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India > Goa > Temples in Goa

Temples in Goa

Mangueshi Temple GoaContrary to popular perception, Goa is home to some of the most famous temples of Hindus. During the Portuguese occupation, the temples in Goa were subject to rampant destruction and devotees had to clandestinely smuggle the deities for fear of persecution. The idols were kept in makeshift shrines until the Portuguese allowed the first temple to be built in 1818. Hence most of the Goa temples are of recent built in comparison to other Indian temples and the temple architectures display marked deviations from standard practices. Following are some of the prominent temples of Goa:

Mallikarjun Temple

Location Shristhal village, Canacona taluka, South Goa district

Period of Construction 16th century

Significance Dedicated to Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of Lord Shiva

Festivals Annual zatra, Veeramel festival held during the month of April


Shri Mallikarjun Temple GoaLocated amidst an enchanting landscape teeming with lush greenery, the Mallikarjun temple is renowned for its colorful festivals observed with pomp and pageantry. Built by the ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj in 16th century, the Mallikarjun temple was subsequently refurbished in 1778. The temple is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the location of the temple was the place where Lord Shiva united with his consort Parvati after a long period of separation.

The unique feature of the temple architecture is as assembly of exquisitely carved wooden pillars inside the temple building. The six pillars in the mandap are decorated with scenes from the Puranas and epic of Mahabharata. Elegantly carved silhouettes of dwarpals (doorkeeper) stand guard on either side of the door leading to the inner sanctum of the Mallikarjun temple.

The Mallikarjun temple enjoys a unique niche among the Goan temples for a host of ritualistic festivals. During the famous annual festival or Jatra, the idol of the deity is taken out in a procession to the nearby Kindlebag beach and the deity is bathed accompanied by other rituals. The Veeramel festival coincides with the traditional Shigmo festival held in April.

How to Reach Mallikarjun Temple

The Mallikarjun Temple is located 5 km from Chaudi, the headquarters of Canacona taluka. You can hire taxis or autos to reach the temple.

Mahalaxmi Temple

Location Panaji city, North Goa district

Significance Dedicated to Goddess Mahalaxmi

Festival Maruti Jatra festival

Andhra Pradesh

Mahalakshmi Temple Panaji Located at the heart of the Panaji city, the Mahalaxmi temple is a sacred shrine for Hindu devotees. The Mahalaxmi temple enshrines the deity of Mahalaxmi, the Goddess of wealth. Mahalaxmi is also regarded the presiding deity of the Panaji city.

The Mahalakshmi temple assumes significance for being the first Hindu temple to be built in Goa after the Portuguese invasion by Alfonse de Albuquerque. The temple was approved for construction in 1818, after the elapse of 300 years and inordinate delays by the Portuguese authorities. The original structure has undergone renovations many times, the latest being in 1983.

The deity of the Mahalaxmi temple was originally enshrined at the village of Taleigao. It was secretly moved to Bicholim in the 16th century to escape Portuguese persecution. The Maruti Jatra festival held at the Shri Mahalakshmi Temple during January-February draws a large number of devotees.

Mahalsa Temple

Location Mardol village, Ponda, North Goa

Significance Dedicated to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu

Highlights Six storied 'Deepstambha' or ornamental lamp pillar

Festivals Annual Jatra, Jaiyanchi Puja, Kojagiri Pornima


Shri Mahalsa Temple GoaThe opulent Mahalsa temple is one of the most famous temples in Goa. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahalsa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Hence the temple is also as the Mahalsa Narayani temple, Narayan being another name for Vishnu. The Mahalsa temple is located one kilometer afar from the Mangueshi temple, another prominent temple in Ponda.

Another victim of the Portuguese excesses during the Inquisition, the deity of the Mahalsa temple was originally located in the village of Verna in Salcete taluka. With the threat of persecution looming large, devotees clandestinely transferred the idol across the river to the present location of Mardol.

The visually appealing outline of the temple is augmented by the six-storied 'deepstambha' or ornamental lamp pillar in the courtyard. This splendid pillar is 40 feet in height and has 21 rings of a hundred fifty small lamps. A fascinating spectacle unfolds when it is lit up with oil wicks on the annual festival day or Jatra. Apart from the Jatra, the Jaiyanchi Puja held in August and the Kojagiri Pornima are two other special occasions.

How to Reach Mahalsa Temple

The Mahalasa temple is located about a km from the famous Mangueshi temple, off the NH 4A connecting Ponda to Panaji.

Mangueshi Temple

Location Priol, Ponda taluka, North Goa district

Significance Dedicated to Lord Manguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva

Festivals Annual Jatra held in the month of January

Andhra Pradesh

Mangueshi Temple GoaLocated about 21 km from Panaji, the Mangueshi temple stands tall amidst the scores of Hindu temple that dot the Goan landscape. One of the survivors of the destruction unleashed by the Portuguese, the Manguesh temple was originally located at Kushasthali (present day Cortalim). With the threat of persecution looming, the linga was transferred from the original temple to the present location at Priol, then a part of the dominions of Sultan Adil Shah.

After the shifting of the deity in 1560, the Sri Manguesh temple underwent many subsequent rounds of renovation during the reign of the Marathas and again in the year 1890. As part of the refurbishment of the temple in 1973, a golden kalash (holy vessel) was fitted atop the tall dome of the temple.

The architecture of the Mangesh temple reflects an amalgamation of Hindu, Christian and Muslim styles of construction. Lord Manguesh is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and the Shivalinga inside the fluorite designed sanctum is flanked by dwarpalas (guards). During the annual Jatra held in January, the temple is illuminated brightly and the deity is taken out in a palanquin and paraded in huge chariots.

