Goud (also written as Gowd or Gaud) Saraswat Brahmins are a Konkani or Marathi speaking Hindu Brahmin community in India and a part of the larger Saraswat Brahmin community. They are popularly referred to as GSBs.
96 families of the Goud (meaning northern) Saraswats came to the southern half of India and hence carried the appellation of 'northern' in the form of the word Goud. In view of the 96 families who formed 96 settlements in Goa - Sasashti (66) (Salcette) + Tissuari (30) (Tiswadi), they were also called Shenoy or sinai or shenvis. There were further settlements in Baradesh (12 settlements) (Bardez), Goa. The Gowd Saraswats have built many temples in Goa like the Ramnathi temple in Loutolim, and the Mangueshi and Shantadurga temples in Kushasthali and Quellosim along with people from the other Hindu castes. Muslim invasions in the 14th century disrupted their peaceful existence. However, peace was regained when Goa came under the sway of the Hindu Vijaynagar kingdom. This period lasted for about 150 years, until the first European settlers, the Portuguese, landed on India's western coast. The Portuguese, for religious and political motives annexed Goa in 1510. During the Portuguese rule, due to forced conversions to Christianity and extreme oppression by the Jesuits and the Franciscans, the Gowd Saraswats along with their kunbi and gavde Hindu brethren fled to the Canara (in Karnataka), Kerala and Maharashtra. The temples of the Saraswats were destroyed by the Portuguese; however, some courageous people carried the idols of their deities across the Agranashini river (Zuari) into the territory of the Sonde Rajas. Here, they were slowly rebuilt. The Portuguese eventually took over these territories of Antruz Mahal, but their religious zeal had weakened and the temples stood firm. The Gowd Saraswats have sub-communities such as the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins, who were Saraswats from the villages of Kushasthali and Quellossim in Goa. They follow the Chitrapur Mutt. Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins/Balavalikar Gauda Saraswat Brahmins from Rajapur and Balavali village who follow the Kavle Mutt (Ponda, Goa), they are spread over coastal Karnataka, Coorg and Kasaragod taluk in Kerala. The Gowd Saraswats consider Konkani and sometimes Marathi as their mother tongue, though their generations of sojourn in Karnataka (Kannada) and Kerala (Malayalam) have made them fluent in the major languages of their adopted provinces. There are many GSB families in Maharashtra [migrated from Goa during Portuguese rule in the 16th century] scattered across the Konkan and all the other major cities - who have "Marathi" and/or "Malwani/Vengurla Konkani"as their mother tongue. GSBs from the southern Konkan region of Maharashtra can, in addition to their mother-tongue Marathi, speak very fluent Malwani Konkani, while those from north Konkan and non-Konkan regions speak only Marathi. Maharashtra has the maximum number of Marathi-speaking GSB's. GSBs from Goa consider Konkani as their true mother-tongue.
The history of Saraswats is a record of their struggle for existence and a chain of migrations, the longest and the most wide spread among any groups in India. Even after generations and centuries they preserve their culture and traditions intact. Their traditions are unique and tolerant that they worship Shakti, Shiva and Vaishnava deities as well.
The Gowda Saraswat Brahmins claim their origin to the Brahmins who lived on the banks of the now extinct river Saraswati of Punjab. They derived their name from either the river Saraswati or from their spiritual leader Great Sage Saraswat Muni who lived on the banks of Saraswati. These Brahmins were one of the Pancha Gowda Brahmin groups who lived north of the Vindhyas. They belonged to Smarta tradition and primarily worshiped the five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Throughout the course of history, the Saraswat Brahmins have migrated to a variety of locations and are found mostly in Western coast of India.
The Brahmins in India were divided into two major groups based on geographical origin of the people. The Brahmin groups that lived to the north of the Vindhyas were referred to as Gowda Brahmins, whereas the Brahmins who lived to the south of the Vindhyas were referred to as Dravida Brahmins. Each group was further divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement.
The five (Pancha) Gowda Brahmin groups were Saraswats, Kanyakubjas, Gaudas, Utkals, and Maithilas. The five (pancha) Dravida Brahmin groups were Andhras, Maharashtras, Dravidas or Tamils, Karnatka, and Kerala Brahmins.
