Golfa Devi: A unqiue speaking goddess of Worli village in Mumbai.

Close to Worli village bus depot and next to Indian coast guard western region headquarters lies a small discreet lane going uphill which ultimately leads us to sea. The tiny lane has small colourful houses belonging to Koli fishermen community, the original inhabitants of Worli village. The lane is called Golfa devi Marg, And as one walks on the inclined road inwards, amidst the houses and shops lies a very simple temple with a large verandah in front of it. This is Worli Koliwada village's best kept secret. The temple of "GolfaDevi"

The temple and the goddess is central to Koli fishing community, So much is the faith of these local folks in the Goddess that they do not start any task before seeking permission, be it venturing into the sea to catch fish or marriage or starting something new or even before travelling. 

The temple priest Sadanand Worlikar whose family has been taking care of the temple for generations is ever happy to narrate the legends of the temple Goddess. The temple has been around for over 700 years, The story goes that three stones were found floating in the sea by the fishermen but when they went to pick them up found it to have substantial weight. They established a small temple with those three stones which was named as Goddess Golfa devi and its two sisters Sakhba devi and Harba devi. 

The fishermen folks usually come here to pray for good catch and before venturing into the sea and to make a wish. The temple Goddess has a unique way of communicating with its devotees. Whenever someone comes for making a wish or ask something from the devi, The goddess would answer in a peculiar "Yes or a No". The priest would say some prayer and put two silver balls on the shoulder of the goddess and worshiper has to ask the question either loudly or in their head. If the silver ball on left shoulder falls first then the answer is apparently "No" and if the right one falls first then the answer is "YES". This ceremony is called "Kaul" .The priest confirmed Goddess is never wrong and hence faith in Golfa devi is very strong among the local villagers.

The legend goes that one fishermen despite Golfa devi denying permission with left ball falling first ventured into the sea and it seems he never returned back, his boat got enveloped in a storm and sea gobbled his boat. There are many such interesting anecdotes about how goddess having answered in "No" warning has come true as well as her "Yes" prophecy has made the task successful for the worshiping villagers. The priest is happy to narrate such stories around it. During my conversation with him on one of weekday afternoon he mentioned that till around 15 years back the stones were heavily covered in vermilion and goddess had no face till then. They asked the Goddess for permission to renovate the temple and remove the vermilion which was answered in "Yes" and that was when they removed the vermilion and her face become visible after a long time again. They have been slowly renovating and expanding the temple since then.

Though Golfa devi is mainly visited by fishermen folks, The word has now slowly spread about this Goddess and her unique way of replying to the worshiper, that people from other cities & sometimes some foreigner also visits after reading or hearing about this temple. 

The temple entrance has two large pillars with guardian lions on each side, there is large verandah outside the temple where the kids come to play in the evening, Inside on a raised platform sits Golfa devi with her two sisters on each side, the stone idols have been smeared with vermilion and idols are adorned with ornaments and embroidered cloth. The two small silver balls lies next to main goddess which only the priest would place it on the main idol's shoulder whenever someone comes asking for something. 

I don't know what is behind this fantastical phenomenon, Sometimes faith works in its own mysterious ways defying logical or scientific reasons. The faith is what draws the villagers and outsiders alike to this small & discreet temple and frankly that is what also drew me to the story in the first place. 

Location: Worli village depot & next to Coast guard headquarters lies the road to Golfa Devi.


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