Surrounded by forest and paddy fields, the Shri Shantadurga Temple is one of the most famous shrines in Goa and is consequently packed with those who come to worship, as well as day-trippers brought in by the bus load. Hustle past the rows of roadside hawkers to get a look at this heavily European-inspired creation, built in 1738, 200 years after its deity had been smuggled in from Quelossim, not far from present-day southern Colva.
The goddess Shantadurga is another form taken by Parvati, Shiva’s consort. As the most powerful of the goddesses, Parvati could either adopt a violent form, Durga, or she could help to bring peace, as Shanta. The legend goes that during a particularly savage quarrel between Shiva and Vishnu she appeared in her Durga form and helped to make peace between the two gods – thus embodying the contradiction that the name Shantadurga implies. In Goa she has come to be worshipped as the goddess of peace and has traditionally had a large following.