As the southern brahmins had domiciled in the south for long, the Saraswats who came to the South newly were described by the local brahmins as Gowda Brahmins in general (because they belonged to Panch Gowda group) and thus the prefix Gowda was added to the Saraswats who were from the Saraswat region.
The exact origin of the Saraswat Brahmins is difficult to ascertain. The Saraswat Brahmins are mentioned in the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita and even the Bhavisyottara Purana. According to Puranas, they are Aryan migrants from Central Asia who came to the Indian sub-continent through the Hindu-Kush mountains and the Khyber pass to south in about 2000-1500 B.C. Click to see location of settlements
Most of them settled along the banks of Saraswati river. There were more than 1200 such settlements of migrants. They settled to an agrarian life, supplemented by cattle grazing. These settlers came to be known as Saraswats. Education was of great importance to the Saraswats and so they taught their young the Sanskrit language and enlightened themselves from the Rig Veda. Although they spoke Sanskrit in public, they innovated a simplified version of Sanskrit called Brahmani which they spoke only at home. This language was the grass-root for the present day Konkani language. Over the years along the Saraswathi, the Saraswats established the concept of Kuladevatas or family gods, and began worshipping them.
The great Sage Saraswath Muni (son of Rishi Dadichi), living on the banks of Saraswati as their Guru. There were about 60,000 (Shatsahasara) Brahmins who were his disciples. When a severe famine which lasted for about 12 years hit the region and the crops were not enough to feed everyone, the survival of the Saraswats was at stake. When they could find no apparent solution to their vexing problem, at the advice of their Guru who was pragmatic, they started to feed on fish from the Saraswati river for survival. Thus they became the only fish-eating Brahmins ever known. This settlement was in the land between the saraswati and Drishadvati rivers.
The river Saraswati (named after the Goddess Saraswati), flowed in Northern India in the present Punjab and Rajasthan region, from the Himalayas to the western sea near Dwaraka in Gujarat. The vedas were composed mostly on her banks. The Rig Veda describes this river as the holiest, the purest and the grandest of rivers. The river has long since dried out because it flowed from the receding glaciers of the great ice age 10,000 years ago. The land between the rivers Saraswati and Dristhadvathi (near the present day Kurukshetra) was called the Saraswat Desh which was the homeland of Saraswats who are considered the fore-fathers of Saraswats of Goa, Kanara and Kerala. There is a strong belief that in Prayag, Allahabad, flowing under-ground Saraswati joins Ganga and Yamuna to form the Triveni sangam. It is also believed that the river changed its course over the centuries. A part of this mighty river became the small river Ghaggar and one of the tributaries of the Saraswati became the Sutlej, now a tributary of the Indus. Today's scientific evidences have proven the existence of the Saraswati river.
Some calamity, it is believed, struck Saraswati Mandal. Most historians suspect that after a few thousand years of flowing, the glacier began empty of its potential and the Saraswati began to dry out and became non-existent by 1000 BC. The entire region started becoming arid and with no means of growing their crops. This period of history saw many civilizations abandoning their settlements. The migration happened not overnight but spread over centuries. The last of the exodus was in about 350 BC due to a wide spead famine which lasted for 12 years. The Saraswats migrated in three directions - mostly followed the river routes and migrated to the South-West (Sind), North (Kashmir), East (Bihar).
The migrations to south and west followed the course of the River Saraswati, went up to Dwaraka and by ship they sailed to Goa. For their stay in Dwaraka, the Gowda Saraswats are nicknamed as Dorkes also. Along the route, these migrants left small colonies behind.
The second route of migration was from Punjab into Kashmir. The traditions of Saraswats of Kashmir asserts that all brahmins in Kashmir are Saraswats. They have some thirty two sub-sects in Jammu and Kashmir, belong to six classes and 133 gotras. In the 14th Century, the Muslim rulers of Kashmir commenced persecution of the Hindus. Saraswats left on a large scale, and only a few families remained in Kashmir. Many families both Brahmin and others were converted to Islam. Some of the families who had migrated southwards, returned to Kashmir when the circumstances became more favorable. A predominantly Hindu state had by that time, become a predominantly Muslim state. Kashmir was prey to revages of Afghanistan as well. These caused so much distress to the people that some prominent kashmiris appealed to the Sikh Chief Ranjit Singh for help and he succeeded in getting rid of the Afghans. The kashmiri Saraswats were Devi worshippers. As the powerful Kshatriya kingdoms rose, a few Saraswats migrated to Indraprastha, Mathura, and Prayag, Kashi and other places. But as Kshatriyas fell with the rise of Buddhism, a few Saraswats migrated to Rajputana and Sind, married local girls and formed separate communities.
