This temple was constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shahu Raje of Satara in 1738 after the original temple at Cavellossim was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564. The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the Goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. Local legends tell of a battle between Shiva and Vishnu which was so fierce that Lord Brahma prayed to Parvati to intervene, which she did in the form of Shantadurga. Shantadurga placed Vishnu on her right hand and Shiva on her left hand and settled the fight. The deity of Shantadurga is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva. The temple was very busy with people selling vegetables and household items all around it when I visited which you can see by the photos.
This is the oldest remaining mosque in Goa, one of 27 built in Ponda by Ali Adil Shah in 1560. It was originally surrounded by gardens and fountains but was damaged when the Portuguese moved into the area and all that remains is the mosque itself, a tiny white building on a stone platform, and an ancient water tank constructed out of laterite.
Ponda lies about 28 km south-east of Panaji and 17 km north-east of Margao. The 400-year-old Shri Manguesh Temple is dedicated to Lord Mangueshi, an incarnation of Shiva only recognised in Goa, in the shape of a Shiva linga. According to legend, Lord Shiva had manifested in to a tiger to scare Parvati. Parvati, who was paranoid at the sight of the tiger, went in search of Lord Shiva. Parvati was supposed to say "Trahi maam Gireesh" (O lord of mountains save me), but instead, out of nervousness, said: "Trahimangeesh".
The temple is noted for the pillars which are considered to be the most beautiful among the temples in Goa. There is a prominent Nandi Bull which is considered to be the Vahana (Vehicle) of Shiva. A beautiful seven-storeyed deepstambha (lamp tower), stands at the gates in the temple complex. The temple also has a magnificent water tank, which is believe to be the oldest part of the temple.
Ponda is the Temple town of Goa and the best temples of Goa are located here. It is the heart of the Hindu settlement of Goa. Many spice farms of Goa are also situated in Ponda. The main attractions of Ponda are Shri Mangueshi Temple, Sri Shantadurga Temple, Shri Mahalsa temple, Shri Chandreshwar temple and Shri Mallikarjuna temple. The Safa Shahouri Masjid constructed by Sultan Adil Shahi of Bijapur in 1560 is also in Ponda. There are also two wildlife sanctuaries in Ponda. Then there is the Dudhsagar Falls.
Another afternoon trip worth considering is a drive to Ponda to see some of its temples. You drive through Old Goa on the way so you could do both in a day. The main temples to see are Shri Mahalsa, Shri Lakshmi, Shi Naguesh, and the Shri Shantadurga...although there are quite a few others in the region. Whilst nowhere rivalling some of India's major temple complexes...the architecture and design are well worth a visit. Just jump in a taxi from wherever you are staying...no need for a tourguide, and much cheaper!
This is another local temple that we got to see as we were leaving the Ponda area. Set in the surrounding area of Famagudi near the fort of Ponda. It was only built in 1966 and shows a mixture of newer and older architectural designs. There was a stone image of the deity of Gopal Ganapati found near here which was later turned into a metal idol which is there today.
There is not much to see at this site as it is now a place that the Indian Army uses. However, from the road you can see the walled garden and a statue to the Maratha King Sambhaji. The Portuguese Viceroy attacked the fort of Ponda in October, 1683 but had to retreat at the sight of King Sambhaji's army.
The deity worshipped is an attribute of Vishnu (Mohini during the fight between Devas and Asuras. Originally, the diety was housed in the village of Verna which was to be destroyed. But the Portuguese in charge of the area at the time loved the buildings around the temple that he wanted it converted into a church. By the mid 1500's the idol was taken from Verna to Mardol.
The deity in this temple is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, portrayed in the female form. Unique to Goa, this diety was either Vishnu in disguise or and incarnation of Shiva-depending on which legend you believe. Mahalsa, which the temple is named, is a corrupted way of saying "Mohini", Vishnu's disguise as a beautiful woman. She represents peace to her devotees.
You walk through a large gate from the main street in Mardol into an open courtyard. Directly in front of this temple lies a unique lamp tower which is lit during the annual Zatra festival (Feb). This 12.5 m brass lamp is filled with oil and lit and is known to be the largest in Goa. Around the temple you will see various carvings of dieties in various positions and scenes. Behind the temple is a large water tank with palms and paddies beyond it.
The interior of the temple is made of a few different sections. Like most other Hindu temples the entrance "hall" is open and made of marble with large squatty pillars with some intricate carving. As you move farther the large carved doors open up into another outer room before you reach the main room. In the main, inner room this is as close as you can get to the diety. It is also intricately carved and painted scenes of battles and dieties surround the top near the ceiling. The diety is housed in another separate room which is only visible through bars. There is a table to leave offerings of sweet water, coconuts, or flowers.
One of the more prominent temples in Goa, this temple is famous for its Welcome Gate, and lamp tower "deepmal". Legend has it that Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva came to Goa in search of her spouse who had disappeared from Kailasa following an altercation between them. The Lord tried to frighten her by appearing in the form of a tiger. Parvati asked Shiva to protect her saying "Trahi Mam Girisha" (protect me the Lord of mountains). "Mam Girisha" subsequently became "Mangirisha" or "Manguesh". This is one of the few temples in India that is specific to a diety recognized locally only in Goa.
The temple originally stood in a secret location in Cortalim, and was moved to its present location during the 16th century. What you see today dates from the 1700s. The front light towers are lit up at night and the brass lamp tower is filled with oil and lit during various Hindu ceremonies. As you walk into the inner part of the temple you can see the elaborate door and wall detailing the closer you get to the inner sancturary for the diety.
The outer courtyard is very well manicured and there is a water "tank" in the front lined with trees. The outside of the temple has various carvings depicting other gods or scenes of battle or worship.
One of the areas of the courtyard holds the carriages that are used to transport the idol during parades and public ceremonies.
For a look at Hindu Goa, head to Ponda.
Mangesh is a deity unique to Goa, an incarnation of Shiva. The temple is typically Goan in arctitecture with influences of both Christian and Muslim styles. Worth a look.