Shree Lairai Devi Devasthan, Shirgao

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Shirgao is the holy place of goddess Lairai devi ( श्री लइराई ), Its very old and famous temple. The annual jatra (festival) associated with this shrine features unusual customs and rituals drawn from the area’s tribal past.

Lairai-devi and Milagres Saibinn (Virgin Mary) of nearby Mapusa are recognized as sisters by Goan Hindus and Catholics, an illustration of Goa‘s syncretic ethos. The architecture of the temple is unique, with a dome and a tall pyramid like tower adorning the top. An annual festival called Igituna Chalne is held at the temple to offer praise and worship to the goddess. Thousands of followers flock to the temple each year to pay homage to the goddess.

This is the main place where goddess Lairaee first settled here and later she moved to the Main temple. This temple is now being raised and which is under construction.

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This is the main temple of godess Lairaee, Shirgaon.

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This is temple’s  inner view, due to photography prohibition we did not clicked goddess photo.

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A florist selling buds of Mogra flower as deity like this flower.

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Structure of temple from front side.

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Shree Homkhandeshwar temple, This is the place where Homkhund is put during jatra time.

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Preparation of Homhkund is under work as jatra, festival is near.

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This is the spring where Dhond take bath.

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This is one of the more famous and more unusual Jatra (Hindu temple festival) celebrated in Goa.  The Jatra takes place in early part of May, when thousands of devotees of Devi Lairai descend on the small town and religious rituals and poojas dedicated to the Goddess are performed throughout the auspicious day. Hundreds of people from the villages in surrounding areas, also take part in these celebrations.

The Shirgao Jatra takes place in early part of May. The festival begins early in the morning and continues throughout till dawn. The devotees (dhond) take a bath and walk all the way uphill to the temple to worship the Goddess. Late into the night, as midnight approaches, the devotees perform a frantic dance inside the temple, which is all lit up for the occasion. The dance sessions end around midnight. Next a fire is made using a huge pile of wood kept in a large clearing near the temple.

 

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The final and most spectacular part of the jatra then begins. In the early hours of the morning when the fire has died down, the raking of the coals begins. The devotees await their turn to walk on the holy path of hot coals. Around 4 a.m., the actual ritual starts, with the devotees running through the hot coals carrying their sticks with the name of Devi Lairai. It is said that the fire does no harm to the just devotees who walk calmly through the embers. The unjust are said to hurry through running through the burning coals.

 

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