Goa’s unique flora and fauna attract nature lovers from across the world. What’s unknown is the presence of ancient forest vegetation known as sacred groves found deep in Goa’s jungles. The grove unites the village communities through common religious traditions. Some of the recognized sacred groves are:

Nirankarachi Rai of Bambar

Found in Bambar in Sattari Taluka, these sacred groves are home to rare medicinal plants. One cannot cut a branch from these areas. It is classified as the Myristica Swamp forest and is known to be in existence for 250 years. The villages of Maloli, Ustem, and Nnaode worship the deity Nirankar.

Holiyechirai of Caranzol

About 15 km from Vapoi in Caranzol, the rough 45-minute climb is tedious and not accessible in the monsoons. The trees found are Vateria indica (dhup trees) and are believed to be around 200 years old. Other varieties of plants include Pterocarpus marsupium (Kino), Dalbergia latifolia (Shiso), Terminalia paniculata (Kindal), T. tomentosa (Matti), Sygizuim cumini (Jambhul), etc. The temple is dedicated to Shree Sateri.

Sacred groves hold deep meaning in the local communities

Devachi Rai of Kopardem

The two temples found at the entrance of the sacred grove are Brahmanimaya, considered the presiding deity, and Betal, the smaller temple or rakhondar, who wards off evil spirits. Ancient springs are the source of water for the sacred tank. The unique characteristic feature is the luminescence of fungus seen on the forest floor on new moon nights.

Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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