Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley - Part V

By Mohan Pai

The Madei/Mandovi River in Goa

The Madei in Sattari

The Mahadayi river enters Goa near Khanapur taluka border below Sosodurg (called Dara Singha peak on Karnataka side), the highest peak in the Sahyadris (1019 m.) in Goa. In the upper reaches of the river in Sattari valley the river is called Madei and it flows for about 20 km westward till it reaches Bembol, the point of its confluence with Khandepar river. From here the river is called the Mandovi till it meets the Arabian sea ahead of Panaji.

Sattari taluka is crisscrossed with innumerable streams flowing from the Western Ghats from the Maharashtra state in the north and Karnataka in the west. Prominent among them are four streams: Surla (or Nandode Nadi), Volvonta, Kotrachi Nadi and Ragoda.

Farmer of Sattari - Pic by Mohan Pai

Surla River (Nanode Nadi): Surla river originates in the dense forests of Surla and Kankumbi in the Western Ghats of Karnatak. Kalasa nala joins it before it enters Goa. Two main streams join Surla river in Sattari - Mandrichi Nadi and Deuchi Nadi.

River Surla (Nanode Nadi), a tributary of Madei in Sattari - Pic by Mohan Pai

Surla river joins Madei near the village of Nanode above Valpoi. The length of this stream in Sattari is about 20 km.

Anjunem Dam Reservoir in Sattari - Pic by Mohan Pai

Volvonta river:The Volvonta (Haltar Nala) rises in the Western Ghats and enters Goa at Shiroli and it flows south for 21.5 km and joins the Mandovi at Sarmanas. The river is subject to tidal influence upto Sanquelim. River Volvonta has three main tributaries: Costi Nadi(8.5 km) joins the Volvonta at Ghoteli in Sattari. Cudne Nadi (17 km) joins the Volvonta at Karkhajan. Dicholi (15 km): originates in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra and enters Goa at Kudchirem to join the Volvonta at Karapur.

Arvalem Waterfalls on Bicholim River - Pic by Mohan Pai

Kotrachi Nadi: This stream emerges from the dense forests of Golali and Ivrem-Budruck. It flows southward and joins Madei at Velguem in Sattari.
Ragoda River: Originates in the Western Ghats and flows north-west over a distance of 35 km and joins the Madei at Guleli. The Ragoda itself has a tributary - Jamboli which starts at the Karnataka border runs westward till Jamboli and then north-west to join the Ragoda.
The other important streams that join the Madei in Sattari are: Kumbhtol (10.5 km), Patwal (10 km), Zarme (11.5 km), Khotodem (9.5 km) and Advoi (8 km).

The Mandovi

In Goa, after a restricted course through the flat-topped range, while receiving waters of the Volvonta coming from Ambekhol of Chorla Ghat and as many other smaller streams join in, the Madei emerges into a more open valley and from Bembol to Pilgao takes a north westerly course for about 17 km. swinging towards the west to join the Arabian sea at Panaji. From Bembol, where it meets the river Khandepar the Madei becomes the Mandovi. River Khandepar meets Madei at Bembol.The Madei becomes the Mandovi from this point of the confluence. Pic by Mohan Pai

As the tributaries join in, in it’s estuarial region it develops a broad and slow moving course accompanied by remarkable changes in the landscape and drainage characterised by the typical features of a drowned topography with the island of Divar standing prominently in mid-course with its northern counterpart, the island of Chorao, not looking so prominent as an island because it is on the right bank of the Mandovi encircled by the small but complex network of Mapusa river drainage. Khandepar river in the south and Mapusa river network of drainage in the north are the important tributaries of Mandovi in Goa.

Khandepar River: Khandepar river originates in the Western Ghats on Karnataka side and enters Goa through the Castlerock heights and plunges down as the beautiful Dudhsagar waterfalls.

