Opening Pic: Maha Mandap (Great Hall) at the Mahalakshmi Temple, Goa
The Mahamandap (Great Hall) at the Mahalakshmi Temple in Bandivade, Goa provides a therapeutic escape from many of Goa busy attractions. It is a perfect place to sit undisturbed and commune with the divine. On this early morning, regular devotees went about their prayers silently and tourist laden buses had not yet arrived.
In front of the Deul (Konkani for Temple, also Devasthan), notice the Deepa Stamba (Light tower), a characteristic of Goa Konkani temples. Around the temple are guest rooms for traveling devotees at nominal costs.
History of the Temple: The Mahalakshmi Deul (see Tribute to Lakshmi) is another of a long list of temples destroyed by the Christians during the Portuguese Inquisition. The Portuguese made every attempt to annihilate the Konkani (Hindu) faith, heritage and reshape the culture of Goa. A genocide lasting more than 150 years during which many of our ancestors were forcibly converted to christianity, murdered, burnt at the stake, or forced to migrate out of Goa!
The Deul was originally in the village of Kolambe, near present day Colva beach. When the Portuguese destroyed it, devotees smuggled the murtī of Mahalakshmi (Great Lakshmi) first to the town of Talauli (aka Talavali, Talaulim) where it resided in the home of a priest. It was then moved to its present location in Bandivade in Ponda, where a small temple was established in 1866. Upgrades and expansions have occurred ever since. Today it is a magnificent example of Konkani temple architecture in Goa.
Mahalakshmi is respected as a form of Durga Devi, as described in the Durga Saptashati (aka Chandi PaTh or Devi Mahatmyam). Devi is an independent Goddess to whom the Gods turn for help in their hour of need. Mahalakshmi is depicted as the Goddess of Wealth and resides as an independent Goddess and not as a spouse of Vishnu.
My Posts Related to Konkani Temples in Goa:
- Ramnathi Devasthan, A Konkani Temple
- Flower sellers at the Ramnathi Devasthan
- Mangeshi Devasthan
- Sacred Places: Avalanche of Christian Aid in India
- Revisionism about the Portuguese Inquisition
- VN Kudva, History of the Dakshinatya Saraswats, Madras, (1972, 1991).