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Panjim is one of the best planned cities in the country, with a neat network of main avenues and connecting roads, a sewerage system, gardens and excellent Indo-Portuguese architecture. Panjim is a microcosm of Goa with a river and the Arabian Sea lapping at its feet, Khazan and salt pan lands which have now turned into the bus terminus and Patto Plaza the corporate district of Goa., from the salt pans to the coconut groves and Panjim rises up in an extremely picturesque manner to its hilltop at Altinho.

Panjim was originally a small fishing village with lots of coconut groves between creeks and fields. This capital city was a ward of Taleigao village. It so enamoured Adil Shah that he built his summer palace surrounded by a moat which was later filled up by the Portuguese when they came in to power and left Old Goa with its pestilence and disease to build a new city or Nova Goa as Panjim was called. But it was only during the early 19 th century that the city was enlarged, public sewerage, tree-lined avenues, gardens and ornamental park benches etc. The city was elevated to the status of city and became the capital of Goa by a royal decree and was known as Nova Goa.

The magnificent edifices of Old Goa were dismantled and the stones were reused to build smaller but very elegant houses for the people of Panjim and sturdy but again, elegant government buildings. Panjim with its broad tree lined avenues, gardens and beautiful buildings earned her the sobriquet, “Princess of the Mandovi”.

But all things must end, especially those who had to protect this beautiful city from the ravages of time. After Liberation the buildings of Panjim, began to lose their sparkle as those entrusted with their maintenance allowed the city to go to wrack and ruin.

Now Panjimites realize the value of its heritage and the Goa Heritage Action Group has been in the forefront of restoring Panjim to its earlier glory.

Architect Raya Shankwalker has taken photographs of some of Panjim’s old structures which have been renovated. His photographs prove that sometimes city fathers and city people can come together to bring a city to life. Raya too has played a large part in the beautification of Panjim city.

Goa Statistics

Co-ordinates: 15o29’35’’N 73o49’05’’E / 15.493oN 73.818oE

Area: 3702 km2

Capital: Panaji

Official language: Konkani

Altitude: sea level up to 1022 mts

Climate: max 36oC, min 17oC

Annual rainfall: 300 cms (average)

Population: 13, 43,998

Population density: 363/km2

Literacy rate: 82.32%

Time zone: IST (UTC+5.30)

Districts: 2

Established: 30th may 1987

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Places in Goa

Maruti Temple at Miramar

The land of Goa has a very special place in the hearts of Goan people the world over. Not only love, it brings out the religious fervour in every individual, whatever may be the religion he follows. A similar incident happened on these very banks of River Mandovi, many years back in the year 1969.

Miramar Beach, the pride of Panjimites, was just a place of entertainment, where people frequented it every evening and especially on weekends. This place, called as “Gaspar Dias”, did not have any other “vastu” other than the Club Tennis de Gaspar Dias, the Dhempe College and a few houses.

Goans are basically god fearing and loving people, a fact known the world over. Though the Miramar Beach was used during Ganesh Chaturthi for immersion of the ganesh idol and for bathing after ‘rangpanchami’, there existed no organised religious institution in this area.

The year 1969, and the inspiration of a few people viz., Baban A. Naik, Mohan Caculo, Audhut Angle, Vasant Naik, Vasudev Tamba, Ashok Kare and Narayan Naik saw the ‘pratisthapana’ of a small Ghumti (small shrine) housing an idol of Lord Maruti. As expected, the flow of devotees was directed to this Ghumti on a daily basis but witnessed a big gathering only on ‘Sravani’ Saturdays.

Keeping in mind the peoples growing need for offering their prayers, in the year 1976, it was decided to erect a small place of worship in place of the Ghumti. To work in this direction, a few like-minded people got together and formed a Trust – The Marutirai Miramar Trust, to systematize and co-ordinate the construction of an organised place of worship. This first so formed Trust under the Chairmanship of ___________had 28 members. This was registered as per the laws of the land under regn. No. ______.

Using their high offices and contacts, the Trustees got granted, a small plot of land for erection of a temple. In the year 1979, after collecting funds from generous donors, the temple started taking shape in the form of an open platform and the Garbhakud (sanctum sanctorum). The main functions were now shifted from the ghumti to this area. The ghumti, which has a high sentimental esteem, still exists in its original place.

The number of Bhaviks (devotees) increased and so did the ceremonies. Now that there was a place to venerate and an organised Trust to co-ordinate the workings, it was decided to celebrate the ‘utsavs’ (festivals) like Sravani Shenvar, Hanuman Jayanti and the Pratishthapana day.

The number of devotees, not only from Panjim but from the surrounding areas such as Dona Paula and Taleigao, even Porvorim, increased manifold and made it a routine to pay their religious respects. The temple was also the “Shraddha Sthan” of many students of the surrounding institutions, especially before their exams.

Year 1986 - the organised functioning of the Trust and a rigid control over the fund petti (Donation Box) witnessed the funds growing. It was now decided to purchase a “Palkhi” (Palanquin) to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti with added pomp. From that year till date the bhaviks residing in the surrounding areas have the fortune of expressing their devotion at the doorsteps of their houses, as the ‘Palkhi’ makes its rounds to all the nearby areas on Hanuman Jayanti day.

The open platform of the temple served the purpose during fair weather, but during monsoons it created a lot of hardships especially to the elderly devotees, as the floor became slippery and mud made the place messy. The new Committee of the Trust so formed in 1997, under the Chairmanship of Shri. Suresh Kudchadkar, now decided to renovate the area around the existing “chabutaro” and “Garbhakud” and give it a covering. Arch. Ramesh Kamat was instrumental in planning and designing the temple and the required licenses were got granted.

The Trust fund was a mere Rs. 6 Lakhs. Whilst the entire project cost was around Rs. 19 – 20 Lakhs. The concrete structure itself cost Rs. 6 lacs. The finishing works would cost another Rs. 15 Lakhs.

There is a saying, which our elders always mentioned to us. If your heart is clean, and your aim is good, God shall never let you down. The devotees of Marutirai spontaneously poured in their help, - some financially and the others, mostly businessmen, pooled in with raw materials required by the Trust for completion of this “Vastu”. The granite, the aluminium windows, the carved doors, the electrical fixtures, bore the cost of painting and even the “Fund petti” was gifted by the sponsors.

No religious Vastu is complete without the Shikhar Kalash (Vessel atop the sanctum sanctorum) mounted. The Trustees volounteered and donated this amount of Rs. 2 Lakhs themselves. The prathisthapana of the Golden Shikhar kalash was done on 28 th March 2003 at the muhurat of 11.17 AM, and at the hands of His Holiness Shrimat Shivananda Saraswati Swamiji , Pattashishya of His Holiness Shrimat Satchidananda Swamiji of Shri Saunsthan Gaudapadacharya Math, Kavlem Goa.

COMPILED BY:- SANJEEV V. SARDESAI – sanscritic@sify.com

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