Shri Shantadurga Temple is situated at the foothill of Kavalem village in Ponda Taluka, Goa. A small laterite mud shrine was built and the deity was installed here. The mud-shrine was converted into a beautiful temple whose foundation stone was laid in 1730 and the temple was completed in 1738 and renovated in 1966.
The temple is dedicated to Shantadurga, the goddess who mediates between Vishnu and Shiva. The deity is also called ‘Santeri’ colloquially. Local legends tell of a battle between Shiva and Vishnu. The battle was so fierce that the god Brahma prayed to Goddess Parvati to intervene, which she did in the form of Shantadurga. Shantadurga placed Vishnu on her right hand and Shiva on her left hand and settled the fight.
Shantadurga is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva.The original temple at Quelossim (Keloshi) in Salsete was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564. The goddess was transferred to Kavalem and worship was continued there.
The current temple was constructed during the reign of Maratha ruler Chattrapati Shahu, who was the grandson of Shivaji Maharaj, of Satara in about 1738. Naroram Mantri (Naroram Shenvi Rege) originally from Kochara village in the Vengurla region was a Mantri (minister) in Shahu’s Court around 1723. He obtained finances to construct the new temple for the goddess from Shahu. The temple construction started around 1730 and, with the help from other Mahajans, the present temple was completed. Due to his efforts, the village of Kavalem was bequeathed to the Temple by Shahu in 1739.
The temple has a huge tank, a Deepastambha and agrashalas (guest houses).