Shri Chandreshwar Bhoothnath Temple is one of the oldest and most famous temples of Goa, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said that Chandreshwar is an incarnation of Lord Shiva and is worshipped as Lord of the Moon. According to lore water seeps out of the Lingam when the rays of the moon fall on it. The Shivalinga is placed in such a way that the moonbeams on a full moon night fall upon it.
Located on the Chandranath Hill in Quepem, this temple has been renovated several times. The Chandranath Bhoothnath Temple is associated with the Bhoja dynasty and they named their capital Chandrapur which was changed to Chandor by the Portuguese.
Nextdoor to this temple is a smaller temple dedicated to Bhoothnath, the Lord of ghosts, also another name for Lord Shiva. There is a palanquin procession of the deity held every Monday evening and food is then offered to the worshipers.
The temple is located 14 kilometers away from Margao. You can either enter the temple by road or climb the stairway to the top. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded by a panoramic view of the valley that makes the climb worth it. Parvathi and Lord Ganesh can be seen sculpted in stone at the back of the temple. The circular path one has to walk around leads to the base of the boulder which is the heart of the temple. A small statue of Nandi bull can also be seen.
Festivals celebrated at the temple:
The main festivals here are the five day Hanuman Jayanti, Dussehra, and Mahashivratri. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on the 15th day of Shukla Paksha (the first fortnight between New Moon Day and Full Moon Day) marks the day of the birth of Lord Hanuman. Dussehra is the festival that celebrates good over evil. Mahashivratri is the celebration held in honour of Lord Shiva. Mahashivtratri means the great night of Shiva and usually falls either in February or March.
How to reach the temple:
You can get to Chandreshwar Bhoothnath Temple either by car or bus but there is no public transport to the temple, it would be better to hire a taxi or take your own car. While you are in the area you can visit some of the beaches or heritage houses. From Panjim the distance to reach the temple is approx. 48.6 kms via NH66 and from Margao approx 14 kms via SH 8.
Nearby explore & Things to do:
Cabo de Rama fort (a 14th century fort) lies 33.6 kilometers from Chandreshwar Bhoothnath Temple. It’s an hour’s drive from Quepem. You could also visit Palolem Beach, Galjibag, or Patnem. The beaches are not too far from each other and it is an hour and a half from the temple. If you don’t like the idea of a long drive you can visit the Menezes Braganza House, an opulent mansion that was built in the 17th century. The house is open to people from 9 am to 5 pm. This will give you a clear idea of aristocratic life during the Portuguese rule. You could also visit the Fernandes House in the same village. This 500 year old mansion is an amalgamation of its Hindu origins and Portuguese influences. You could go to Carpe Diem (the Godinho-Jacques House) in Majorda. This is another sprawling 450 year old mansion that has been renovated and converted to an art gallery.
Where to eat:
If sightseeing is not on your agenda then you can explore the food of Goa. There is a wide range of restaurants to choose from in the area. You could go to Joe’s River Cove in Cavelosim that has an excellent choice of Goan food and fresh seafood. There’s Fisherman’s Wharf that has a wide range of food to choose from. This multi cuisine restaurant has good service, fresh seafood, and a panoramic view of the River Sal. Martin’s Corner in Betalbatim. Firefly Bistro in Benaulim. Uzzo in Colva. If you’re not in the mood for Goan food you can go to Cherry Tomato for their excellent burgers.
No matter what you choose it will be an unforgettable day. Driving through the interiors of the South side of Goa is a wonderful experience. You will get a peek at the heritage and culture. Most of the houses are still styled in Portuguese – Goan Architecture.