Chandrapur: The Forgotten Capital

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""Dale Menezes is Currently studying in XII Arts, at Smt. Parvatibai Chowgule College, Gogol, Margao – Goa. He has Represented Goa at the National level Table Tennis Championship at Baroda (2001) and Sirsa, Haryana (2002). He has also won the 1st prize in the All Goa Photography Competition organized by the Marathi Vidnyan Parishad, Goa; 2nd prize in the All Goa Elocution competition organized by the Goa State Museum. Dale has contributed cover photographs for Goa’s Konknni daily  Sunaparant’s magazine edition ‘Aitar’ and has also contributed  photographs to the Gomantak Times, Goa. He contributes articles to Goa Plus, a weekly supplement of the Times of India to its readers in Goa. Dale loves Reading and photography.


Chandor is a beautiful village, rich in history and culture. This village, situated in Salcete but quite close to Quepem taluka, was once the ancient city of Chandrapur, which served as the capital for the Bhoja and the Kadamba dynasties.


The picturesque village of Chandor has quite a few niches and corners that speak of its rich history, be it its Portuguese ancestry or of an era far before. One such niche is a temple site in the middle of Chandor Kott known as ‘Isvorachem.’ In the 1930s, Fr. Henry Heras, SJ excavated the site and unearthed an 11th Century Shiva temple and a statue of a Nandi bull. Dr. Olivinho Gomes, in his book ‘Village Goa,’ informs that this Nandi bull is said to be the biggest in India after the one in Mysore, which it resembles in art but not in size.


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In the search for diamonds, pearls and other precious stones, a large part of the statue (stomach, mouth and tail) was broken open during the raids by Muslims in 13th Century. Seeing that there weren’t any jewels in it, the legs of the statue were broken off and the statue was dislodged from the stone base and upturned, in the hope that there would be something underneath, but to no avail.


After the 1930s, people lost interest in the excavation and as a result, huge trees cropped up around the area. In 1974, the Archaeological Survey of India intervened and began excavating under the direction of superintending archaeologist, S. R. Rao.


According to a report in a local daily, the discovery of the 1500 year old temple complex consisted of a Garbhgriha (sanctum) surrounded by a Pradakshinapatha (circumambulatory passage), a large Sabhamandapa (assembly hall) and a medium sized Mukhamandapa (porch).


While some of the finds of the Fr. Heras excavation were taken to his museum at Mumbai, the remaining were kept at the museum at Old Goa. Today, all that one finds at Chandor Kott is a severed Nandi bull – a silent and solitary witness to a glorious port-town that Chandrapur was, once upon a time. 

Author: Dale Menezes- Goa