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Shri Mahalaxmi Temple

This temple is situated about 4kms east of Ponda. Mahalaxmi is the Goddess of power and strength. She is believed to be an incarnation of Adishakti and worshipped by the Saraswats who belonged to the Shakti cult. The special feature of this deity is that she wears Lingam, a symbol of Lord Siva, on her head. Many believe that this Goddess of tremendous strength and power, was released when the devas and the rakshasas were churning the ocean for amrita. The migrating Saraswats to Goa who had brought the Mahalaxmi idol with them, built a temple at Bhandawad village. The majority of the Saraswats, however, was then living at Tiswadi and Sasasti Talukas and had to cross a river and travel a long distance to worship the deity.

So they shifted the idol to Colva, just six kilometers from Madgaon and established another Mahalaxmi temple, on the banks of the Arabian Sea. Legend has it that she was a favorite deity of the Kadambas and the Shilaharas, an ancient dynasty that ruled Goa. The temple was moved from Colva, in Salcette taluka around the inquisition to save it from destruction by the Portuguese. The "Sabhamantap" or the main hall of the temple contains a gallery of 18 wooden images of Lord Vishnu, one of the rarest collections of its kind in the country. The deity is the Kuldevata of Kaushika, Kashyapa, Vatsa, and Bharadwaja Gothras.

The temple is considered the abode of the orginal goddess of the Shakti cult. The temple showcases 24 images out which 12 images are emanatory aspects of Bhagvata sect. These images are counted amongst the few galleries of Vishnu in India. The image of Mahalaxmi has a close resemblance to that of Mahalaxmi at Kolhapur. Speciality of this temple is its beautiful chowka which is famous for its grandeur and beauty. The Goddess Mahalakshmi was worshipped by the Shilahara rulers (750-1030 A. D.) and the early Kadamba Kings of Goa.

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