Ponda can be described as
the Hindu heart of Goa. It is famous for the five important temples
that are situated around the town, and also has the largest mosque in
Goa. Most of these temples look relatively new as they have been
restored after being destroyed by the Portuguese. That explains why
there are no temples around the coast, which was the prime territory
of the Portuguese. Ponda is also an important transport link.
Adil Shah constructed the Safa Mosque (also known as Safa Shahouri
Masjid) in 1560. The architectural style of the mosque is
predominantly Goan, with the exception of the arches that indicate a
distinct Bijapuri influence. The mosque has a beautiful backdrop of
wooded low hills that rise in the background.
Prime Attractions of Ponda
Sri Devaki Krishna Temple
3-km away from Banastari Bridge on Panaji-Ponda Road is situated the
noteworthy temple dedicated to Devaki Krishna at Marcel. The deity is
said to have been brought from Chorao in Tiswadi to Mayem in Bicholim
and then shifted to its present place during the days of religious
persecution by the alien rulers.
Sri Kamakshi Temple
About 12-km from Kavalem is situated another important religious
monument which is dedicated to Sri Kamakashi. The deity is believed to
have come from Kamakhya, Guwahati in Assam, which is her original
Sri Manguesh Temple
Sri Manguesh temple at Mangueshi in Ponda Taluka, the most prominent
among temples, is situated along the National Highway-4A about 23-km
from Panaji. This temple is famous for its pristine glory, which
attracts thousands of visitors every year and is gifted by the Welcome
Gate, an elegant lamp tower, a "Noubatkhana" overlooking the temple
tank and the "Agrashalas" on three sides.
Sri Shantadurga Temple At Kavalem
Situated at the foothill of Kavalem, the Shantadurga temple boasts of
a huge tank, a Dipa Stambha and Agrashalas. The temple was built in
1728 AD during the reign of Shahu Maharaj of Satara at the request of
one of his ministers, Naro Ram Mantri.
Safa Shahouri Masjid
One important monument left behind in Goa by the Muslim rulers is the
Safa Shahouri Masjid located at Ponda. Its greatness lies not in what
is left of the one time prosperous religious complex, but its ruins,
which vividly recapitulate the past glory.
Sri Ananata Temple
This is one of the famous temples situated in Ponda Taluka at Sovoi
Verem a few km from Marcela. This is the only temple of Lord Ananata
Sri Mahalasa Temple
Hardly one kilometre away from Mangueshi is the village Mardol where
nestles the temple of Sri Mahalasa. While it is commonly understood
that Mahalasa is a form of "Shakti", "Madalasa" or "Narayani", the
deity is also being worshipped as the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as
Sri Nauguesh Temple
The Naguesh temple with old scriptures on stone at Nagueshim, the
Mahalakshmi at Nagueshim Bandora, the Ramnath temples at Ramnathi and
Shantadurgta temple at Kavalem. The Ganesh temple has been bequeathed
to posterity but the temple was subsequently renovated in the days of
Chatrapati Shahu, the Maratha ruler of Satara.
Sri Navdurga At Madkai
9-km to the east of Ponda in the village Marcaim amidst sylvan
background is situated the temple of Navdurga. The temple is said to
be about 500 years old and was renovated in 1603 AD.
Sri Ramnathi Temple
Situated close to the temple of Naugesh is the temple of Ramnathi. The
deity is incarnation of Lord Shiva and is equally revered by both
Shaivites and Vaishnavites.