Shanta Durga Temple
History and museums
Shri Shantadurga Temple is a large temple complex 33 km (21 mi) from Panaji at the foothill of Kavalem village in Ponda Taluka, Goa, India. A small laterite mud shrine was built and the deity was installed here. The mud-shrine was converted into a beautiful temple whose foundation stone was laid in 1730 and the temple was completed in 1738 and renovated in 1966.
The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. The deity is also called 'Santeri' colloquially. Local legends tell of a battle between Shiva and Vishnu The battle was so fierce that the god Brahma prayed to Goddess 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.
Shantadurga is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva. Apart from this battle, local legends often say that Shantadurga of Keloshi had gone to Sankhwal, a village in Salcette Taluka to kill a demon named Kalantak that was harassing the Brahmins. As a reward, she was given the name of Vijaya. The Vijayadurga shrine was located in Sankhwal along with Shantadurga and Lakshmi Narasimha but was later shifted to a place called Kerim in Ponda Taluka during the Portuguese invasions.
Shri Shantadurga is the Kuldevi (family deity) of many G S B (Konkan region of Maharashtra and Goa).H.H. Swamiji of Shri Kavale Math is Spiritual head Of Shri Shantadurga Temple.
The original temple at Quelossim (Keloshi) in Salsete was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564. The goddess was shifted to Kavalem and worship was continued there. The site on which the original Temple of Shantadurga stood at Quelossim (Keloshi) is known as "Deoolbhata" and it is in the possession of the Temple Committee.
The current temple was constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Chattrapati Shahu of Satara in about 1738 A.D. Naroram Mantri (Naroram Shenvi Rege) originally from Kochara village in the Vengurla region was a Mantri (minister) in Shahu's Court (Grandson of Shivaji Maharaj)around 1723. He obtained finances to construct the new temple for the goddess from Shahu. The temple construction started around 1730 . Due to his efforts, the village of Kavalem was bequeathed to the Temple by Shahu in 1739.
The temple complex is on the slope of the foothills of a mountain chain, surrounded by lush vegetation. There is a main temple and three smaller temples of other deities which have been built on three sides of the temple. The temple consists of a collection of pyramidal roofs with a dome. The pillars and floors are made of Kashmir stone. The temple has a huge tank, a Deepastambha and agrashalas (guest houses).
Many renovations have been completed over the years to the main temple and the temples of the other deities as well as to the agrashala. The temple has recently banned entry of foreigners into the temple citing objectionable dressing and conduct as the reason.
It is a fusion of Indo-Portuguese architecture. Its pyramidical shape 'shikaras' rising on the roofs of the facade (entrance hall) and the 'Sabhamandap' (the main hall), its roman-arched windows, some of which have the stained-glass window panes of deep red, yellow, blue, green colours, its chandeliers, its gate posts, balustraded flat dome, the maroon-peach-white colour paint of the temple gives the temple a serene beautiful look. The highlight of the temple is its golden palanquin (palkhi) in which the deity is carried on festive occasions.