Those who migrated to Kashmir called themselves as Kashmiri Pandits, Sind-Sind Saraswats, Kutch-Kutchi Saraswats, Punjab-Punjab Saraswats, Rajasthan-Rajasthan Saraswats and Gomantak- Gowda Saraswats.
The Saraswats who moved South East were mainly from the saraswat desh and they followed the Ganges and reached Trihotrapura or modern Tirhut in upper Bihar. This was in 400-350 BC. The major settlements were in Kanyakubja (Kanpur area), Magadha and Mithila. The Lichhavis were the ruling dynasty then, to be followed later by the Mauryas. With a strong ability to adapt, the Saraswats easily mingled with the locals, but did not try to compete with them in agriculture the major occupation in that area. Instead, they relied on their superior intellect and educational background to secure administrative positions in the Lichhavi Republic based at Vaishali. The Saraswats lived in this area during the reign of the Maurya and Pala dynasty. After the Pala kings, the kingdom was plundered repeatedly by hordes of Muslim invaders and local kings from central India.
Tirhut is the historic name of a tract in Bihar north of Ganges, about 55 km north of Patna. The geographical area known as Tirhut corresponds to the ancient region of Mithila. Today, Tirhut division is an administrative geographical unit of Bihar state with Muzaffarpur as the administrative headquarters and has four districts: Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Saran and Champaran. Life in Magadha became quite unbearable for the Saraswats, and so, around 1000 AD, almost 1500 years after they left the Saraswat desh, the Saraswats decided to move again. This time, however, they moved out mainly in two groups. One group (from Kanyakubja) moved east and settled in Bangla (now Bengal) where in the course of time they assimilated the Bengali culture. The striking similarities between some aspects of Bengali and Konkani languages and cultures probably bear witness to this historic link. Another group (from Mithila) moved southwards and reached the Godavari river, and then proceeded along the south bank towards the source of Godavari near Nasik. The great Rishi Agastya had his ashram in Panchavati near Nasik and Sri Rama from Ayodhya came to Panchavati along the banks of Godavari. The migrants also followed the same route and then moved into Go-rashtra which is Goa and thence to Gokarna Mandala in uttar kannada district, which was the southernmost settlement of ancient Aryans. Having migrated from Trihotrapura which was in Gauda Desh they prefixed Gowda and called themselves Gowda Saraswats. The migration from Bihar to Gomantak is recorded in the Sahyadri Khanda of Skanda Purana.
Goa was chosen mainly for its fertile soil and sea ports with flourishing overseas trade. Another reason for their migration into Konkan is the marital relationships between the Kadamba king Jayakeshi (1050-1080 AD) of Goa and a Saraswat king from Trihotra. Some historians believe that the king of Trihut sent ninety six families from ten gothras to the new land to propagate religion and philosophy at the request of the Kadamba King.
The first migration (700 BC) to Goa by Saraswats was directly from the Saraswat river banks via Kutch and southwards mostly through sea routes. The three main groups who came to Goa were the Bhojas, the Chediyas and the Saraswats. These Saraswats in Goa immersed themselves into farming, fishing and trade. They were from the Bhargava and Angirasa clans and maintained connections with the Kutch, Sindh and Kashmiri Saraswats. Many from these areas migrated to Goa in this period in search of greener pastures. The Saraswat Brahmins worked in partnership with the local indigenous people, the Kunbi tribals who exist still today.
The second wave of immigrants were representatives of the Kaundinya, Vatshya and Kaushika gotras. They settled at Keloshi (Quelessam) and Kushasthal (Cortollim) and were named after those villages as Keloshikars and Kushasthalikars. They primarily sought professional careers in the fields of teaching, writing, and accounting. They established the Magarish temple at Kushathali and Santha Durga temple at Keloshi. From here they spread to other villages. The main deities which also came along with them were Mangirish, Mahadeo, Mahalaxmi, Mahalsa, Shantadurga, Nagesh, Saptakoteshwar besides many others. Gomantak region is dotted with so many Kuladevata Temples which testify this fact. All the saraswats in Goa at that time were Shavites.
