The great Goan poet and aesthete Bakibab Borkar (1910-1984) was fond of saying that the beauty and character of Goa had a becalming effect not only on us mortals but on the Gods as well. He observed that it was in Goa that the bellicose Durga was transformed from her ugra swaroopa (warlike nature) to become Shantadurga, Goddess of Peace, mediator to the heavyweights Shiva and Vishnu. And it was in Goa that Goddess Kali the Terrible cast off her fierce mien to become the composed Kalika Devi of Kansarpal village.
The flagship temple of Shantadurga in the village of Kavalem is the subject of this photo essay.
The importance of Shantadurga to the Goan identity and consciousness cannot be overstated. She is worshipped in every village, and devotion to her transcends religion. She is held in high regard by Goan Catholics. In the village of Cuncolim, the Goddess is celebrated in the festival of Sontrio (Procession of the Umbrellas) where the Catholics actively participate in large numbers.
The original home of Shantadurga was located at Kellosim by the Zuari river in south Goa. Upon its sacking by the Portuguese in 1564, the ancient idol was reinstalled in the village of Kavalem. A new temple, made possible by a generous endowment by Naroram Mantri who was a minister at the court of Shahu Maharaj (Shivaji’s grandson), was completed in 1738.
Legend has it that India’s greatest philosopher Adi Shankaracharya came to Kellosim seeking deeksha from Gaudapada. Although the story is probably apocryphal, perhaps intended to burnish the significance of this spiritual centre, it bears mentioning that the swami (prelate) of Kavalem is even today referred to as Gaudapada.
I am writing a book on friendships during the 1930s and 1940 among women artists in the Surrealist Group. It includes a fascinating account of French poet Valentine Penrose’s many visits to India where in 1936 and 1937 she resided at the Sri Aurobindo ashram and pursued a lifelong interest in mysticism and the feminine principle in Hindu thought. She visited the Shantadurga Temple at Kavelem in Goa with the painter Alice Rahon in 1937. I would very much like to include a picture of the temple complex in my book (which is being published by the art publisher Thames and Hudson in London. I cannot use the image that was provided to me because the resolution is too low. A perfect fit is the image identified as Shantadurga temple at Kavelem, Goa 5D Mark II, TS-E 24L11. Can you point me toward this image and Rights to publish it. Many thanks, Whitney
One of the most beautiful temple in the world. Paradise on earth. A must visit for the faithful.
Simply fine photos of Shantai;
thnks a lot for amezing photographs of our kuldewata.keep up
expect much more ur fine photography.
Sorry for the mis-spelling. SUPER EXCELLENT! Thanks again!
Thank you! Excellent work!
ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE EXCELLENT.
HiManohar Bab – I chanced upon your wonderful photo essay and the music library a couple of months ago. Am dumb stuck at the vivacity of the subjects you present. Lazy as I am to give any feed back, this photo essay compelled me to pen this as it brought back strong nostalgia of Shathadurga deval & the rural environs which I intensely felt in my first career in Bank serving as a Rural Development Officer in Kavale branch of Syndicate bank two decades ago, then situated in the parikrama of the temple. One of the best memories I cherish is my learnings of the ways of the nature from the Dangar community spread in Ponda, Sanquelim, Palem, Savordem and Walpai area. Thanks a lot. Even now my favourite past time is to walk down from Farmagudi to Kavale through Nageshim early morning, whenever I visit Goa – our ancestral land.
Kavlem on a rain-swept morning. Beautiful!! Its amazing the little details that artists’ see and include in their work. Windows/stain-glass….frown!!!
Beautiful pics RP. Love the one with the greenery in the background.
Thank you for continuing to share our heritage.