Dudhsagar Waterfalls - Pic by Uttam

It is also called the Dudhsagar river in this stretch. After the falls it runs in a deep valley for some distance till the village of Colem turning north. Calem Nala, its tributary which originates on the Karnataka boudary in the Western Ghats and runs westward till Pimpalquin and then turns north till it joins the Dudhsagar (Khandepar) river with a total length of 29 km. Khandepar river valley is broad with alluvial embankments and is dominated by plateau heights occasionally showing peaks. It has a large drainage area through its tributaries in the south, draining the area of north Sanguem and Ponda talukas in its wake.
Mapusa River: Mapusa river originates in the dense forests of Dumacem and Amthane and flows southward for 26 km and joins the Mandovi at Penha de Franca. The Moide, a tributary of river Mapusa originates in Guirim flows northeast for 17 km and joins the Mapusa river at Sircaim. The Mapusa river drainage consists of threaded and ill-defined streams in broad, flat and in some places marshy levels skirted by the Nandoli-Porvorim-Mapusa-Assonora-Sirigao plateau heights and shows that the whole low level tract is infilled alluvium, fed by waters as well as debries by the steep down cutting rivulets of the plateau rims, of which the Assonara stream is the longest.
Sinquerim: The river starts from Alto-Porvorim hillock in Bardez and flows westward through Pilerne, Verem, Nerul, Candolim and joins the Mandovi at Sinquerim. The river length is 11 km.

Penha de Franca - Pic by Mohan Pai
The church at the confluence of the Mapusa river and the Madovi riverstands very prominently on the river bank of the Mandovi. According to the story, Ana de Azavedo, a wealthy widow, who was a devotee of Nosa Senhora de Penha de Franca in Portugal bequeathed all her estates to the Franciscans and this church was built on her property during herlifetime and hence the name ‘Penha de Franca’.

Aguada Bay near the mouth of the Mandovi - Pic by Mohan Pai

The Mandovi is the widest, approximately four km. at the Bay of Aguada and river Sinquerim joins it in this bay. The Mapusa river joins the Mandovi at the upstream end of a 6 km stretch. Divar island, approximately 11 km long, bifurcates the Mandovi into two channels. Before joining at the upstream end of the island, the two channels lead into an extensive network of narrow channels in a marshy area. The Cumbarjua canal joins the Mandovi about 4 km upstream of the Divar island. The 30 km stretch of the main channel of the Mandovi, from the eastern edge of the Divar island to Ganjem, gets progressively narrower and shallower in the upstream direction. Rivers Dicholi, Volvonta, Kudnem and Khandepar join the Mandovi along this stretch, Khandepar being the largest of the four streams which is fed by the river Dudhsagar at its upstream end.

View of the Mandovi from Our Lady of the Mount Church, Old Goa. In the foreground is St. Cajetan’s Cathedral and St. Francis of Assisi rise above the groves of palm

Goa’s Riverine Civilization

Mauxi Rock Engraving

The prehistory of Goa is intrinsically meshed with the ecological history of its rivers. According to historians, the nomadic humans descended down the river valleys of the Western Ghats and dispersed along the estuaries and the coast some one hundred thousand years ago.

Archeologists have found tools that suggest occupation of sites in Goa along the upstream Mandovi river that date from early palaeolithic to mesolithic stages. Rock engravings have been found at Mauxi in Sattari taluka and in Usgalimol in Sanguem taluka, some of which belong to Mesolithic period of the old stone age (8,000 to 5,000 BC).

The recorded history of Goa goes back to 300 BC when it was part of the Mauryan Empire followed by the rule of a series of Hindu dynasties through the ages which included the Bhojas, Satvahanas, Abhira, the Kalachuris, the Chalukyas of Badami, the Rashtrakutas, the Silaharas and the Kadambas until the fourteenth century when Mohomedans invaded Goa, followed by the rule of Vijayanagar empire for nearly a century and then a brief spell of rule by the Bahamanis of Bijapur until the Portugese conquered part of the territory in 1510 AD and stayed for 452 years until 1961.

