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Annual Gulal of Shree Damodar at Zambaulim

Goa celebrated Gulalotsav of Shree Damodar at Zambaulim today. Zambaulim is a picturesque village on the banks of the river Kushavati, just about 21 km from Margao which comes alive today by celebrating the tradition of Gulalutsav during the festival of the Shigmo festival.

Goa’s busy city Margao, therefore, wears an unusually deserted look with many business establishments that takes the day off to celebrate Gulalotsav in Zambaulim. In earlier days this festival used to last at least for a week with shops shut down in Margao. However, in modern times the festival is mainly is a day-long affair for the citizens of Margao. However, the festival still goes on for a week in Zambaulim.


The deity “Lord Damodar” is worshiped predominantly by the Saraswat Brahmins among the Hindu community and on this day they make it a point to feast and worship while also coloring each other in gulal ( PINK color).

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It is said that during the early conquests of Portuguese rule in the 16th century, it is believed that the deity “Lord Damodar” was taken from the city of Margao and sheltered in Zambaulim. Before taking it to Zambaulim it was briefly kept at the Keni house in Comba Margao. To this day, a coconut is first worshiped at Keni’s residence where thousands of devotees gather here before proceeding with religious fervor to Zambaulim. Owing to the origin of the deity and the whole shifting from Margao to Zambaulim, people from Margao consider it their obligation to take part in the Shigmo celebrations and the Gulalotsav all the way to Zambaulim.

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A week-long festivities start with coconut puja on Wednesday or Thursday from the Keni house and the religious procession leads to Zambaulim where the Mahajan’s of deity Lord Damodar hand over the running of the temple to the Madgaokars ( residents of Margao) for a week and take it back on the last day of shigmo during the Dhulvhat celebration. Thousands of devotees are also offered mahaprasad(meals) throughout the week.

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Plays(Naatak) are performed and the deity is brought and kept in front of the temple. Before the start of the plays, certain prayers are recited which has a Kannada narrative style with some words in the Kannada language which clearly traces back on the influence of the southern state of Karnataka on ancient Goa.

The most important rituals on Gulalotsav is the ritual of the Navro Vakalwhich is a unique marriage performed at every Shigmotsav in Goa and maybe a depiction in satirical form of current events or common events.

Below are some pictures of Zambaulim Gulalotsav 2015.

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