Posts Tagged 'Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley India'

Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley, India – Part I


This document covers a very important and ecologically vital geographical area which is rich in biodiversity – the Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley in the central Western Ghats. Most of the forests in the Western Ghats have already disappeared due to population pressure and ‘development’ schemes that do not consider the long term consequences but merely look at the short term gains. And now it is the turn of this pristine valley to fall under the axe.

River Madei at Sonal Village, Sattari, Goa – Pic by Mohan Pai

This is mainly a pictorial documentation which attempts to bring out the natural wealth of this valley – its streams and waterfalls, its forests and wildlife, its people and the millennia old civilization and settlements on the banks of the river Mandovi in Goa all of which stand to be decimated due to Karnataka’s river valley project which proposes to divert a sizeable quantum of water from the Mahadayi to the Malaprabha river in Belgaum district of Karnataka. But the project is far more ambitious. It includes building as many as 11 dams on the Mahadayi and its tributaries in a small area of 50 sq km along with hydroelectric projects.

The project will submerge a vast area of thousands of acres; most of it will be thick forested area. The tribals living in the area will be displaced. Once these forests are destroyed there will be a drastic change in the ecology of the valley ruining its forests, wildlife and all its natural wealth.

Gavali Tribals of Chapoli – Mother & Child – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

The core catchment area of the Mahadayi lies in the heavy rainfall, thickly forested, approximately 200 sq km of mountain topography of Khanapur taluka, barely 10 km upstream of Valpoi in Goa, where Karnataka’s diversion and hydroelectric dams are to come up.

In my earlier book “The Western Ghats” , I had attempted to bring out the ecological damage that is being continually inflicted on the Sahyadris. The biggest ecological damage inflicted upon the Western Ghats is deforestation. The Western Ghats eco-region with an area of about 1,59,000 sq. km has been classified as a global ‘Hotspot’. This means that this is an area which is rich in endemic plant species and which has already lost more than 70% of its original habitat and is under severe threat due to human pressure.

The Mahadayi is a comparatively minor stream that arises in the Western Ghats and the river valley is a large pocket of dense, pristine monsoon forests, one of the richest reservoirs of biodiversity in the world that reflects complexity in plant, animal, bird life and is home to some rare endangered species of bats.
Mahadayi river valley is in the news because of the inter-state water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Goa. The Mahadayi Valley has been facing many threats. Illegal felling of trees and illegal mining has been going on for decades. Large scale plantation of exotic species (acasia & mangium) has also been damaging the ecology of the area.

With water diversion and hydroelectric projects, the Mandovi river, Goa’s life-line, faces imminent threat of choking because of the reduction in water flow, siltation and disruption of its ecology due to change in its profile – perhaps being even reduced to a trickle in the summer months and possibility of seismic disturbances.

The main threat that is now looming over the valley is the Karnataka Government’s plans to divert a large quantum of water from the Mahadayi river and its tributaries to the Malaprabha river basin to help the acute water scarcity faced by the region in the Malaprabha basin. But as long as the exploitation of water resources continues in the Malaprabha region, no matter how much water and from where it is diverted, the Malaprabha valley is likely to face the same situation in the near future.

But the project is far more ambitious. It includes building as many as 11 dams on the Mahadayi and its tributaries in this small area along with hydroelectric projects. The project appears to aim at impounding a large portion of waters from the Mahadayi and its tributaries that flows into Goa, which will mean that Karnataka retains and controls all the dams and the Mahadayi waters.

It is estimated that this project will submerge a vast area amounting to about 3,000 hectares; most of it will be the thick forested area on Karnataka side of the valley. Once these forest are destroyed there will be a drastic change in the ecology of the valley reducing the rainfall, ruining its forests, wildlife, and all its natural wealth.

Fungal diversity – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

The core catchment area of the Mahadayi lies in the heavy rainfall (3800mm-5700 mm per annum) thickly forested, approximately 200 sq. km of mountain topography of Khanapur taluka barely 10 km. upstream of Valpoi in Goa. A very large quantity of water that flows down the Mandovi all the year round originates in the streams and rivulets around Kankumbi, Jamboti, Talewadi, Gavali and Hemadga villages where Karnataka’s diversion and hydroelectric dams are to come up. The Mandovi river, Goa’s lifeline, faces imminent threat of choking because of the reduction in water flow, siltation and disruption of its ecology due to change in its profile – perhaps being even reduced to a trickle in the summer months.

