5 Famous Temples of Goa
Goa is known for its sparkling beaches and vibrant nightlife, but there’s another, more tranquil side to Goa—the historical temples, which form an important aspect of Goan culture. These temples allow you to appreciate their architectural greatness, historical significance and enjoy a spiritual experience.
Mangesh Temple at Mangeshi: It is the most famous temple of Goa. This temple has a history of more than 450 years and the early days were painful for the followers of Bhagawan Mangeshi. The beautiful temple underwent two documented renovations to arrive at its present shape. The beautiful octagonal-shaped flag pillar has an architectural style that is unique to Goa. The temple has all the elements neatly laid out culminating in the sanctum with the original Shivalinga. This temple was originally based further north. Rampant conversion attempts and atrocities carried out by the Portuguese forced the people to take away the Shivalinga and move to Mangeshi village, a safer part of Goa then controlled by the Hindu kings of Sonda. This temple at Mangeshi was built during the 1560s.
Saptakoteshwar Temple at Narve: It is believed that this temple was built by Goa Kadamba rulers during the 12th century. It is regarded as one of the important abodes of Bhagawan Shiva in the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Goa. The temple, which appears to have undergone renovation multiple times, has a unique architecture that appears to be a mix of Hindu, Moghul and Portuguese styles. The front portion of the temple resembles old Portuguese churches, the dome styled tower atop the sanctum resembles the Moghul style and the rest of the temple along with the lamp post is in the normal temple building style unique to Goa.
Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla: It is the only temple in Goa that still retains its original style and looks thanks to its location in deep forests which have kept it hidden from the eyes of the rampaging Portuguese, who under their vision of conversion destroyed countless temples and killed thousands of Hindus. Built by the Goa Kadamba rulers in the 12th century, the Ekakuta (single sanctum) temple consists of a sanctum, antarala, and open navaranga. Nandi idol is seen in the navaranga facing the Shivalinga in the sanctum. The pleasing location of the temple, right in the middle of forests with the Tambdi Surla stream flowing nearby, would gladden the hearts and minds of dharmic visitors.
Shantadurga Temple at Ponda: Another impressive temple built about 200 years ago, stands impressively renovated. All the Goan elements of temple construction can be viewed in detail in this beautiful temple. It is a private temple and the goddess is a family deity to many families with roots in Goa dating back centuries. The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese during the middle years of the 16th century. After the Marathas subdued the Portuguese, this temple was built.
Ramnath Temple, Ponda: The deity in this temple is popularly and lovingly called Ramnathi by the devotees. As in all Goan temples, the attractive lamp post stands high in front of the temple. The front portion of the temple looks repaired. Other parts of the temple are in line with the usual elements of the Goan style of temple construction. The idol of Ramnath was moved from its earlier location fearing Portuguese assault to its present location. The temple has stood at its present location for over 450 years now.