Goa's cultural wealth consists of a broad spectrum of temples , churches , folk art and legends. The heritage temple of Shri Shankarshann or 'Shankarshaa Devul' which is perhaps unique in Goa is located in Kaajalker, a remote village of Lolye in Canacona.
A visit to the temple reveals many misconceptions and legends. Dr V R Mitragotri calls Shri Shankarshann as the 13th epithet of Shri Vishnu. But Vinod Varik and some elderly people of Kaajalker unfolded an interesting lore to me which disagrees with Dr.Mitragotri.
The villagers stressed that the deity is the 'Purush' (ancestor) of the Varik family who was known by Shankarshann Varik.
The folklore says that Shankarshann Varik along with 12 people (Baandkaari) were engaged in the task of building bunds to reclaim land from the sea bay. Bunds made of silt and green leaves collapsed each time they were built. Shri Niraakaar, the presiding deity of Maashem in a dream informed Shankarshann that his life should be sacrificied so that the bunds withstand the water thrust.
Taking God's word, Shankarshann jumped into the bay. The 12 Baandkaari too followed suit. On seeing their husbands dead, the wives of the Baandhkaari who had come with 'pez' also jumped into the bay.
Shankarshann's wife on her way to the construction site, heard about her husband's demise and jumped in a nearby well along with another woman followed by her pet dog. The sacrifice of 28 souls is believed to have prevented the bunds from collapsing and thus the land was reclaimed for settlement.
A cow was unleashed from the temple of Shri Niraakaar later. A temple was built in honour of Shankarshann at the place where the cow rested. To commemorate his sacrifice, Dasraa is celebrated annually in the temple.12 icons called Kallyeo are seen established as a tribute to the 12 Baandhkaaris outside the temple of Shri Niraakaar.
The well in which Shankarshann's wife jumped is known as 'Shankar-Sati' or 'Satiyechi Baain'.Offerings during the Dasraa are made hitherto, for the soul of the woman and the dog.
Like Shankarshann, Shri Parshuram also probably reclaimed land to establish villages which was given a mythical touch.
The Navhind Times
Thursday January 18, 2007
Posted By : Rohit Phalgaonkar, Goa on 31/01/2007