Thousands of devotees lined up to seek the blessings of Lord Damodar as the 123rd Vasco Saptah got underway on Wednesday.
The auspicious occasion saw the influence Lord Damodar has on the devotees and the devotion with which people come to celebrate the Saptah, which remained low-key for the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Historical and religious significance
A senior journalist from Vasco, Anil Shinde, recalls history to delve deeper into the religious and historical significance of the event. "Around 123 years ago during the Portugues era, Vasco town was badly affected by the plague epidemic which caused several deaths," he narrated.
"At that time, some prominent families from Vasco travelled to Zambaulim village in South Goa to seek the intervention of Lord Damodar to rid the town of the epidemic."
"They brought a holy coconut (shriphal) from Zambaulim and kept it in the Joshi family's house. The people believe after praying to Lord Damodar, the epidemic died and Vasco was back on its feet."
"This is the reason Saptah became a part of Vasco and post-Liberation, the celebrations started getting bigger and grand," Shinde added.
Parshuram Shetye, a devotee from Vasco, said that Shri Damodar or Dambab is the protector of Mormugao and its people. Whenever there is any calamity or danger, the people of Mormugao turn to Lord Damodar, Shetye said.
Mormugao always banks on Lord Damodar
Citing some of the interventions of Lord Damodar, he recalled the Chikungunya epidemic of 2006 in Mormugao, 2019 dengue epidemic and the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
He said, "Lord Damodar has always blessed us and we have overcome all hardships. This year, once again, due to the blessings of Dambab we are celebrating Saptah on a grand scale."
Atmaram Narvekar, another devotee and a prominent person who has been performing rituals of Shri Dambab in Vasco, said, "Lakhs of devotees in Goa and across the world are happy to be part of the Saptah celebration after two years of gap due to the pandemic. Whoever has come to Vasco and has asked something from Lord Dambab has not gone home empty-handed," Narvekar said.
Lakhs expected to visit Vasco
Kiran Naik said that there are various events lined up for two days, including Mahaprasad. "Lakhs of devotees from Goa and other places come here to seek blessings of Lord Damodar. Over the last few years, we have seen people from across the borders come to pay their respects to the Lord and seek his blessings," he stated.
The Saptah, which began today, will go on for another seven days. Over the years, the celebrations have truly become a melting pot of faith and devotion.