Shantadurga temple of north Goa - a fascinating old Hindu temple

Shantadurga temple of north  Goa

Shantadurga temple of north  Goa

Above image: A combination of Indo-Portuguese architectural style is followed her with pyramidal Shikara, Roman arched large widows, flat dome  surrounded by balustrades. Deepa stampha/ tower of the Naya mandir is illuminated on festive days. The ,maroon, peach and while color combination gives a distinctive look unusual for the Hindu temples.................................... 

Location area Ponda, North Goa.

 Deepa Stambha of the temple of north  Goa

There are many Hindu temples in Goa, once a major Portuguese colony untl 1960s. Countless Hindu temples in this region were razed to the ground during religious persecution  under the Portuguese.   The  Shantadurga temple of north  Goa, one of the largest and oldest (17th century) Hindu temples in this region in the foothill of Kavlem village in Ponda area of Goa  (Fatorpa of Quepem Taluka), is a popular place of worship for the Hindus. 

Shantadurga temple of north  Goa

Set in a lush green serene place, the temple that has massive entrance door called  Mahadwar, is dedicated to Shantadurga. On the request of sage Narada, goddess Parvati took the form of Shantadurga to  mediate between Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva in order to maintain peace between them.  Once they were at war with each other and Shantadurga had to pacify them as their enmity made the celestial- devas and sages uncomfortable and jittery. Further, the Assura would have taken   advantage of the disunity between two gods. 

Locally the Goddess is called  Santer, an incarnation of Parvati. The Goddess is the Kula Devi or Kuldevta of many Saraswat Brahmins of the Konkan region. The popular annual 'Zatra' falls in the month of Pausha Shuddha Navami and pilgrims in thousands make a bee line to this quiet place.  

The idol of  Shantadurga, also known as  Jagdamba Devi is seen with two serpents one on each hand representing Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.  Earlier  Devi temple was present in Cuncolim village in  Salsette Taluka and in the 16 and 17 th century and later shifted to Fatorpa  owing to the Portuguese invasion of 1564 and later religious persecutions  (see Goan Inquisition initiated by St Francis Xavier)  it was demolished like most other temples of Goa. The present temple came up  in 1730,  thanks to the munificence  of the  Maratha ruler Maharajah Shahu.  In the sanctum are enshrined two images of  Shantadurga - one in sitting posture and the other one being in standing position. The Shiva linga in the sanctum, it is said,  is 800 years old. The deepa stambha here is illuminated on festive days. Important  festivals observed here are  Navaratri, Akshay Tritiya, Vasant Panchami and Shravani Somvar, etc. On certain annual  festive occasions like Jatra  the deity (processional idol) is taken in a golden palanquin round the temple premises. 

Long distance visitors can  stay on the temple complex and the management runs  agrashalas or guest houses for the prospective  visitors.