Every variation in the Mahadayi water level will be crucial for Goa’s ecology, forests, wildlife, agriculture, drinking water, fishing and transportation.

Whither the Sahyadris ?

The Sahyadris or the Western Ghats is a major mountain range of the world that runs 1,600 km N-S forming the “girdle of the earth” and is the most important feature of the landscape of the southern peninsula of India. It has been classified as a “Global Biodiversity Hotspot” which is under constant threat due to human pressure.

It’s a precious gift of the Nature – priceless because the well-being of the entire southern peninsula hinges on the ecological stability of these mountains. And yet, there is a mindless exploitation and wanton destruction. The rate of forest destruction in the Sahyadris continues at a staggering rate. Tragically for the country and the region, most of the forest cover in the Western Ghats has disappeared.

The Western Ghats are remarkable headwaters and the main watershed for the southern peninsula serving six states; sustained by the heavy seasonal rainfall from the south-west monsoon, from which all the major and many smaller rivers of the southern peninsula originate and flow east or west emptying into the coastal waters. The real merit of the Western Ghats forests in terms of their watershed value is incalculable. These forests once destroyed are gone forever. No amount of scientific knowledge or investment in afforestation can get us back our rivers.

The Western Ghats eco-region covers an area of about 1,59,000 sq km and is shared by six states viz., Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Around 40 districts fall within the limits of this region. Population density is lowest in the Dangs in Gujarat – 106/km2 and highest in Alapuzha in Kerala – 1489/km2. Tribal population classified as tribals (ST) are highest in Gujarat (14.9%), followed by Maharashtra (9.27%) and least in Tamil Nadu (1%) and Kerala (1.1%).

There are 58 protected areas – 13 National Parks and 45 Wildlife Sanctuaries. The total area of 14,140.36 km2 that is thus protected amounts to only 8.8% of the eco-region.

Of the remaining few pockets of dense pristine, evergreen forests, the Mahadayi River Valley located in the northern Karnataka and Goa now faces the Democles’s Sword in the shape of the proposed water diversion and hydroelectric schemes in Karnataka that will submerge an area of about 3,000 hactares, most of which will be the dense evergreen forests.

The Mahadyi River Valley one of the last “Wildernesses” with dense evergreen forests, abundant wildlife, beautiful streams and waterfalls covers an area of 750 sq km and is comparable to the Silent Valley(89.5 sq. km.) in Kerala in its wealth of biodiversity but much larger in area.


Pic by Amrut Singh

(The King Cobra – Ophiophagus hannah is the longest venomous snake in the world also called the Hamadryad which grows up to a length of 18 ft and is one of the most enigmatic creatures found in the Western Ghats. It is a snake that is highly feared and deeply respected and the Mahadayi Valley is a prime habitat of this snake. At Caranzol in Sattari taluka there are some well-identified habitats of the King Cobra.)

Global Biodiversity Hotspots

Norman Myers, a conservation biologist, in 1988 first identified ten tropical forest ‘hotspots’ characterised by exceptional levels of plant endemism and by serious levels of habitat loss. In 1990, Myers added another 8 spots to his list. Conservation International adopted Myer’s hotspots as its institutional blue print in 1989, and in1996.

To qualify as a hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria: it must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants as endemic and it has to have lost at least 70% of its original habitat. These are the areas which are under constant threat due to human pressure. In the 1999 analysis, in all 25 hotspots were identified. A second major analysis was undertaken and the number or global hotspots stood at 34 in 2005.

Overall, the 34 hotspots once covered 15.7% of the Earth’s land surface. In all 86% of the hotspots’ habitat has already been destroyed. The intact remnants of the hotspots now cover only 2.3% of the Earth’s land surface. Over 50% of the world’s plant species and 42% of all terrestrial vertebrate species are endemic to these 34 biodiversity hotspots.

Among the 34 Global hotspots of the world, two have been identified in India; the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats .

Of India’s 15,000 plant species with 5,000 endemics (33%), 4050 plants with 1,600 endemic species are found in a 17,000 sq km strip of forests along the seaward side of the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. The Western Ghats Eco-region has 938 vertebrates (36% endemic), 330 species of butterflies (11% endemic) and other lower plants and animals. Endemism is highest in amphibians (78%) and lowest in birds (4%). As per the classification of ‘hotspot’, the Western Ghats have lost more than 70% of its original habitat and forest cover. Many species have already become extinct or have become endangered and on the verge of extinction.

