The ancient origins of the Devaki Krishna temple far predate the existing structure that houses the idols at Marcel. This temple is unique in that it is the only one in all of India that depicts Lord Krishna with his mother Devaki. The other deities in the complex include Bhumika Devi, Laxmi Ravalnath, Mallinath, Katyayani, Chodaneshwar and Dhada Shankar.
Where to Go
The Devaki Krishna temple is located in the village of Marcel, also known as Mashel which is in the Ponda Taluka of North Goa about 17km away from the capital city of Panaji.
When to Go
The Devaki Krishna temple is open every day from 6.30am to 1.30pm and again from 3.00pm to 8.30pm. Aartis are performed daily at 12.30pm and 8.30pm.
The temple is open to visitors throughout the year and also has accomodations for those who wish to make a longer pilgrimage to the shrine. The festival of Chikal Kalo is celebrated in a major way at the grounds near the temple complex and is a fun monsoon festival to experience.
The original site of the temple was on the island of Chorao (then Chodan) in the Mandovi river. The insurgence of the Portuguese forced the devotees to remove the idol from there between 1530 and 1540. The deities were then relocated to Mayem. They only came to be in Marcel between 1540 and 1567. The present structure was not built until 1842, with the deities previously residing in a small and modest shrine.
This is the only temple in all of India that represents Lord Krishna with his mother Devaki. This makes it a most unique shrine.
Architecture and Interiors
The temple structure is simple and graceful with each temple being encircled by a narrow pathway for circumambulation. The idols in the temple are carved from black stone. The most prominent one depicts Devaki holding the infant Lord Krishna on her hip, whilst one of the others shows Krishna standing in front of his mother Devaki.
Besides the main shrine is a smaller one dedicated to Bhoomika Devi. Laxmi Ravalnath is another of the important deities here and is the reason why the place is often referred to as ‘Pisso’ Ravalnath. In addition the deities Mallinath and Katyayani are also represented here.
There is a charming and intriguing tale told of Krishna’s meeting with his mother. At one time Krishna and his brother Balaram were fighting a war against Jarasand. In the initial skirmishes, Jarasand gained the upper hand and drove Krishna to take refuge in the Gomanchal Parvat. This was located in the South of India.
It was at this time that Krishna’s birth mother Devaki conceived of an immense desire to see her son and so she made the long and arduous journey south. When she met him, she was most surprised by his appearance and did not immediately greet him. Krishna was surprised by this and asked her why she was so indifferent towards him, her son. She replied that he could not possibly be her son since her son was but a little boy. When she said this he realized that she had not seen him for many years, not since he was a baby. He immediately used his divine powers to appear in the form of a child, and they embraced lovingly.
Their meeting took place on what is now the island of Chorao in Goa. The island was then known as Chodan or Chudmani. The place came to have great religious significance to the devotees of Lord Krishna, hence the unique temple. The ruins of the very first ancient temple can still be seen on the island.
Legends of the Temple
There is a tale told that Vasco da Gama, in his later years was touring the island of Chorao, where this temple was located at the time. The door to the sanctum was ajar and he glimpsed the idol and immediately fell to his knees. He had thought that the statue was a representation of the Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus, when his error was explained to him he was most annoyed by this misconception that he had made, and this is part of the reason the temple was moved.
This beautiful temple, which has such a fascinating history, is a great place to visit, not only as a pilgrimage and religious space but by virtue of its unique deity.