Goa is one of the most captivating places for vacation. The exquisite 125 km long coastline along the Arabian Sea makes it a perfect holiday destination. But Goa is also renowned for its religious attractions like churches and temples. Shri Bodgeshwar Temple is one of the chief temple attractions in the Bardez district of North Goa. The Bodgeshwar Temple is located on the outskirts of the famous town of Mapusa around 12 km from Panaji, Goa. The temple is accessible from both Baga and Calangute en route Mapusa.
Shri Bodgeshwar Temple is dedicated to the Kanakeshwar Baba or Bodgeshwar, locally known as Bongini or Bodgini. He is considered an ‘Angavani’, a deity who fulfills the desires of his devotees when they make a vow to him. Goan have all faith for this deity and they believe that their prayers will be fulfilled. They offer gifts and presents to the deity on the fulfillment of their prayers. It is said that Mapusa became a flourishing market because of the fair organized during the annual festival of the temple.
The Bodgini was a very approachable God sitting under a banyan tree. Goan devotees of any faith and religion would come to him with their problems and he solves their problems. This tradition continues. The Bongini is thus considered as the ‘Guardian of Mapusa’, protecting the town and its people. The temple was originally built around the banyan tree called ‘Bogini’ which was worshipped by the devotees. The Shree Dev Bodgeshwar Sansthan later installed the deity under the tree and it is this deity that is being worshipped for the last 26 years. The idol is in a standing position, a majestic figure with a prominent mustache and colorful turban, holding a staff in his right hand and a torch in his left hand. The shrine is made of marble with artistic woodwork paneling.
Even today, it is believed that the deity bless newly married couples, new vehicles, students appearing for exams and people suffering from some anguish. With offerings of bananas and coconuts, farmers and agriculturists pray for a good harvest. Business people visit the temple on Sundays and offer prayers for good fortune.
The Bodgeshar Temple stands in the middle of the paddy fields with lush greenery all around. The secluded, serene and calm setting is favorable to peaceful prayers. It is believed that Bodgeshwar still roams in the fields at night carrying his torch and protecting the town. Long ago the towns people used to place coconuts and beedis in the route where he used to walk. The beed is used to disappear in the morning.
In the Hindu month of Paush, the festival of the wish-fulfilling deity is celebrated with pomp and fair. It falls in December to January each year, mostly in the third week of January. Devotees from all parts of Goa and India and even foreigners, flock to Mapusa to witness and participate in the celebrations. The shrine is lit up with flowers, lights, and colored lamps. The deity is decked in the colorful robes during the festival. A fair known as ‘Zatra’ or ‘Jatra’ attracts people from all over the world to celebrate and thank the Guardian of Mapusa.