The first group of Gowda Saraswat immigrants from Trihotrapura (around 1000 AD) settled in two different parts of the Gomantak region. Thirty families were grouped in one commune and sixty six in other. The first commune was known as Tiswadi meaning 30 villages (modern Tissuary), and the other Shashatis meaning 66 (modern salcette). The Tiswadi commune was migrants from Kanyakubja and Shashatis was from Mithila. There is a view that these settlements together were 96 and referred as Sahanavis (Saha means six and Navi means ninety) and later as Shenvis. These settlelers belonged to 10 Gotras - Bhardwaja, Koushika, Vatshya, Kaundinya, Kashyapa, Vasishtha, Jamdagni, Vishwamitra, Gautam and Atri. Once settled down, they continued in their traditional professions of administration and education. Those Saraswats who were intelligent and lucky got royal patronage and positions in governance in due course of time. But the opportunities in these familiar professions were limited in Goa at that time. So some enterprising Saraswats branched out into the practice of trading. The successes of these pioneering Saraswat traders encouraged many other Saraswats to whole-heartedly adopt trading as a main-stream profession.
There is another version of the story that, Sri Parasuram brought 96 families of the Panchagauda Brahmins from Trihotra (in Bihar) and settled them at Panchakrosha in Kushasthali of Goa. Such stories are also narrated about settlements of brahmins in Konkan Kanara Coast and Kerala. This is considered to be more mythology than history as Parasuram, the 6th incarnation of Vishnu should have lived far earlier than the time of Saraswat migration. And most probably they arrived in Goa under the leadership of a strong personality named Parasuram.
Legends say that Lord Parasuram, shot an arrow from the Western Ghats in adjacent Konkan and the arrow (Baan) landed at the site of Benaulim town. Benaulim also known as Banavali about 40 km from Panaji and 2 km south of Colva is today a beach resort. Evan today a temple of Parasuram exists in Painguinim village near Benaulim town of Canacona Taluka in South Goa.
By the 10-11th centuries several Sasasthikar families migrated to Thane and Kalyan (in Maharashtra) and started sea trade. In the 12th century, some Sasasthikar families went south to Honovar, Bhaktal, Mangalore, Tellicherry and Calicut to setup trade. Around the same time Kushathali saraswats went to Gokarn in Canara, purchased land and became landowners in large scale. Other who followed joined services under Sonde and Vijayanagar kings in Belgaum and Dharwad areas.
The Saraswats in Goa originally believed in Smarta tradition. Shri Madhavacharya , founder of Dwaita philosophy, during his return journey from North India visited Goa in 1294. Attracted by his Dwaita philosophy, many Sasasthikar saraswats converted to Vaishnavism. The conversion formalities were completed by Padmanabha Tirtha, who was appointed head of Uttaradi Mutt. During his chathurmasya he converted large number of the saraswats residing in Sasasthi and Bardesh. His disciples converted Sasasthikars who had gone to Thane in North and Calicut in South. However, they did not discard their attachment to the Panchayatana, and the Shaiva gods. Many of their Kuladevatas are Shaivate (Nagesh, Ramanath) and also connected with Shakti (Shanteri Kamakshi, Mahalasa).
Due to migration and lack of communication facilities, the Saraswats settled in Goa lost contact with their roots. Being Brahmins, the Saraswats needed a spiritual leader, or Swami. In 740 A.D, at the request of the Saraswats of Gomantak, Swami Vivarananda of the Gaudapada tradition from Kashmir founded the Mutt at Kaushasthali and the whole Saraswat community in Goa and Konkan was the followers of this Mutt. This belonged to the Smarta tradition advocating Adwaitha philosophy and worshiped Shiva, Vishnu, Ganapathi, Shakthi and Surya.