Goa became a flourishing riverine civilizaton from early times when it had become an important entrepot of ancient and medieval world, mentioned in historical text as “Gouba” by Ptolemy (2nd century AD) and as “Kava Sindabur” (Goa Chandrapur) by the Arabs. During the fifteenth and sixteenth century its prosperity brought fame and it was called “Goa Dourada” and “Rome of the East.” Decadence hadset in during the later part of the Portugese rule but since the independence in 1961, Goa has prospered with its mining, fisheries and tourism. Goa has one of the highest per capita income among the Indianstates. Tourism now is a major industry as Goa is now an international destination and the number of annual tourist arrivals (2.3 million) now far exceeds the population of Goa (1.3 million)

Over the centuries, Goa has developed its own riverine culture and society; its own agricultural systems like Khazan fields and ‘Puran Sheti’; its fishing expertise and horticulture; its religious and folk traditions;its art forms, music and cuisine;

Now the future of this ancient riverine civilization and a vibrant and prosperous state which has become an international tourist destination is at stake because of the so called ‘‘Development” schemes of the neighbouring state.

The Temple District

Majority of the famous sixteenth and seventeenth century temples are located in the Mandovi river basin in Ponda taluk. Most of them are the temples of the escapee Gods shifted across the river because of the religious persecution by the Portugese.

Intricately carved doorway - Shri Mahalkshmi Temple, Bandode - Pic by Mohan Pai

The temples include Shri Mangesh, Shri Nagesh, Shri Mhalsa, Shri Shantadurga, Shri Mahalakshmi, Shri Laxminarsimha, Shri Kamakshi and many others.

Kamakshi Temple, Shiroda - Pic by Mohsn Pai

Away to the south of Ponda taluka, far from the main concentration of temples at Shiroda is located the temple of Shri Kamakshi. Originally from the village of Raia, the deity was transferred here when the temple at Raia was destroyed by the Portugese.. The temple has no domes and its tiled roof has the concave profile of a Buddhist Pagoda, projecting beyond a two-storied octagonal tower with a golden filial.

Arvalem Caves: These are 6th century caves locally known as Pandava caves. They have long been thought to be of Buddhist origin, with the lingas installed in the four shrines after the decline of Buddhism ...but this is not altogether certain and they may have been Brahminical from the start.

Aravalem Caves - Pic by Mohan Pai

The Mahadeva Temple at Tambdi Surla is the only structural temple of the Kadamba period belonging to the 13th century which has survived. The temple is built of black basalt with slab roof design over the main hall and a typical Dravidian style Shikara and carved ceiling.

13th Century Mahadeva Temple - Pic by Mohan Pai

A Vibrant Civilization Steeped in Tradition

Ghodemodni, a martial dance performed during the festival of Shigmo. The dancers tie wooden horses at the waist and wear bright costumes and colourful headgears and march towards the village temple. The dance probably came to Goa from Saurashtra.

Cities & Settlements on the banks of the Mandovi

Right Bank of the Mandovi


Mandovi at Panaji. Idalcao Palace in the foreground - Pic by Mohan Pai

PANAJI - the capital city of Goa State housed only a tiny fishing village amongst the swamp lands and palm trees.

Idalcao's Palace, Panaji - Pic by Mohan Pai

It was Yusuf Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur who selected this site and built a fortified palace around 1500 AD. After more than 500 years the palace still stands as the most prominent structure on the banks of the Mandovi and is known as Idalcao Palace.

Blue-tiled murals which line the entrance hall of the Menezes BraganzaInstitute. It’s a uniquely Portugese art form ‘azulezos’ which depictscenes from the great poem by Luis de Camos, ‘The Lusiads’ whichtells the story of the adventure of the Portugese Empire in the east.

In the 1820s and 1830s, streets, lighting, public buildings and housing were rapidly developed and in 1834 its official status was raised by the government in Lisbon to that of a city with the title Nova Goa and in 1843, it was declared the capital of Goa by royal decree.

Dramatic statue of Abbe Faria in Panaji - one of the most fascinating of Goan exiles was born in 1756 in Candolim village in Bardez. His father took him to Lisbon and he was ordained in Rome as a priest. He lived in Paris and was involved in the Pinto revolt in Goa as well as the French revolution in France actually leading a battalion of revolutionaries in 1795. He became famous as the originator of hypnotism through suggestion. Pic by Mohan Pai

Dona Paula

Legend says that Dona Paula was the lady in waiting of the Governor General’s wife and the Governor fell for her beauty and charms. The governor’s enraged wife had her stripped and bound and thrown over the cliff into the sea. However, the governor’s wife allowed Dona Paula to keep her necklace of pearls, a gift of love from her confessor. The local fishermen believe that at the stroke of midnight, Dona Paula rises from the sea and roams the area wearing the pearl necklace and nothing else, leaning on the arm of the priest - her confessor and lover.

