Saptakoteshwar Temple, Narve (Naroa)

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The Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve or Naroa, Goa, is considered to be one of the six great sites of temples of Lord Shiva in the Konkan area. The village of Narve is about 35 km from Panaji and can be reached by an interesting route that requires a ferryboat from the island of Divar island.

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The architecture is very nice to see and ancient. its shallow Moghul dome mounted on an octagonal drum sloping tiled roofs, European style Mandapa, or assembly hall and tall lamp tower or Deepastamba, the temple is situated in an archaeologically important area. The surroundings of the temple are tinged with several Brahminical laterite and stone caves. In the vicinity of it existed a Jain Math, the ruins of which are still visible. It was probably an important Jain temple patronised by the Kadamba rulers before they shifted loyalty to Sri Saptakoteshwar.

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This is an ancient temple, Saptakoteshwar having been the deity of the Kings of the Kadamba dynasty around the twelfth century. Coins found from this era mention the name of the deity along with that of the King Jayakeshi.

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In 1352, when the Kadamba kingdom was conquered by the Bahamani Sultan Allauddin Hasan Gangu and Goa was under the rule of the Sultan for about fourteen years. A number of temples were destroyed during this period and the linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) at the Saptakoteshwar temple was also dug up by the troops. The original Saptkoteshwar temple was in Narve on Diwar Island ( Were u can still find a Koteswar Tali of 108 small Temples curved on sand ) build by Kadambas. after Portuguess attack ,chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora De Candelaria was erected in its place. than some devoteed managed to take idol across the river to Narve Bicholim where it was installed in a new temple. After that Shivaji renovated the temple .

In 1367, the army of Vijayanagar King Hariharraya defeated the Bahamani Sultan’s troops in Goa and managed to restore most of the temples to their former glory including that of Saptakoteshwar.

After the Portuguese conquest, in the year 1540 during the years of the Inquisition, once again the linga at the temple was removed and misused. Soon afterwards, it was smuggled away by one of the locals named Narayan Shenvi Suryarao and taken to a place called Latambarsem where it remained for 3 years. In 1543, it was installed in a temple near the island of Divar.

The Maratha King Shivaji conquered the area in 1664. On one of his many expeditions to Goa against the Portuguese in 1668, he gave the order for the Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve to be rebuilt and the linga installed in its proper place. The stone plaque mentioning this order can still be seen near the temple entrance today.

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In front of the temple towards the right side of the Deepastamba is a shrine of Kalbhairav and outside it are seen the padukas of Dattatraya carved on the stone. A ittle ahead of the Deepastamba are seen two huge laterite pillar-like structures buried deep. They may be stone henges. Behind the temple are carved stone walls with niches. It may have been an ancient Agrashala. Similarly, close to the temple there is a man-made tunnel like structure which is presently silted. Near the temple site there is a sacred tank known as Panchaganga Tirtha which is used for ablutions by the devotees during the birth day of Lord Shiva.

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The most important festival celebrated at the temple, attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India, is Gokulashtami which is considered to be the day on which Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to grant the wishes of the seven holy sages.

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