Goa is considered to be a Christian state but you will be surprised at the numerous temples scattered across Goa. These Goan temples have a history also attached to it. As history goes, after the Portugese established power in Goa, many Goan temples were destroyed giving way to unique form of expression of western Portuguese Baroque. However, the Saraswat Hindu Temples in Goa managed to survive the Portugal regime. Uprooted from place to place, the presiding deities of these temples in Goa were preserved and worshipped, at times, even in the houses of the pujaris, till they were ultimately ensconced in their present day abodes.
GOA SARSWAT TEMPLES
Some old temples of Goa which are noted for their natural beauty and simple architecture have certain basic features, as in the days of yore, of being surrounded by betel nut trees, coconut groves and lakes of pure water. When you enter any of these temples of Goa you are welcomed by the sentinels-the great pillars of light.
Among the oldest Saraswat Temples in Goa are the Mangeshi temple of Priol in Goa, the Shanta Durga Temple at Kavele in Goa, the Ganapati temple at Khandole in Goa, the Maha Laxmi temple at Bandewade in Goa and the Sri Nagesh Maharudra Temple at Bandora in Goa. Of these, unlike all other ancient deities of Goa, the Sri Nagesh Maharudra did not move from Bandora (Bandiwade) even during the period of the Portuguese acquisition.
Atrunja Taluka in Goa is now called ‘Ponda’. It is a land of valleys and mountains.
An ideal abode for the Gods amidst coconut and arecanut groves, Phonda is full of Hindu temples, the Sri Ganapati temple at Khandole village being one of the most prominent and oldest of them here.
A peculiar feature of the Saraswat temples of Goa is the priority given there to the local Christian devotees who are said to flock to these temples. Irrespective of having embraced Christianity, many of the present day Christians still hold on to their pre-conversion surnames and still sponsor and support the deities of their Hindu brethren. It is a measure of how deep their roots run, despite all the Portuguese influence that had been thrust upon them.