Temples of Goa
The Hindu culture of Goa is ancient and the temples dedicated to various deities of Goa date back to the Panadava caves, Shiva temple of 1st century A.D. During the early stages of the Portuguese rule, the Hindu temples of Goa were raised to ground and destructed. There are many temples in the interiors of Goa, as the coastline was the main place of the Portuguese. Many deities had to leave their temples, as the devotees shifted them for the fear of destruction. The architecture of Goan temples is a little different mostly because of historical reasons. The Goan modification lies in the assimilation of local building traditions into this rigid architectural style giving it a special local flavor. One of the special features of Goan temples is the Lamp Tower or Deepmal rising anywhere from two to six storied high. This is said to be a Maratha influence. During festivals these lamp towers burn with innumerous lamps and are a delightful sight. Another distinctive feature is the dome that covers the main shrine instead of the shikhar like in other temples.
The important temples of Goa are:
Anant Narsinha Temple of Veling, Devaki- Krishna Temple of Marcel, Mahalsa Temple in Mardol, Mahalakshmi Temple of Bandivade and Panaji, Mangesh Temple and the Nagesh Temples, Saptakoteshwar Temple of Narwe and the Mahadev Temple in Tambdi Surla.
The Anant Narsinha Temple
Though a précised date of the temple is unknown, it seems to be an ancient temple. This temple unlike other temples in Goa, has only a tiled pyramid as roof and surprisingly no domes but all the seven colors of the rainbow are present in the intricate wooden carvings in the interior of the temple. Around 45 km from Panaji, the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, appearing here in his incarnation as Anant, the serpent. The idol, only one of its kinds in Goa, is in sleeping posture of Vishnu in the laps of the multi headed serpent.
The Mahalsa temple is dedicated to the Goddess, Mahalsa, also an incarnation of Vishnu. This is an ancient temple and the idol is ancient too. Originally, the deity was housed in a temple at an ancient shrine in village of Verna. During the Portuguese rigidity of spreading Christianity, the temple was supposed to be demolished. But before the actual demolition could take place the idol of the deity was smuggled away across the river by faithful devotees, to the safer locale of Mardol, where it is located today. The temple has huge wooden pillars and a silver framed doorway. In the courtyard, there is a magnificent brass lamp which is 40 feet in height and has 21 rings of a hundred fifty small lamps.
Nearly 17 km from Panaji is the small village Marcel where this unique temple stands. This is the only temple in India, where Lord Krishna is worshipped along with his mother Devaki. The beautiful idols are carved in black stone.
Nearly 22km from Panaji is the small village of Bandivade housing a huge and beautiful Mahalakshmi temple. The temple has been in existence since 1413 as it is found on the stone plaques carved during the reign of Nanjan Gosavi Pratihast over Goa. As is the case with most Hindu deities in Goa, this idol too was also smuggled to avoid persecution during the Portuguese Inquisition era of the sixteenth century and installed at the present position. But there was another idol of Mahalakshmi placed here already. So now the temple ahs two idols of the deity along with the idols of the two devotees who smuggled the idol to this place.
This Mahalakshmi temple is in the heart of Panaji The city, blessed by three historic ecclesiastical monuments - the Jamma Masjid, the Church of Immaculate Conception and the Mahalakshmi temple - surprisingly standing on the same road pose a perfect symmetry of communal harmony. Though the idol is very ancient , it is kept inside and people worship another new idol. The temple is around 180 years old.