In the middle of the market town of Mapusa is a pretty pastel coloured temple which is dedicated to Lord Maruti, better known as Hanuman, the monkey god of the Hindu pantheon. The temple itself is more than 150 years old and was constructed by the people themselves.
The temple is open for worshippers all days of the week from 6am to 8pm. Please note that it is customary to cover one’s head and remove one’s shoes when entering places of worship.
The history of this place of worship is an interesting one. For many years, under the Portuguese regimen there was no temple in Mapusa as they did not encourage worship of other religions. One day the travelling sage Ramdasibuva came to Mapusa in 1842. He took up residence in the guesthouse and would conduct pujas chanting Bhajans (devotional songs) in praise of Lord Maruti, son of the Wind God, and worship his picture.
The devotees quietly placed this picture of Hanuman in a humble fireworks shop and conducted their worship under a veil of secrecy, after Sri Ramdasibuva left. The sage returned the following year bearing with him a silver idol of the deity which he then gifted the Mapusa people.
The people then acquired the land on which the fireworks shop sat, and thereupon built the temple which still stands today. The idol was placed in the temple facing south, as that is where it is believed evil spirits enter from, and Hanuman is the protector god who would protect his devotees from the evil spirits.
Art and Architecture
The temple building itself shows all the hallmarks of Indian temple architecture of that period. The temple was built in stages thanks to the sponsorship of the local business communities. There are entrances to the north and the south, although the idol of the deity faces south.
The floors are made of the finest marble and the temple has a richly carved doorway, cast in silver, which is a tribute to the skill of the local artisans. On the north side of the temple reposes a carved teak wood palanquin, which is used to carry the idol in procession on feast days.
This temple, like many others in Goa is a testament to the devotion of the people especially in the face of the opposition that they faced from the colonists.