Religious travel places in Ponda, Goa- travel guide

Read this article to know about the religious tourist destinations in Ponda, Goa. Read about the temples, mosques, the natural beauty of Ponda and information on how to reach and where to stay in Ponda, Goa

Ponda is located 22 kms from Panaji, the capital of Goa. Ponda has been named as the cultural capital of Goa by th Goan government because of abundance of grand temples here. Here are some of the major places of interest that you can visit at Ponda.

Shri Mangueshi Temple (7.5 kms from Ponda)

Shri Mangeshi Devasthan
Located beside a small hillock in the Priol-Ponda Taluka, is the Shri Mangueshi temple, dedicated to Lord Siva. Surrounded by 12 agarshalas (residential quarters) for pilgrims, this temple has an interior with illuminating chandeliers, that is rather church-like in appearance and architecture. At the entrance is a majestic tower which is a special feature of Hindu temples in Goa. There is also a sacred tank which at festival times is lit with lamps.

Shri Mangueshi is said to have manifested himself in response to the great devotion of Siva's consort, Parvathi, who practiced penance when Siva disappeared from the Himalaya. Won over by her ardent penance, he appeared before her in the form of a tiger. Frightened, she cried, "O Lord of the Mountains, save me" (Trahi mum Girisha) and Siva appeared in his true form, He is now worshipped here as Mangueshi.

Though the present shrine dates only from 1565, the deity is from a much earlier date, having been shifted from Cortalim, where the temple originally was, to Priol-Ponda, to protect it from destruction by the Portuguese.

Kavalem (3.2 kms from Ponda)

Shanta Durga in Goa
This town is famous for the temple of Shanta Durga. There are many temples to this aspect of goddess Parvathi in Panaji, but this is perhaps the most popular shrine.

Built in 1713 and dedicated to Durga in a tranquil mood, the main ikon here is flanked by Siva and Vishnu. Legend recounts that Vishnu and Siva, the Protector and Destroyer of the Hindu Trinity, were once engaged in a raging battle. At Brahma's insistence, the Goddess Jagadamba appeared and calmed them. Hence, she became known as the peace-maker, or Shantadurga. The ikon was constructed during the reign of the Maratha ruler Shahu Raye of Satara in 1738.

Mardol (1 km from Ponda)

Mahalasa temple
The Mahalsa Temple of Mohini — an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu — was built in 1567. Like many other temples of the time, this is the second temple to the enshrined goddess, the original temple being at Verna. After the Portuguese destroyed the temple, the idol which had escaped destruction, was transferred here. According to legend, the devas (gods) and asuras (demons) were once engaged in one of their many fierce battles, the bone of contention this time being the pot of amritham (nectar), which promised immortality to whomsoever tasted a spoonful of it. The asuras could not be allowed to win, because if they were promised immortality, all hell would break loose, and, eventually, evil would triumph over good. So, Vishnu assumed the guise of Mohini, a ravishing maiden, and, on the pretext of dividing the nectar equally between all of them, took away the precious jar of nectar from the asuras. Mohini is worshipped here.

The main festivals celebrated here are the Vijayarathotsava, popularly known as Mahalsa Jatra (February), and Navarathri (September/October).

Bandora (2.5 kms from Ponda)

The temple of Gopal Ganapathi is 1ocated amidst the picturesque hillocks of Farmagudi (Ponda). In October 1683, the Portuguese viceroy attacked the fort at Ponda but had to retreat with great disappointment when the Maratha king Sambaji suddenly appeared with his large army. The temple commemorates this event, though it was built only in 1966.

It is believed that herdsmen discovered the stone image of Gopal Ganapathi while grazing cattle and was later installed in a small shrine. The temple was built by Shri Dayanand Balkrishna Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of Goa, and is a good example of Indian temple architecture.

Shri Nagesh Temple (3.5 kms from Ponda)

From the archaeological point of view, this temple is important as it is the only one that was not touched by Portuguese vandals. It is dedicated to Siva (Nagesh). In front of the temple is an inscription in the Marathi script dating the temple to the year 1335 of the Shalivahana Saka, corresponding to 1413 A.D.

The Sabha Mandap has a gallery on both sides - where on one side has exquisite intricate wood carving specimens relating to important events from the Ramayana and the other side displays images of Gandharvas and Ashatadikpalas. It is said that the manner in which temple festivals were celebrated in the days of Chatrapati Shahu, the Marathi ruler of Satara, was indeed a sight to behold.

Safa Shahouri Masjid

Built by Ibrahim Adil Shah in 1560 within the old fortifications of Ponda itself, this is the biggest mosque in Goa. Adjacent to this are the dressing enclosures and a masonry tank with mehrabs. A huge garden once surrounded the mosque. Also within the Ponda fort is the mausoleum of Saint Ghazi Abdullah Khan Shaheed.

How to reach Ponda

Reach Ponda by air: The nearest airport is Dabolim Airport
Reach Ponda by railways:
Goa,South Goa,Mormugao
14 KM near.

Goa,South Goa,Margao
15 KM near.

Goa,North Goa,Panaji
16 KM near.

Goa,South Goa,Margao
17 KM near.
Major railways station connection to all major railway routes that go south.

You can also reach Ponda, Goa by road route.


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