Built in the 16th century, the temple of Shri Kamakshi is located amidst hills in the picturesque village of Shiroda, 12km from Ponda and 22km from Margao in south Goa.
On arriving at the village, look out for the huge temple gates (Mahadwar) that leads to the temple complex known as a “Sthal”, or more commonly called “Thal”. Once through the gate you descend a flight of stairs and the temple complex opens up before you. The view is dominated by an octagonal two-storied tower, painted in deep yellow and white as much of the rest of the temple is. The curveture of the roofs gave a very subtle hint of influences perhaps from China, although that just might be down to my ignorance of the architectural styles of Goan temples. There’s not a single tourist in sight, I’m not even sure this temple is that frequently visited by outsiders.
The temple faces eastwards and has a large traditional open entrance hall. At the far end there’s a tall deepasthambh (lamp tower), and further beyond a water tank. The far end I think is the original front of the temple as ritual bathing would be done before entering the temple.
An annual festival is held at the temple during the Navratri/Dussehra period in spring, where countless married women walk around the temple in the evening holding Divja or clay lamps. That must be quite an amazing sight, and a far cry from the deserted temple I found as the sun started to fade in the late monsoon afternoon.
As with all the Goan temples I visited, it’s immensely peaceful and beautiful with the lush vegetation clinging to the hillsides around. The air feels fresh and clensing, I’m never in a rush to leave these places.
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