maha ganapati temple at khandola

History of Shri Ganpati temple of Khandola.

The island of Diwar lying in the Tiswadi taluka today was considered as ‘Tirth Kshetr’ in the ancient times. The island is referred as ‘Deepwati’ in the Sahydhri Khand, which is a part of ‘Skand Puraan’.The temple Shri Ganpati was located atop a hillock which is called Piedade today on the Diwar island.

On 25th November 1510AD the Portuguese conquered a part of Goa from the Adilshah of Bijapur and the talukas of Tiswadi, Bardez and Salcette of Goa came under their sway. Noted historian Shri Vinayak Narayan Shenvi Dhume mentioned that in 1540 AD, the temples of Diwar were pulled down by the Portuguese. But on 30th June 1541, the First Provision of Law was made, by the King of Portugal to destroy all the temples of Ilhas.

In 1541-45 AD forcible conversions of of Hindus to Christianity were started in the Tiswadi taluka by the Portuguese. Hindus started leaving their ancestral properties migrated to safer places with their beloved deities. In the same year this deity was shifted to Khandepar in the Ponda taluka to save it from being desecrated and vandalised by the Portuguese and the material was reused to build other structures in Diwar.

The ancient temple of Shri Ganapati at Diwar must be fully built of stone like the Shri Mahadev temple of Tambdi Surla in the Sanguem taluka. Historians like Fr. Henry Heras and Rui Gomes Pereira have brought to light the ruins of the ancient temple of Diwar like the stone carved temple ceiling, the temple water tank which is still visible at Diwar today.

Later the devotees of the temple decided to rebuild the temple in Tiswadi taluka once again. However it was not acceptable to some devotees of Khandepar. Finally it was agreed to keep the idol in the village called Hindale in Narve of the Bicholim taluka.

As there was no deity in the temple of Khandepar, the temple fell in ruins. These ruins still exist in Khandepar. An exposed laterite plinth and some column bases of the Sabhamandap are left behind.

Portuguese officer Marques de Alorna attacked the forts of Bicholim, Sankhali and Halarn in 1746-51 AD. There was a fear amongst the devotees that history will repeat itself and deity would again be in danger if the taluka of Bicholim came under the Portuguese rule. Thus deity was shifted to the current place in Khandola probably in the same period.

The idol of Shri Ganpati had worn off as it was shifted thrice and was quite ancient and so it was decided to reinstall a new idol in the temple. The new idol was consecrated an installed on Magh Shukl Trayodashi, Shhake 1890 which corresponds to 31st January 1969 AD. According to the tradition the old idol had to be immersed in the water. But some strange incidents occurred at that time and finally Shri Ganpati’s ‘Koul’ was taken. Shri Ganpati instructed the devotees to keep the ancient idol to the right hand side of the new one and that his seat should be higher than that of the new idol.

Accordingly you can see that the ancient idol is seated to the right hand side of the new idol. This ancient sculpture probably dates to the 13th century AD. Influence of the Kadamb-Hoysala art is seen on the sculpture. This historic image is Chatur Bhuj (four armed). He holds a Parshu in upper right hand. The lower right hand is in a Abhay mudra (fear not pose). The lower left holds a laddu and supports the trunk. The upper left hand is mutilated and hence the attribute is not known. The, Prabhaavalli around is finely carved. One can see beautiful ornamentation around on its head. The image is probably carved of soap stone.

Another ancient sculpture from Diwar existing in the Shri Ganpati temple of Khandola is the relic donated by family of the historian Shri Rui Gomes Pereira. The family is originally from Diwar. There was a stone relic lying in the store room of his ancestral house. Not knowing what it was the family decided to put it to use. It was decided to use it as a weight for
measuring rice. But the stone weighed a little more than what was required. Hence the corners of the stone were chipped off. The stone still measured the same and th weight did not reduce and hence once again more part of the stone was chipped. However the same thing occurred. Surprised and astonished by the strange incident the family decided to give away the stone and another carved relic to the Shri Ganpati temple at Khandola.

When the ‘Koul’ was taken it was told that the relic should be installed in the form of Shri Kalbhairav outside the temple. The stone relic is worshipped in the shrine of Shri Kaalbhairav existing in the Sabhaamandap of the temple and also Nirankari. Within the temple complex is a temple dedicated to Shri Shantadurga and the carvings of Panchistans known as Gram purusha-Purvachari is in the `Garbhagriha’ of the Ganpati temple. In between the two temples, one can see the smaller temples dedicated to Mahalakshmi-Ravalnath and Lakshmianarayan-Suryanarayan.

Note: These details are as per the information that is put up in the temple and is compiled by Rohit. R. Phalgaonkar and Amol. P. Navelkar on 29th January 2009.

According to Wikipedia, this idol is of the same Shirali Mahaganapthi temple which is in Shirali, in Karnataka. But since the devotees were unable to take the idols with them, they invoked for the ‘saanidhya’ or the presence of the deities in the silver trunk of Lord Ganesha and the face cover of the mother goddess Mahamaya and took with them. They reached Bhatkal and being unable to construct a temple immediately, kept these two symbols in a shop of a devotee, of course offering poojas etc. Later on they could construct a temple in Shirali where it stands today.

Team InsideGoa
Author: Team InsideGoa

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