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The island of Divar is famed for Bonderam, the festival held on the river island on the fourth Saturday of the month of August. Bonderam means the 'festival of flags'. The mock battle to commemorate the property wars that took place here over a century ago and its Indo Portuguese architecture are the festival's highlights.
The story of old Goa begins at a rather modest shrine of Shri Gomanteshwar up in the hills at a distance from the river. The city moved to the banks of the River Mandovi (then called the Gomti) at the end of Kadamba rule. Royal life than revolved around the Saptakoteshwar Temple (where the church of Our Lady of Divine Providence stands today) until the Deccan sultans made it their capital and called it Ela. The Portuguese wrestled it from Adil Shah and began building “The Rome of the East” with churches, chapels, markets, houses and a bustling trading post. The city fell to disease and economic ruin as a consequence of religious persecution and the capital moved to Nova Goa or Pangim (Panaji) in the middle of the 19th century.
3. PANAJI – THE CAPITAL
The only thing that distinguishes Panjim from any other city in India is the 7 km long promenade, built on a planned grid system with a unique storm drain system and perhaps the only city in India that has relocated stone by stone from the capital that fell to disease and ruination. The architectural styles vary from the Goan Domestic Indian Art Deco, Indo European, and Indian Baroque to British Colonial. This place has art combined with functionality. Apart from its architectural wealth the city has a deep treasure chest of cultural patterns and traditions.
4. SANTANA CHURCH, TELAULIM
One of the five models which all the churches and chapels followed, this one perhaps is the most fascinating church of all. It was dedicated to St Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary after she was supposed to have appeared to the locals in the form of an old lady wearing a hat and holding a staff in hand.
5. SAPTAKOTESHWAR TEMPLE AT NARVA, BICHOLIM
Originally located on the island of Divar in the hamlet of Narva since construction by the Kadamba Queen Kamladevi in 1155 A.D, it was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1541 when the deity was shifted across the river to New Narva Bicholim. Shivaji renovated this temple in 1668.
6. MAN MADE CAVE, KUNDAIM
This cave may have been a pre-historic shrine in active worship once. A state protected monument today, its survival hangs in a balance on the edge of a highway.
7. KHANDEPAR CAVES
This cave may have been a pre-historic shrine in active worship once and is now a state protected monument.
8. SAFA MASJID, PONDA
This mosque was built by Ibrahim Adil Shah of Bijapur. Adjacent to the mosque is a well constructed masonary tank with small dressing chambers with Mihrab designs.
9. SHRI BRAHMANI TEMPLE, TOLDEM, SANGUEM
This temple is dated in the 12th century and has been built in the Hoysala or Kadamba temple style of architecture. There are some erotic sculptures on the walls of the temple and some Graeco Persian mythical figures, animals, birds, etc.
10. SHRI MAHADEV TEMPLE, TAMBDI SURLA
This temple standing in the midst of a dense forest may date back in the 12th or 13th century A.D. It was built of black basalt stone masonry with no mortar used for bonding and has monolithic pillars. Facing the east the temple is raised on a plainly moulded plinth.
11. BHAGWAN MAHAVEER SANCTUARY, MOLEM
Besides being a good birding site the sanctuary also has a cluster of pre-Aryan homes.
12.UNDERGROUND CHAMBERS OF CHICALIM
Three underground chambers were found at Chicalim with megalithic potsherds.
13. CAVES AND CAVERNS AT ISSORCEM, HOLLANT, VASCO
These caves are obviously man made but vertical to the ground. Cave dwellers probably suspended themselves into their rock homes with vines and then covered the entrance hole with circular discs at night.
14. MARGAO (MADGOAN)
Once named Mathagram either after the ‘mutt’ or temple complex located where the main church stands today or after the ‘madvals’ or washer men who dominated the village, Margao has a model church and some fascinating Goan houses.
15. CHANDOR HERITAGE, VILLAGE
Visit Our Lady of Belem Church for period furniture and statuary, the twin mansions of the Braganza-Pereira families and the heritage home of Sara Fernandes for a look and feel of Goa’s colonial past. You can see Goa’s oldest fort wall – the ruins of the 11th century Shiva temple dating to the Kadamba Periods.