Glassy Tiger (Parantica aglea Stoll) Wingspan: 70-85 mm – Pic by Mohan Pai

The Mahadayi river valley is rich in insects diversity and butterflies are perhaps the most colourful and conspicuous of insects. The butterflies in the valley include ‘Southern Birdwing’ , the largest of southern Indian butterflies with a wingspan of 140-190 mm and the smallest of the butterflies ‘Grass Jewel’ with a wingspan of 15-22 mm

Mahadayi – “the Great Mother Goddess”

Ancient carved image of ‘Gajalakshmi’ at Caranzol – Pic by Mohan Pai

In India, its mountains, rivers , trees and animals are honoured and revered more than any other nation in the world, seeing these objects as manifest divine creations. The rivers, especially are considered manifest forms of divine female powers that have descended from heaven. “Ganga Jal” is revered with implicit faith as an essential element of one’s salvation. “Ganga” in popular speech is used to describe any river since she is the Bhagirathi brought down to earth and could be received only by Lord Shiva and she is the mistress of all as in her they must all unite.


 Quite a number of ancient stone sculptures, representing the River Goddess have been discovered in and around the banks of the Mahadayi river both in Khanapur, Karnataka and in Goa indicating the existence of a dominating cult of the River Goddess in the area.
The Boat Goddess sculptures depict the Goddess standing in a boat, holding a dagger in her right hand and a bowl in her left hand. She is known by various names such as ‘Naukayana’ Devi (Boat Goddess), ‘Ashtabhuja’ (eight hands) Durga, ‘Mahishasuramardini’, etc.
All these sculptures probably belong to Kadamba period (12th or 13th Century AD). These sculptures have been found mostly in Sattari taluka at Nadve, Savarde, Dhamashe, Shel-Melawalli, Dhada and Guleli.

Mahadayi near Krishnapur – Pic by Srihari Kygaji

The Mahadayi river originates in Khanapur taluka of Belgaum district of Karnataka on the eastern slopes of the Sahyadris and flows west meeting the Arabian Sea near Panaji in Goa. But for the people of Khanapur and the eastern taluka of Sattari in Goa, She is the MAHADAYI – ”the Great Mother Goddess” as the name itself implies. The number of ancient carved images found scattered at Amgaon and Parvada in Khanapur Taluka and Sattari taluka of Goa at Caranzol, Savarde, Kodal, Rivem, Irvem, etc. represents the cult of the Mother Goddess worship on the banks of the Madei. The river Mahadayi becomes Madei in Sattari taluka of Goa and after the river Khandepar joins it at Bembol the river is called the Mandovi.

Like most monsoon-fed rivers, the Mahadayi also undergoes bewildering transformation during her seasons; slack, limpid pools of winter, partially dry beds of summer turning to fearsome torrents during the monsoons, submerging everything in its way and awesome in her destructive potential.

Damning the Rivers

When we dam the rivers, we literally damn them to an unnatural existence.
Patrick MacCully in his book “Silenced Rivers – The Ecology & Politics of Large Dams” says that the era of dams and damming rivers the world over is over (quite simply there are fewer and fewer rivers left to dam). In the United States now they are decommissioning dams and trying to restore their rivers to there original status, which is quite an uphill task. About 40 dams have been removed since 1999 when the breaching of Edwards Dam on Maine’s Kennebec river captured national attention. Another milestone was reached in October 2001, when conservationists celebrated the completion of a series of dam removals that restored 115 miles of the Wisconsin’s Baraboo river, the longest stretch of river ever returned to free flowing condition in America.

But in India state after state is hell-bent on damming the rivers either for irrigation or power orfor both under the guise of “development”. Past experience has proved that these so called“development” projects end up with far more incalculable, irreparable ecological damage. Thousands and thousands of sq. kilometers of forests have been submerged. In fact most ofthe forests in the Western Ghats have gone. The destruction of forests has very adverse effecton watersheds and catchment areas; thousands of families have been displaced, most of the time without proper resettlement; the wildlife and the flora of the area is completelywiped out; all this without any benefits to the local population. But what these projects in essence do is to destroy the ecology of the dammed rivers that have provided life-giving support for centuries to a wilderness of flora and fauna and civilisations on their banks. The ecology of the rivers is severely affected by dams, their waters running dry and they are reduced to a gutter status with only skeletal remains.

After these mega-investment, quite a number of dams get silted with not enough storage either for irrigation or to produce power. And there is also a danger of seismic disturbances to the areas.