The original Gaudapadacharya Mutt founded at Kushsthali, was destroyed during the Portuguese rule in Goa in 1564 AD. The 57th guru Vidyananda Saraswathi and his two successors stayed at Golvan in Ratnagiri and the 60th guru Ramananda Saraswati at Chindar. His successors Sadananda Saraswati and Bhavananda Saraswati stayed and attained samadhi at Varanasi and never visited Goa. The community members earlier approached Bhavananda Saraswati and pleaded with him to come back to Goa. Bhavananda Swamy (the 62nd Guru) sent his disciple Sachchidanandaswamy (the 63rd Guru) to revive the mutt in Goa. The Swamy stayed at Sonavade in Ratnagiri till the time the Mutt at Kavale was ready. The mutt headquarters was shifted to Kaivalyapura near Shantadurga temple in 1630 AD in the Sonde kingdom and is presently known as Kavale Mutt. The Kavale Mutt is the oldest of the Mutts of Saraswats. The present pontiff is Swami Sivanda saraswati. The deity worshipped by the Mutt is Bhavani Shankar.
The various dynasties that controlled Goa during the period were Hindus, the Scytho-parthians (2nd -4th century AD), the Abhiras, Batpura, and the Bhojas (4th - 6th century AD), the Chalukyas (from 6th - 8th century AD) and the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed (8th to 10th Century AD). This was followed by the Kadambas (1006 AD-1356 AD).
The Kadambas were unique because they were a local dynasty that slowly came to dominate the scene by forging alliances with their neighbors and overlords, the Chalukyas. They made Chandrapur (Chandor) their capital (937 AD to 1310 AD). They subsequently moved their capital to Govapuri on the banks of the Zuari river, the site of today's Goa Velha. The period of the Kadambas is considered to be the first golden age of Goa. The death of the last Chalukya king in 1198 weakened their alliance and this exposed Goa to the vulnerability to Muslim invasions that took place continuously after that.
The history of Saraswats again took a turn due to continued military attacks on Goa.
The Saraswats enjoyed peace and prosperity in Goa for 400 years. In 1328, the army of Delhi Sultans (Tughluqs) captured the Kadamba capital Chandrapur (Chandor or Chandargao) which included the Gomantak province and ransacked it. From 1352 to 1366 AD Gomantak was under the Khilji Rule. Then in 1472, the Bahamani Muslims attacked. They destroyed many temples and forced the Hindus to get converted to Islam. To avoid these insults and religious persecution several Saraswat families moved to the neighbourhood Kingdom of Sonde, more to Kanara and a few to even far off Kochi in Malabar Coast. There were migrations during the rule of Vijayanagar and also during the persecution at the time of Muslim rule. The migrants carried with them the images of their worshipped deities. Those Saraswats involved in farming and trading were less willing to abandon their farms and businesses.They stayed back in Goa and slowly rebuilt their lives as farmers and traders.To North
Those families fled to northern Kudal desh in Ratnagiri district (Maharashtra) settled down in Lotli, Bardesh, Pedne, Rajapur, Balavali, Malwan, Vengurla etc. where they assimilated the local language and culture. Naturally, with this exodus to distant areas and settling there, these groups lost contacts among themselves which led to estrangement. In course of time, they came to be known by prefixing their new locality names. By the end of the 14th century, at least 6 distinct groups came into being and were known by their new locality names prefixing. They are: Sasashtikars, Shenavis, Bardeshkars, Pednekars, Lotlikars and Kudaldeshkars.
Most of those who fled to North settled in Rajapur Taluk of Ratnagiri District and came to be known as Rajapur Saraswats. The descendants of today have their surnames like Bandivadekar, Madkaikar, Borkar, Sakhalkar, Haldwanekar, Chimbalkar, Navelkar, Marathe, Lotlikar, Salwankar, Karlekar, Burake, Bhagav, Tendulkar, Patkar, Juvale, Dhonde, Shinkar, Shendre, Bokade, Takur, Gawade, Potkar, Askekar, Shenai, Gavalkar, Shembekar, Lanjolkar etc. which are the original local village names of Gomantak found there. Some families took up agriculture and some others who stayed in the town became traders. The Rajapur Saraswats continued their Smarta tradition and established temples of their Kuladevathas at Sakalkarwadi near Rajapur Town (Mukhyaprana), Kodvali village (Datta Mandir). The Gajanana Mandir is another important and beautiful temple situated 24 km. away from Rajapur Town. The famous Shrine Nava Durge Temple at Bhalavali is an ancient temple administered by Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins. In later years these Saraswats migrated to Bombay and Pune and established themselves in trade and commerce. Rajapur Saraswats are followers of the Kavale Mutt.To Kanara
Those migrated to Kanara were both Vaishnavas and Smartas. Among the Smartas were the Kushashthalis, Keloshikars and Kudaldeshkars, and among the Vaishnavas the Sasashtikars, Bardeskars and Pednekars.
