Shri Chandreshwar Temple

South Goa

Approximately 14km southeast of Margao near the village of Paroda, a number of hills rise out of the plain, the highest of which is Chandranath Hill (350m). At the top, in a small clearing stands the Shri Chandreshwar (Bhutnath) Temple, a small but attractive 17th-century building in a lovely, solitary setting.

Although the present buildings date from the 17th century, legend has it that there has been a temple here for almost 2500 years, since the moment a meteor hit the spot. The site is dedicated to Chandreshwar, an incarnation of Shiva who is worshipped here as ‘Lord of the Moon’. Consequently it’s laid out so that the light of the full moon shines into the sanctum and illuminates the glittering gold deity. At the rear of the shrine, two accessory stone deities keep Chandreshwar company: Parvati (Shiva’s consort) to the west, and Ganesh (his son) to the east. It’s said that when the moonlight falls on it, the shrine’s lingam (phallic symbol of Shiva) oozes water.

Leaving through the side entrance there is another small shrine standing separately that is dedicated to the god Bhutnath, who is worshipped in the form of a simple stone pinnacle that sticks out of the ground.

To get here, you’ll need your own transport, since buses don’t service this road. Head to Paroda, and ask there for the turn-off that takes you up the narrow, winding hillside road. There’s a small parking area near the top, from which the approach to the temple is via a steep flight of steps.