Friday, December 16, 2016

Goddess ShantDurga Temple, Goa




This temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga, one of the most powerful of all Hindu deities. The main idol has the idol of Lord Shiva on one side and Lord Vishnu on the other. Lores have it that while Goddess Durga brought a ceasefire between the two, bringing peace to the world. Owing to this, she was named as Shri Shantdurga, which means peace in Hindi. It was built over a course of years from 1713 AD to 1738 AD.

Shantadurga is the mother Goddess worshipped by our countrymen since times immemorial. She takes various forms and shapes. In Bengal, she is the Durga, in Gujrat she is the Amba. She is the Dravidian Goddess who was incorporated in the Aryan pantheon. In fact in Goa, she was worshipped as 'ant¬hill' (roinn) by the pre-historic Goan people. The Shantadurga deity was brought to Goa by the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins who are supposed to have migrated to Goa from especially the Gaud region of Bengal, Tirhut (Trihotrapur) in Bihar. Tirhut, being the original place from where the deity was brought to Goa in the ancient times by the Saraswat community. These 96 Gaud Saraswat families who settled in 66 villages that is Sashi (Salcete). They built a shrine dedicated to Goddess Shantadurga at Keloshi a village in the present day Marmagoa taluka (then in Salcete). Her devotees began to worship her with utmost dedication. The Portuguese under the leadership of Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa in 1510 and throughout the 16th centure, owing to the conversion zeal of the government as well as the missionaries a kind of fear psychosis developed amongst the Hindus. In the Keloshi village, the devotees of Shatadurga were gripped by this fear of religious persecution. Hence, they shifted the idol of Shatadurga across the river in a clandestine manner into the Antruz mahal which was under the tolerant Adilshahi rulers. This shifting of the idol took place in the year 1566 during the infamous inquisition period of Goan history. The original temple which was rebuilt by Anu Shenvi None was destroyed and the idol of Shatadurga was shifted to a beautiful hamlet of the Mahars (Maharwada) who gave shelter to the devotees and the deities.

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