GSB History

During the Vedic period, the Indian subcontinent was divided (not politically) in to two regions for easy reference of places. The division north of Vindhya mountain range was referred to as Gaud (or Gaur) (later known as Uttarapanth) while that to the south was referred to as Dravid (Dakshinapanth). The two divisions were further divided in five each.

Saraswat, Kanyakubja, Maithil, Gaud and Utkal were the five Gaud regions while Gurjar, Maharashtra, Andhra, Karnataka and Dravid were the five Dravid regions.

The Saraswat region maps to current Punjab and Haryana states in India and the Punjab province of Pakistan. Pandit Tulsiram, in the Saraswat Bhushan magazine pins the boundaries of Saraswat region. It stretched up to Pihuya to the east, Fatehabad (in Haryana) to south, Attock (presently in Punjab, Pakistan) to the west and Jammu to north. River Saraswati flowed through the Saraswat region. It originated in the Himalayas and drained in to the Arabian Sea.

Brahmins who lived in the Saraswat region of Gaud division were thus called as Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. River Saraswati and Saraswat Brahmins are referred to in Rig Veda, old books of Vedic period as well as in Mahabharat, Shrimad Bhagwat and other Puranas.

The first wave of migration of Gaud Saraswat Brahmins out of Saraswat region happened when there was severe drought for more than a decade and River Saraswati eventually dried up. That is when some groups migrated to the east.

It is mentioned in the Skanda Purana that Parshurama got 66 Panch Gaud Brahmins belonging to 10 gotras from Trihotra (Tirhut in Bihar) to Kushasthali (Kutthali or Cortalim) in Goa for performing the Yadnya. Parshuram was fourth generation descendent of Saraswat muni.

Saraswat Brahmins came in two batches. The first batch was that of 66 families and settled in area which later came to be known as Sashti (meaning sixty six). The second batch comprised of 96 families.

Shri Mangesh was the family deity of the Vatsa and Kaundinya gotri Saraswat Brahmins. The Skanda Purana mentions that Brahma had installed a shivalinga at Monghir in Trihotra. This later came to known as Mangireesh or Mangesh.

Political history of Goa
The Kadambs ruled Goa during 6th Century AD. Post that the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Hoyasals and the Yadavas of Devgiri ruled till 14th Century AD. The Kadambas still controlled a small part up to AD 1351. The Kadambas followed Jainism originally, but subsequently adopted Shaivism in the eleventh century. During 14th Century, the Bahamanis annexed Goa . Mohammad Gazani started destroying Hindu temples of Goa in AD 1357. In AD 1366, the Bukks from Vijaynagar annexed Goa. Goa prospered during AD 1366 to AD 1469. In AD 1489 Adilshah of Bijapur captured Goa. He did not interfere in the religious affairs of the citizens. Many Saraswat Brahmins from Goa had documentary certificates from the state of Bijapur. During this period north India was ruled by the Afghans while the south was split between Bahamani (Muslim) and Vijaynagar (Hindu) kingdoms.

The Portugese rule
In AD 1505, Thimaiyya Nayak, naval chief of Vijaynagar kingdom requested Portuguese help to get rid of Muslim interference in Goa. Portuguese were stationed at Bhakal then. Commander Alfonso Albukark captured the island in AD 1510 and ordered execution of all Muslims. The Portuguese took over Sashti and Bardesh province from Adilshah in AD 1543. They destroyed the Hindu temples. Many Hindu families fled to the adjacent Soundh and Vijaynagar kingdoms taking their deities with them. In AD 1781 the Portuguese took over Bhatgram (Bichaolim) area. In AD 1788 the Savants of Savantwadi surrendered Pedne (Pernem) to the Portuguese by an agreement.

The Portugese outrage
The Portuguese king ordered to destroy Hindu temples and Mosques during AD 1541 to AD 1546. St. Francis Xavier came to Goa and the outrage increased. From AD 1557 to AD 1571 thousands of people were converted to Christianity. Hindus and Muslims were punished. During this period, about 280 temples were destroyed. By AD 1594 the process of reconversion (bringing them back to Hindu fold) of Hindus had started. Many converted Hindus continued to perform Hindu rituals during birth and marriage. The Portuguese banned this by law. During AD 171012, 12,000 converted Christians migrated out of Bardesh and in AD 1739, about 5000 migrated out of Sasashti. By 1763 the outrages had reduced. The inquisition stopped in AD 1812. The outrages completed stopped by AD 1910 when Portugal had an elected government. By 1928, 13,000 rural Christians were reconverted to Hinduism. During outrage many Saraswat Brahmins got converted. Many migrated out of Goa to Karnataka and Kerala; some families went to Khanapur, Belgaum, etc.

Most of the family deities were moved to different places during the period of Portuguese outrage.

 Deity  Original Place  New Place
1 Mhalasa Verne Mhardol
2 Mangesh Kushashthali Mangeshi
3 Shanta Durga Keloshi Kavale
4 Santeri (Kamakshi) Lotali Kavale
5 Kamakshi Raithur Raya Shirode
6 Ravalnath Bandiwada Mashel
7 Nagesh Bandiwada Bandiwada
8 Maha Lakshmi Kolambe Bandiwada
9 Ramanth Lotali Kavale
10 Damodar Madgaon Jumboli
11 Maha Maya Galoti (Giradoli) Khedra (Baligram)
12 Vijay Durga Sanku Weling
13 Bhagawati Chimbal Mashel
14 Devaki Krishna Chodna Mashel
15 Gajanan Kere Khandoli
16 Maha Ganapati Naveli Shirali
17 Lakshmi Narayan Nagve Ankola

By Madhusudan Kekre

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