Anjunem Dam on Costi river, Goa. – Pic by Mohan Pai

Hydropower projects & greenhouse gas emission

Latest scientific estimates show that large dams in India ar responsible for about a fifth of India’s total global warming impact. The study titled, “Methane emission from Indian Large Dams” estimates the total generation of methane from India’s reservoirs could be around 45.8 million ton, more than the share of any other country in the world. These gases are produced by the rotting of the vegetation and soils flooded by reservoirs, and of the organic matter (plants, plankton, algae, etc. Large dams have been known to be emitters of greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide for over a decade now.
Indian hydropower projects are already known for their serious social and environmental impact on the communities and the environment. The fact that these projects also emit global warming gases in such significant proportion should further destroy the myth.


The Water Disputes

The water endowed upper riparian States consider the water in their rivers as their property. As interstate rivers are not located entirely within a State but only flow through its territories, no State can lay exclusive use of such waters and/or deprive other States of their just share.

However, these States who zealously safeguard their autonomous status and rights forget or deliberately ignore their obligations to cooperate with each other while practising federalism. Because of this situation, many Chief Ministers of water deficit States have been forced to demand nationalisation of rivers.

The ongoing disputes are several- the Kaveri waters, the Krishna Basin, Indus Basin, Mahanadi Basin, the Indravati waters and now the Mahadayi waters. The Water disputes between the States are getting murkier due to the despicable actions of political opportunists. Vote bank politics has succeeded in dividing the culturally united dwellers of these basins into upper and lower riparian blocks to fight each other for their water rights. These people who are steeply bound by traditions for generations, who have been sharing the bounties of the river happily and its distress with concern for each other are now at each others throat fighting for their share of the same life-giving waters.

Karnataka’s unilateral decision to go ahead with the Mahadayi River Valley projects is now amounting to a very real threat. Karnataka is fully aware that the Mahadayi/Mandovi is a lifeline river for Goa and yet it is hell bent on diverting the Mahadayi waters into the Malaprabha basin. Most of the water from Karnataka’s Navilutirtha reservoir on Malaprabha goes for irrigation of water guzzling crops like sugarcane in its upper reaches creating a drought-like situation in its lower reaches. This has created a man-made water crisis in Hubli-Dharwad area. If Karnataka cuts a fraction of water released for irrigation, there will be no drinking water shortage for Hubli-Dharwad.

Goa State is a part of the narrow Konkan coastal strip on the western side of the Western Ghats (15 47’ 59’ and 14 53’ 47” North latitude and 74 20’13” and 73 40’33” East longitude. The entire eastern part of Goa State is flanked by the western slopes of the Sahyadris that extends in the form of an arc with a length of 125 km N/S and covers an area of about 750 sq km. The rainfall remains relatively high over this tract in view of the comparatively low elevation. The Sahyadri crestline zone borders Goa and Karnataka and most of the streams flowing into Goa, originate just across the border in Karnataka.

Vajra Sakhala Waterfalls in Chorla GhatPic by Mohan Pai

The Mahadayi/Mandovi is the most important west flowing river of Goa. The river arises in the Western Ghats of Karnataka at Degaon in Khanapur taluka at an elevation of 940 m with a total length of 87 km(35 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa). The river and its tributaries drain about 2,032 sq km area out of which 375 sq km in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and 1,580 sq km in Goa. The Mahadayi/Mandovi river basin in Goa occupies 43% of the total area of the State and this explains why maintaining the ecology of the river is so vital to this small State.


Emerald-green fields on the banks of the Madei – a village near Honda, Sattari Taluka, Goa-Pic by Mohan Pai

The ecology of the Mahadayi basin is already very fragile on account of large scale deforestation and illegal mining in Khanapur taluka. Karnataka now proposes to intercept the yield from about 258 sq km which is the core catchment area of the Mahadayi. The massive diversion of the Mahadayi water from this area will see a quantum jump in the silt flowing down from the denuded mountain ranges from across the border and will result in water flow being reduced to a trickle. For Goa, the fresh water flows from the core catchment area that lies in the heavy rainfall, thickly forested area of about 200 sq. km. of mountain topography of Khanapur taluka barely 10 km upstream of Valpoi in Goa. A very large quantity of water that flows down the Mandovi all the year round originates in the streams and rivulets that spring around Kankumbi, Jamboti, Talewadi, Gavali and Hemadga villages.

