Contrary to popular perception, Goa is home to some of the most famous temples of Hindus. During the Portuguese occupation, the temples in Goa were subject to rampant destruction and devotees had to clandestinely smuggle the deities for fear of persecution. The idols were kept in makeshift shrines until the Portuguese allowed the first temple to be built in 1818. Hence most of the Goa temples are of recent built in comparison to other Indian temples and the temple architectures display marked deviations from standard practices. Following are some of the prominent temples of Goa:
Located amidst an enchanting landscape teeming with lush greenery, the Mallikarjun temple is renowned for its colorful festivals observed with pomp and pageantry. Built by the ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj in 16th century, the Mallikarjun temple was subsequently refurbished in 1778.
Located at the heart of the Panaji city, the Mahalaxmi temple is a sacred shrine for Hindu devotees. The Mahalaxmi temple enshrines the deity of Mahalaxmi, the Goddess of wealth. Mahalaxmi is also regarded the presiding deity of the Panaji city. The Mahalakshmi temple assumes significance for being the first Hindu temple to be built in Goa after the Portuguese invasion by Alfonse de Albuquerque.
The opulent Mahalsa temple is one of the most famous temples in Goa. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hence the temple is also as the Mahalsa Narayani temple, Narayan being another name for Vishnu. The Mahalsa temple is located one kilometer afar from the Mangueshi temple, another prominent temple in Ponda.
Mangueshi Temple a
Located about 21 km from Panaji, the Mangueshi temple stands tall amidst the scores of Hindu temple that dot the Goan landscape. One of the survivors of the destruction unleashed by the Portuguese, the Manguesh temple was originally located at Kushasthali (present day Cortalim).
One of the ancient Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Courtesy a stone plaque found near the temple, the origins of Sri Naguesh temple can be traced back to 1413, when the region was under the rule of Veer Pratap Devraya of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire.
Located 22 km from the state capital Panaji, the origin of the temple of Lord Ramnath is steeped in mythology. Natives believe that after slaying King Ravana of Lanka, a remorse-filled Lord Rama installed a shivalinga on the shores in order to atone for his act. Since then the temple came to be known as Rameshwar or Ramnath.
Acclaimed as one of the six revered temples of Lord Shiva in the Konkan area, the Saptakoteshwar temple has a chequered history dating back to the 12th century. During that period Saptakoteshwar was the patron deity of the kings of Kadamba dynasty. In 1352, when Bahamani Sultan Hassan Gangu usurped the Kadamba kingdom, his armies vandalized the linga of the Saptakoteshwar temple.
Sri Devaki Krishna Temple
Located 17 km from state capital Panaji, Marcel in Ponda taluka is home to some of the most sacred Hindu temples in Goa. Among these shrines, Sri Devaki Krishna temple is of great religious significance. The uniqueness of the Devki Krishna temple lies in the fact that it is the only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna, a confluence of Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki.