Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Flight of Gods 30. Damodar Sal, Margao

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan PaiDamodar Sal

photo by Mohan Pai

After the wholesale destruction of the Hindu temples in Mathagrama (Margao) there were no Hindu temples left in Margao.photo by Mohan Pai

Naik Shankahwalkar family of Margao consecrated a coconut brought from their gramadevata, Lord Damodar from Zambaulim, to be worshipped in the Sal of their ancestral house.

Damodar Sal became the centre of the religious life of the Hindu community in Margao until Hindu temples were built in the town at a later stage. However, Domodar Sal today is both sacred and a public place of worship.photo by Mohan Pai

An association of Hindu elders formed the Hindu Kaivari Sabha, later called the Mathagramasth Hindu Sabha held their regular meetings at the Damodar Sal and the old family house on Rua Abade Faria is still the base for social, cultural and religious activities.Old family house of Naik family that houses Damodar Sal - photo by Mohan Pai

Swami Vivekananda on a visit to Goa in 1898, (to acquaint himself with Christian teaching and seminary education) prior to his departure for Europe was a guest of Naik family at Damodar Sal.

The Flight of Gods 29. Vijayadurga Temple, Keri, Ponda

The Flight of Gods

by Mohan Pai

Sri Vijayadurga Temple

Keri, Ponda

Sri Vijayadurga Samsthan was originally situated at Sankhavali along with Sri Shanthadurga and Sri Laxmi Narshima.

Sri Vijayadurgae is a family deity as a Pallavi of many Brahmins. Shri Vijayadurga was once settled with Shri Shankleshwari Shantadurga and Shri Lakshminarsimha in Sankhwal, but due to Portuguese destruction spree the temple had to be shifted to Kerim from Sankhwal.

The Mantap - photo by Mohan Pai

The Mahajans and kulavis belong to the same class as Shri Shankleshwari Shantadurga Devi of Gothana and Shri Lakshminarsimha. Shri Vijayadurga is considered a pallavi of those who have Kuladevta as Shri Shankleshwari Shantadurga, Anant Vitthal Purrush or Shri Lakshminarsimha.
The Temple Complex - photo by Mohan Pai

It was once said that when the war going between Vishnu and Shiva was stopped by Shri Shantadurga when she took Vishnu and Shiva by her left and right hand, and according to the Skandapurana it is said that how Lord Shiva, when defeated by his spouse Parvati in a game of dice, had left mount Kailash and gone to Gomanchala near Kushasthali for tapasya (penance). It is here that he heard the cries of the Brahmin, Loma Sharma, caught by a crocodile in the river Aghanashini.
Deepasthambha - photo by Mohan Pai

When Shiva saved Loma Sharma, he prayed to the Lord to remain in Kushasthali. Similarly, when Parvati arrived looking for Shiva, she was also requested to stay at the nearby village of Keloshi (Kadalivana Quelossim). This shrine of Shri Shantadurga Devi is Situated to the present day location, Kavlem and is often known as Kavlem Shantadurga.

Tirthastana, a natural water pond - photo by Mohan Pai

The deity of Shantadurga is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva. She is then said have gone to Shankleswari a village in Ponda Taluka (goa in which she went to Gothana (a small place in Shankleswari) to kill the demons that were harassing the Brahmins.
Panchayatan Shrines - photos by Mohan Pai

As a reward, she was given the name of Vijaya where she is now called Shri Vijayadurga. Shri Vijayadurga shrine was located in Shankleshwari along with Shri Shantadurga and Shri LakshmiNarsimha but was later shifted to a place called Kerim in Ponda Taluka during the Portuguese destruction spree.
Tulasi Vrindavan - photo by Mohan Pai
Annual jatra is held in the month of Magha up to Shivaratri and also on Navaratri.

MY BLOG LIBRARYFor some of my articles visit:
For some key chapters from my book "The Western Ghats", please log on to:http://westernghats-paimohan.blogspot.com/
For detailed blog (6 Chapters) on Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley, please log on to:http://mohan-pai.blogspot.com/
For the book 'The Elderly' please log on to:http://oldagecare-paimohan.blogspot.com/
You can also access my blogs on Sulekha and Wordpress:For my book "The Flight of Gods - Hindu Temples & Shrines of Goa" please log on to:http://mohanpai.sulekha.com/blog/posts/pageno-1.htmhttp://flightofgods.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm


The Flight of Gods 28. Vitthala Temple, Sancolem

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan Pai
Sri Vitthala Temple

The worship of Vitthala in Goa probably started during the latter part of the Goa Kadamba period. The stone inscription of 1284 AD from Vitthala temple at Pandharpur records the donation made by the Lad family of Goa. The ‘warkari’ tradition which was popular in Maharashtra was also practised in Goa.
Ranes of Sattari are the devotees of Vitthala.

The Mantap - photo by Mohan Pai

Reconstructed in 1942 A.D., the temple incorporated North Indian style of architecture. Though sanctum-sanctorium was left untouched and the main festivity at the temple was held during nine days preceding Chairtra Purnima.

