Mahalaxmi Temple Panaji
As for Mahalaxmi Temple is concerned, the temple is definitely very beautiful. Being a main temple of the city, timely renovations and maintenance are carried out for keeping temple’s beauty intact. In fact the overall architectural beauty of this temple makes it an as much tourist destination as religious landmark of Panaji city. In addition, the huge idol of Goddesses Mahalaxmi - made completely of black stone and sculpted with four hands - has strong resemblance to the famous Mahalaxmi idol of Kolhapur. And this obviously adds to the aura of temple.
However, it is rich and engrossing history of this temple that takes precedence over its architectural beauty and also beautiful Mahalaxmi idol. As this landmark temple was constructed after overcoming immense trials and tribulations. In fact the trials and tribulations that this temple had to overcome have today become legendary stories among local people.
History of Mahalaxmi Temple PanajiThis temple’s legendary story dates back to 16th century, when few Brahmin priests from small Karwar town had arrived in Panaji along with a small marble idol of Mahalaxmi. These pious Brahmins had devoted their entire life to service of Goddesses Mahalaxmi and all they did for survival was beg for alms and donations from devotees. However, they got sniff of Portuguese government’s policy of religious conversion, eventually forcing them to flee Panaji. But, not before hiding the small idol of Mahalaxmi in a horse stable that they had come across while fleeing from Panaji.
This horse stable belonged to a military official working under Portuguese Government. His name was Raghavendra Kamat Mhamai. When he found this idol, he immediately became it's custodian and caretaker. To safeguard this idol from being getting prosecuted from Portuguese officials, he had revealed about this idol only to very close friends.
But, he had to reveal this secret to Portuguese officials, as he developed a special bond with this small idol of Mahalaxmi and hence wanted to built huge Mahalaxmi temple in Panaji after getting due permission from Portuguese officials. And to the liking of Raghavendra Kamat and also millions of Hindu devotees in Panaji, in year 1818 Portuguese governor Conde De Rio Pardo eventually gave permission for building a Mahalaxmi Temple in Panaji city.
The construction of the temples was completed in the following year itself, i.e. in year 1819 and the small marble idol of goddesses Mahalaxmi was placed inside the temple. Today that sacred small idol is kept in a small box very near to the main idol and is obviously one of the main attractions of the temple.
On a concluding note, it is apt to say that Mahalaxmi Temple is the most iconic religious place of Panaji city and deservedly so is also one of the finest tourist attractions of the city.