Rajan Parrikar Photo Blog

Brahma of Goa

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva constitute the Trimurthi of the Hindu pantheon. Of the three, Brahma the Creator is the odd one out: He has less than 10 temples dedicated solely to Him in the whole of India. The puranas ascribe this anomaly to a curse inflicted on Him by Lord Shiva.

The Brahma temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan, is well known. Not as well known is the temple at Carambolim (also called Brahma-Karmali) in northeast Goa. The idol worshipped here is an 11th C masterpiece of scuplture.

The Brahma temple in Goa was originally located at Carambolim (Karmali) near Panjim. After its sacking by the Portuguese in the 16th C, the idol was moved to its current remote outpost and re-consecrated. Later, in a nod to its original home, the area around it came to be known as Brahma-Karmali.

From: Socio Cultural History of Goa by V.R. Mitragotri (published by Institute Menezes Braganza, 1999)

p. 206
The stone sculpture of Brahma from here is one of the best specimens of Kadamba art. Like Brahma from Sopara, the stone sculpture of the Carmoli Brahma has a beard on the central face. The sages were supposed to have a beard. In this respect Brahma is similar to them. Brahma in his front right hand is holding chanting beads (akshmala) and the hand in the blessing pose (varada) and in the rear right hand he is holding the sacrificial ladle (sruka). In the front left hand he is holding ghee pot (ajya-sthali). In the rear left hand he is holding a book (pustaka). The consorts of Brahma, Savitri and Saraswati are shown standing on either side of Brahma.

Three small niches found in the intricate torana are housing tiny images of the deities. The central niche has Ganapati, Vrishabhavahanashiva is in the right hand side niche and Vishnu is found in the left hand side niche.


There are other ancient Brahma images in Goa worshipped in subsidiary shrines in the villages of Parsem, Virnoda, and Colomb. A striking Brahma head also figures in the museum collection in Old Goa.

The Carambolim temple recently got a complete makeover. These photographs were taken in November 2009.

Brahma temple at Carambolim in Sattari (BrahmaKarmali), Goa

Temple of Lord Brahma at Carambolim, Goa
5D Mark II, 24-105L

Brahma temple at Carambolim in Sattari (BrahmaKarmali), Goa

Detail of Brahma sculpture (11th C)
5D Mark II, 85L II

Brahma temple at Carambolim in Sattari (BrahmaKarmali), Goa

Lord Brahma of Carambolim, Sattari, Goa
5D Mark II, 24-105L

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