Goa has been at the mercy of its two larger and powerful neighbours and bordering states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and the south. Most of Goa’s major streams – Tiracol, Chapora, Mandovi, Surla, Ragoda, Khandepar and Galgibag originate just across the border in the Western Ghats of either Maharahtra or Karnataka. For this reason Goa is an extremely vulnerable state when its bigger neighbours draw ambitious plans to create large storages or divert waters close to the sources of rivers flowing into Goa.

The Mahadayi/Mandovi river valley is one of the few surviving pockets of the “Last Wilderness” in the world and the main watershed for Goa’s rivers. It’s a pity that instead of saving and protecting it, it has now come under the axe for the sake of “development”!

Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley, India – Part II


Threats to the Valley

Location of the Valley

The Mahadayi River Valley is one of the few remaining areas of wilderness in the Sahyadris and like the threats to these remaining wildernesses all over the world, this piece of wilderness is also facing several threats due to human pressure.

Mahadayi River before Vajra Poha Waterfalls – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

The main threats are as follows:


Many forest patches in the valley are privately owned (malki lands). The owners of these lands are a law unto themselves. While the Forest Act provisions are also applicable to private forest lands there is nothing much that can be done to prevent the owners from felling trees. Many malki lands have been denuded of tree covers and converted to food and cash crops. There are instances of valuable forest lands being sold to unscrupulous elements. There was a move to sell Yellurgad fort also known as Rajahansagad and there has been apprehension of Bhimgad fort being sold in the light of the fact that 47 acres of land adjacent to the fort has been already sold to a Kerala based firm. Private mining interests are taking advantage of the situation to carry on illegal mining.


Illegal mining has been going on in the valley for decades with the help of powerful vested interests.


Large scale illegal mining – Kalmani Village in Khanapur Taluk – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

Illegal tree felling also continues with a powerful timber lobby. Timber felling also clears the way for manganese mining. Large-scale felling of trees has also been going on by various gangs in connivance with forest officials.

Large scale tree felling & burning of forests on the steep precipitous slopes – Maan village, Chorla, Khanapur taluk – Pic by Srihari Kugaji


Large-scale monoculture plantations of acacia (Australian) and mangium are being plantednot only in the heart of denuded forests but also in the rich grasslands between the forestexpanses and over the plateau. This disturbs the very composition of the flora itself adversely affecting the dependent fauna, particularly birds, bees and insects.


a) A sponge iron plant has been set up in Londa, just south of the Mahadayi Valley. The project site is within 25 km radius of the Londa Forest range and situated virtually on the crestline of the Western Ghats. In Goa itself, four sponge iron plants are operating in the Sahyadri zone.
b) Goa part of the Madei/Mandovi river basin is also facing considerable amount of pollution and damage.

Mining dumps along the banks of the Mandovi in Goa –Pic by Mohan Pai

Numerous mining leases for manganese and iron ore have destroyed the wilderness in Goa, leaving its surface looking like a bombed crater. As a result there is considerable sediment load in the rivers. It is estimated that at least 70,000 of run-off materials are dumped in the Mandovi river. The worst affected rivers are the Mandovi and its two tributaries – Dicholi and Khandepar. According to Goa University researchers there are 27 major mines within the Mandovi river basin. Tata Energy Research Institute which prepared “Area-wise Environmental Quality Plan” states in it report that “ around 21,000 hectares of private and forest land, which accounts for at least 18% of Goa’s private and Government forest, has been lost due to mining”. • POACHING There is widespread poaching both on Karnataka and Goa side. Hunting parties come from places like Mumbai with sophisticated gear for game that includes deer, wild boar, bear, bison, jungle fowl and panthers.


Much more threatening of all the threats is the energetic resurrection of the Karnataka Government’s decades old projects of diversion of the Mahadayi waters into the Malaprabha river along with the Mahadayi Valley power projects.

Kalasa Nala Dam Site at Kankumbi – Pic by Mohan Pai

The Malaprabha story



The Malaprabha Reservoir Project at Naviluteertha in Belgaum district Karnataka was completed in 1974 to irrigate an area of 2,18,000 hectare in Dharwad, Belgaum and Bijapur districts. What was envisaged during the planning of the project as the “cropping pattern” and what exists today is a complete contrast. Crops like paddy, sugarcane and horticulture which are water guzzlers, seem to have replaced the traditional cropping pattern. In the last thirty years four sugar mills have come up in the Malaprabha basin, apart from many others in neighbouring areas. The traditional four-month cultivation cycle has found it difficult to resist the profit-driven approach of growing of the 11-month water intensive crops. The farmers at the head and mid reaches of the irrigated belt are using water of the east-flowing Malaprabha by employing electric pumps. As a result the tail-end villages are facing an acute state of drought. There is almost a sense of doom in the Malaprabha basin with water scarcity and environmental deterioration. The Malaprabha dam since its completion thirty years ago has filled to capacity only thrice. The hills of the eastern plains in the area are denuded and extensively deforested and as a result there is a decrease in the rainfall. Drinking water supply has been affected seriously. Villagers gathering around a single tap with red, green, yellow plastic pots to collect their little share of water is a common sight.

