Shri Damodar Temple Zambaulim, also known as Shri Damodara Sansthaan, is a renowned Hindu temple situated on the banks of the Kushawati River near the village of Zambaulim in South Goa. This sacred temple is home to the celebrated murti, or image, of Lord Shiva incarnated as Lord Damodar, attracting devotees from far and wide.
History of Damodar Temple, Zambaulim
The Damodar Temple in Zambaulim has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the 16th century. It was established by the Prabhudesais, who arrived in the hamlet of Loliem in 1500 A.D. The Prabhudesais were rulers of the kingdom of Kudal, a village located in present-day Maharashtra.
Originally, the deity of the Damodar Temple resided in a temple situated at the site where the Holy Spirit Church in Margao now stands. However, during the era of the Portuguese inquisition in 1567, the temple faced destruction, and a church was erected in its place. To protect the sacred deity from harm, it was relocated from Margao to Zambaulim. This act of preservation ensured that both Hindus and Catholics could continue to revere the deity.
The Mahajans from Madgaon played a significant role in this transition. They took the initiative to shift the local deities, including Ramnath, Damodar, Laxmi-Narayan, Chamundeshwari, Mahakali, Mahesh, and others, to Zambaulim. The Desais of Rivona generously offered land for the construction of temples and provided Vatan, a financial support system that continues to this day.
Unfortunately, detailed records regarding the original construction date of the Damodar temple in Zambaulim and subsequent extensions or reconstructions up until 1885 are currently unavailable. However, in 1910, a small temple was replaced by a grand and magnificent structure, which stands proudly at the same location to this day. This temple stands as a testament to the enduring legacy and devotion of the community.
Architecture and Temple Details:
The Damodar Temple in Zambaulim is dedicated to the presiding deity, Shri Damodar. The sanctum of the temple houses Shri Kshetri and Shri Raudri alongside the main deity. A spacious Sabha Mandap (assembly hall) can be found outside the sanctum, and a special sangamarvari chowk has been created for pradakshina (circumambulation) around the sanctum. Facing the sanctum is the impressive Deepa Sthamba (Lamp Tower). Inside the sanctum, there is also an idol of Lakshmi Narayana. Adjacent to the sanctum, shrines for Goddess Chamundeshwari and Lord Shiva can be found on either side. The current idol of Lord Shiva was consecrated at the present site after the original temple was demolished by the Portuguese in 1567.
Within the temple premises, you can also find a Tulsi Vrindavan, a sacred garden dedicated to the holy basil plant. Additionally, there is a shrine for Lord Venkatesh, which was installed in the year 1910. A Saligrama, a sacred stone symbolizing Lord Vishnu, is placed in front of Lord Venkatesh. The temple walls and pillars showcase beautiful carvings and inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita. Some pillars depict scenes from the Mahabharata and paintings of other Hindu deities.
The temple is primarily maintained by the Mahajans, who are members of the Prabhudesai community. Accommodation facilities are available within the temple complex for community members.
The Damodar Temple holds great reverence among both Hindus and Catholics. Apart from the murti (divine idol) of Lord Damodar, the temple also honors Chamundeshwari (the fierce form of the goddess Shakti), Mahakali (the goddess of time and death, considered as the consort of Lord Shiva), and Mahesha (another incarnation of Lord Shiva). The temple serves as a spiritual haven for devotees from various backgrounds.
Belonging to the GSB community (Gowda Saraswath Brahmins), the Shree Damodar Temple stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and devotion of its followers.
Festivals of Damodar Temple Zambaulim:
The Damodar Temple Zambaulim observes a variety of festivals throughout the year, offering devotees and visitors a unique cultural and spiritual experience.
One of the main festivals celebrated at Shri Damodar Temple is Shigmo. This Goan Hindu spring festival of colors is a week-long celebration filled with joy and merriment. During Shigmo, the temple premises come alive with the Panair, a folkloric show where participants exchange gulals, powders of different colors, symbolizing the arrival of spring. This exchange of colors creates a lively and festive atmosphere. Alongside the Panair, devotees come together to organize various feasts and tablefuls, sharing delicious food and fostering community bonds.
In addition to Shigmo, the temple commemorates other important festivals as well. Rathotsava, Diwali, and Vanabhojan are celebrated with great fervor, adding to the festive spirit of the temple. Kartik Poornima, Ashwin Poornima, and Mahashivratri are also observed, bringing devotees together in devotion and worship.
The temple timings are from 5:30 AM to 9:45 PM, providing a generous window of opportunity for individuals to visit and seek blessings.
How to Reach the Damodar Temple Zambaulim:
The nearest airport to Damodar Temple Zambaulim is Goa International Airport, also known as Dabolim Airport, located approximately 54 km away. From the airport, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
The closest railway station to the temple is Margao Railway Station, which is around 19 km away. From the railway station, taxis, auto-rickshaws, and buses are available to reach Zambaulim.
By Road or Bus:
Zambaulim is well-connected by road. Regular bus services operate from major cities in Goa, such as Panjim and Vasco Da Gama. Additionally, taxis and private vehicles can be hired to reach the temple.