Vasco: The annual Vasco Saptah, which dates back to 1899, is in its 119th year of celebration this year. The saptah, which draws lakhs of devotees to the town for seven-day celebration, will commence on August 16 at Shree Damodar Temple.
The Saptah tradition began in Mormugao after the town was hit badly by cholera epidemic. As there was not much medical treatment backup available in Mormugao taluka, the then forefather of the Joshi family of Mormugao went to the temple of Lord Damodar in Zambaulim and prayed for relieving the people from the disease. After returning to the town with the sacred coconut from the Zambaulim temple, the forefather of the Joshi family offered prayers and advised the people on cleaning, sanitisation and other remedies to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Momugao taluka residents were immediately relieved from the disease following the arrival of the sacred coconut in Vasco. Since then, Lord of Margao and Zambaulim Shree Damodar has become the deity of Mormugao residents.
For the last 119 years, the sacred coconut from the Lord Damodar Temple in Zambaulim, which was the Lord’s blessing, is brought to Shree Damodar Temple, Vasco. The seven-day festivities include bhajans, kirtans, wherein people from across Goan visit the town to seek Lord Damodar’s blessings.
Every year, Damodar Saptah of Mormugao begins after Nag Panchami.
The celebration begins in the afternoon followed by the installation of the sacred coconut at the Shree Damodar Temple, Vasco.
This is followed by singing of bhajans by the traditional group of men, women from the taluka which continues non-stop for 24 hours.
The bhajans, kirtans and Dindi yatra continue for seven days. [H]