Famous Temples and Spiritual Places in Goa

Mahadev Temple, North Goa
Deity: Mahadeva (Lord Shiva)

Mahadeva Temple in Tambdi Surla is a 12th-century Shaivite temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighbouring Karnataka. There is a linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum, and local legend has it that a huge king cobra is in permanent residence in the dimly lit interior.

The temple consists of garbhagriha, antarala and a pillared Nandi mandapa built of basalt. The four pillars, embellished with intricate carvings of elephants and chains support a stone ceiling decorated with finely carved Ashtoken lotus flowers. The intricate carvings created by skilled craftsmen adorn the interior and the sides of the building. Bas-relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, with their respective consorts appear on panels at the sides of the temple. It is the only structural temple of the Kadamba period to survive the destructive violence of religious intolerance during Muslim and Portuguese occupations of Goan territory.

Ramnathi Mandir, North Goa
Deity: Ramanath (Lord Shiva)

The temple of Ramnathi is located in Ramnathim, Bandivade in Goa. Goud Saraswat Brahmins community (belonging to Gokarn Math, & Kashi Mutt) are primary worshippers. Similar to other Goan temples, Ramnathi too incorporates the system of Panchayatan, therefore, this temple houses 5 main deities namely – Shri Ramanath (chief deity), Shanteri, Kamakshi, Laxmi Narayan, Ganapati, Betal and Kalbhairav, along with other family purushas.

The chief deity of the temple is Ramnath. Since Ramnath is the chief deity, the temple came to be known as Ramnathi. The name Ram-Nath equals Lord of Rama i.e. Shiva. In addition the temple has the idols of the Goddess Shanteri(Shantadurga) from Rivona and the Goddess Kamakshi from Loutolim. There is an idol of Shree Lakshmi Narayan Shree Siddhinath (Ganesh), Shree Betal and Shree Kaalbhairav. This completes the Ramnathi Panchayatna.

Shanta-Durga Mandir, North Goa
Deity: Devi Shanta-Durga

Devi Shanta-Durga Temple is a Private temple complex belonging to Goud Saraswat Brahmin community. Shanta-Durga (Śāntā-durgā, Devanagari:शांतादुर्गा) is the most popular form of the goddess Durga revered in Goa as well some parts of Karnataka. It is 30 km from Panaji at the foothill of Kavalem village in Ponda Taluka.

The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. The deity is also called ‘Santeri’ colloquially. Purana talks of a battle between Shiva and Vishnu The battle was so fierce that the God Brahma prayed to Goddess Parvati to intervene, which she did in the form of Shantadurga. Shantadurga placed Vishnu on her right hand and Shiva on her left hand and settled the fight. On 4 December 2016, (Margashirsh Shuddh Panchmi). Shree Shanta Durga Devasthan in Kavale has completed its 450th year of existence.

Shanta-Durga Kalangutkarin Mandir, North Goa
Deity: Devi Shanta-Durga (Vishweshwari)

Devi Shanta-Durga (Kalangutkarin) Devasthan is a Temple in Nanoda village in Bicholim taluka in Goa. The presiding deity is Shanta-Durga (Śāntā-durgā, Devanagari:शांतादुर्गा) worshiped in the form of Vishweshwari. Shantadurga is worshipped in a Shanta form, but it is believed that after killing the demons the deity’s anger was soothed and the Shanta Soumya form of fierce Devi Durga (Vishweshwari) is worshiped in Goa.

Devi Shanta-Durga is known as the goddess of wealth, prosperity, light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity, courage and beauty along with grace, charisma and charm.

Shri Betal Mandir, North Goa
Deity: Shri Betal (Lord Shiva)

Shri Betal (Vetala) temple (बेताळ) is a temple in Amona village in the Bicholim Taluka. The presiding deity is Shree Betala who is worshiped as a form of Shiva the warrior. Normally the idol of Shree Betal is standing in the temple, but during festivals his idol is displayed on a horse back in the village. He is the Gram devata (village lord) of Amona.