Malaprabha is a much bigger stream than the Mahadayi. According to a former Conservator of Forests, Government of Karnataka, it was the wanton deforestation of the Jamboti area of Khanapur that was primarily responsible for the present state of the Malaprabha river. As a result the Renuka Sagar Reservoir has been affected seriously failing to fulfill the targets.


The proposed Mahadayi River Valley scheme involves building six dams on the Mahadayi and its tributaries near Kankumbi-Chola to divert water into the Malaprabha, While the Mahadayi hydroelectric project will have five more dams on the tributaries to produce of power. The main diversion dam on the Mahadyi known as Kotni dam, is also designed to produce power, apart from diverting water into the Malaprabha above Khanapur.


Foundatiom markingsfor Mhadei Dam at Kotni – Pic by Mohan Pai

These dams will be: one on Kalsa (below its confluence with Surla), one on Haltar Nullha, diverting its water into Kalsa reservoir near Chorla and three small dams on Potni Nullha above Kankumbi (it meets Tilari river in Maharashtra), interconnected and led into Kalsa reservoir. Kalsa reservoir, cumulatively then, is diverted to the Malaprabha through a tunnel near Kankumbi. The water from the main Kotni dam is to be led through a 5.5 km tunnel into the Malaprabha at Asoga near Khanapur.

These six diversion dams involve 1.6 km of dam length, 6.4 km of tunnels through forested ridges, and 3.5 km of open channels as excavations. Areas of submersion amount to 4,300 acres of prime forests and 1000 acre of dry and wet agricultural land. The second project – Mahadayi Hydroelectric project with twin purpose Kotni dam and dams on the tributaries of Irti, Bail and Andhari will submerge another 400 acres of pristine forests bringing the total area of submersion to 5,700 acre including a few villages. The diversion dam on Kalasa (below its confluence with Surla river) will be depleting the waters of Surla river. Surla river makes a beautiful waterfall in the Chorla Ghat and this will turn into a mere trickle like the Jog falls. Besides, the reduction in waters of Surla river will alter the ecology of Sattari Taluk affecting its agriculture, fishery and its economy.

South of the Mahadayi river, two more dams have been planned at Palna and Katla on Dudhsagar (Khandepar) river which forms the source of Dudhsagar Waterfalls in Goa. These dams will reduce this beautiful falls to a sorry state of a trickle just like the famed Jog falls. But more serious will be the consequences for Khandepar river, the waters of which will be considerably reduced. The reservoir at Opa which meets the drinking water needs of Ponda will be seriously affected. River Khandepar is the main tributary of the Mandovi and this will ultimately reduce the inflow in the Mandovi.

A sizeable area will have to be cleared to accommodate the labour and it can be expected that the forests will be further damaged for the requirement of their fire-wood. Within an area of 20-25 km there will be as many as 11 dams and extensive excavation, blasting, etc on account of tunnels and channels. All these activities will seriously disturb and wipe out the wildlife of the area.

The Kalasa-Bhandura water diversion scheme on which the work has already commenced is going to submerge about 723 ha(Kalasa 320 ha & Bhandura 403 ha). Should Karnataka go ahead with the Kotni Hydroelectric & diversion project on the scale that it has been planned the total area to be submerged will be 2145 ha forests plus another 330 ha of forest land for roads, dams power houses, township, field offices, etc. The villages that will be submerged, some them completely and some partially are: Kankumbi, Parwad, Chorla, Kongla, Kirwale and Kabnail, Gavali, Pastoli, Nerse, Jamgaon, Mugwede, Chapoli, Jamgaon and Kavale

Another Malaprabha ?

The question to be posed here is, considering the imbalance existing in the Malaprabha basin, to what extent will the diversion from the Mahadayi will really solve the problem. And at what cost ? As long as the exploitation of water resources in the Malaprabha basin continues, no matter how much water and from where we divert it, we are likely to face the same situation in the near future. As outlined above, the environmental cost of the “developmental scheme” will be devastating.
The denuded Malaprabha Valley in Khanapur taluka bereft of tree cover – Pic by Mohan Pai

Malaprabha basin itself provides a potent pointer. Barely 10 km away from the Mahadayi valley separated by Jamboti ridge, the Malaprabha basin has witnessed marked deforestation, denudation, water scarcity and environmental deterioration within a span of 32 years.