The group of Saraswats migrated along the seashore were mainly Vaishnavas and acquired a reputation for trade and agriculture. There were large settlements at Mangalore and Bhatkal and smaller settlements at other coastal towns. Under the influence of Shri Narayana Tirtha (who was a Saraswat) of the Udupi Palimar Mutt during the 15th Century a separate Mutt was founded for them in 1476 AD at Bhaktal. This Mutt was later shifted to Gokarn and then to Partagali in Goa and came to be known as Gokarn-Partagali Mutt. The Vaishnava Saraswats of Goa and most of those from North Kanara were its followers. Vira Vithala is the deity of the Mutt. Those from Kerala and South Kanara remained with the Uttaradhi Mutt. The Gokarn-Pratagali Mutt for Vaishnava saraswats has Vira Vittala as the worshipped deity. After Swamy Jeevottam Tirtha the Mutt is also called Jeevotham Mutt. Present pontiff Vidhyadhiraj Teertha succeeded to the Peetha in 1973. The Mutt has its headquarters at Partagali, Poinginim, Canacona, Goa.
The group of Smarta Gowda Saraswats (mainly Kushasthalikar and Keloshikar families) who migrated to Karnatak at the time of the Muslim invasion in the 1400’s were mostly the educators and administrators. This migrant group moved a little inland to North and South Kanara. Their intelligence and generations-old experience as administrators, allowed some of them to secure prominent positions as accountants in the courts of the Hindu rulers of the time. One such Hindu king of the Keladi kingdom, was so impressed by the diligence and skills of his Saraswat accountant, that he decreed that each village in his kingdom, be administered by a Saraswat. Eventually these Saraswats took on the name of the village as their last name. Once they had migrated to the Kanara district, the Shenvis were not able to sustain their unity with the Saraswat Brahmins they had left behind in Goa. Even though they continued to believe in Smarta tradition, their connection with the Kavale mutt was cutoff since the Kavale mutt at Kushathali was destroyed in 1564 AD and Swamijis shifted to Varanasi and were not available locally.
Although the Saraswats were well respected as accountants, they were not readily recognized as true Brahmins by the local Brahmins (due to jealousy), accusing that the Saraswats have no spiritual guru in reality and complained to the King. So the King issued a decree stating that unless the community showed them their guru, heavy penalties would be imposed on them. Therefore, the Shenvis felt that it was necessary to seek a spiritual preceptor for their community. They pleaded with a Saraswat Sanyasi, Parijananasharma Swamy, visiting from North India, to become their Guru. He consented to guide the community and established a new Mutt for them in Gokarn in 1708 AD. The King of Nagar had his prejudices about the new guru. So he asked the Saraswats to get their Mathadhipati consented by the Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Sringeri mutt. Swami Parijnanashrama travelled to Sringeri to meet the Shankaracharya and the consent was granted. This firmly established Parijnanashram Swami as the guru of the community. In 1739 AD, the ruler Basavappa Nayaka II donated land in Gokarn to build a mutt in reverence to their primary deity, Shri Bhavanishankar.
His successor Shankarasharma Swamy travelled to Chitrapur and attained Samadhi there in 1757 AD. Another Mutt establishment was built in Chitrapur near Shirali in Uttara Kannada and it became headquarters of the Mutt. This group considered themselves as superior in intellect and cutoff the connection with other groups in Goa claiming that they are the descendents of Kashmiri Brahmins and eventually formed their own sub-sect, called the Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins (also referred as Bhanaps after one of their popular caste members) and continued their Smarta tradition.
When the British ruled India, the Bhanaps took to English education earlier than others. Subsequently, they were able to obtain key jobs at the district offices and the Collector’s offices in Mangalore, Honavar and Karwar. They were also quickly employed as administrators in the Cotton and Textile export industry in Kumta, Hubli and Dharwad. Many Bhanaps made their way into the cosmopolitan city of Bombay by the late 1800s. The worshipped deity of the Chitrapur Mutt is Bhavani Shankar. The present pontiff of the Mutt is Shrimad Sadyojat Shankarashram.
