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Brahma Karmali Temple
Category : Temples of Goa
Location  : Nagargaon,Valpoi
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He stands tall and elegant. He blesses all those who come to see him. He is Brahma - the Supreme Creator of the Universe according to the Hindu pantheon .Standing on a beautifully carved typically Kadamba pedestal in the silence of the hamlet named after Him - that is Brahma Karmali. Brahma Karmali is situated near Valpoi - the taluka headquarters of Sattari. The hamlet and temple of Karmali is seven kms from Valpoi and lies in the village of Nagargaon also known as Chandrigram.

The beautifully chiseled out image of Brahma is dated to the Kadamba period and belongs to the 12th century AD. The supreme creator is housed in a simple temple known as Brahmadeva Devastan - Brahma Karmali.

It is interesting to note the etymological roots of this place name Brahma Karmali. It is also interesting to note the origins of this Brahma temple.

Brahma Karmali is so named after the lovely Karmali or Carambolim village in the Tiswadi Taluka close to Khorlim, Old Goa area is famous the world over for her ‘Karmallem Tallem' (Carambolim Lake) visited by varied migratory birds from the world all over ,the Sao Joao the Baptist Church and the famous Karmali ssession were held here during Goa's struggle for freedom under the leadership of Mr. P.P. Shirodkar of the National Congress (Goa) in January 1948.

Dr. Nandakumar Kamat in his articles "Gopakapattana through the ages" (Goan society through the ages edited by Dr. B S Shastry) gives an interesting etymology of the Karmali village name or Carambolim. He says Karmali is nothing but Kadambahalli - halli in Kannada means a village and hence ‘Karmali' meaning village of the Kadambas. During the Kadamba rule, a temple dedicated to Brahma existed at this Karmali.
In the 16th century AD when the island of Tiswadi was conquered by the Portuguese, there was a fear of destruction of the temple and desecration of the deity. Hence the devotees of Brahma in the year 1541 write Lopes Mendes, smuggled the deity out of Karmali (in the Tiswadi taluka) which the Portuguese termed as Carambolim and in a clandestine manner carried it to the Sattari taluka which then had not come under Portuguese rule.
Sattari came under the Portuguese rule as late as 1781. They took it to Valpoi and from there to Nagargaon and installed the iamge in a small shrine on the banks of a stream and this small hamlet came to be known after the deity Brahma and the village of its origin Karmali (in the Tiswadi taluka) and hence the name Brahma Karmali.

My visit to this village to do this article took me to Sattari. The quiet of the environs of this village - the gurgling of the stream, the swaying of the nirpanas or the bread-fruit tree branches, distant mountains and the grey of the cloudy sky all at once enchanted me. The slight drizzle of the monsoons and the greenery all around added to my delight. Set amidst this paradisical scenery is the peaceful temple of Brahma marked by simplicity of style painted in charming yellow and red with a long Sabhamandap a stage and the sanctum sanctorum (garbhakud) which houses the majestic image of Brahma - a finest piece of Kadamba sculptural art in Goa.

The importance of this sculpture lies in the fact that it is the original piece of sculpture chiseled out of a black stone during the Kadamba period. The image shows Brahma standing in the centre and its peculiarity being that he wears a beard. Brahma is shown in its trinity form or Trimurti that is Brahma - Vishnu - Mahesh. There is a hallo prabhawal which has exquisite carved images of gods and motifs like crab. Two goddesses are shown at the lower portion of the image. Brahma is also shown wearing a lot of jewellery and holding a kamandalu (water-bearer) in one of his hands.

The Kadamba rulers were patrons of art, architecture, education etc. they patronized the sculptural art and the Brahma image executed by unknown sculptures is the Kadamba art at its best.

Sources: My field studies at Brahma Karmali (Sattari) and Carambolim (Tiswadi), Dr. Pratima Kamat, Goa's Gazetteer edited by Dt. V T Gune, Mr. Yashwant Gadgil' article on Brahma Karmali.

Antonio de Menezes, Braganca Pereira in Et Magria da India Portuguesa.








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