Image of India - white statue at the tip of the promontory - Pic by Mohan Pai

Dona Paula is located at the western end of Panaji and has a beautiful bay and a beach. The white statue called ‘Image of India’ by Baroness Yersa Von Leistner portrays a man and a woman.

Dona Paula Bay. Pic by Mohan Pai


Flock of sea gulls at Ribander - Pic by Mohan Pai

At the end of the causeway from Panaji is Ribander, the name meaning “Royal landing place” is a long rambling village on the banks of the Mandovi between Panaji and Old Goa. It was home to Goa’s historic hospital - the Hospital of the Poor which was the successor to that first famous Portugese institution, the Royal Hospital of Old Goa tranferred at Ribander in 1851

OLD GOA - “ The Rome of the East”

The Basilica of Bom Jesus was built by the Jesuits between 1594 and 1605. This building is perhaps the finest example of Baroque architecture in India. The relics of St. Fancis Xavier lie in this Basilica and the expositions of the bodily relics of St. Francis Xavier are held at ten-year intervals. Pic by Mohan Pai

Old Goa, the capital of the Portugese Empire, a city of prosperity and splendour, had become one of the wonders of the Orient “the Rome of the East” with a population of well over 2,00,000 in the first half of the 16th century.
The city was already doomed, cholera first struck in 1543, as the population grew, the primitive drainage system unable to cope. A whole series of epidemics occured and the city’s population was decimated time after time. But it was not until 1759 that the Viceroy moved to Panjim, a healthier site nearer to the coast.
Hundreds of buildings including dozens of huge and magnificent structures have disappeared without a trace totally submerged by the returning jungle, and yet in the midst of this vanished city, a small number of buildings remain perfectly preserved.

The Arch of the Viceroys, which once was the main gateway to the city was built by Vasco da Gama’s great-grandson. On taking office, all Viceroys made their processional entrance with great ceremony through this archway where they were presented with the keys of the city. Pic by Mohan Pai

AdilShah's Palace Gate - Pic by Mohan Pai

Doorway to Yusuf Adil Khan’s palace has been preserved in the premises of St. Cajetan’s Church. The gate is all that remains of Adil Shah’s palace today which was built with building materials from the Saptakoteshwar temple built here by the Kadambas when Govapuri was their capital in the 12th century. The gate itself is so intricate that one can imagine the magnificence of the temple that the stone came from.

Madhav Tirtha - Pic by Mohan Pai

This is the only monument to Madhav Mantri, the Vijayanagar General, who restored peace and prosperity after conquering Goa from the Bahamanis in the 14th century. A Vedic scholar, an ardent Shaivite ans apatron of learning, Madhav Mantri not only restored the images of Saptakoteshwar and other deities to their new shrines but he also revived the tradition of Vedic and Puranic learning in Goa.

Safa Shahouri Mosque - Pic by Mohan Pai

Safa Shahouri Mosque, Ponda was built by Adil Shah in 1560It is an unusual prayer-hall standing on a high plinth with a picturesque tank that bears closer resemblance to a Hindu temple tank. The building is now being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Reis Magos Church - Pic by Mohan Pai

The church of Reis Magos in the village of Verem (Bardez), situated on the right bank of the river Mandovi near its mouth was built in 1555 AD and is dedicated to the three Magi. This was once the residence of all dignitaries and also a mission of the Franciscan order.
The fort of Reis Magos was first built by the Portugese in 1551 and was again completely rebuilt in 1739.

Ramparts of Fort Aguada - Pic by Mohan Pai

FORT AGUADA: the largest and the best preserved of Goa’s forts and is one of its best known landmarks. The headland on which it was built offered an ideal site, superbly located for both seaward and landward defence shielding the most vital access to the heart of Portugese territory.
The oldest, one of the first lighthouses built in Asia was commissioned here in 1864.

Fishing boats at Betim - Pic by Mohan Pai

Gurudwara at Betim - Pic by Mohan Pa

Historical Mosque at Surla, Bicholim with a dried up water tank in front. Pic by Mohan Pai