Don’t miss the spectacular lamp procession at this 'zatra' in Goa

The temple of Shri Kamakshi, in Shiroda, dates back to pre-Portuguese times, and celebrates its annual 'zatra' at this time of year.
Don’t miss the spectacular lamp procession at this 'zatra' in Goa

The temple of Shri Kamakshi, in Shiroda, is centuries old

Gomantak Times

The scenic village of Shiroda is located in Ponda Taluka, and is approx 12 km from Ponda town and 22 km from Margao city. The most famous temple in this village is the temple of Shri Kamakshi, which was built in the late sixteenth century. This temple is dedicated to goddess Kamakshi, an incarnation of goddess Parvati, or the Universal Mother Goddess, and the consort of Lord Shiva.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The&nbsp;<em>mahadwar,</em> or temple gate, which leads to the temple&nbsp;of Shri Kamakshi</p></div>

The mahadwar, or temple gate, which leads to the temple of Shri Kamakshi

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Hundreds of lamps, light up the night and are a sight to behold</p></div>

Hundreds of lamps, light up the night and are a sight to behold

PIC COURTESY: Ramesh Vaskar

ORIGINAL HOME

According to mythology, the idol of Shri Kamakshi was brought to Shiroda from Guwahati, in Assam, her original abode, where she is known as Kamakhya.

The original temple of Shri Kamakshi was located in Raia, Salcete. Somewhere between 1564 and 1568, the deity was shifted to Shiroda because the temple was demolished. It is believed that a potter from Raia, accompanied by fellow devotees, smuggled the idol of goddess Kamakshi across the River Kushavati, and brought it to safety in the village of Shiroda. Thus, the new temple came to be located at Shiroda.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>There is a water tank in the temple premises</p></div>

There is a water tank in the temple premises

Gomantak Times

THE TEMPLE & FESTIVITIES

A large mahadwar, or temple gate, leads from the main road to the Kamakshi Temple complex, known as sthal or more commonly, thal. As you enter the mahadwar, there is a flight of stairs, from where you can get a breathtaking view of the temple, with its octagonal, two-storied tower and golden kalash perched atop.

The temple faces eastwards and has a large sabha mandap (traditional open entrance hall), as well as a tall deepasthambh (lamp tower) and a holy water tank. Inside the temple, there is a square-shaped chowk (where prasad rituals are conducted) and a Sanctum Sanctorum, bearing the beautiful deity, Shri Kamakshi.

The Kamakshi temple also has kshetrapals (affiliated protector deities) ie Shri Vetal and Shri Kalbhairav. Another shrine in the vicinity has deities like Shri Rayeshwar or Lord Shiva, Shri Lakshminarayana or Lord Vishnu with his consort, goddess Laxmi, and Shri Shantadurga.

The temple is decorated with lamps, lights and flowers on festive occasions, and Laxminarayan Shibikotsava, Kamakshi Shibikotsava, Rayeshwar Rathotsava and Shri Kamakshi Lalkhi utsava are important events.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The interior of the temple</p></div>

The interior of the temple

Gomantak Times

The palanquin procession of the idol of Shri Kamakshi and Shree Laxmi Narayan is taken around the temple premises, every amavasya (New Moon Day). Thousands of devotees throng the temple for darshan on this day.

In addition, a palanquin procession of Shri Rayeshwar is held in the temple on Chaturdashi (pre-New Moon Day), and that of Shri Shantadurga on Panchami (fifth day after the New Moon Day). The annual festivities are held at the temple during the Navratri/Dussehra period and during the zatra in spring. During the zatra, there is a divja procession, wherein married women walk around the temple in the evening, holding divja or clay lamps, which is a sight to behold!

The Shiroda Kamakshi Devi zatra is observed from Magh Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi to Phalgun Shukla Paksha Sashti. It is an annual festival of the temple, attended by thousands of devotees during the week-long festivities.

This year, the Shiroda Kamakshi Devi zatra will be held from March 1, 2022 to March 8, 2022.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>The temple of Shri Kamakshi, in Shiroda, is centuries old</p></div>
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