The forest cover of Belgaum district would be reduced from 13% to 8% after releasing the forest land to Mahadayi Diversion and Hydro-electric project. Reduction in forest cover would have considerable effect on the climate – reduction in rainfall, temperature and humidity.

What the Mahadayi project is set to do is to destroy permanently an area, rich in biodiversity, which ranks second in India after Sundarbans and eighth in the world as the finest tiger habitat and is home to many species of flora and fauna including endangered Wroughton’s Freetailed bat and Theobald’s Tomb bat. Barapedi caves in the Mahadyi valley is the only place where Wroughton’s Free-tailed bat is found in the whole world and Theobald’s Tomb bat is rare. Apart from Krishnapur caves it survives only in two other places in India.

Forest destruction spree

In the words of a retired Conservator of Forest, Government of Karnataka “In the name of development the Karnataka Power Corporation has ruined much of our forests and so far more than one lakh hectares has already been destroyed in Sharavathi, Kadra, Kodasalli, Supa, etc. The same fate has fallen on Bedthi – Aghanashini valley forest. And now, it is the turn of Mahadayi. KPC should stop this forest destruction spree immediately other wise we will have to pay heavy price for it”. He also adds “It is not prudent move to destroy forest for electricity. Let it be generated by some other means”

Stockpile of timber near Amgaon – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

Deforestation and the Global Carbon Cycle

Carbon dioxide ( CO2) is the major gas involved in the greenhouse effect, which causes global warming. All the things that produce CO2 (like car burning gas) and the things that consume Co2 (growing plants) are involved in the “global carbon cycle”.

Tropical forests hold an immense amount of carbon, which joins with oxygen to form CO2. The plants and soil of tropical forests hold 460-575 billion metric tons of carbon worldwide. Each acre of tropical forest stores about 180 metric tons of carbon.

Deforestation increases the amount of CO2 and other trace gases in the atmosphere. When a forest is cut and replaced by cropland and pastures, the carbon that was stored in the tree trunks (wood is about 50% carbon) joins with oxygen and is released into the atmosphere as Co2. The loss of forests has a great effect on the global carbon cycle. From 1850 to 1990, deforestation worldwide (including that in the United States) released 122 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere, with the current rate being 1.6 billion metric tons per year. In comparison all the fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) burned during a year release about 6 billion tons per year.

Releasing CO2 into the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect, and may raise global temperature. The role of fossil fuels burned by cars and industry is well known, but tropical deforestation releases about 25% of the amount released by fossil fuel burning. Tropical deforestation, therefore, contributes a significant part of the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley, India – Part IV

By Mohan Pai


The MAHADAYI in Karnataka

The Mahadayi after Vajrapoha waterfalls before the confluence with Bail Nadi – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

The Mahadayi river originates in the Western Ghats of Khanapur taluka, Belgaum district, Karnataka. As the streams of the Sahyadris go, the west- flowing streams are short, swift-flowing, and plunge over precipitous escarpments to discharge their waters into the Arabian Sea. As they plunge towards the coastal strip, they pass through deep gorges creating spectacular waterfalls. The Mahadayi river follows this pattern and is a comparatively small stream with a total length of just about 87 km.- 35 km. in Karnataka and 52 km. in Goa.
Degaon in Khanapur Taluka – the birth place of the Mahadayi river – Pic by Srihari Kugaji
The Mahadayi rises on the eastern slopes of the Sahyadri’s crestline near Degaon village. The origin of the Mahadayi is a multitude of streams from within the fan shaped surrounding hills capped by dense, pristine forests.
Gavali village also claims the origin of the river Mahadayi – Temple and tank, is said to be the source of the Mahadayi – Pic by Mohan Pai
It flows eastward for a short distance and then loops into an arc around the ridges and turns westward across the crestline into Goa. Both, the Malaprabha and the Mahadayi run parallel to each other for some distance but flow in the opposite directions.