The Temple Complex - photo by Mohan Pai

Major attractions of Sri Vitthala Temple are an exquisitely carved wooden chariot symbolizing the chariot of Arjuna of Mahabharata which is driven by the Lord Krishna in the temple complex.

Tulasi Vrindavan - photo by Mohan Pai

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Flight of Gods 27. Aravalem Caves

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan Pai
Rock-cut Cave Temple
Aravalem Rock-cut caves - photo by Mohan Pai
The village of Aravalem is close to Sancolem in Bicholim taluk. The caves here were probably excavated in a laterite hillock by the Bhoja rulers in the sixth century AD.
Carved Lingas - photo by Mohan Pai
There are six cells resembling cubicles. Inside the caves are four carved lingas set into square rock-cut bases. These caves have long been thought to be of Buddhist origin, with the lingas installed after the decline of Buddhism - but this is not altogether certain and they may have been Brahminical caves from the start.
The local name for these caves is ‘Pandava Caves’ associated with the five Pandava brothers.
There is a small rivulet that flows in front of the caves. Aravalem waterfall and Sri Rudreshwar Temple is close by.
Aravalem waterfall - photo by Mohan Pai

The Flight of Gods 26. Parashuram Temple, Poinguinim

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan PaiSri Parashuram Temple

Sri Parashurama is the 6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu who is an axe-wielding(Parashu) warrior God. According toPuranic tradition he is credited with the creation of the West Coast (Parashurama Sristi).
Entrance to Garbhagriha - photo by Mohan Pai
Shrines to Sri Parashurama are quite rare and apart from the temple at Poinguinim village in Canacona taluk in Goa, the only other three known shrines are at Pethe Parashuram near Chiplunand Payyanur, and Thiruvallom in Kerala.Sri Parashuram Shrine - photo by Mohan Pai
The rise of Nath cult appeared to have coincided with the cult of Parashuram and both Poinguinim and Chiplun were set up as independent shrines to Para-shurama during 1300-1400 AD.
The temple at Poinguinim is a small temple located amidst forest grove in a serene surroundings. The Shikara isthe traditional pyramid shape. The mantapa has traditional carved wooden pillars. There is an an iconic representation of ‘Kshetrapala’ in the courtyard.
Kshetrapala - photo by Mohan Pai

The Legend of Parashurama
The legend of Parashurama is a popular story in the Hindu Mythology with different regional versions. According to one version, Parashurama, the axe-wielding avatar of Vishnu is the son of Sage Jamadagni and Renuka. Jamadagni is killed by despotic Kshatriyas because he refuses to part with “Kamadhenu”, his wish-fullfilling divine cow. In revenge, Parashurama traverses the earth twenty-one times and wipes out all the Kshatriyas.
Painting of Sri Parashuram in the Temple
Parashurama, struck by remorse tried to expiate his sins by performing yagnyas during which he gifted away all his lands to the Brahmins with no land left even to build a hermitage for himself. Varuna, God of the seas came to his aid and offered him to gain from the sea as much land he could span in one throw of his axe. Parashurama stood at Pethe Parashuram (near Chiplun, Maharashtra) and threw his axe as far as Kanyakumari. The sea retreated and the coastal tracts of Konkan, Kanara and Kerala were thus generated.
Parashurama populated his new lands with Brahmins as well as new plants such as the coconut, the banana and the jackfruit which now thrive throughout the region.
This legend is probably based on the lowering of sea level which resulted in the emergence of the coastal strip which is now referred to as Konkan and Malabar.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Flight of Gods 25. Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan Pai
Sri Mahadev Temple
Tambdi Surla

This was a lost temple, rediscovered sometime around 1935. Its remote location, deep inside forest even some distance from any village had made it in accessible for centuries and its survival is largely due to its location. Even until recently, the temple was still relatively in accessible.
The Temple Complex - photo by Mohan Pai
The temple that survived the ravages, is situated about 12 kms from Molem in the Anmod Ghats (the Western Ghats), almost on Goa’s border with Karnataka amidst thick forests where a beautiful stream flows with lush greenery all around.
A beautiful stream near the temple - photo by Mohan Pai
The temple was built in the 13th centuryAD and was built by the Goa-Kadamba dynasty and is in Kadamba style. It is built of black basalt stone, not locally available and which was obviously transported from a considerable distance.Shrine to Sri Vishnu - Phto by Mohan Pai
This is a comparatively small temple and consists of Garbhagriha, Antarala and Nandi Mantapa. In the garbhagriha there is a small Lingam mounted on a pedestal.Shrine to Sri Ganesha - photo by Mohan Pai
There is a slab roof design over the main hall and behind this rises typical Dravidian-style Shikara in a pyramid over the sanctuary. The central ceiling is beautifully carved in an eight-petalled lotus pattern with rosettes.

Central Ceiling in 8 petal lotus pattern - photo by Mohan Pai
There are four niches on the rear wall of the mantapa. In one of the niches is a standing idol of Vishnu. In the second and third niches there are coiled Nagas and in the fourth there is a standing Ganesha. These niches have a fascinating framework with four main columns topped by a replica of the temple Shikara.

