A Goan temple is known as a dēvūḷ (देवूळ) or sansthān (संस्थान) in the Konkani language. These temples were once the centres of villages, cities, and all the other social, cultural and economic gatherings in Goa. These were known as grāmasansthās (ग्रामसंस्था) in Konkani or as communidades in Portuguese.
A temple in Goa was once always the centre of a village (and in cases still is), and the lives of people were related to these temples and their festivals. The village property was divided amongst the villagers according to certain rules. The patrons of the temples are known as Mahajana and for the most part hail from Brahmin communities with a few from Kshatriya communities. This Mahajani system was once responsible for temple upkeep.
All the original temples in Goa were demolished by the Portuguese, and all the patrons migrated to other places with the deity idols. The original goan temples were made of sedimentary rocks, stones, wood and limestone. Black stone built in Kadamba and Hemadpanti style were very rare. Only one ancient temple of Goa that exists is that of Tambdi Surla Mahadev. The present day goan temples are a mixture of Nagari, Islamic and Portuguese architecture, this kind of architecture is unique in India. When one observes, the temple can have many different angles to it, it can be perceived as a Mosque, Church or simply a Palace.
A water tank called as a Tali or a Tallay is usually seen at the main entrance of the temple. A large Praveshdwar or the main entrance, with a Nagar Khana is a very distinct feature of Goan temples. A Deepa stambha is an integral part of the temple. Other related buildings with the temple:
- Related offices