Mahalakshmi Temple, Goa

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.

photos of Mahalakshmi Temple in Goa by Arun Shanbhag
Deepa Stamba (Light Tower) in front and the Tulsi Vrindavan on the side

History of the Temple: Continue reading “Mahalakshmi Temple, Goa”

Sacred Places

pic of Dev Bara Karo at the Madgaon Train Station by Arun Shanbhag

It is sad that in India, places of worship are being targeted to achieve political ends, or vent frustrations. This is absolutely wrong! Temples, churches, mosques, and all other places of worship are sacred and should not be pawns in political movements. People should feel empowered to use objective fora to address grievances. Politicians! Make it happen and stop using these incidents to advance narrow political gains!

In an attempt to address the grievances, the Karnataka state government blames “the flow of foreign funds,” for conversion of Hindus into Christianity.
Continue reading “Sacred Places”

Portuguese Inquisition and Revisionism

Due to my heritage and interest in Konkani Temples in Goa, and particularly our Kuldevata Ramnathi Devasthan I have been researching books on the Portuguese occupation in Goa. During the Portuguese Inquisition lasting more than 150 years (1560 – 1812), the Jesuits made a systematic attempt at wiping out the Konkani heritage in Goa. Konkanis were either tortured and killed, forced to convert, or give up their lands and migrate. In a desperate attempt at genocide, all Konkani temples in older Goa were ransacked, wealth stolen and destroyed. It was the men-of-the cloth, who spread the horrors of the Inquisition, and later Anglicans who put political pressure on the Portuguese forcing it to end the Inquisition.

I have tracked scores of such books from the 18th and 19th century which shed a grim light on the atrocities of the Portuguese, all in the name of their God. In the midst of an enormous amount of historical literature, there are always the revisionists, trying to cast a softer glow on the Portuguese Inquisition. This one by an ordained priest takes the cake.

A few lines from his work and my related comments.
An Historical Sketch of Goa, Rev. Denis L. Cottineau de Kloguen (DK)
Gazette Press, Madras (1831), Reprinted pp 44-45
Also available digitized from the Library at Harvard College, Cambridge, MA; Pg 69 – 70.

Original text in italics is contiguous in one paragraph; my comments are in regular text. In this paragraph, the Kloguen is trying to defend the Archbishop D Alexins de Menezes.

DK – … Some acts of violence by the Portuguese agents may have been committed, both before and after him, but they are not to be imputed to him.
AS – Really! Everyone else is to blame, but not the Archbishop who actually had more power in Goa than the political appointee?

DK – It is equally false, that, followed by the officers of the Inquisition, he went armed with fire and sword, to compel the inhabitants of Salsette to embrace the Christian religion. The Jesuits converted a great part of them by the usual and most laudable means;
AS – Reminded me of the recent controversial remarks by Pope Benedict 16th: (from the NY Times) “… in Brazil, … native populations had been “silently longing” for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers.” The Rev is probably alluding to such an “innate longing” for torture and death.

DK – but in order as they thought, the better to detach the remainder of the inhabitants from worship of idols, they destroyed all the temples and pagodas.
AS – Much to the embarrassment of the Jesuits, many forced converts continued to visit temples and kept to their traditional Hindu ways. The only way to prevent this was to destroy the temples. How many is “all”? How many temples were destroyed in Goa?

DK – This however, had the contrary effect; and the Pagans, exasperated at this circumstance, rose up in arms, murdered five jesuits, and several Portuguese.
AS – Did the Jesuits really expect anything else? Note the choice of the word “murdered” when associated with the Jesuits and the Portuguese. BTW, when “all temples and pagodas” were destroyed, how many of the locals were killed? Smoothly overlooked. And really, when armed men go in and destroy peoples temples, wouldn’t you expect an equally violent response?

DK – The Governor then felt himself obliged to use arms likewise to reduce the rebels; and of course did not after wards permit the temples to be rebuilt.
AS – “reduce the rebels” here is an euphemism for “massacring the population”! And since when did the locals become the “rebels” in their own lands? Don’t the ‘rebels’ have the right to defend their lands, home and temples?

DK – But in all this, the Archbishop had nothing to do, and what is certainly better proved, are the good works and the pious establishments of Goa, of which he is the founder.
AS – Looks like he is an ideal candidate for sainthood, no?



My Posts Related to the Ramnathi Devasthan and other Konkani Temples:


Colva Beach – Serenely Beautiful

Colva Beach Goa sunset pics by Arun Shanbhag
On our visit to India in June, we paid a short visit to Goa. Starting on the early morning flight from Mumbai and after visiting the Ramnathi Devasthan, we arrived at the beach-front resort in Colva, early in the afternoon. We were so fatigued, both of us promptly fell asleep. The drumming of the heavy rains outside pushed us deeper in sleep. On waking up around 5 pm, and a leisurely coffee, we ambled onto the beach. The rains had stopped but the skies were still overcast.
Continue reading “Colva Beach – Serenely Beautiful”

Chai Time

Pics of two guys drinking chai at Kamakshi Canteen Ramnathi Temple Goa Arun Shanbhag

After performing the Lagu Rudra abhishek, an honor accorded the Kulaviis at the Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath Devasthan, I sneak away to the canteen beside the front entrance. They make the best missal and ussal paav. As I gorge myself, I notice these two guys on a chai break. Both were caught up in their own thoughts and did not utter a single word to each other. Prolly none were needed. Their mere presence supported each other. Continue reading “Chai Time”

Here is Colva Beach Goa!

After blazing a trail through mumbai, goa, austria and switzerland, we returned a few hours ago to an oppressively hot and dusty house. But I so look forward to sleeping in my own bed. Traveling is fun, but living out of a suitcase and washing underwear in hotel sinks, does get tiring after a while.

During this two and half week holiday, I checked my e-mail twice. Sorry, I haven't replied to all the birthday wishes – will get to it soon. And will catch-up with your lives as well. Hopefully, I didn't miss anything important.

In the meantime, a quick jhalak of Colva Beach, Goa! It was overcast all day and rained in the afternoon. But as the sun set, the clouds broke and we were treated to this beautiful vista. It was a rare relaxing day on this trip. Enjoy!

Young Couple on Konkan Railway

Less than 24 hours after reaching Mumbai, we left for Goa on the Konkan Railway to visit our kuladevata Ramnathi Devasthan and attend my nephew's Upanayana. The night ride is ideal for catching-up on gossip with cousins. Their wives (and M too), are fast asleep and we chat away in peace. Pics from our our earlier Konkan Railway trip.

When daylight streaked the sky, the train had stopped at Ratnagiri. There this couple boarded, with an unusually large retinue to see them off. As the train raced towards Goa, I chatted with the guy. Generally I asked and he answered. I wanted to know everything about them. He was evasive, but I persisted. Finally he relented, giggled and confessed they were on their honeymoon to Goa!

Later as she dozed off on his lap, they struck a cute pose.
Arun Shanbhag Konkan Railway
As she dreamt of a beautiful life ahead, he seemed preoccupied! With what, I wondered!

See this video of the view from the train: Video: Approaching Kumta

A closer-up.
Arun Shanbhag Konkan Railway

Basilica of Bom Jesus


From my last trip to Goa. The beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus in Panji.

The inside of the church. There was a small private service going on.

The crypt with the remains of Francis Xavier

The building across the street. The Convent and Church of St Francis of Assisi. Part of it has been converted to an Archaelogical Museum. The Tower on the right is part of the Se Cathedral, behind it.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