Devaki-Krishna of Mashel

The village of Mashel (also spelled Marcela) in Goa holds a unique distinction: it is said to be the only site in India where Krishna is worshipped alongside his biological mother, Devaki. The origins of this unusual practice are lost in the mists of antiquity. What we know is that an ancient temple of Devaki-Krishna was the pride of the nearby island of Chodan (Chorão). After it was sacked by the Portuguese soon after their arrival in the early 16th C, the idol was squirreled away by the hapless villagers to the hamlet of Mayem. Eventually it found a safe haven in Mashel where it was reconsecrated around the year 1560.

To me this temple has special significance for Devaki-Krishna is the family deity of the Parrikar clan. Temples in Goa are a great deal more than just religious sites. They hold records of family lines and serve as repositories of socio-cultural lore. The annual festival (known as zatra) at the Devaki-Krishna temple is held every January and this year it falls on the 27th.

The first two images below were taken in August 2012.

Devaki and baby Krishna of Mashel, Goa

Devaki and baby Krishna of Mashel, Goa
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 100 f/2 MP


Utsav murthy of Krishna made of the stem of the Tulsi tree
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP


Now a rant about this photo of the temple, taken in July 2007: I have tried to mask the ugliness as best I can, but it is a tough task. The once beautiful temple grounds now present an unsightly look. The new Indians have lost their aesthetic soul. In Goa the fashion of the day is to take down old temples and replace them with concrete rubbish which is then painted in psychedelic colours not even Photoshop can tame. In those instances where alterations to old temples are undertaken, any hint of open space is plugged and the dwelling converted into a de facto rathole. I call this phenomenon “Tata Engineering,” a toxic combination of Indian ‘architects,’ ‘engineers,’ and ‘planners.’ The two key axioms of this tribe are: (1) Thou shalt never design anything fit or safe for human use, and (2) Thou shalt make things as hideous as possible, and then some.

Devaki-Krishna Temple at Mashel

Devaki-Krishna Temple at Mashel
5D, 24-105L

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