Mother Jagadamba in Kavle in Ponda Taluka of Goa in the form of Shri Shantadurgadevi ! This is an ancient, spiritually active and famous temple in Goa. Let us understand Shri Shantadurga Devi and Her forms in detail.
1. The story of Shri Shantadurgadevi as in the Puran
Once there was battle between Deities, Shiva and Shrivishnu for some reason because of which dissolution set in. Deities, humans, Sages etc. made an ardent prayer after which Bhagwati Jagadamba manifested in a form with several arms. Pacifiying both Hari (Vishnu) and Har (Shiva) She held both of Them as babies in Her arms. ‘कृद्धौ शान्तियुतौ कृतौ हरिहरौ’ means Jagadamba came to be known as ‘Shantadurga’ because She pacified both Deities Hari and Har who were in a state of anger. The original place of Shri Shantadurga is Kardalivan, today’s Kelshi in Salcete taluka. The temple of Shri Shantadurga existed here till the mid 16th century. During the reign of Parshuram, He had gifted the village of Kardalipur to Lomsharma belonging to the Kaushik gotra (Lineage). He was one of the ten gotra Brahmans (Priests) that Parshuram brought to Goa. As per the Purans, Lomsharma is the one who installed an Idol of Devi Shantadurga there.
2. History of the temple of Shri Shantadurga devi
As per historical records, the temple of Shri Shantadurga Devi at Kelshi was constructed by a famous trader named Shenvi Mone. Thereafter the Portuguese in the 16th century attacked Salcete and razed the temples of Hindu Deities. Some devotees managed to shift the Idol of the Devi to Kaivalyapur, now Kavle, in Ponda. The exact date of construction of the temple is not available in the records of the temple. However, there are records to prove that the new structure of the temple was constructed between 1713 and 1738.
Sardar Naroram Shenvi Rege hailing from Kochre village near Vengurla in Sindhudurg District, a minister from the kingship of Shahu Chatrapati at Satara in 1713, was inspired by Shri Shantadurga Devi Herself to construct this temple. He had intense faith that the opulence he had received was gifted to him by the Devi hence he built this vast and beautiful temple at Kavle at his own expense as gratitude unto Her, around 1730 A.D.
3. Information on the temple
The beautiful and huge temple of Shri Shantadurga is east facing and has an attractive deepasthamb (Lamp pillar) in front of it. Facing the temple is a temple tank. At the main entrance of the temple, there is a room for musicians to play musical instruments such as the chaughada (Clarinet). The sanctum sanctorum has a dome with a golden kalash (Peak). The idol of Shri Shantadurgadevi has four arms, out of which two hold Deities Shiva and Shrivishnu. A 6 inches tall Shivalinga, made of black stone, is placed besides the idol. A temple of Deity Narayan is situated besides this temple. The main seat in this temple has Idols of Shri Narayandev and Shri Ganapati. A stump of the parijat (Night-flowering jasmine) tree is on the left of the temple with an Idol of Baravir Bhagwati and paduka (Wooden slippers) of an unknown renunciant. The rock stone of the kshetrapal (Deity of the territory) is located in front of the temple. Behind the temple is a rock stone of Deity Mharu dev and a small temple with a marble Idol of the first ancestor belonging to Kaushik gotra, Lomsharma.
4. Jatra (festivities) of the Devi
The festivities begin on panchami (Fifth day) of the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Magh. On shashti (Sixth day) at dawn the Devi is taken in a procession in a huge chariot after which the festivities end. Before the procession commences, the Devi seated in the chariot is worshiped ritualistically and a coconut is offered and broken by the temple committee. Every panchami in both the bright and dark fortnights are the days of regular festivities in this temple. That night, after a programme of narration of the Puran or kirtan (Narration of glory of a Deity through stories and poetry), the Devi is taken in a procession in a palanquin..
This great Devi who alleviates all sorrows, sufferings and calamities and annihilates the enemy, fulfills the desires of Her devotees. Hence Her devotee prays thus, ‘O Devi, please grant me prudence and alleviate all calamities in my life.’ In today’s period of distress, there is an absolute necessity to make such an appeal to the Deity.
Compiler : Mrs. Prajakta Joshi, Jyotish Phalit Visharad, Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay.
Prayer to be offered unto Mother Jagdamba !
‘O Devi, we are powerless, enjoying material pleasures we have become attached to Maya (Great Illusion). O Mother, please give us strength. May the demoniacal tendencies within us be annihilated with your energy.’