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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Basilica of Bom Jesus & Se Cathedral, Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in old Goa.

A 17th century church (consecrated in 1605 by the Archbishop Dom Father Alexio Menezes, after eleven years of tireless construction), it is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Its main point of distinction is also the fact that it holds the mummified mortal remains of St Francis Xaviers, a priest from Spain who did major part of his missionary work in Goa.

Besides the main altar which is spectacular to say the least, there lies the masauleum of St Francis Xaviers with his remains protected in a silver casket which was apparently gifted by the last of the Medicis, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The mausoleum was designed by the seventeenth Florentine sculptor Giovanni Batista Foggini .The walls are elaborated with paintings depicting the life of the saint.

The upper floor holds a museum displaying missionary art.and paintings by Dom Martin.

The Se Cathedral is located right opposite the Basilca church and is separated by a tar road connecting Panaji with old Goa.

The cathedral is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. It is also the cathedral of Latin Rite Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the seat of the Patriarch of East Indies.

The Se Cathedral was built in 1619 (and consecrated in 1640) to commemorate the victory of Alfonso de Alburqueque over the Bijapur army.

The architecture is Portuguese Manueline (exterior is Tuscan and interior is Corinthian)
It is said that the cathedral had two towers out of which one collapsed and was never rebuilt. The tower holds the largest bell in Goa called the Golden bell.

The main altar is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria and is beautified by several smaller altars and paintings depicting the life of Catherine of Alexandria. On the right is the Chapel of the cross of miracles.

Se Cathedral is said to be one of the largest churches in Asia.

Text by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha. Photographs by Sachin Dinde.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hooli Panchalingeshwara Temple : A Photo Feature

Hooli is a village 9kms from Saundatti off Belgaum-Saundatti Road (Belgaum - Saundatti distance is 78 kms).


It is famous for its exquisitely carved temples. One such temple is the magnificent Panchalingeshwar temple.

Pic:intricately carved shikhara

The temple is made from carved stone and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The construction seems similar to the Kadamba temple style.


It is preserved by the Archaelogical Survey of India.

The temple is very well maintained with a beautiful green lawn and garden adorning its premise.

Text and Photographs by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha

Fort of Saundatti : A Photo Feature

Saundatti is a town in Belgaum district Karnataka (78 kms from Belgaum city). 

In the medieval times the region was known as Sugandavarti. It served as the capital of the ruling Ratta dynasty (9-13th cen AD) before they shifted base to Belgaum.

The Saundatti  fort was actually built by Jayappa Desai of the Navalgund Sirasangi sansthan sometime between 1743-51. 

Later the fort was besieged by Hyder Ali of Mysore and the Desai had to transfer his allegiance over to him.

The Saundati fort lies in the Saundatti town itself and a road takes you right upto the fort gates. The fort is very well preserved and maintained. 

There are lawns and gardens created at every corner of the fort. There is also a playground created for children.

The outer walls and bastions of the fort are still intact after all these years and are a testimony of its strong construction.

There is also a water tank that served as a reservoir for the fort.

Within the topmost structure of the fort is the temple of Kadsiddheshwara.

Text and Photographs: Abhijit Rajadhyaksha

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Panjim: Goa

The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception was built in 1540 by the Jesuit priests and later rebuilt in 1619. It is located in the heart of Panjim, Goa. The church has a quintessential mediterranian style to it.

Its main attractions is the huge ‘ bell of inquisition’ that hangs atop the belfry. It became a part of the the church in 1841.It is said to be the second largest bell in Goa.

The church today is painted in white and looks spectacular at night amidst a dislay of coloured lights.
The church interiors consist of the main altar dedicated to 'Nossa Senhora da Imaculada Conceicao' carved in Rennaisance style,  flanked by two altars with statues of the crucified Jesus and  Lady of Rosary. There are also marble statues of St Paul, St Xavier and St Peter alongside the altars.[]

Text: Abhijit Rajadhyaksha , Photographs: Nitin Pai, Sachin Dinde and Abhijit Rajadhyaksha

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chintamani Ganpati Mandir of Theur

The Chinatmani Ganpati temple at Theur is one of the Ashtavinayaka temples viz. the eight Ganesha pilgrimage centres in Maharashtra.

The  temple has a lore behind it. It is said that after praying to Lord Shiva, the sage Kapila was gifted with the Chintamani diamond. It had magical properties and could grant any desire of its beholder. One day it so happened that Prince Guna (son of King Abhijat and Gunavati) visited the sage. The sage used the amazing power of the stone and accorded the prince a very sumptuous meal. The prince was amazed at the wonderous powers of the stone and yearned for it. He requested the sage to part with the stone. But when the sage refused he stole it from the sages ashram. The sage in despair prayed to Lord Ganesha who in turn recovered back the diamond . But Sage Kapila wuld now have nothing to do with the stone that caused him such angst and gave it back to Lord Ganesha to adorn his neck. That gave Lord Ganesha the name of Chintamani. Since Kapila had prayed to Ganesha under the Kadamba tree, Theur was known in the ancient times as Kadambanagar.

Theur is located  22kms from Pune and lies across the Pune Solapur highway at the confluence of rivers Bhima, Mula and Mutha.

The Ganesha idol is left trunked and north facing. Two diamonds adorn the saffron coloured idol as its eyes. The main temple was built by Dharanidhar dev maaraj from the Maurya Gosavi lineage sometime in the 17th century.

Later Peshwa Madhavrao built a wooden (teak) sabhamandap for the temple in typical Maratha architectural style (so similar to other peshwakaalin temples all over Pune).

The sabhamandap also has a old stone fountain facing the gabhara entrance.

Madhavrao Peshwa was said to have breathed his last in the precincts of this temple and his wife Ramabai also went sati in its vicinity. Their samadhis are located here.

 The freshly painted shikhara has obviously undergone renovations from time to time and is nagara in style.

The temple also holds minor temple to Lord Shiva,Vishnu and Hanuman.

The temple courtyard  also has a five alloy  bell that was gifted by the Sardar Sarsenapati Dabhade family of Talegaon Dabhade.

Text and photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha