Friday, December 16, 2016

Lord Saptkoteshwara Temple, Goa




This is one of the greatest Shaivite shrines of Goa which has a chequered and turbulent history of more than one thousand years. Saptakoteshwar was the family deity of the Kadambas of Goa, and they honoured it by featuring the legend and the Shikara on their gold coins. The gold coins of Jayakeshi I (1050-1080AD) and Jayakeshi II (1104-1147 AD) carry the inscription. The temple was destroyed several times by the marauding Muslims and later by the Portugese. The Lingam itself is one of the most sacred relic which has been equated with that of the Kedarnath in the Puranas and its presence endowed on Goa the designation of Konkan Kashi. This sacred relief, however, had to be buried inthe paddy fields to avoid desecration and had to face the ignominy of being turned into the step of a well so that people drawing water could commit the sacrilege of stepping on it. This same mukhalingam, however, had the privilege of being venerated by two very illustrious personalities in the Indian history. Madhav Mantri, the famous general of the Vijaynagar Empire and The Great Maratha Hero, Shivaji Maharaj. Both of them, rebuilt, the Saptakoteshwar Shrine after its destruction. Though Saptakoteshwar is a Shaivite shrine, the Linga of Saptakoteshwar is considered not only the abode of Shiva but also of Vishnu, Brahma and Bhairava. Both Hari and Hara are present in the Linga. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on a grand scale in this temple. Taking bath on this occasion in the river near the shrine is considered meritorius. The belief is that the river becomes Pancha Ganga on the Gokulashtami day. Even in the 16th century large crowd of devotees estimated to be over thirty thousand would assemble and bathe in the sacred waters..

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