Test Faith In
Goddess Lairai = sk`tio of bRHmaa-viSHANu-shiv
At 700-Year Temple In Goa, India with
Annual 300,000 Worshippers
PANAJI, GOA, INDIA, May 3, 1006:
For those wanting to check their goodness quotient, Goa''s
"Walk on Fire" Festival is the ideal event.
The day-long festival that honors the Goddess Lairai Mata,
is a night when Goa does not sleep.
After offering prayers to the Goddess, devotees walk over
smouldering embers to wash away their sins. And it is said that only those
who are pure have no burnt feet.
The 700-year-old temple, dedicated to the Goddess Lairai,
is situated about 30 km northeast of Panjim. Instead of an icon, the temple
houses the Goddess in the form of a pot, as it is believed that She is
"This festival holds great importance for all devotees or
Dhonds who walk on fire. These people fast from morning till evening for
five days, ensuring that any food or water consumed is done only after
bathing. Everyone in the village practices this ritual and they all walk on
fire. This starts at 3 pm and continues till six in the morning.
The devotees have a firm faith in the Goddess as they
believe that she helps them in trouble and also fulfills their wishes.
That's why we register more than 400 devotees every year," said Vasudev
Vishnu Krishna, the President of Lairai Temple Management Committee.
"One of the main reasons for this
flaming worship is that Lairai Mata is considered a combination of the
powers of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh," adds Krishna.
About three hundred thousand people are expected to visit
the temple for this year's anniversary.
Shree Lairai Temple: The temple of Shree
Lairai is situated at Sirigao about 2 kms. from Panaji-Valpoi Highway.
Recently, an old temple has been reconstructed at a cost about Rs.80.00
lakhs. The temple is unique in North Goa, the combination of northern and
suuthern art and design of temples have been applied in constructing the
temple. It is one of the attraction to the tourists visiting holy places,
temples in Goa. Shree Lairai Saunsthan of Sirigao, Goa is one of the oldest
and most famous Devasthans in Goa. The deity Lairai is famous all over Goa,
Maharashtra and Karnataka, for her unique “HOMAKUND”. Every year thousands
of devotees attend annual feast of deity to witness the walking of “DHOND”
through sacred fire called “HOMAKUND”.
Considered by scholars to be a part of the Sapta-Matrika
group, Lairai Mata has a strong following. "I have been coming here for the
last ten years for offering worship. In the whole year I fast for five days
and then live on fruits for another five," claims Prashant, a fire-walker.
The Dhond population in Goa is estimated to be over
50,000, and they come to the temple in traditional attire on the day they
have to walk on fire. They carry with them a colorful stick made of cane,
which is considered to be the symbol of the Goddess