Belgaum National highway. The temple of Shri Jagadamba Mahalaxmi lies about 300 meters from Shri Nagesh temple.
This temple, which faces west, has a beautiful tank in front, with a Nandi bull in black granite standing tall at its entrance. The tank water is ever flowing and crystal clear. The tank is considered to be very beautiful and therefore it is well known all over Gomantak and is considered to be a distinctive features among some of the other temples.
Mahalaxmi Temple, Ponda
The Shri Mahalaxmi temple is situated at Bandora which is 4kms. from Ponda. Shri Mahalaxmi is the presiding deity and it is considered the abode of the original Goddess of the Shakti cult. Hindus describes Mahalaxmi is a form of Mother of all Universes, who raised three super powers Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. She is worshipped from many ages and by the 8th century many of their ancestor Hindu leaders adopted her.
The image of Mahalakshmi has a close resemblance to that of Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur, the main centre of worship. Her special feature is that she wears a linga on her head and is considered a peaceful or Satvik form of the Devi. The main idol of the Goddess Mahalaxmi is also taken out during the festival of Mahashivratri,on a chariot carried on the shoulders of devotees.
Shri Damodar Temple, Zambaulim
The Damodar Temple is situated on the banks of the Kushawati River about 22 kms from Margao at Zambaulim. Many devotees come to the Kushawati River as they believe that it has healing powers and can cure them from bodily ills. The famous temple houses an incarnation of lord Shiva, the deity of lord Damodar.
Darmodar is a place of worship for both Hindus and Catholics. The main festival celebrated in Shri Damodar Temple is called Shigmo. This is a Goa Hindu spring festival of colors, which lasts for one week only. During the festival the Panair takes place and the folkloric show within which all participants are exchanging gulals (powders of different colors) with each other and organise various feasts and tablefuls.
Shri Kamakshi Temple, Shiroda
The Kamakshi temple is dedicated to Kamakshi or Goddess Kamakhya, originally a deity from Guwahati, Assam. She is also known as Parvati or consort of Lord Shiva and is known as Shantadurga or Goddess of Peace. The temple is quite impressive and is located in Shiroda which is situated 12 kms away from the village of Kavlem in Ponda taluka.
A huge Mahadwar leads to the Kamakshi temple complex known as Thal. After passing under the Mahadwar the temple crowned by an octagonal two-storied tower with a golden Kalash perched on its peak can be seen prominently. The temple faces east and has a large Sabha Mandap. The temple has a tall Deepasthambha and a holy water tank. A Palakhi procession of Goddess Kamakshi is held on every Shukla Panchami. The annual festivities are held at the temple during the Dussehra period and at the time of Jatra in spring.
Tirupati Balaji Padmavati Temple, Kunkuliem, Ponda
Tirupati Balaji Padmavati temple is situated in Kunkuliem village enveloped with greenery from all sides. This temple is maintaining a beautiful garden full of flowers and sacred Tulsi . The lush green and well maintained lawn offered a real visual treat. The idol of Balaji is very tall and and it gave us a feeling of visiting the Tirupati Balaji temple in Andrapradesh. Next to the Balaji temple there are shrines for Padmavathi and Ganesha.
The temple is located in sylvan and serene surroundings. In addition to the daily regular pujas, special pujas and programmes are held during festivals like Navaratri. The temple has a beautiful chariot on which Sri Balaji is taken out during the annual Brahmotsavam festival.
The Ramnathi Temple also known as the Shanteri Kamakshi Temple is located in Ramnathim, Bandode close to the Shantadurga Temple, Kavlem. This temple belongs to the Saraswat Brahmins. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ramnath an incarnation of Lord Shiva. According to mythology Rameshwar is the original abode of Lord Ramnath.
The courtyard of the temple has a five storied Deepstambha or Lamp Pillar adorned with images of Hindu gods and Goddesses on its base. After entering the main door of the temple, one enters the ''Sabha Mantap'' or the hall of worship. The main inner shrine has an idol of Shree Ramnathi has four smaller shrines of Shree Laxminarayan, Shree Shantadurga, Shree Betal and Shree Sidhnath. The five together constitute the Shree Ramnath Panchayatan. The annual Jatra of Ramnathi temple is celebrated with full fervor and devotion with the traditional palanquin parading around the temple carrying the idol of the deity. Navaratras is also celebrated grandly.
Shri Laxmi Narasimha Temple
Shri Laxmi Narasimha temple is situated at Velinga which is about 3-km southwest of Mardol in Ponda. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his consort, Goddess Laxmi. The temple still has wooden bars relief and carvings.
The paintings and carvings in the temple chowka depicts Sri Narasimha Purana are beautiful and are worth seeing. The sanctum houses the idols of Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu and the atmosphere is calm and peaceful. The hall of the temple also displays the images of other incarnations of God Vishnu. The festivals of Navratri and Ramanavami are celebrated with a lot of pomp and show and the annual jatra or procession is taken out on Magha Masa. A procession of the Sri Laxmi Narasimha is held on every Shukla Chaturdashi.