Photo Credit : John Hurd
It’s a huge temple complex at the foothill of Kavalem village of Goa. A small laterite mud shrine was built earlier and it was converted into a beautiful temple devoted to Shantadurga, the goddess who is the mediator of Vishnu and Shiva. The deity also called Santeri is the family deity of many Gouda Saraswathi Brahmins.
The present temple complex was constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Chathrapathi Shahu of Satara in about 1738 A.D. It is on the slope of the peaks of a mountain series, bounded by verdant vegetation. The three minor temples with other deities surround the main temple.
The temple consists of a collection of pyramidal roofs with a dome, the pillars and the floors made of Kashmir Stone, huge tank, a Deepastambha and Agrashalas.
It is a fusion of Indo-Portuguese architecture with pyramid shaped ‘shikaras’ rising on the roofs of the facade and the ‘Sabhamandap’, its roman-arched windows, some of which have the stained-glass window panes of deep red, yellow, blue, green colours, its chandeliers, its gate posts and the balustrade flat dome. The maroon-peach-white shade of the temple gives the temple a serene beautiful look. The highlight of the temple is its golden palanquin in which the deity is carried on festive occasions.