29
Apr
09

The Flight of Gods 24. Brahma Temple, Carambolim

The Flight of Gods 
By Mohan PaiShri Brahma Temple
Carambolim

Black basalt Brahma idol – photo by Mohan Pai

The temple is situated at a village called Brahma-Carambolim to distinguish it from CarambolimVillage near Old Goa, the original home of the deity. Brahma-Carambolim is located 7 km from Valpoi town in Sattari Taluk.

The stone sculpture of Brahma here is truly magnificent. Carved out of a single black basalt stone, it is one of the finest specimen of Kadamba art and is an ancient image still in worship. The sculpture has a beard on the central face. In his four hands he carries a ladle in his upper right hand, the book of Vedas in his upper left hand, Kamandalu in his lower left hand and chanting beads in his lower right hand which is in Varamudra posture.

Here again Brahma is a migrant deity, originally from the village with the same name – Carambolim that is located right next to Old Goa. The image was hurriedly carried away by its devotees. But where as most of the Gods saved in this way were installed nearby, just across the border, the Brahma image made a journey far to the east into the foothills of the Western Ghats.
There is no independent cult of Brahma, as according to Puranic version, Brahma was cursed by Shiva not to receive any worship and there are hardly any shrines to Brahma in India. Apart from Goa, there are two Brahma shrines in existence at Pushkar in Rajasthan and at Khajurao in Madhya Pradesh. In Goa, apart from Brahma-Carambolim where he is the main deity, he is also a Parivar Devata in Shri Bhagavati temple in Parse and Virnode temple in Pedne taluk and in Shri Shantadurga temple at Colomba in Sanguem taluk.

The Brahma worship in this region appears to have arrived during the period of early Chalukyas of Badami.The Shrine under renovation – photo by Mohan Pai

The temple at Brahma-Caramboli is a small plain building, hardly recognisable as a temple. The temple is under renovation and the sanctuary was in the midst of scaffolding when the author visited the temple in February, 2006. Regular pujas, however, are being conducted without interruption.

Vagheri Hills, Sahyadris – view from the Brahma Temple – photo by Mohan Pai

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