Shri Shantadurga Temple, Kavalem.

Goan Temples
Goan temples are unique and stand apart from other Indian temples in their distinct architecture, location, spaciousness, and environment. Almost each and every village has one temple to serve the religious and spiritual aspirations of the Hindu devotees. Both old temples with a rich heritage of centuries and new ones attract hundreds of devotees from all over Goa and other parts of India. Dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess of peace, this temple sports an unusual, almost pagoda-like, structure with a roof made from long slabs of stone.

Shri Devi Shantadurga temple is located at Kavlem in Ponda Taluka. This temple at kavlem is considered as one of the most important temple
, and is the biggest temple in Goa. . The temple was constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Shahu Raje of satara at the request of Naro Ram Mantri, one of his ministers in about 1738 A.D. There is a Shivalinga at this temple which is considered as belonging to the Mahajans of the surname 'Vorde' who are the Kulavis of the temple of Shri Manguesha.


The Shanta Durga or Shanteri Temple is at Kapilpura or Kavelem, in Atrunja taluka. This deity is believed to have been carried by Loma Sharma of Kaushik Gotra when the Saraswats came to Goa from Trihotrapuri (present-day Trihut division) in the Mithila region of Bihar.  The legend goes that sometime later, the Destroyer and the Preserver had a mammoth fight  at mount Gomanchala, during which Shiva used the Pashupati weapon, which could have proved detrimental to the entire universe. Lord Brahma, the creator, then prayed to the supreme Goddess Adishakti to intervene. She, in turn, sent Parvati in the form of Shanta Durga or Shanteri, Shantadurga stepped in as the arbitrator and succeeded in reconciling the warring parties, thus saving the universe from eternal doom. Hence she stands in the temple shrine in between Shiva and Vishnu (Preserver of the Universe) as a symbol of peace, who took Vishnu by her right and Shiva by her left hand and pacified the two.  A story in the Skandapurana speaks of how Lord Shiva, when defeated by his spouse Parvati in a game of dice, had left mount Kailash and gone to Gomanchala near Kushasthali for tapasya (penance). It is here that he heard the cries of the Saraswat Brahmin, Loma Sharma, caught by a crocodile in the river Aghanashini. When Shiva saved Loma Sharma, he prayed to the Lord to remain in Kushasthali. Similarly, when Parvati arrived looking for Shiva, she was also requested to stay at the nearby village of Keloshi (Kadalivana Quelossim).



The deity Shanta Durga, therefore, is shown holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva. Shanteri is then said to have gone to Shankawali to kill the demons harassing the Brahmins there. It is for this good deed that she also earned the name of Vijaya. During the Portuguese inquisition, the trustees of the Shanta Durga temple decided to shift the idol to Atrunja taluka. The temple has an impressive idol of Goddess Durga in a tranquil mood, flanked by Vishnu and Shiva


Description of the Temple
Shri Shantadurga Temple's walls are one of the attractions to be seen, since it is an ancient temple. All the three directions i.e the north, south and the east walls were completed recently.   The temple is well-equipped with Agrashalas and accommodated with modern amenities and many halls. In front of the 'Nayanmanohar Deepstambho' (the tall structures alcoves built in for placing oil lamps.) is a lake which fascinates many people. A distinctive six-storeyed deepstambha and ratha (chariot) with some gilt work adorn the temple grounds. At the entrance of the temple there is 'Nagarkhana' which is generally used for instrumental purpose (light music), which makes the atmosphere in the temple nostalgic. It is interesting to note that amongst some other features of the temple, the dome. The dome of the temple is one of it's kinds and is listed in one of the best among the other temples

The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564 but the idol was taken away safely to Kavalem where mahars or harijans took care of it for a year. Subsequently, it was brought to its present abode. A special feature at this temple is that Harijans are permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of this temple. The temple consists of a collection of pyramidal roofs with the addition of a dome on the slope in the bosom of a chain of mountains. Both the pillars and floorings are made of Kashmir stone. A Panchadhatu (five element) image of Shanta Durga rests in the 'Girbhagraha' with a six inch black color Shivalinga adjacent to it.

Generally during the abhishek (the auspicious bath of Gods with honey, curds and milk) of Shri Shantadurga, the Shivling which is kept close to her also gets the honors. Basically the abhishek is done at the same time for both the Gods.


The temple is engulfed with extraordinary scenic beauty. This land is very productive in terms of vegetation. The atmosphere and the climate is very healthy and the water here is very clear. 

Festivals or Utsav
This temple is considered to have a festive mood through out the 12 months. And all the festivals are celebrated with lots of enthusiasm. Listed below are the months and the festivals corresponding to it. 

Chaitra         : Ramnavami, Vasant Pooja
Vaishakh : Akshyatatya Palakhi Utsav
Jyestha         : ShriLakshminarayan Pratishtostav
Shravan    : Nag panchami
Bhadrapad : Muktabharani Vratostav, Anant Vratostav
Ashwin  : Navratri, Dasara, Kojagiri Palaki Utsav, Deepavali Utsav Palakhi
Kartik   : Tulsi Pooja (vivah), Aavali Bhojan, Navkaron Utsav
Margarishi : Palakhi Utsav, Aavali Bhojan
Magh   : Jatroustav, Khand Rath, Palakhi Utsav, Sarvajanik Maharoudra, Nitya Pooja, Mahashivratri Rathoustav




Shri Patt Pratishoutsav, Palakhi Utsav, Pournima Shimgo utsav


The most rejoiced festivals are when the 'Zatra' of this goddess is held. The Festival of Shantadurga Prasann, in January, involves a night-time procession of chariots bearing the goddess followed by over 100,000 faithfuls. In the colourful and dramatic Procession of Umbrellas at Cuncolim south of Margao, the same goddess is honored with a procession carrying a solid silver image of her to the original temple site.

The main gotras and their surnames

Kaushik Gotra: Harpati, Pisurlekar, Vaidya, Havaldar, Stalekar, Koppikar, Bhandari, Bhandarkar, Chinnarkar, Dhonde, Rege, Mantri, Nadkarni, Kulkarni, Asholdekar, Kudchedkar, Kotambakar, Talwalkar, Malkarnkar, Shirvaikar, Shaldekar, Hodarkar, Baldikar, Savardekar, Salavalkar, Suralkar, Sankordkar, Kholkar, Sankar, Varti, Shisani, Kundekar.

Vatsa Gotra: Varde, Valavalikar, Borkar, Bharne, Jakh, Sabnis, Aachmani, Khasnis, Pannavallikar, Kopalkar.

Bharadwaj Gotra: Pandikar, Pai, Paldikar, Gangolikar, Kalyankar.

Photos of the Temple

Temple Enterance

Shri Shantadurga Temple

Side-view of the Temple


Temple's Nayanstambho

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