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 Continue reading “Goa: Visiting Ramnathi”

Rāmnāthi Devasthān, A Konkani Temple

Main entrance and Deepa Sthamba (light tower) at the Ramnathi Devasthan, Goa
Main entrance and Deepa Sthamba (light tower) at the Ramnathi Devasthan

The Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath Devasthan (place of God, or Temple) in Ponda, Goa is our family's ancestral temple. Millenia ago, groups of Konkani families settled in extended family-based communities in Goa. Each community had their own spirits, which protected them from evil and satisfied their spiritual curiosity. The spirits and associated deities also received gratitude for agricultural and female fertility. With time, these spirits evolved into a full-blown God. Ramnath was the benevolent God of our community. His two spouses (Shanteri & Kamakshi) probably represented the heightened fertility required for survival in those days. And we have our own ferocious spirit – Betal, who is responsible for ‘taking care’ of evil. Continue reading “Rāmnāthi Devasthān, A Konkani Temple”

Goa Snippets

When in India last September, I made a short trip to visit our ancestral temple Ramnathi Devasthan near Ponda, Goa. The early morning flight reached Goa before 8:00. Enroute to the temple I saw this quintessential Goan field, and had the driver stop. It was a partly cloudy day and the overnight rains had soaked through.

And to the right, this!

And turning back on the road, this!

This tiny store is across from the Ramnathi Temple. Even as a kid, I remember this “Maama” (uncle in konkani) tending this store. Years ago, it was a tiny metal box about 4 feet across, now he has a much larger, sturdy laterite construction. I make a beeline for those bananas, still hanging on the ghadaay. You pluck which ever you want. Reminded me of my abbu's home in Bhatkal. Such ghadaay were always hanging in the veranda, and as we kids ran by, we'd pluck one and feed the skin to the cows. Such fun!

Here's a close crop. Pick one.

© 2005 Arun Shanbhag

Blue Skies: Ramnathi, Goa

Fields across from the Ramnathi Temple Devasthan in Goa pic by Arun Shanbhag
Ramnathi, Goa: On every trip to India, we first visit our ancestral Ramnathi Temple in Ponda, Goa. On the cab ride from the train station, you are taken-in by the lush fields rimmed by coconut trees swaying in the breeze, beautiful bungalows on either side of the road, with folks just hanging out on the porch watching life go by, and cows grazing in the fields. And every time I think to myself, “I could live this life. I just need a small house, over there by the fields.”

We usually spend a few days at the temple guest house (Rs 40/night; approx $1/night) before moving on south along the Konkani coast. Smack across the temple was this beautiful rice field. I couldn't avoid the trees without actually getting into the field, so I tried framing the field with the trees. Enjoy! or as they say in Goa, Devu baren karo!

August 2002, Canon Elan II, 28-135 IS, 200 ASA Velvia Slide, scanned and exposure adjusted



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