Temple Tour of Goa (India)

That title could be a confusing one for many Indians. Does Goa, a city considered Las Vegas of India, even have any visit worthy temples? That explanation might be even more confusing for foreigners….. Well, India has temples in every street corner. These are not important and are almost like a neighborhood deity. By visit worthy, I’m talking about having more significance than that.…. The answer is yes! Before it became a Portuguese colony it was like any other Indian town with its own temples. Some of those temples dating to 15th C CE or earlier, still exist!!! Here’s a small list to make you consider taking your flights to Goa not just for booze & beach…
Pic Courtesy: Vivo78 via Wikimedia Commons 

1. Shri Shantadurga at Kavale: She is one of the most common deities in Goa. She’s the typical paradoxical incarnation combining Shanti (peace) and Durga (fierce). Being a typical village deity, the origins is unknown but the temple in Kaloshi, its original location, was destroyed by Portuguese in 1564. The deity was then moved to the current temple in Kavale in Ponda. It was built in the classic style of 12th C CE. For several years after being moved to the current location, it was still in a makeshift thatched roof building. It was under Peshwa Raji Rao I, that the current structure was built. 
Pic Courtesy: Vivo78 via Wikimedia Commons 

2. Shri Mangesh at Priyol: After a darshan of Shantadurga in Ponda, on the way to Panaji is the temple to Lord Shiva as Shri Mangesh. Just like Shantadurga, the origins of this temple too is unknown but was demolished by Portuguese in 1560. The devotees somehow removed the idol from there and brought it to Priyol (doesn’t this sound very similar to what Malik Kafur did at Srirangam in 1300s and how the locals protected the deity Azhagiya Manavalan?!).  
The legend of this temple is interesting too! It is believed that Lord Shiva visited here and left a Lingam here. Ages later, a cow was seen to pour its milk by itself in a particular spot everyday (yes, exactly the same story as Dhenupurishwarar temple, Tamil Nadu) and the deity was discovered. 
3. Devi Mhalsa of Mardol: Like the rest, this too was originally in Verna and after being destroyed by the Portuguese was moved to Ponda district on the way to Panaji in Mardol. This one is perhaps the easiest of find when compared to the other two. Its 3 arches are visible from the highway. A very unique factor of this temple is its Deepastambha which can hold upto 650 wicks (lamps) at a time! This too sits in a location gifted by Peshwa Raji Rao I. 
4. Kalikadevi of Kasarpal: This deity is the community Goddess of Swarankars (goldsmiths!). Its setting is just splendid with the backdrop of hills. Ages ago, this was one of the most inaccessible temples surrounded on all sides by the hills. Later under the rule of Chatrapathi Shivaji, some sort of pathway was made clearing up a bit of the forest and later on, recently, motorable roads have been laid. The architecture of this temple is pretty different from the rest, and is assumed to be influenced by the Sumerians!
Pic Courtesy: Agawas via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

5. Vetal of Amona: This is a very amusing, must-visit site – one, this is a tribal God; two, he’s the playful gana of Lord Shiva. Some communities believe that he’s the reincarnation of Lord Shiva himself as Bhairav, the Lord whose carrier is a dog! He’s sometimes revered to as Purvasa (Purva Purusha who is a respectable elder) and sometimes scolded as Ajoba (naughty playboy)! The worship of Vetal seems to be widespread among various Tribes with the rampant prevalence of His stone images in the forests.
So, especially, if you’re a Mumbaikar, next time, weather you hop into Mumbai to Goa Flights, or do a road-trip along the beach, make sure you visit these places too.

Reference: Culture and Religious traditions in Temples of Goa by Kamla Mankekar (ISBN 81-230-1161-X).


An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.


  1. i have never been to Goa....now Iam inspired to visit

  2. Beautiful! Yes, Goa has many nice temples, and I have visited a few, too. Goa surprises you on every visit. It's much more than beaches and parties.

  3. What is lingam? I love to read legends like that, so fascinating! Your articles are always bringing my memories back to india, thanks for sharing this uniwun culture.

  4. With new family members now based in India (specifically, Mumbai) I now have a thirst for visiting them. I've been recommended Goa by a few friends as a place to visit for some time on my own, but they just hit the beach and couldn't recommend cultural things to do (my favourite thing to do), so your post is perfect for me and I've saved it for later!

  5. I'm convinced I need to visit India! It looks like such a place full of culture and history!

  6. I have never been to Goa but it's great to know that there are some more significant temples there. I'd love to see all of these, the story of how many were destroyed and then have been rebuilt is very interesting.

  7. The temples in India look very unusual for a European eye. I think I would be stuck in the area trying to photograph everything. (but mainly, I would go Goa for parties)

  8. If I would have an opportunity to visit Goa, I would not forget these places. They seems sacred and I could feel a good vibe on this.

  9. I really dream about traveling to India. Maybe someday I will be able to do it :) So far, reading travel blogs and watching photos remains.

  10. Great insight to Goa, beautiful place and always been somewhere I wanted to go. Such an interesting place


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