Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates one of the most revered of Hindu gods, Ganesha. The elephant-headed god and son of Shiva is associated with several stories. It is said that praying to him first will remove any obstacles and troubles in the path towards your goal. For this reason, you can find an idol of Ganesha, also popularly known as Ganpati, in nearly every Hindu temple. The god is famous across India, especially so in states in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, where you can find dozens of temples dedicated to him. But Goa – the land of sun, sand and parties – has its share of Hindu temples and pilgrimage sites as well, including some that venerate Ganesha. Here are three of them. ALSO READ: Ashtavinayak: A tour of eight abodes of Lord Ganesha
Gopal Ganpati Temple, Farmagudi
The Gopal Ganpati or Ganesh temple in Farmagudi suburb, Ponda has an interesting story behind it. While the temple itself is just a few decades old, the idol inside is considered ancient. Nearly a century ago during the reign of Soundhekar of the village Bandiwade, a cowherd found a stone idol of the god in the forest. He consecrated it, and every Anant Chaturthi a Gudi is erected at the place where the idol is said to have been found. The modern temple that you see dates back to the 1960s, though, and it is one of a handful of temples you can find in Ponda. The North Goan temple lies around 26 km from Panjim bus stand.
Maha Ganpati Mandir, Khandola
Also located in Ponda, in the town of Khandola, the Maha Ganpati temple is one of the oldest in Goa. The temple was originally founded in Divar island, next to the Church of Our Lady of Piedade. However, when the Portuguese destroyed the temple in 1540, devotees of Ganesha shifted the idol to Khandepar, from which it moved to Ponda and finally to Khandola in 1750. The idol here dates back to the 13th century, but you can find a second, newer idol consecrated in 1969 sitting next to the older one. The best time to visit this temple is during the Sankashti Chaturthi festival. ALSO READ: Ganesh Chaturthi 2017: Famous Ganesha Temples in Mumbai That You Must Visit
Shri Siddhivinayak Ganesh Temple, Candolim
An old Ganesha sculpture
The newest in this list, the Shri Siddhivinayak Ganesh lies in Candolim, North Goa. While it does not have nearly the same grandeur and scale as its namesake in Mumbai, it is still worth paying a quick visit. The temple lies by the road connecting Candolim to Sinquerim, and it is pretty close to other sights, especially the sprawling Aguada Fort and Calangute Beach. You can also check out the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mapusa, around 12 km north of Candolim.