Betal the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity. Many stories and folklore about the valor and wisdom of ‘Shri Vetala’ are passed down through generations of local people who worshiped this deity. Traditionally, Shri Vetala is considered a patron deity of the Harijan people. The temple’s construction prior to 1950 was funded by the Late Shri. Vithal Jagannath Telang and his name has been carved on the flooring accordingly. There is a water well 50 metres away from main temple.

Saptakoteshwar Temple, North Goa
Deity: Lord Shiva

The Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve, Goa is considered to be one of the six great sites of temples of Shiva in the Konkan area. Saptakoteshwar, a form of Shiva, was one of the chief deities of the Kings of the Kadamba dynasty around the twelfth century. The temple was built by the King for his wife Kamaldevi who was a devotee of this Lord Shiva.

Vijaya-Durga Mandir, North Goa
Deity: Devi Vijaya-Durga

Sri Vijayadurga is a Goddess of varying importance in Indian culture and tradition. She is said to have intervened in a battle between Shiva and Vishnuthem, and gone to Shankwali to kill the demons harassing the Brahmins there. When she destroyed all the demons in sancoale she earned the name of Vijaya and was given the name as Vijayadurga. The deity is thus a form of the Goddess Durga.

The Vijayadurga temple was once located in close proximity to Shri Shankleshwari Shantadurga and Shri Lakshminarsimha in Sancoale but had to be shifted to Kerim, Ponda Taluka due to the forceful Portuguese inquisition and mass destruction of temples in Sancoale by Diogo Rodrigues, the Captain of Rachol Fort. In the year 1567, the deities were shifted from their present locations. The temple of Narcinva along with Shanta-Durga were burnt down on 15 March 1567. Days later the Vijayadurga temple suffered the same fate. It is said that the Saraswats who migrated with the idol of the Goddess from Sancaoale, halted at the Mahadev/Maddhava temple in Agapur, Durbhat which is located on the banks of Zuari (Aghnashini). They had decided on to build a temple in the vicinity, but due to the predictions divined by the oracle, the idol had to be shifted to its present location.

Mangesh Temple, North Goa
Deity: Lord Shiva

Shri Mangesh Temple (Devanagari: श्री मंगेश मंदीर) is located at Mangeshi Village in Priol, Ponda taluk of Goa. This temple is one of the largest and most frequently visited temples in Goa. It is located at a distance of 1 km from Mardol close to Nagueshi, 21 km from Panaji the capital of Goa, and 26 km from Margao.

H.H.Shrimad Swamiji of Shri Kavale Math is Spiritual head Of Shri Manguesh Saunsthan,Mangeshi. In 2011, the temple along with others in the area instituted a dress code on visitors of the temple.

Mahamaya Kalika Devasthan, North Goa
Deity: Devi Mahamaya

Mahamaya Kalika Saunsthan ( Devanagari:श्री संस्थान महामाया कालिका ) is a temple complex in Kansarpal village of Bicholim taluka in the state of Goa. The presiding deity of the temple is Kali worshipped in the form of Mahamaya. The Goddess Kali, the terrible and cruel to the demons and evil doers, is worshiped with blood sacrifice in most parts of India, in Goa.

As per the regional stories after killing the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha, the deity’s anger was soothed and the deity manifested herself in a peaceful (Shanta), gentle (Soumya) form, which is very popular in Goa and known as Devi Mahamaya.

Mandodari Temple, North Goa
Deity: Grama Devata

The Shri Mandodari Temple is in the village of Betaki, near Ponda. This is a temple for the Grama Devata or the village deity of Betki.

The word mandodari is from mand (water) with udar (stomach). It means someone who is born in the water. This temple was built to worship the great human beings whose children were sacrificed in the past to ensure that this village had a flowing stream of water. There is no well water in Betki village so the main source of water in this area is streams. This is how the village started worshiping this deity.