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The temples in Goa are like most Hindu temples in India. Each of the temples in Goa is based around a deity which is the centre of worship. However, the architecture of the temples in Goa is a little different because of historical reasons.
The basic design of all Hindu temples is organized around the central shrine or the 'Garbagriha' (the 'sanctum sanctorum') that houses the main deity. A 'Shikara' (tower) arises from the main shrine and is traditionally pyramidal shaped. There are usually two or more smaller shrines enshrining other deities known as 'Parivar Devatas' around the entrance to the Garbagriha.
A list of the temples in Goa is given below:
Goa gives place to a number of temples and pilgrimage spots. Among these the most popular ones that one should visit when on a a visit to goa are as follows:
Shri Bhagvati Temple
Not far from Morjim are located two temples -the Shri Bhagavati temple at Parshem and Sapteshwar Bhagamati at Mandrem in Pernem Taluka. The Shri Bhagavati Temple at Parshem is situated at a distance of 7 kms from Pemem in Pemem Taluka.
The Shri Bhagvati temple complex has five temples, the main temple being that of Devi Bhagavati. The other temples in the complex are those of Shri Sateri, Shri Dev Ravalnath, Shri Dev Bhivangi Panchakshari & Brahma (Shri Vishnu, Shri Ganapath, Shri Shankar). The unique feature of the Shri Bhagavati temple is that it has two 'Deepstambhas'.
The major festivals observed are the 7 days 'Bhajanisaptah' at Mandrem, which is celebrated in the Indian month of Kartika. The annual Zatra, Dussehra and the Shimgo are the other festivals that are celebrated here. These festivals are attended by large crowds of both devotees and tourists. Surrounding the main temples can be seen some exquisitely sculptured ancillary deities.
Shri Chandranath Temple
From Zambaulim if you take a slight diversion at Paroda to proceed towards the Chandranath hill, a climb up the huge granite steps will land you to reach at the Shri Chandranath temple. The Shri Chandranath temple is situated on the top of 350 meters high hill of Chandranath, in Paroda, Quepem. The chief deity of the Shri Chandranath temple is Lord Chandreshwar. Lord Chandreshwar was the titular deity of Bhoja kings who ruled the South of Goa, till the middle of 8th century, before the Christians took over. The Bhojas had named their capital Chandrapur after the deity.
The altar is that of Sri Bhutnath. The Shivalinga in the temple is carved out from the rock. This famous Shiva Linga, was supposed to ooze water at the touch of moonlight. The temple is so designed that the Linga receives moonlight on every full moon. Moreover, the Shri Chandranath temple's ancient chariot is well known for its wood carvings. The Shri Chandranath temple commands a panoramic view - you can have a birds' eye view of a long ending green valley of Salcete and Quepem Taluka from the Chandranath hill.
Shri Mahalaxmi Temple
The Shri Mahalaxmi Temple is situated in the village of Bandode, 4kms from Ponda. The Shri Mahalaxmi Temple is considered the abode of the original Goddess of the Shakti cult. A tour of the temple can be made after offering prostrations to the Goddess Lakshmi - who is the presiding deity of Panaji, the capital of Goa. The Goddess Mahalakshmi was worshipped by the Shilahara rulers (750-1030 A. D.) and the early Kadamba Kings of Goa.
The 'Sabhamandap' in the Shri Mahalaxmi temple has a gallery of 18 images, out of 24 images of emanatory aspects of Bhagvata sect, which is considered one of the few galleries of wooden images of Vishnu in India. The image of Mahalakshmi in the Shri Mahalaxmi temple has a close resemblance to that of the image of the Mahalakshmi at Kolhapur - the main centre of worship. Her special feature is that she wears a linga on her head and is considered a 'Satvik' (peaceful) form of the Devi. The main temple has been reconstructed recently. The main festivals at this temple are Navaratri and Chaitra Purnima.
The Shri Mahalsa Temple is located hardly 1 km away from the Shri Mangueshi temple, in the village of Mardol.While it is commonly understood that Mahalasa is a form of 'Shakti', 'Madalasa' or 'Narayani', the deity is also worshipped as the manifestation and attribute of the Lord Vishnu as 'Mohini' (the image Lord Vishnu adopted during the fight between Devas and Asuras).
A huge 'Deep Stambha' made of five metals, which was built in the 17th century is the first thing that greets the visitors at the entrance of the Shri Mahalsa temple.The Shri Mahalsa Temple has some exquisite wooden carvings of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Massive round pillars provide support to the 'Sabha Mandap' at the entrance - it is being reconstructed to reflect the glorious past of the original temple situated at Verna in Salcete Taluka.
The Shri Mangueshi temple is located at Mangueshi in Ponda Taluka. It is the most prominent among temples and is situated along the National Highway-4A about 23-km from Panaji. The Shri Mangueshi Temple attracts thousands of visitors every year and is gifted by the 'Welcome Gate', an elegant lamp tower, a 'Noubatkhana' overlooking the temple tank and the 'Agrashalas' on three sides. The structure of the Shri Mangueshi Temple dates from 1700's. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Lore has it that Parvati - the consort of Lord Shiva - came to Goa in search of Shiva 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'.
A gateway at the roadside leads to a paved path and courtyard. This courtyard leads to a water tank, overlooked by the white temple building, raised on a plinth. In the courtyard stands a seven-storey 'Deepmal' (tower for oil lamps). The floor of the Shri Mangueshi Temple is paved with marble, and bands of decorative tiles adorn the white walls. The sanctum houses a Shiva Lingam. A golden 'Shesha', the Linga and an image of Shiva constitute the main altar. When entering the complex, one finds our Hindu traditional gods and their accommodation according to Shastric injunctions. The deity is worshiped by both its citizens and tourists. Festivals and periodical devotional activities are conducted with great zeal.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Shri Naguesh Temple is situated in the village of Bandode, 4 kms east of Ponda.
The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains exquisite specimen of intricate wood carvings of the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other. The Shri Naguesh temple has inscriptions of the old scriptures on stone. The deity in the Shri Naguesh temple is that of the Lord Ganesh.
The Shri Naguesh temple has been bequeathed to posterity but the temple was subsequently renovated in the days of Chatrapati Shahu, the Maratha ruler of Satara.
The Zatra of Shantadurga being a major festival in Goa, the temples that house the Goddess are equally renowned. There are three temples of Shri Shantadurga - one at Kavlem, one at Pemem and the third at Fatorpa (Quepem). Given below are the details of the three Shri Shantadurga Temple.