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Goa Architecture

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The Temple architecture of Goa is a synthesis of various styles and is an amalgamation of the Northern Style and the Deccani style. During the Portuguese regime all the temples in the Old Conquest areas were destroyed. We thus have no old temples there. In the "New Conquest" areas, however, there are remains of some very old temples.

Curdi Temple:
Goa ArchitectureThe Shiva Temple at Curdi and Nundem in Songue Taluka belong to the 6th or 7th century. They are the oldest temples found in Goa. The rectangular Curdi Temple is in the Silahara style and is built of later-ite stone. There is an open hall at the entrance with the sanctum at the back surmounted by a pyramidical Shikara. The open hall is supported by granite pillars with capitals having carved circular rings. The sanctum doorway is of granite ornamented with creepers and flowers. A Ganesh image adorns the middle of top of the sanctum's doorway. The ceiling of the open hall has a pendant in Lotus design. The Temple is surrounded by wild growth of bamboo and banyan trees. The Nundem Temple is belonging to the same period and is also built of laterite stone. The Shilakara of this Temple is also pyramidical.

The rock-cut caves of Goa are older than these Temples. The Arvalem Caves have been excavated in a hillside overlooking a ravine with a stream flowing though it. There are three big caves and some smaller ones. One of the three big caves has three chambers. The roof of these chambers is supported by square pillars cut out of the laterite rock. The shrine has a stone Linga. The Shivalinga has a circular top. This is the Northernmost Cave. The Central Cave has a triple shrine sanctum. There are four square pillars supporting the front chamber. The Northern Shrine has a Linga which has four mouldings consisting of a tetragonal base, after which the Linga is pentagonal, then rectangular and finally surmounted by a circular disc. The Central Shrine Linga has a square base with a cylindrical top. The last Shrine towards the South resembles linga in the Northernmost shrine of this Cave except that the top moulding is in the shape of a spear. The Southernmost Cave is an oblong room with a cylindrical Linga narrowing at the top in the sanctum. There arc Caves also at Revona. One of them is a small entrance leading to a larger room. Another Cave is much bigger oval shaped room. Its entrance is a natural arch. At one of the Cave is a platform. While the smaller Cave has its own well, the larger one has a big water tank. Surla village in Dickoli Taluka has a cave temple with three entrances leading to an oblong rectangular room which leads to the square sanctum through a door carved in the laterite rock. The cylindrical Linga in the sanctum has a curved grooved top. The Cave is very old and earlier than the Arvalem and Rivona Caves. The temple is known as Sideshwar.

Mangesh Temple:
Mangesh templeThe Mangesh Temple is one of the most famous temples of Goa. It is situated on the Panaji-Ponda road in Priol town. The temple was originally at Cortalem. When the Portuguese conquered Sal-cete, they started destroying the Hindu Temples. Around 1565, the deity was shifted from Cortalem to its present site. The temple is entered through the main gate. We have the Deepstambh which is sever storeyed high. There is a sacred water tank. On Festival days, the water tank is lit up with oil lamps which cast a beautiful reflection in the waters of the tank. The temple has an open space of 8886 square meters around the constructed area of 2871 square meters. There is a big assembly hall, a drum chamber and the inner sanctum which houses the Linga. The Linga is adorned with a gold or silver facial plaque and ornaments at Puja time. To the right of the Linga is a stone image of Lord Ganesh and on the left of Bhagavati. Under the drum chamber is an image of Kalbbairva facing the sanctum. Mangesh Temple served as a marriage place in addition to being a place of worship. The Portuguese had forbidden Hindu customs to be performed in their territory. Thus, the temples outside the 'Old Conquesf area served as marriage halls. This temple can cater to wedding feasts and has accomodation for the guests. The Temple has its own priests, lamp lighters, musicians who recite the Puranas, and the Bhavins who sing and dance for the devotees and the gods. Most of the buildings of the Temple belong to the eighteenth century including the Deepasthambh. The temple has the characteristic sloping roof along with the dome.

Shanta Durga Temple:
Shanta Durga TempleThe Santa-Durga Temple is near Queula village near Ponda. The area is very picturesque with a lot of trees and greenary surrounding the Temple completely. Like most other temples in Goa, the image of Santa Durga was shifted from Quelossim in Mormugoa Taluka. This Temple was damaged by the Portuguese in 1567 and the deity was shifted to its present site and a small Temple built the same year. Sardar Naro Ram, a Minister of Shahu's court built in 1740 the spacious temple as we see it today. One feature of this Temple is the prayer which can be said for a very small fee for the poor. This is perhaps a legacy from the days of Sardar Naro Ram. There is a compound wall surrounding the Temple. A huge gate with a drum chamber on the top is the entrance to the Temple. There is a Deepastambha in the courtyard. The Temple has an entrance chamber leading to the assembly hall and a sanctum. The pillars and panels of the assembly hall are beautifully decorated. A silver lined door leads to the sanctum which has a dome surmounting it. Under a silver canopy is the deity in a sitting position. There is a sacred tank. and other single storeyed buildings to house the pilgrims.

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