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Shri Kamakshi Temple, Shiroda

Shri Kamakshi Temple, Shiroda

Goa, for long has been known as the land of Gods and Goddesses. A land of faith, to put it more precisely ! The region is still identified with its villages, and the deities linked to these villages form an important part of the worship. The ancient Mother Goddess, possibly the first deity to be worshipped by humans, has assumed the identity of Shiva’s consort – Parvati. She, too, has taken many incarnations, which depict the many moods of woman, with aspects such as the benign, though evil-destroying Durga, her even more peaceful form as Shantadurga, and all the way through to her terrifying form of Kali. Goddess Kamakshi is another form of the Tripura Sundari or Parvati or the universal Mother Goddess.

In Goa, the temple of Shri Kamakshi is located amidst hills in the picturesque village of Shiroda and was built in the late 16th century. The village of Shiroda is situated in South Goa, 12 Kms from Ponda town and 22 Kms from the city of Margao. In the village of Shiroda, a huge Mahadwar or temple gate leads to the Kamakshi temple complex known as ‘Sthal’ or more commonly called ‘Thal’. After passing under the Mahadwar, as one descends the flight of stairs, the temple crowned by an octagonal, two-storied tower, with a golden Kalash perched on its Shikhar or peak, can be seen prominently.

The temple of Shri Kamakshi faces eastwards and has a large Sabha Mandap or the traditional open entrance hall. In front of the temple, one can see a tall Deepasthambh or the lamp tower. The complex also includes a holy water tank further in front of the temple. Inside the temple, there is a square shaped chowk, Gan used for conducting the Prasad ritual, and the Gabhara or the Sanctum Sanctorum with the deity, Shri Kamakshi in all splendour.

The Kamakshi temple also has Kshetrapals or affiliated protector deities like Shri Vetal and Shri Kalbhairav. Another shrine in the Prakar or precinct has deities like Shri Rayeshwar or Lord Shiva, Shri Lakshminarayana or Lord Vishnu with his consort, Goddess Laxmi, and Shri Shantadurga.

The palanquin procession of the idol of Shri Kamakshi and Shree Laxmi Narayan is taken around the temple premises, every Amavasya or on the New Moon Day. Thousands of devotees throng the temple for darshan on this day. In addition, the palanquin procession of Shri Rayeshwar is held in the temple premises on Chaturdashi or pre-New Moon Day, and that of Shri Shantadurga on Panchami or fifth day after the New Moon Day.

In addition, the annual festivities are held at the temple during the Navratri/ Dussehra period and at the time of Jatra in spring. The Divja procession held during the Jatra, wherein countless married women walk around the temple in the evening, holding Divja or clay lamps, offers a spectacular site. Read More+

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