Hinduism in Goa

Hinduism is an ancient tradition in Goa.Goan Hindus proudly call themselves Konkane (कोंकणे ),meaning ,the residents of Konkan Presently Hindus form about 70% of the population of Goa. Vedic Hindus had settled in the Sapta Konkanas(Western Indian Coast) and formed settlements in and around present day Goa.The Brahmins traditionally speak of being brought by Lord Parshuram from Trihotrapur in the east for the performance of Vedic Sacrifices (Yagnyas).

They built Agrashalas and Maths and formed the settlements of Sasashti(Salcette/66 settlements),Tiswadi(30 settlements) ,Bardez(12 settlements) and so forth. The Kadamabas, rulers of Goa in the 11th Century were Jains. The Kadambas themselves later adopted Hinduism.


The arrival of the Portuguese brought Christianity. Hindu temples were destroyed,churches built in their places. Hindus were denied any rights. These included rights to hold property,rights of worship and carrying on their rituals including the right to cremate their dead. In the 16th century most Hindus fled the Portuguese territories to the territories held by the Hindu rajas of Sonde and the Canara and Malabar Coast where significant communities of Konkani Goan Hindus still survive until today.Very few Hindus continued to exist in the Portuguese held Velha conquistas. With the passage of time and the liberalisation of the Portuguese religious laws, Hindus were finally able to rebuild some of their temples in Old Goa. The capture of the Nova conquistas with its large Hindu populace happened in the 18th century when the religious zeal of the Portuguese had dampened. Hindus were thus able to rebuild the temples of their Gods in the Nova conquistas albeit in a very inconspicuous manner. The Liberation of Goa saw the return of religious freedom for Hindus and Hinduism flourished in Goa. Currently about 70% of the Goan populace adhere to Hinduism.

Goan Hinduism

Goan Hinduism has a flavour of its own. Though Goans share most rituals with their Hindu brothers and sisters in the rest of India, their isolation and persecution and their sharing the Goan countryside with Christian Goans has seen a great deal of syncretism in both Hindu and Christian traditions in Goa. Hindu festivals include a procession wherein the deities are taken from the newly built temples in the Nova conquistas to their original sites in the velha conquistas.

While Caste is unfortunately still a major factor especially amongst the Hindu population, the egalitarian Indian constitution has helped to a perceived degree.

Goan Hindus celebrate the Zatra of Shree Mangesh and Shree Shantadurga besides those of other deities.The festival of Holi is called Shigmo in Goa and celebrated with gaiety. Chavath or Ganesh Chaturthi as it is called by Goan Hindus is a major festival in Goa.Diwali is celebrated with the lighting of the deepstambs in the temples and with the burning of effigies of the evil demon Narkasur who was vanquished on the day before Diwali by Lord Krishna.

The Goan Hindu community is composed of Saraswat Brahmins,Daivadnya Brahmins and other Brahmin communities like karhades and chitpavans. ,Konkani 'marathas'-Kshatriya (Chardos), Vanis,Kunbis, Gaudas and other smaller communities.

Goan Hindus and Christians have great respect for each others traditions and form a model of interdependence and a tolerant progressive society.

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