Temples, Shrines And Spiritual Places Across Goa
Goa is a kaleidoscopic picture of the rich cultural heritage that unfolds the glories of the past. It is an abode to beaches and greenery which induces inner peace of mind. Historical evidence proves that this island-state has been mentioned quite a few times in the ancient scriptures of Puranas as Gova, Gopakpatna and Govapuri.
The Saptakokeswar Mandir is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimages of Goa. Regarded as one among ‘the six main shrines of Shiva’ in the entire Konkan coast, the temple draws attention mostly due to its architectural grandeur, which took realms of art from both the Europeans. The idol of Lord Shiva is enshrined in the interiors of a wooden sanctum, inside the European style mandapa.
The Shanta Durga Temple is more than 450 years and is dedicated to Mother Durga. During religious and other festive occasions, the main idol is brought out for a grand procession. It is the only temple in the whole of Goa that indulges in pyramidal Shikhara, and Roman arched windows.
The Kamakshi Mandir, as its name suggests, is dedicated to Maa Kamakhya. The main idol of the Devi is composed of Salagrama shila, which makes the temple unique from other spiritual sites. Buddhist-pagoda-like structure and hooded serpents reveal the temple furnishing. The Mahadeva Temple, dating from the 12th century is known for its Kadamba-Yadava style, and intricate basalt stone shrines. Other temples such as the Brahma Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, etc. ensure the spiritual fervor of the state.
Jainism flourished in Goa during the pre-Portuguese era, which is quite evident from several Jain temple excavations. The Neminath Jain Basti, located at Bandivade is one of the oldest Jain ruins. Archaeological evidence proves that reconstruction of inscriptions had been done in the 14th century. Dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankara, Lord Neminath, this magnificent spiritual structure remains one of the historical monuments composed of laterite rocks and grilled windows.
The Cudnem Jain Temple, built during the Vijayanagar era, is the earliest finest specimens of spiritual art. The Mukha Mandapa, which enshrined the idol, encloses within laterite floral arches, and side walls furnished with roof and tiles. The earliest excavated idol is that of a stone torso of a Jain Tirthankara, with carefully sculptured curls, and holding a ‘Srivasta symbol’. Historians believe that this temple had a huge contribution to the spread of Jainism, and encouraged Jain learning.
Jain Temples, constructed during recent times include the Digambar Jain Temple. Located in the Madgaon area of Goa, this temple enshrines the main idol of Lord Adinath. Dedicated to Lord Sumathinatha is the Swethambar Murthy Poojak Temple, which is also found in the Madgaon area.
Gurdwaras in Goa are a striking amalgamation of spiritual beauty and Sikh mysticism. The Gurdwara 3MTR, located in the Aquem-Baixo locality, offers shelter to every person who walks in. Auspicious langers are distributed among devotees every Sunday, and social work and religious learning is encouraged among devotees.
One of the most ancient surviving Buddhist pilgrimages of Goa is the Lamgao Caves. Located in the village of Lamgao, which essentially means ‘village of the Buddhists’, these rock cut caves used to house many Buddhist monks in the earlier days. The caves are also known for their secular outlook. The cave which is nearest to Lamgao, enshrines a stone Shivlinga, along with his carrier, Nandi. Natural springs, surrounding the caves exhibit the site as a natural wonder.
The Gurudwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, founded in the year 1985, observes one of the quietest and spiritual ambiances in Goa. Devotees never miss a chance to seek blessings after the Shabad Kirtan every evening. Grand occasions are organized on the eve of Guruparab each year, and langers are distributed among people every day.
Goa is known as paradise on earth and famous for golden sun-kissed beaches, heritage sites, sea-food. It also exhibits Portuguese colonial architecture and culture. The piety and piousness of Goa shower its blessings upon all pilgrims.