The temple is an archaeological monument and being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
MY BLOG LIBRARYFor some of my articles visit:
For some key chapters from my book "The Western Ghats", please log on to:http://westernghats-paimohan.blogspot.com/
For detailed blog (6 Chapters) on Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley, please log on to:http://mohan-pai.blogspot.com/
For the book 'The Elderly' please log on to:http://oldagecare-paimohan.blogspot.com/
You can also access my blogs on Sulekha and Wordpress:For my book "The Flight of Gods - Hindu Temples & Shrines of Goa" please log on to:http://mohanpai.sulekha.com/blog/posts/pageno-1.htmhttp://flightofgods.sulekha.com/blog/posts.htm

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Flight of Gods 24. Brahma Temple, Carambolim

The Flight of Gods
By Mohan Pai

Shri Brahma Temple


Black basalt Brahma idol - photo by Mohan Pai

The temple is situated at a village called Brahma-Carambolim to distinguish it from CarambolimVillage near Old Goa, the original home of the deity. Brahma-Carambolim is located 7 km from Valpoi town in Sattari Taluk.

The stone sculpture of Brahma here is truly magnificent. Carved out of a single black basalt stone, it is one of the finest specimen of Kadamba art and is an ancient image still in worship. The sculpture has a beard on the central face. In his four hands he carries a ladle in his upper right hand, the book of Vedas in his upper left hand, Kamandalu in his lower left hand and chanting beads in his lower right hand which is in Varamudra posture.

Here again Brahma is a migrant deity, originally from the village with the same name - Carambolim that is located right next to Old Goa. The image was hurriedly carried away by its devotees. But where as most of the Gods saved in this way were installed nearby, just across the border, the Brahma image made a journey far to the east into the foothills of the Western Ghats.

There is no independent cult of Brahma, as according to Puranic version, Brahma was cursed by Shiva not to receive any worship and there are hardly any shrines to Brahma in India. Apart from Goa, there are two Brahma shrines in existence at Pushkar in Rajasthan and at Khajurao in Madhya Pradesh. In Goa, apart from Brahma-Carambolim where he is the main deity, he is also a Parivar Devata in Shri Bhagavati temple in Parse and Virnode temple in Pedne taluk and in Shri Shantadurga temple at Colomba in Sanguem taluk.

The Brahma worship in this region appears to have arrived during the period of early Chalukyas of Badami.The Shrine under renovation - photo by Mohan Pai
The temple at Brahma-Caramboli is a small plain building, hardly recognisable as a temple. The temple is under renovation and the sanctuary was in the midst of scaffolding when the author visited the temple in February, 2006. Regular pujas, however, are being conducted without interruption.

Vagheri Hills, Sahyadris - view from the Brahma Temple - photo Mohan Pai

The Flight of Gods 23. Chandrashwar-Bhutanath Temple, Paroda

The Flight of Gods
by Mohan Pai

Shri Chandreshwar-Bhutanath Temple

Porvot, Paroda

Shri Chandreshwar - Bhutanath temple is one of the oldest temple in Goa, its antiquity going back to nearly one thousand six hundred years during the reign of Bhoja rulers (4th & 5th century AD). Bhojas have made reference to the temple in their copper-plate inscriptions. According to the tradition, the Bhoja ruler, Chandravarma whose capital was in Chandrapur was a devotee of Chandreshwar.

The Temple Complex - photo by Mohan Pai

The temple is magnificently situated on the Chandranath Hill simply called as ‘Porvot’with wooded slopes. A rough , rock stairway leads upwards to reach the summit.
The Mantap - photo by Mohan Pai

While the earlier temple was constructed during the Bhoja period it was in dilapidated condition by 1100 AD and the Goa Kadambas once again rebuilt the main temple. The present structure of the temple of Chandreshwar was constructed in 1877 and that of Bhutanath in 1917 AD. Tulasi Vrindavan - photo by Mohan Pai

However, the architectural parts such as the ceiling, the lintel and the pillars of granite clearly indicate that the temple was built during the Kadamba period.

Pillared Hall - photo Mohan Pai

Shri Chandreshwar is represented by Svayambhu Linga carved out of and part of the natural outcrop of rock, a mukhalinga with sculpted face. Water seeps from the Linga at the time of the full moon and the design of the temple allows the moon’s rays to fall on the sanctuary.

‘Amrut Manthan’ mural on top of the main entrance to Chandreshwar temple - photo by Mohan Pai

The small shrine of Bhutanath is located on the left hand side adjacent to the main temple. There is no image of Bhutanath and he is represented by a meter high irregular, unsculpted natural stone. Bhutanath is one of the 64 Bhairavas. According to Sahyadri Khanda of Skanda Purana, Bhutanath didn’t want to be left on Kailas when Shiva changed his abode from Kailas to Chandranath Hill. So he prayed and requested Shiva to allow him to stay with him on Chandranath Hill.
Though this is a Shaivite Shrine, like Gokulashtami at Saptakoteshwar temple, Ramanavami (Shri Rama’s birthday) is celebrated at Chandreshwar-Bhutanath temple as an annual feast.

A view of the Sahyadris from ‘Porvot” - photo by Mohan Pai