Goa: Visiting Ramnathi

Pictures of Rice fields at Ramnathi Devasthan, Goa by Arun Shanbhag
After celebrating Meera’s birthday, I make a quick, day trip to visit our Kuladevata (family temple) at the Ramnathi Devasthan in Goa.
The early morning flight brought me to Ramnathi at the crack of dawn. The temple was open and I paid my respects to Ramnath as “Dhool bhaet”.

From my earlier post on the Ramnathi Devasthan

It is the tradition at Ramnathi and other Konkani temples, for kulavis to visit the deity as soon as we arrive – even before we wash our feet. We leave our footwear at the door and with dusty feet rush inside to pay homage to our father protector, guardian and closest confidant. Akin to the return of a prodigal son (or daughter); our father wants to see us ASAP, even before we wash our feet. This first visit is thus called “dhool bhaet” (dusty meeting). Only after we have visited the temple, do we visit the office, rent a room, freshen up and come back into the temple for a proper service.

This early, the office was still closed. So camera in hand, I walked across the road to a series of rice fields (see picture above). The early morning light bathed them in an ethereal glow. I felt my burdens lifted: This is the life! I could spend the rest of our days here, and Meera and M would love it here

I wandered around and took a few more pics (see gallery below), enjoyed a relaxing cup of chai at the canteen and chatted with this local. When the office opening, I got a room and performed a traditional puja and abhishek.

Talking Konkani with the locals is always such a joy. I learn and notice new things on every visit. For eg, in Mumbai lingo we would have said, “I am off to pray at the Ramnathi temple.” But in Goa, we always say, “Ramnatha bhaetik aayla!” (I have come to visit Ramnath!) And “Ramnatha” is not uttered in a tone of formal deference. The grammatical form is that used for a close family member, that guy down the street, a buddy.

So it is our relationship with our Kuladevata, that of a father protector, a friend. To this Ramnatha, I poured the news of Meera, and the joy and completeness she brought to our family, and asked him to ever keep her in his grace.

My previous posts on the Ramnathi Devasthan and other temples in Goa:

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