Popular North Goa Temples
Shri Dev Bodgeshwar Temple
The Shri Bodgeshwar temple is situated near Mapusa at about 12 kms from Panaji. The temple is situated in a lush green environment and has a small shrine which is dedicated to Kanakeshwar Baba or Bodgeshwar, locally known as Bongini.
Bodgeshwar is regarded as 'Angavani' which refers to one to whom vows are made and who fulfills desires of the devotees. Hence there is a belief among people that all their prayers will be fulfilled and thousands of devotees flock to this temple. The people also offer presents to the God as promised by them on fulfillment of their desires. The festival of the God Kanakeshwar Baba is usually celebrated during the months of December / January at the Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Temple.
Shri Lairai Temple
In the village of Shirgao in Bicholim taluka lies the temple of Goddess Lairai. The temple of Shree Lairai is located at a distance of 2 kms. from the Panaji - Valpoi Highway. The deity Lairai is famous all over Goa for the Shirigao zatra. Every year thousands of devotees attend annual feast of deity to witness the walking of devotees of the deity, known as 'dhond' barefooted through the sacred fire known as Homkunda. A mud road leads to the temple and passes through many iron ore mines along the way.
The Shirgao Jatra takes place in early part of May. The festival begins early in the morning and continues throughout till dawn. The devotees (dhond) take a bath and walk all the way uphill to the temple to worship the Goddess. Late into the night, as midnight approaches, the devotees perform a frantic dance inside the temple, which is all lit up for the occasion. The dance sessions end around midnight. Next a fire is made using a huge pile of wood kept in a large clearing near the temple. The final and most spectacular part of the jatra then begins.In the early hours of the morning when the fire has died down, the raking of the coals begins. The devotees await their turn to walk on the holy path of hot coals.
Shri Shantadurga temple, Dhargalim
The Shri Shantadurga temple at Dhargal is located 14 kms from Mapusa and 27 km from Panjim in Pernem. The temple has extremely beautiful natural surroundings and is known to have been built in 1550 A.D. It is housed in a vast compound and has a deepastambha in front and a gopuram atop the sanctum.
Shantadurga or Santeri is worshipped as a 'Gramadevi' in many villages and is a manifestation of Durga adopted by Goans. Also known as the goddess of peace, Shantadurga is believed to have stopped the quarrel between Shiva and Vishnu. The 'Zatra' of this Goddess is celebrated in month of December. The Shantadurga temple at Dhargalim is known to have been built of mud and palm leaves as laterite or granite were rarely used in the earlier times.
Maruti Temple, Mala
The Maruti Temple is situated on top of the Altinho hill overlooking the Fontainhas district in Panaji. It is dedicated to lord Hanuman, the monkey god and enshrines Lord Hanuman as the presiding deity. The Maruti Temple is also beautifully lit up at night and as it is brightly lit the temple is visible from a distance. It is at a distance of 3.3 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, 28 km from Vasco Da Gama Railway Station and 17 km from Mapusa, Shri Maruti Temple is situated in North Goa.
The Maruthi Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Panjim, It is said that the idol of Maruthi in the main temple can be seen even from the main road, through an opening in the basement wall of the temple. One can see the beautiful octagonal Deepastambha or Lamp Tower at this Temple. The major festival is the 10 day long annual festival celebrated at this temple in the month of February. This temple attracts huge number of devotees on this special occasion.
Mahalaxmi Temple, Panajim
The Mahalaxmi temple devoted to Goddess Mahalaxmi is situated on the Dr. Dada.Vaidya Road (earlier known as Rua de Saudade) in Panjim, the main city of Goa. It was the first Hindu temple allowed to be constructed in Goa after 300 years by the Portuguese since they captured Goa in 1510.
Built in 1818 and devoted to the goddess of wealth, Mahalaxmi who is the presiding deity of the Panaji village, the temple is now one of the most famous temples of Panaji. The deity considered a peaceful form of the goddess wears a "linga" on her head and is made of black stone with four hands. The temple has a fascinating history about the deity's image. A lot of devotees come to the Mahalaxmi temple during Hindu festivals like Dussera and Mahashivratri. The main festivals celebrated here are Navaratri and Chaitra Purnima. In February also a big fair is held during the Maruti Zatra festival that draws a large number of devotees.
Shri Bhagavati Temple, Pernem
Shri Bhagwati Temple is located 7 km from Pernem. The temple of Sri Bhagwati is quite unique and is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati an incarnation of Goddess Parvati- consort of Lord Shiva. The Shri Bhagwati temple is an ancient temple in Goa. It is said to be more than 500 years old and is situated by the side of the main road. Shri Bhagwati Temple is one of the few temples that were allowed to stand.
The presiding deity of temple is Goddess Bhagwati in Ashtabhuja (eight hands) form. On a high pedestal in a standing position the Goddess Bhagwati is also very imposing. At the entrance of the Bhagwati temple on either side one can see two life size images of elephants in standing position made of black stone to welcome the visitors.
The main festival celebrated at this temple is Dussehra. The festival is one of the main attractions here and is celebrated with gaiety from Ashwin Shuddha Pratipada to Poornima. At that time more than 25 thousand devotees assemble at the temple.
Rudreshware Temple, Sanquelim
The temple of Rudreshwar which is half a km away from the Arvalem caves where the ancient linga of Rudreshwar is venerated is located in the Bicholim Taluka at a distance of 45 kms from Panaji. The main deity of the temple is Shri Rudreshwar an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
The Rudreshwar Temple is newly built on the site of an old ancient site and is also known as the temple of Lord Shiva. The idyllic Harvalem water fall is close by. The image of Rudreshwar is facing the water fall. Shri Rudreshwar temple is famous for its grand festival of Mahashivratri which draws a large number of devotees from all parts of the country. The temple also assumes importance as Hindus perform rituals for the dead here.
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple
At a distance of 25 km from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand, Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple is situated in North Goa. The Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve is considered to be one of the six great sites of temples of Lord Shiva in the Konkan area. Saptakoteshwara was one of the chief deities of Kadmaba Dynasty of 12th Century. This temple was built by King for his wife Kamala Devi, who was great devotee of lord. Coins found from this era mention the name of the deity along with that of the King Jayakeshi.
The famous Saptakoteshwara temple is a standing specimen of medieval architectural style. Only the tall lamp tower or Deepastamba is designed in a distinctive style. The Saptakoteshwar temple has a small entrance hall with bells. The main five pillared hall is decorated with arches. The ceilings of the temple are designed with intricately designed with chandeliers and the sanctorum wall is made of plain wood. The Mandapa is designed in European style. The Archamurti- Shivalinga is called ''Dhara-Linga''. The most important festival celebrated at the temple is Gokulastami, attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India.
Shri Mahamaya Kalika Devi, Kasarpal
The Shree Kalika Devi temple also known as the Mahamaya Kalika Saunsthan is dedicated to Goddess Kalikadevi. It is situated at Kansarpal in the Bicholim taluka of North Goa and is about 14-18 kms from Mapusa. The presiding deity of the Kalika Devi temple is Kali or Rudra worshipped in the form of Mahamaya which is known to be a fierce form of Goddess Durga.
The Kalika Devi temple is a unique structure that has a blend of fine sculpture and architectural designs and also has a huge gold kalash on the top of the dome. The festivals celebrated at the Kalika Devi temple are Shishirotsav, Navratri, Vasant Puja, Dussera etc. The temple also provides the devotees lodging facilities in Agrashalas or Rest houses that surround it.