This willfull destruction of Goa‘s cultural heritage has become commonplace now that the disease of mindless ‘development’ and ‘modernization’ has firmly taken hold. Exquisite old temples built by our traditional gavandis (masons) are being torn down to make way for hideous concrete designs, magnificent sculptures of great antiquity are being cast out in the wilderness with no understanding of their significance.
I remember the day I got to the beautiful village of Netravali (variously spelled Netorli, Neturlim) in south Goa almost two years ago. Feeling unwell that morning, I was about to call it a day but then I remembered the cardinal rule of photographers: take the shot when you can. I was to appreciate the value of that piece of wisdom on more than one occasion in India.
And so I quickly worked on the 4 ancient sculptures in the vicinity: Gopinath, Kalbhairav, Mahishasurmardini, and Ganesha. The glorious image of Kalbhairav out in the open forest was especially striking but it was backlit at the time. I resolved to return soon for a repeat session. When I came back a couple of months later, the idol was gone! A brand new one had been consecrated. I don’t know where the old Kalbhairav is. Hopefully, the Goa Heritage folks will retrieve it as well.
These treasures are said to date back to 9th-10th century C.E. from the time of the Southern Shilaharas in Goa.