Places to visit in Goa Temples
Make a trip to the holy temples of Goa. Despite being ruled by several dynasties of different religions, Goa has been a Hindu dominated state since its origin. Even today, ‘The Land of Churches’ comprises of around 65.8 percent of Hindus, and is famous for a number of temples as well. Untouched by commercialisation, these divine temples take us back to hundreds of years. People from the world over visit Goa to see these well maintained majestic temples, devoted to different Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Goan temples are perfect places to rejuvenate your mind and body and to refresh your soul. Experience the outstanding natural beauty, godlike ambience, and peace and tranquility. A few major temples are listed below:
Shri Bhagawati Temple
Visit one of the oldest Goan temples (about 500 years old) and you will be surprised to see its architectural uniqueness. Located in Pernem, Shri Bhagawati Temple is devoted to Goddess Bhagavati Ashtabhuja (the eight-handed Goddess Durga). The temple is a real treat for tourists.
The Rudreshwar Temple is devoted to lord Shiva. It gets heavily crowded during the festival of Mahashivaratri or Shigmotsav. You need to travel to Harvalem, at Bicholim Taluka (45 km from Panaji) to visit this huge temple. The holy linga of lord Shiva or Rudreshwar is situated half a kilometre outside the temple premises. Rites and rituals for the dead are generally performed here. People also visit this temple to see the majestic Harvalem water falls alongside the temple.
Shri Mahadeo Bhumika
Another beautiful and huge temple of Lord Shiva/Mahadev, it is accessible from Sal at Bicholim Taluka (25 km from Mapusa). Shri Mahadeo (Mahadev) Bhumika temple is built amidst one of the most beautiful natural surroundings of Goa. The temple is popular because for its three-day festival of ‘Gades’. The festival starts on Phalgun Purnima according to the Hindu calendar when you can see thousands of tourists visiting the temple.
While visiting Morjaee temple at Morjim in Pemem taluka, you may get an opportunity to be part of the famous “Kalas Utsav”. This thirty-day festival, starting from Phalgun Shuddha Panchami, is the main attraction of this taluka. The temple is the centre of celebratation of plenty of other festivals like Gudi Padwa, Dussehra, annual Zatra, “Divzam” and Ghodemodni. The temple reflects an age old Hindu architecture.
Goa offers one of the few temples in India that are devoted to lord Brahma. This Brahma temple, located in Carambolim village, is said to belong to the 5th century AD. This temple reflects the ancient architectural designs of the Hindu religion. You need to drive 7 km from Valpoi city to reach the Brahma temple.
Shri Bhagawati Temple at Parshem
As the name suggests, dedicated to Goddess Bhagawati, the temple also has small temples of Shri Sateri, Shri Dev Ravalnath, Shri Dev Bhivangi Panchakshari & Brahma (Shri Vishnu, Shri Ganapath, Shri Shankar). The temple is famous because of two five-storey lamp towers. People celebrate the festivals of Dussehra and annual Zatra here with full vigor, zeal and ethusiasm.
Shri Chandranath Temple
Shri Chandranath or Chandreshwar Temple is a renowned Hindu religious place in south Goa. Devoted to Lord Shiva (also called Bhuthnath or Chandreshwar), the temple has an ancient chariot, renowned for its exquisite woodcarvings. Lord Chandreshwar was considered the “Kul-Dev” (ancestral God) of Bhoja dynasty, which ruled south Goa till the middle of 8th century. The large Shiv-linga in the temple oozes water on full moon nights. The temple is surrounded by lush green forests, and being located on the top of the Chandranath Hill, it offers a superb view of the town.
Shri Damodar Temple
This isolated temple is a perfect religious place for peaceful worship and meditation. Situated at Zambaulim, 22 km from Margao, Shri Damodar temple is a frequently visited place because of the river Kaushavati. This calm river is believed to have medicinal powers and is considered holy by both Hindus and Christians. The shrine has an idol of Lord Shiva. The temple witnesses heavy visits of crows during Shigmotsav or Mahashivaratri. People enjoy the festival with fairs, exchange of gulal (powdered colour), exotic dishes and live folk cultural programmes.
Shri Datta Mandir
If you plan to visit the beach paradise Goa in winters, you may get an opportunity to celebrate Datta Jayanti (December) with the local people at Shri Datta Mandir. This temple is over 100 years old and is a major Hindu religious place near Margao or Dattawadi, Sanquelim. Surrounded by a beautiful hillock and dense palms, Shri Datta mandir is devoted to Trimurthy- Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva). The temple is strongly believed to have the power to treat patients with mental disorders.
Shri Devaki Krishna Ravalnath Temple
Visit the only temple in India where Lord Krishna is worshipped with Devaki as Devaki-Krishna. This majestic temple comprises of an idol of Devaki with child Krishna. There are other idols situated in the temple which belong to Bhumika Devi, Laxmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyayani, Chodaneshwar and Dhada Shankar. While visiting Ponda, you can see this divine temple and celebrate the local festival “Maini Paumima” in the month of Pausa (January). People can be seen enjoying festivals like Ramanabamia and Gokulastami on a grand scale with enthusiasm.
Gopal Ganapati Temple
This shrine at Farmagudi near Panaji, belongs to Lord Ganesha. This beautiful idol was discovered by the herdsmen while grazing their cattle near the hill. They established a small shrine with a thatched roof. The present temple was later built by the Late Dayanand Bandodkar, the first chief minister of Goa. The present idol of Lord Ganesha is made of metallic alloy.