The Chitrapur saraswats follow Smarta tradition. The Chitrapur Mutt is located at Shirali, Uttar Kannada Dist. Many Saraswats (mainly traders) sailed south from Goa, along the Konkan coast and disembarked at several ports to start a fresh new life in places such as Ankola, Kumta, Honavar, Bhatkal, Gangoli, Basrur, Udupi, Mulki, Mangalore, Ullal, Calicut and even as far south as Cochin. This group became widely dispersed, living in villages and towns all along the Konkan coast.
The Saraswats had migrated from Goa during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, but the exodus became thicker after the entry of the Portuguese from the 16th century. In 1510 A.D, Panaji was captured by the Portuguese general Alfonso Albuquerque from the Adil Shah dynasty of Bijapur, and the Portuguese rule was established. At first, the Portuguese did not interfere with the locals, although they banned the sati rite (burning of widows). They employed Hindus and engaged them in their armies, and they maintained good trade relations with the Hindu empire of Hampi. When different Christian missionaries arrived in Goa, the question of religious tolerance began. The Hindu temples were destroyed and forced conversions to Christianity took place. The official figures show that 280 temples in Berdez and 300 temples in Salcette were destroyed. The Portuguese built churches in many places where the temples stood. In 1559 A. D, King Joao III of Portugal issued a decree threatening expulsion or execution of non-believers in Christianity. They were forced to eat beef. This was perhaps the worst of times seen by the Konkani people. The saraswats who were poor and belonged to lower strata got converted to Christianity and the rich had the power to resist conversion and stayed back in Goa. Those belonged to the middle class who refused conversion had to flee.
Having thrown the idols of their Kuladevatas (resident deities) into wells, thousands of Saraswath Brahman families fled to interior Maharashtra and coastal Karnataka. About 12,000 families from the Sasashti District of Goa, mostly of Saraswats and Daivajna, including Vanis (Vaishyas), Kunbis (cultivators), and others fled by ships to the southern ports from Honavar to Kozhikode. Many settled down at these ports, which already contained Saraswat traders and spread into the interior. About 4,000 went north-east to settle down in Maharashtra and Indore, and others went south to settle in Karwar and South Kanara. It is said that once tensions died down, the Brahman men alone travelled back to their native places and brought back their Kula Devatas. The families who escaped were never to see Goa again. The last of those who were expelled by the Portuguese from Goa landed in Calicut, Kerala but were driven out by the Zamorin. And so they went to Cochin and Travancore. This happened sometime in the year 1560 A. D. Those settled in Karnataka and Kerala easily adapted to locale. In due course their Kokani became heavily mixed with local languages. By the end of 17th century there were at least two distinct groups - Kerala Konkanis (malayalam as the local language) and Mangalore Konkanis (Kannada as the local language).
The migration of GSBs to Kerala were mainly in two phases - in the 13th century (the exodus of 1294 AD) and subsequently in the 16th century (1560 AD).
Early settlements in Kerala
There are pieces of evidence to prove that stray members of the Saraswat community had their settlement in Cochin since the early part of 13th century A.D. Owing to certain religious disputes the some Saraswats from Sasasti were forced to leave their native country Konkan with their idols in 1294 A.D. and travelling southward they came to the territory of His Highness the Raja of Cochin and settled. They formed themselves into a community which they named "Konkanastha Mahajanam" and later came to be known as Konkanis. The Raja of cochin took them under his protection. An area of land was given to them and helped to build a Temple and also made arrangements for the conduct of festivals in the temple built by them. There still remains a plot of land in Cochin called Sastiparambu to commemorate the fact that the Saraswats of Cochin originally belonged to Sasasti (Salcette). In Sastiparambu, there is an old temple of Kuladevata Damodar.
Rajapur-Bhalavalikars call themselves RSB's. Kudaldeshkars call themselves Kudaldeshkar Brahmins.