Iskcon is setting up a large complex in the Mahadayi Valley near Amgaon. ISCKON has already acquired about 500 acres of land. The project is intended for the development of agriculture, horticulture and medicinal plants with a view to help the local population – Pic by Mohan Pai
Between the Malaprabha river at Kankumbi in the north, Khanapur to the east, Anmod ghat on the Goa highway to the south and Molem/Madei wildlife sanctuaries across the crestline in Goa to the west, the Mahadayi valley with its luxurious forest covers an area of approximately 750 sq. km.
The valley is studded with graceful peaks, deep gorges, thick pristine monsoon forests and flat terraces of paddy fields at the bottom.
Bail Nadi near Amgaon – Pic by Mohan Pai

As many as 75 big and small streams join the Mahadayi at various stages increasing its volume and velocity. The main tributaries of the Mahadayi in the upper and middle catchment areas in Karnataka are small streams of an average length of 5 to 10 km. and as one follows the flow, they are: Right Bank: Bhandura Nala near Kongla, Singar Nala, Doli Nala, Kotni Nala, Irti Nala, Bail Nadi. Left Bank: Pansheer Nala, Madhuhalla Nala.
Confluence of the Mahadayi & Bail Nadi – Pic by Srihari Kugaji
These two streams arise on the crest line astride Talewadi and rush down on either side of the Barapedi caves within a km of each other near Krishnapur in the lower loop.
Vanrachi Khadi – ‘the monkey gorge – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

North of the loop near Kankumbi in the catchment area of Malaprabha river, two potent streams – Kalasa and Surla (Bhandura nala) join east of Chorla and flow across the crestline as Surla river in Goa emptying into the Madei above Valpoi at Nanode in Goa. These two streams are very important and major streams that feed the Mahadayi river.

Jamboti forests – Pic by Mohan Pai

The valley is a scenic treat and one of the richest reservoirs of biodiversity in the world and reflects the complexity in plant, animal and bird life and is home to endangered bat species. The valley is comparable to the Silent valley of Kerala in its significance and an important biological and ecological remaining pocket in the Western Ghats.
Bamboo bridge across the Bhandura Nala – Pic by Mohan Pai
About thirty villages scattered over the area remain poor, ill-served and rejected in the midst of thick resource-rich forests.

 Pastoli Village – Pic by Lt. Col. Ravinder Kumar

The ruins of Bhimgad, an old Maratha fort is located north-east of Molem wildlife sanctuary in Goa and north of Dandeli widlife sanctuary in Uttara Kannada. The area forms a core part of the Western Ghats.

Krishnapur – ampitheatre-like rocky outcrop. Krishnapur is just 2.5 km from Goa border and is home to a rare species of bats – Theobald’s Tomb bat – Pic by Srihari Kugaji

Vertical rock cave ampitheatres of Krishnapur near Goa border are gigantic wall formations 1000-1500 ft in height. The caves are extremely difficult to access, have remained untouched and are nature’s secret providing haven to a large number of floral and faunal species.
Stone icon in a sacred grove at Amgaon – Pic by Srihari Kugaji
The steep drop of over 300 metres near Krishnapur and over 400 metres near Bhimgad to the valley down below is breathtaking. Thereafter, the land rises to the north of the Mahadayi to peaks of about 700 metres at Kedi Paunda and Tamadi Mokh.
Over 2,000 year old Salactite formation – Pic by Srihari Kugaji
12 km from Jamboti is Vajra Poha waterfalls. Here the river Mahadayi is joined by two other streams – Maradha nala and Pansheer nala, creating the magnificent Vajra Poha waterfalls.
Vajra Poha Waterfalls near Bhimgad on the Mahadayi – Pic by Srihari Kugaji
The Mahadayi takes a leap of over 150 ft. with rapids above and below the waterfalls.
Nersa Village
The village of Nersa in Khanapur nestles in the thick forests of Mahadayi valley.
Nersa Village – Pic by Mohan Pai
One of the proposed dams is to be builtclose to this village on Bhandura/Singar Nala confluence, submerging a sizeable area and threatening the very existence of this village.
The Hermitage Farms, a popular ecoresort in Nersa – Pic by Mohan Pai
Tribal Art – Wall Murals at Hermitage Farms done by Gavali tribesman at Nersa – Pic by Mohan Pai

Dam site at Kongla – the confluence of Bhandura & Singar nala near Nersa village – Pic by Mohan Pai

Mahadayi/Mandovi River Valley, India – 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 Mahalakshmi Temple, Bandode – Pic by Mohan Pai


Kamakshi Temple, Shiroda – Pic by Mohan Pai

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

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 PaiIdalcao’s Palace, Panaji – Pic by Mohan Pai



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



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

Adil Shah’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

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