Shri Kalikadevi Temple
As you drive 14 km from Mapusa, there is a small town Kansarpal which is popular for the divine shrine of Shri Kalika Devi, believed to be over a hundred years old. The temple’s architecture is traditional Indian and divides the temple into two outer halls, supported with seven rows of four pillars. It also has a stage for live performances of traditional and folk arts on festive occasion. Dedicated to Goddess Kali, the temple provides facilities for lodging to the devotees.
Shri Vitthal Mandir
Shri Vitthal, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is considered the ancestral God of ‘Rane’ community. Ranes played an important role in Goa’s freedom from the Portuguese. The temple was built by the same community around 600 years back and is devoted to Lord Vitthal. Amidst lush green areas on the banks of river Valvanta in Sanquelim (41 km friom Panaji), you can find an extraordinary temple which is unique in terms of its idols, paintings, carvings and architecture. There is an intricately carved wooden chariot of Arjuna in Mahabharata, driven by Lord Krishna. People visit this temple to celebrate the festival of Chaitri in the month of April. If you get an opportunity to be a part of the Chaitri celebration, you can witness and explore the traditional Hindu folk art and cultural performances of Goa.
Shri Mahalsa Temple
Devoted to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the shrine was initially established at Verna village in Salcete Taluka. But as the area faced Portuguese invasion, people transferred the idol across the river to the present location of Mardol, Ponda. People visit the temple for the six-storeyed ‘deepstambha’ or ornamental lamp pillar, which is 40 ft in height and has 21 rings of 150 small lamps. It attracts a huge crowd on the annual festival day/Jatra, Jaiyanchi Puja in August and the Kojagiri Pornima.
Shri Mallikarjun Temple
This 16th century elegant Hindu temple, devoted to Lord Mallikarjun (an incarnation of Lord Shiva) is an excellent example of architectural design by the ancestors of the Kshatriyas. Refurbished in 1778, legend has it that is built on the same place where Lord Shiva united with Goddess Parvati after a long period of separation. Carved wooden pillars, scenes from the Puranas and epic of Mahabharata, carved silhouettes of dwarpals (doorkeeper) and murals form the interesting part of the temple. You need to travel to Shristhal village in Canacona taluka, south Goa to visit this holy temple and witness several traditional rituals and festivals.
Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple
Dedicated to Lord Saptakeshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, this temple is believed to have been built around 13th or 14th century. Lord Saptakoteshwar was the patron deity of the kings of Kadamba dynasty. A famous deity in the Konkan area, it was rebuilt at Narve, Bicholim taluka (North Goa) by the great Maratha king Shivaji. A legendary story associated with the temple is that Lord Shiva appeared her to grant the wishes of seven holy saints who prayed for seven crore (70 million) years. Be it Gokulashtami festival or Mahashivaratri, the temple attracts thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India.
Shri Shantadurga (Kavlem)
Built of Kashmir stone, the temple is located 33 km from Panaji, in the foothills of Kavlem in Ponda. According to traditional legends, when Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu had a fierce fight, Lord Brahma prayed to Goddess Parvati to settle the matter. She did the same in the form of Goddess Shantadurga. This temple is devoted to her. The temple was initially located at Cavellossim, but when it was being destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564, the deity was shifted to Kavlem. The current temple was constructed around 1738 A.D. under the Marathas. People from all over the world visit this temple amidst the wonderful foothills abundant with lush vegetation. It is far from the hustle bustle of the urban life.
Shri Mahalaxmi Temple
Located in Panaji, this temple is easily accessible to everyone visiting Goa. The temple is devoted to the goddess of wealth- Mahalaxmi. Being approved for construction in 1818, this renowned temple is acknowleged as the first Hindu temple built in Goa after the Portuguese invasion. The last renovation of the temple was made in 1983. The Maruti Jatra festival during January-February attracts a large number of devotees to the temple.
Tapobhoomi is not merely a temple. While visiting this holy place, you will find it more like a learning school for the principles of humanity. Covering over 10,000 sq. mts. of beautiful green land, Tapobhoomi evolved with his Holiness Haturii Mathadhish Shrinad Brahmanand Swamiji, at Kundai. The sages and swamis there educate humankind of their duties and responsibilities. They have a motive to spread the message of divine love, compassion and unity. It can be compared to a ‘Gurukul’, where Hindu students come to understand the spiritual aspects and traditional Indian culture. You can find a Sanskrit pathshala (classroom), Dhyaan Gumfa (meditation centre), Datta mandir, Yoga Anusandhan Kendra, Ayurveda Centre, Library, etc. in the centre. The disciples are trained to fight against social evils.
Several other Hindu religious temples are :
Shri Gomanteshwar Devasthan Brahmapur
Shri Kamakshi Saunsthan Shiroda Temple
Temple of Shri Mahadev at Tambdi Suria
Shri Manguesh Temple
Shri Naguesh Temple
Shri Navdurga Saunsthan
Shri Navdurga at Madkai
Shri Ramnath Temple
Sapteshwar – Bhagvati temple at Mandrem
Shri Shantadurga (Kunkolienkarin)
Shri Devi Sharvani
Shri Saunsthan Gokarn Partagali Jeevolam Math
Shri Saunsthan Gondpaddchaiya Kavie Math
These old temples are made only of wood, mud brick and stones, reflecting an extraordinary architectural pattern of traditional Goa. These old established Devuls (‘Houses of God’ in Sanskrit) are worth visiting.