Travelers assure that Goa has the most beautiful temples. Most of the time they are small, but always with their own story. The most ancient is the Mahadev temple, built in the 12th century. The rest came much later, some lost due to the forced Christianization of the state by the Portuguese. Nevertheless, the temples of northern Goa and its southern part are worthy of their share of admiration.
Indian temples in Goa
There are many different religious buildings in the region. In this case, both huge complexes and small sanctuaries dedicated to local patrons are equally revered. It is not the year the roof and walls were erected that is considered the date of the temple’s foundation, but the appearance of the shrine in it.
It is not the antiquity of the building itself that is important to Indians, but the age of the relic stored in it.
There are about 10 complexes devoted to this deity in India. One of the most famous and revered is considered to be the one in the city of Gokarna. It is a majestic granite structure, the entrance is guarded by sculptures of elephants. The name of the main temple is Murdeshwar. The date of construction is 1542, during the reign of Devaraj the Second. The temple is famous for housing the largest statue of Shiva in the world, reaching a height of 37 meters.
The complex is located on a hill and is clearly visible from the sea. As conceived by the creators, the statue has its back to the sea, sitting in the traditional lotus pose. The sun’s rays, falling on the sacred image, envelope it in a golden halo.
According to legend, Shiva was considered one of the most warlike deities, but at the same time sought solitude, so he settled in the Himalayas, away from people. He could control all the animals and birds, and his symbols were the bow and arrow. It was believed that he shot at the offender, and the poisoned tip attracted misfortune and disease. In an attempt to placate the deity, people erected temples in his part, placing his statues in them. Not only is Shiva believed to be fiery, but he is also believed to be benevolent in his requests. That is why there are so many pilgrims to his temple on the holidays.
On the holiday of Maha Shivaratri access to the temple for tourists is forbidden, but for a fee painted elephant symbolizing the son of God Shiva – Ganesha, will bless with his trunk.
Information on where the Shiva Temple in Goa is and how to get there is posted in all the tourist guides with the most accessible route. You can take a cab, a rental car or go up from the beach on foot, the distance is short.
Tourist maps also have a list of which temples you can visit in Goa, which is very handy if you want to do it on your own rather than as part of a sightseeing tour.
Sri Mahalakshmi Temple
It’s a whole complex. It is located in the capital of Goa, built 2 centuries ago. The octagonal tower, which is an obligatory element of most temples, is located near the arched entrance. The temple is included in the list of attractions of Panaji and must be included in the program of sightseeing tours. It is also important to the locals because it is the site of the Navaratri and Chaitra Purnima celebrations. You can visit the temple for free, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
You must obtain permission to take videos and photos.
Sri Shantadurga Temple
The temple complex is private, belongs to the Hindu Brahminical community Goud Saraswat Brahmin, dedicated to Parvati, the second wife of the god Shiva. Founded in 1550, it was first located in Cavelossim. After its destruction by the Portuguese in 1566, the statue of the goddess was moved to Cavalem. The buildings of the complex are decorated with patterns, colored tiles, and topped with pyramidal roofs. Nearby is a tall tower, consisting of 7 levels, it is often called the tower of light, because on all the floors on the days of festivities ritual lights are lit.
Sri Mahalsa Temple
Located in the small village of Mardol, near the town of Ponda. Dedicated to Mahalsa, goddess of peace. It is believed that the sanctuary was first located in the forest on the mountain plateau near Verna. In the 16th century the statue was moved to a new temple. Its main part is a structure with a high tower. The facade is decorated with an exquisite silver ornamentation. Inside, the vault is supported by carved columns. Nearby is a traditional dipastambha tower.
Sri Mangesh Temple
Dedicated to one of the incarnations of the god Shiva, it is one of the most important religious buildings in the state. The temple complex is active, religious ceremonies are held there, and on Mondays the sacred statue is taken outside. Entrance to the complex – through the central gate. From there, a stone-paved path leads to the oldest part, an artificial reservoir called Tirthastan.
The hall of the main building can seat up to 500 people The temple complex is dedicated to several deities whose altars are located on its territory. The central altar with the Shiva Lingam shrine is closed by a silver door. It is symbolically guarded by statues. The first mentions of the shrine are found in ancient texts, the Puranas. To keep the symbol of Shiva safe from the Portuguese, it was moved to Priolot in the 16th century. According to legend, the beauty of the structure touched the hearts of the conquerors, and they did not destroy it.
The temple complex is easy to reach, 25 km from Panaji on National Highway 4A. It, like the other temples of Goa, is marked on the map.
Sri Bhagavati Temple
This ancient complex is located in North Goa, 30 km from the capital. It is considered one of the oldest and was built more than 500 years ago, having survived the period of Portuguese colonization. Goddess Bhagavati, an incarnation of Parvati, represents the protector of world order, punishes the proud and the deceitful, and oversees justice and harmony. According to legend, she defeated the demon Mahisha, so she is depicted riding a tiger or lion, with eight arms holding a weapon.
The traditional celebration of Dussehra is accompanied by colorful theatrics and is celebrated on a grand scale. It is usually attended by about 25,000 worshippers.
Sri Gopal Ganapati Temple
A very interesting piece of architecture, built recently. It combines traditional and modern trends. The central figure and object of worship is the idol of Ganesha. The place disposes to meditation, contemplative rest and reflection.
It is one of the oldest temples, located in the village of Bandora, dedicated to Shiva. Built in the 15th century, the temple has preserved its original appearance and has become a place of pilgrimage. According to legend, the place was not chosen by chance. According to the shepherd boy, the cows kept coming to the same plot. A symbol of Shiva was found there, which was considered a divine sign.
The main building was erected in 1413 on land donated by a local wealthy family. The complex was reconstructed and expanded in 1780. In the dipsthambha, a huge five-level tower, you can see the reflection of the statue of Nageshi in the inner sanctum if you stand at a certain point. There is a pond on the compound, which is home to a huge number of snakes, which are revered as sacred.
Visiting temples in Goa will allow you to feel the atmosphere of India and touch the many legends of this ancient country.