Major Temples of Goa

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Temples of Goa > Sri Shanta Durga Temple

Shri Devi Shantadurga temple is located at Kavlem in Ponda Taluk of Goa. This temple is the biggest temple in Goa. The temple constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Shahu Raje of satara at the request of Naro Ram Mantri in 1738 A.D has a Shivalinga which belongs to the Mahajans of the surname 'Vorde' who are the Kulavis of the temple of Shri Manguesha. The goddess of peace here is said to have settled a quarrel between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu amicably and she is being worshipped all over Goa. There are many other temples devoted to this deity.

The original site of Sri Shantadurga temple was at Kardelivana of Quelossim in Mormugao Taluk. It is in this place, Krishnadas Shama wrote the epic "Sri Krishna Charita" in 14th century.

The Shantadurga temple boasts of a huge tank, a Dipa Stambha and Agrashalas. Its walls are also one of the attractions. The Nayanamanohar Dipa Stambha is situated in front of a lake. It has a distinctive structure. At the entrance, Nagarkhana is used for musical purpose. When the original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564, the idol was taken safely to Kavalem where mahars or harijans took care of it for a year. Subsequently, it was brought to its present abode. For the same reason, Harijans are permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of this temple. The image of Shanta Durga is made of a Panchadhatu or five elements and placed in the Girbhagraha with a six inch black color Shivalinga adjacent to it.

The Shanta Durga deity is believed to have been carried by Loma Sharma of Kaushik Gotra when the Saraswats came to Goa from Trihotrapuri in the Mithila region of Bihar. The legend says that the Destroyer and the Preserver had a mammoth fight at mount Gomanchala, during which Shiva used the Pashupati weapon, which could have proved detrimental to the entire universe. Lord Brahma, the creator, then prayed to the supreme Goddess Adishakti to intervene. She, in turn, sent Parvati in the form of Shanta Durga or Shanteri who stepped in as the arbitrator and succeeded in reconciling the warring parties. Hence she stands in the temple shrine in between Shiva and Vishnu as a symbol of peace.

Another legend says that Lord Shiva, when defeated by his spouse Parvati in a game of dice leaves mount Kailash and comes to Gomanchala near Kushasthali for penance. He hears the cries of the Saraswat Brahmin, Loma Sharma who was caught by a crocodile in the river Aghanashini. Lord Shiva saves Loma Sharma who prayed the god to remain in Kushasthali. When Parvati arrives looking for Shiva, she was also requested to stay in Keloshi.

The temple has many festivals celebrated throughout the year. Some of the festivals of the temple are Ramnavami, Vasant Pooja, Akshyatatya Palakhi Utsav, ShriLakshminarayan Pratishtostav, Nag panchami Muktabharani Vratostav, Anant Vratostav Navratri, Dasara, Kojagiri Palaki Utsav, Deepavali Utsav, Palakhi Tulsi Pooja (vivah), Aavali Bhojan, Navkaron Utsav, Palakhi Utsav, Aavali Bhojan Jatroustav, Khand Rath, Palakhi Utsav, Sarvajanik Maharoudra Nitya Pooja, Mahashivratri Rathoustav, Shri Patt Pratishoutsav, Palakhi Utsav, and Pournima Shimgo utsav.


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