How to Reach the Mangueshi Temple

Similar to the Mahalasa and Naguesh temples, the Mangueshi temple is located very near to the NH 4A connecting Ponda to Panaji.

Naguesh Temple

Location Bandode village, Ponda, North Goa district

Significance Dedicated to Lord Naguesh, incarnation of Lord Shiva


Sri Naguesh Temple GoaOne of the ancient Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh temple is dedicated to Lord Naguesh, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Courtesy a stone plaque found near the temple, the origins of Sri Naguesh temple can be traced back to 1413, when the region was under the rule of Veer Pratap Devraya of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire.

Unlike most of the Hindu temples in Goa, the Naguesh Temple was spared the threat of persecution by the Portuguese and the temple has been in existence in its original location for centuries. The present structure of temple is the culmination of an extensive renovation process undertaken in 1880. The temple Sabhamandap has a gallery on both sides that contains intricate wood carvings depicting the events of Ramayana on one side and wooden images of Astadikpal and Gandharva on the other.

Located within the temple precincts is a magnificent tali or water reservoir surrounded by palms. The reservoir is built in such a way that standing at a certain location around the tali, a person can view the reflection of the idol of Lord Naguesh and the lighted lamps in the inner sanctum.

How to Reach Naguesh Temple

The Naguesh temple is located 4 km east of Ponda, off the NH 4A connecting Ponda to Panaji.

Ramnath Temple

Location Bandode village, Ponda, North Goa district

Significance Dedicated to Ramnath or Lord Shiva

Festival Annual Jatra festival

Andhra Pradesh

Sri Ram Nath Temple GoaLocated 22 km from the state capital Panaji, the origin of the temple of Lord Ramnath is steeped in mythology. Natives believe that after slaying King Ravana of Lanka, a remorse-filled Lord Rama installed a shivalinga on the shores in order to atone for his act. Since then the temple came to be known as Rameshwar or Ramnath.

The Ramnath temple was originally located at a settlement called Loutolim, set up by Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. As the Portuguese went about their task of reducing Hindu temples to ruins, the idol of Lord Ramnath, like many other deities in Goa, was removed from the original temple and shifted to its present day location at Bandode. The Bandode area was under the reign of Bijapur Sultan at that time.

Although the presiding deity is Lord Shiva, the Ramnath temple is the abode of other deities such as Shri LaxmiNarayan, Shri Kamakshi, Shri Santeri and Shri Sidhanath. Similar to the Mahalsa temple, the courtyard of Ramnath temple features a five-storied deepstambha or lamp pillar carved with images of Hindu on its base. The annual festival or Jatra of the temple is celebrated with fervor and devotion with the traditional palanquin parading around the temple carrying the idol of the deity.

How to Reach Ramnath Temple

The temple is located near Farmagudi, off the National Highway 4A connecting Ponda to Panaji.

Saptakoteshwar Temple

Location Narve, Bicholim taluka, North Goa district

Significance Dedicated to Lord Saptakoteshwar, an incarnation of Shiva

Legend Lord Shiva appeared to sages after they prayed for seven crore (Sapt-seven, Kot-crore) years

Festivals Gokulashtami festival


Shri Saptakoteshwar Temple GoaAcclaimed as one of the six revered temples of Lord Shiva in the Konkan area, the Saptokoteshwar temple has a chequered history dating back to the 12th century. During that period Saptakoteshwar was the patron deity of the kings of Kadamba dynasty. In 1352, when Bahamani Sultan Hassan Gangu usurped the Kadamba kingdom, his armies vandalized the linga of the Saptakoteshwar temple.

In 1367, Vijayanagar King Hariharraya conquered Hassan Gangu's troops and restored the lost glory of Saptakoteshwar temple. After a calm of about two hundred years, the temple idol (linga) had to be removed once again to escape the marauding armies of the Portuguese conquerors. The temple was finally rebuilt at Narve by the orders of great Maratha king Shivaji.

The presiding deity of the temple is Saptakoteshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that Shiva appeared at this place to grant the wishes of seven holy sages who prayed for seven crore years. This incarnation of the Lord is known as Saptakoteshwar (sapt means seven and koteshwar means lord of crores). The Gokulashtami festival of the temple draws thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India.

How to Reach Saptakoteshwar Temple

The village of Narve is located about 35 km from Panaji and can be reached by taking a ferryboat from the island of Divar.

Sri Devaki Krishna Temple

Location Marcel, Ponda taluka,

Significance Dedicated to Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki

Festivals Malni Purnima celebrated during January-February

Trivia The only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna

Andhra Pradesh

Sri Devaki Krishna Temple GoaLocated 17 km from state capital Panaji, Marcel in Ponda taluka is home to some of the most sacred Hindu temples in Goa. Among these shrines, Sri Devaki Krishna temple is of great religious significance. The uniqueness of the Devki Krishna temple lies in the fact that it is the only temple in India with the presiding deity of Devakikrishna, a confluence of Lord Krishna and his mother Devaki.

Apart from the chief deity of Devakikrishna, the temple enshrines the deities of Bhumika Devi, Laxmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyayani, Chodaneshwar and Dhada Shankar. Originally located at the Chorao Island, all the deities were moved to Mayem in Bicholim to escape the wrath of the Portuguese rulers. They were finally established at the present location at Marcel.

The idol of Devaki and Lord Krishna is the main feature of the Garbha Griha or the inner sanctum of the temple. The idol of Devaki is depicted in a standing posture with child Krishna between her legs. Malni Purnima is the most important festival of the temple celebrated with great pomp and fervour during the January-February period.

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