Shri Kamakshi Temple Shiroda
Away from the main concentration of temples, to the south of Ponda taluk in Shiroda is located the temple of Shri Kamakshi. She is a ‘migrant’ deity from Raia. Before the take-over of Salcete by the Jesuits, the temple at Raia was held in high esteem in the area. The idol was moved to Shiroda sometime between 1564 and 1568 AD.
Sri Kamakshi temple is originally located in Raia in Salcete Taluka. In Goa, the original location of Sri Kamakshi temple was Raia in Salcete Taluka. But the deity was subsquently shifted to Shiroda village in Ponda Taluka due to religious persecution by alien rulers. At a later date, the deity was shifted to Shiroda village in Ponda Taluka. Goddess Kamakshi is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. According to mythology, Shri Kamakshi, was brought from kaurang (Kanchi). The other shrines in the temple complex are that of Shree Shantadurga, Shree Laxmi Narayana and Shree Rayeshwar. Boarding and Lodging for the pilgrims are provided by the temple authorities.
The goddess Kamakshi is a form of Tripura Sundari, who in turn is a form of the universal mother goddess worshipped by Hindus. The main abode of Kamashi is the Kamakshi Amman temple at Kanchipuram, near Chennai, India and is popularly associated with Adi Sankaracharya. Other important forms of goddess Tripura Sundari are Meenakshi of Madurai, Akilandeswari of Thiruvanaikaval and Vishalakshi of Varanasi. There are other famous temples for Kamakshi including the one at Ramnathi-Santeri in Goa and the Kalikambal Temple at Madras (Now Chennai). The main temples of Kamakshi Devi in Goa are the Kamakshi Rayeshwar temple at Shiroda.
Goddess Kamakshi is considered to be the representation of Shri Vidya – Shri Lalita Maha Tripurasundari – she reigns supreme in Kanchi. The image of the goddess has been carved out of a Salagrama shila and the Meru in the temple is also made of Salagrama, believed to be consecrated by sage Durvasa who was one of the renowed Shrividya upasakas. Kanchi is one of the most powerful pithas of the Devi. Many literary and musical compositions have been made on this great Devi and many devotees have been blessed by her.
Legend is that the deity arrived from Kamroop Kamakhya from the district of Guwahati in Assam to settle in one of the Goa temples.
The place where temple is has an ancient name “Shivagram”. Of the smaller temples present in the complex there is the one dedicated to Lord “Rayeshwara”. People irrespective of religious faith and hailing originally from Raia, still venerate Sri Kamaksha.
This temple was originally located at Raia in Salcette and was moved to its present location in 1564-1568. The temple is located at Shiroda. It is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva. By the side of the main temple are shrines dedicated to Shree Shantadurga, Shree Laxmi Narayana and Shree Rayeshwar. There are Agrashalas surrounding the main temple that provide lodging and boarding for pilgrims.
At the time of the destruction of the temple in Raia by the Captain of Rachol, Diogo Rodrigues, it was a potter of the village who smuggled the idol of the deity across the river to safety. An event still acknowledged at Shiroda by a potter from Raia having the hereditary right to light the first lamp at the Kamakshi festival in Shiroda.
The potters of Raia also have the right to supply the clay lamps for the festival.
The Linga of Shri Rayeshwar, the principal affiliate deity and the image of Shri Lakshminarayana also came from other temples in Raia.
Sahyadri Khand furnishes the description of the goddess Kamakshi of Goa. According to Kamakshi Mahatmya, the demon Mahishasura swallowed a Brahmin boy named Gunakar,the son of Agnimukha, while he was sent tocollect the grass for the ritual puja. Though Agnimukha approached Hara and Hari, they advised him to approach Shri Kamakshi. Shri Kamakshi came to his aid and after a fierce battle killed Mahishasura. On Agnimukh’s plea the Goddeess took permanent abode in Raia.