16. SANGAMESHWAR ISLAND SHRINE, SANGUEM
This shrine is located on a stone slab in the middle of the meeting of the three rivers, the Kushavati, Sanguem and Guleli. The confluence of three rivers has always been sacred in India.
17. SANGUEM CAVES
These caves are significant as they function as regular dwellings, unlike the other caves that are Buddhist and Jain colonies meant for offering shelter during the monsoons. They have architectural, archaeological and historic value and are located in the Sanguem town.
18. SHRI CHANDRESHWAR BHUTNATH, NEAR PARODA
One of the few temples that still stands on its original ground, the original dates to the Bhoj Dynasty in the 6th-7th century A.D. It was rebuilt by the Kadamba Dynasty in the 11th century.
19. PALACIO DE DEAO, QUEPEM
Originally the residence of the Dean, this palace has been restored and is open to the public.
20. SHRI MAHADEO TEMPLE,(CURDI), XELPEM, SALAULIM
This 10th century Shiva temple was shifted from its original home to Curdi and rebuilt at an alternate site when it was threatened by submergence in the Salaulim Dam project.
21. SHRI DAMODAR TEMPLE, ZAMBAULIM
Famed for its annual Pink Gulal festival, the original deity was moved from Margao to Zambaulim in the 16th century for fear of religious prosecution during Portuguese rule. It is located on the banks of the Kushawati River.
22. BUDDHIST CAVES
Often called Pandava Caves, these are the few vestiges of Goa’s past Buddhist presence when monks would seek sanctity from their austere lives as wandering mendicants and camp in caves for the monsoons. There is an underground cave with a well here too.
23. SHRI VIMLESHWAR TEMPLE, RIVONA, SANGUEM
This temple was built by the Rivona Comunidade or ‘gaunkari’, an ancient system of co- operative farming and is a symbol of community participation.
24. PETROGLYPHS AT PANSAIMOL, VICHUNDREM, SANGUEM
This beautiful site on the banks of the Kushavati River is perhaps one of the early expressions of art and culture in Goa. Rock carving found here are believed to depict symbols of the fertility cult and religious cosmology.
25. ROCK ART AT KAJUR, QUEPEM
These relatively unknown petro glyphs belongs to the same family as those discovered on the banks of the Kushavati River.
26. SHRI PAIKA PANN SACRED GROVE, NAIQUINIM, SANGUEM
This temple complex is dedicated to the Goddess Mahisasurmardini and is located in a sacred grove. It was built at the height of the Shivite cult.
27. SHRI NARAYANDEV DEVASTHAN TEMPLE, VICHUNDREM, SANGUEM
The temple is dated to the 11th century and this deity is particularly worshipped by Vaishanavaties. The frame surrounding Shri Narayandev is exquisitely carved showcasing the ‘dashavatars’ or ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
28. SHRI GOPINATH TEMPLE, BUDBUDANCHE TOLLEM, NETURLI
The original idol of Lord Gopinath (Krishna) dates to 9th – 10th century. It was originally built keeping the concept of ‘devghar’ or God’s house. Located on a temple tank where water bubbles up to the surface every few seconds, this temple has been recently rebuilt.
29. CABO DA RAMA, CANACONA
Built by the Soundekar kings towards the end of the 16th century, this magnificent monument has a moat, a fantastic view of the sea and two freshwater tanks. The ramps were meant for elephants and horses. This was locally called Ramachem Bhursir. Later taken over by the Portuguese in 1764, its name was changed to Cabo de Rama.
30. COTIGAO WILDLIFE SANTUARY
Kuskem Waterfall may be seen in the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary in Canacona Taluka. You can also see the ruins of ancient temples in this tiny village of Kuskem.
31. SHRI BETAAL TEMPLE, PAINGUINIM, CANACONA
Dedicated to a pre-Aryan deity, this temple displays rare endangered Kaavi art.
32. SHRI PARSHURAM TEMPLE, PAINGUINIM, CANACONA
This temple is dedicated to the legendary Vaishnavite deity of Goa. It displays rare endangered Kaavi art.