Many GSBs migrated to Pune during period of Maratha rule. They even established a large settlement colony at Somwar Peth in Pune which is known as the Saraswat colony. During the period of British colonial rule, Pune became a major center of education, military and administration of the Deccan (Desh) region. Many GSBs played a role in the transformation of City which is evident from institutions such as the BORI founded by Prof. Bhandarkar, the newspaper Sakal by Dr. Parulekar. Many GSBs in Pune at that time were hailed from Kolhapur district of south Maharastra and Northern Karnakata,which is nothing but the "Desh" region thus, the British counted them as “Deshastha bramhins” in the census of 1885.
Many Kuldevs/Kuldevatas are situated in Goa. However, during the early Portuguese persecutions, many GSBs and Saraswats fled Goa along with their Kuldevs to nearby regions of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala. Hence, besides Goa, there are many GSB Temples in Karnataka (South & North Canara), in Maharashtra (Konkan side like Malwan, Vengurla, Savantwadi, Kudal, Ratnagiri, etc.), in Kerala (Purakkad, Cochi, etc.).
The Popular kuldevs of Gouda Saraswats are: In the Kuldevta system of the GSB is that they must have a Pallavi, that is supporting deity. The common among these are Shri Shantadurga, Shri Mahalakshmi, Shri Vijayadurga, Shri Mahalsa Narayani, Shri Aryadurga etc. Kuldevtas located in Goa:
The above Kuldevtas are of the Shenavi, Bardeshkars, Sasashtikars, Pednekars, Shenavi Paiki, Lotlikars and of the Goud Brahmins of Karnataka. The Kudaldeshkar & Rajpur Saraswats Kuldevtas are different than those of the above:
|Bhat||Vatsa||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Baliga||Vatsa||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Mantrawadi||Jamadagni||Shree Mangesh Mahalaxmi|
|Baliga||Kashyap||Shree Damodar Aryadurga|
|Bhaktha||Kaushika||Shree Mahalsa Narayani|
|Bhandarkar||Kaunsha||Shree Narasimha Shantadurga Vijayadurga|
|Bhandarkar||Kaushika||Shree Shantadurga Prasanna|
|Bhandary||Atri, Gargeya||Shree Mahalsa Narayani|
|Bhandary||Vatsa, Kaundinya||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Hegde||Kashyap||Shree Damodar Aryadurga|
|Kamat||Kashyap||Shree Ravalnath Shantadurga|
|Kamat/h||Gargeya||Shree Mahalsa Narayani|
|Kamat/h||Kaushika||Shree Damodar Mahalakshmi|
|Kamat/h||Vatsa||Shree Shantadurga Vijayadurga Anant Purush|
|Kamat Satoskar||Kaushik||Shree Devaki Krishna Laxmi Ravalnath|
|Khatkhate / Shenai-Khatkhate||Vatsa||Shree Devi Sharvani Vetaleshwar Maharudra|
|Kudchadkar||Kaushik||Shree Shantadurga Prasanna|
|Mallya||Vatsa||Shree Nagesh Mahalskhmi|
|Mallya||Kaunsha||Shree Mahalsa Narayani|
|Mallya||Kaundinya||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Mallya||Kashyap||Shree Devaki Krishna Ravalnath|
|Nayak||Kaundinya||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Nayak||Bharadwaja||Shree Kundodari Mahamaya Chamundeshwari|
|Nayak||Kaushika||Shree Nagesh Mahalskhmi|
|Nayak||Kaunsha||Shree Narasimha Shantadurga Vijayadurga|
|Padiyar||Kaunsha||Shree Narasimha Shantadurga Vijayadurga|
|Pai||Atri, Bharadwaja, Kaushika||Shree Mahalsa Narayani|
|Pai||Kaundinya||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Prabhu||Vatsa||Shree Shantadurga Shankhwaleshwari at Veling, Shree Katayinini Baneshwara at Avarsa and Shree Vijayadurga at Keri|
|Prabhu||Vashisht||Shri Mangesh Maharudra (Mangeshim/Priyol)|
|Prabhu||Kaushika||Shree Damodar Mahalakshmi|
|Prabhu||Bharadwaja||Shree Nagesh Mahalskhmi|
|Prabhu||Atri, Kashyap||Shree Devaki Krishna Ravalnath|
|Shenoy||Gargeya||Shree Mahalsa Narayani|
|Shenoy||Vatsa, Kaundinya||Shree Ramnath Shanteri Kamakshi|
|Shenoy||Kaushika||Shree Kathyayini Baneshwar|