The Goan Temple: A Unique Architecture on Its Way Out

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

The architecture of Goa is a heterogeneous one, the result of its long and cosmopolitan history as an Indian Ocean port, a part of the Islamicate Deccan, and then of the Portuguese empire. And one of its most distinctive and heterogeneous developments is in the realm of temple architecture. The Brahmanical temples that were built in Goa from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries were creatively inspired by Renaissance Europe (via the churches of Goa), the Bijapur Sultanate, the Mughals (via the Marathas), and the Ikkeri Nayakas, along with the local architecture. These varied vocabularies came together to produce a recognisable architectural ensemble by the end of the 19th century which spread across the region of Goa and beyond.  This is why the Goan temple should be seen as an architectural type in its own right.

 

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Amita Kanekar to present a paper entitled ‘The Politics of Renovation: The Disappearing Architecture of Goa’s Old Brahmanical Temples’

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Amita Kanekar will present a paper titled ‘The Politics of Renovation: The Disappearing Architecture of Goa’s Old Brahmanical Temples’ at the conference on Preserving Transcultural Heritage: Your Way or My Way, to be held at the School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, from 5-8 July, 2017.

 

Kanekar’s paper will look at the unique architecture of Goa’s old Brahmanical shrines that is under threat today, and one of the reasons seems to be a perception that it is not Hindu enough. Goa’s centuries-long Islamicate and Iberian connections have left behind a heterogeneous culture in many aspects, including architecture. The many Brahmanical temples built from the seventeenth century onwards are examples of this, their hybrid forms belonging as much to the Islamicate world and the European Renaissance as to local building traditions. But, while these temples still stand today and attract increasing numbers of worshippers, their original architecture is disappearing, to be replaced by forms and elements from outside Goa. This paper examines the attempts to erase these unique forms, and the relation of this to the social, political, and legal context.

आंतोनियो कॉश्तांच्या माफीचे राजकारण

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कौस्तुभ नाईक/KAUSTUBH NAIK

गोमंतकीय वंशाचे व पोर्तुगालचे सद्याचे पंतप्रधान आंतोनियो कॉश्ता हे गोवा भेटीवर असतानाचे निमित्त साधून साडेचारशे वर्षाच्या पोर्तुगीज राजवटीसाठी कॉश्ता ह्यांनी माफी मागावी अशी मागणी महाराष्ट्रवादी गोमंतक पक्षाचे नेते सुदिन ढवळीकर ह्यांनी केली आहे. ऐन निवडणुकीच्या तोंडावर आलेली ही मागणी आणि ढवळीकरांचे सनातनी हिंदुत्वप्रेम लक्षात घेतल्यास ह्या मागणीचा रोख नेमका कुठे आहे हे सुज्ञास सांगायची गरज नाही. पण अशा घोषणामागे गोव्याच्या वसाहतवादी इतिहासाचे एकसुरी चित्र रंगवून सामाजिक तेढ निर्माण करण्याचे प्रयत्न अधोरेखित केले पाहिजे.

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Conflicts, Ideals, and Idols

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By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

The conflict in the temple of Navadurga in Marcaim has begun to attract some amount of attention. A superficial understanding suggests that the conflict revolves around the question of the future of the deity currently worshipped in the temple. It appears that the mahajans of the temple wish to replace the deity because it has developed cracks. They argue that this is standard ritual practice and it is hence not an unusual decision. The villagers of Marcaim, however, will have none of it. They argue that they are attached to the idol, that She has been worshipped for generations in the temple, and they do not wish to see the idol replaced.

 

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The Remarkable Syncretism in Goa’s Early Modern Architecture

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

There is a tendency in South Asia to privilege the early in architecture, as George Michell mentions in his recent book, Late Temple Architecture of India (2015), as if beginnings are more important than later developments. And even when later works are examined it is usually in comparison with the earlier, as a linear progression, or – more often than not – a regression. This attitude of course fits in very well with the nationalist approach to Goa’s history, i.e. with the concerted effort to show that Goa has always been a part of India despite 450 years of Portuguese rule, and despite the non-existence of, both, Goa and today’s India before the Portuguese arrived. Thanks to this tendency, and the concurrent emphasis on the ‘Indian’ in Goa’s ‘ancient’ heritage, many people might be unaware that Goa is the home of a unique tradition of architecture of the early modern period. Old Goa is well known, of course, as a UNESCO world heritage site, but Goa’s remarkable heritage goes beyond Old Goa, to its own unique church tradition, its own mosque tradition, and its own temple tradition, all of which developed in connection to one another.

 

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