Situated in Bandora Villa, nearly 4 kilometers from the town of Ponda, the Shri Mahalaxmi Temple is known as the abode of the goddess of the Shakti Cult. According to Hindu beliefs, Shri Mahalaxmi is mother of all universes and gave birth to three super powers – Shiva the destroyer, Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver. She has been worshipped for so long, from the Shilahara rulers in 750-1030 A. D. to the early Kadamba Kings of Goa and in 8th century: many Hindu leader ancestors adopted her too.
Based on Goa history, the Mahalaxmi Temple was one of the many temples destroyed during Portuguese Inquisition. During that time, the Portuguese did everything to wipe out the Konkani faith (Hinduism), the heritage and culture of Goa. For 150 years of war, many ancestors of Hindu leaders where forcibly converted to Christianity or forced to leave Goa.
The Deul (Temple) was originally built in Kolambe Village (Colva today). Upon its destruction, devotees brought the murti (statue) of Mahalaxmi to Talavali town, where it was kept in the home of a priest. It was then transferred to its present location in Ponda, where a small deul was built in 1866. Several expansions and renovation have happened ever since its establishment, until it led to a magnificent Goan temple with impressive Konkani architecture.
The Great Hall (Mahamandap) of Mahalaxmi Temple provides a divine escape from some busy Goa attractions. It is a perfect haven to sit peacefully and interact with the divine. During early morning, devotees do their prayers solemnly. Opposite the temple, you will notice the light tower (Deepa Stamba), a unique attribute of Goa Konkani Temple. Around the temple, you will find guest rooms for pilgrims at low cost.
The temple displays 24 images and of the 24, 12 images are the emanatory aspects of the sect of Bhagvata. The images are considered amongst the several important Vishnu galleries in India. The appearance of Mahalaxmi closely resembles that of the Mahalaxmi found in Kolhapur. The specialty of the temple is Chowka, famous for its beauty and splendor. The temple’s presiding deity is Shri Mahalaxmi and other deities worshipped here include Shri Narayan Dev, Shri Rawalnath, Shri Narayan Purushram and Shri Baleshwar.
Every year, the temple celebrates Ramnavami and Mahashivratri. During Ramnavami day, the mutri in Colva is taken out in a procession while on the following day, both statues of Mahalaxmi are presented in one chariot and paraded in a large procession. On the other hand, during Mahashivratri, the statue of Mahalaxmi is taken out and carried by the devotees. The Maruti Jatra festival and Chaitra Purnima fest also pull plenty of devotees here.
The temple consists of three halls, the Mahalaxmi Hall that can accommodate 400 visitors, Rawalnath Hall and Narayan Dev Hall. Facilities included inside the temple are cooking facilities, fixtures, furnitures, chairs, utensils and other important facilities. Mahalaxmi Temple is open daily, from 6:00am to 8:30pm. The temple is accessible using private transport or via public transport as it is close to the capital, Panaji. The temple is worth visiting and can surely offer an unforgettable experience.