Myths and stories of Benaulim Beach resort
The name of Benaulim is closely associated with Hindu mythology and especially with Parashurama God - the sixth avatar of Vishnu and the son of a Brahmin father Jamadagni and mother Renuka. According to the legend this God-warrior shot the arrow from the top of Western Ghats Mountains into the direction of Konkan City for delineating the boundaries of the new Goa land. The place, where the arrow has got to, was started to be called the Banahalli or the Banavalli, which is translated from Sanskrit language as “The Village of the Arrow” (in Sanskrit the word “baan” means “an arrow”) before the advent of the Portuguese. After the Portuguese invasion the place has got the name of Benaulim.
The ancient Banavalli once had magnificent Katyayani Baneshvar Temple, which was dedicated to Shiva and Parvati Gods. The ruins of this amazing Temple can still be found in the village. In the 16 th century the deities were shifted to the City of Aversa which lies in North Kanara.
Benaulim is a symbolic place for Catholics, primarily because here Blessed Father Joseph Vaz, also known as Jose Vaz, was born in 1651. He was a missionary and was called by religious people the “Apostle from Ceylon”.
Wonderful and captivatingly beautiful church of St. John the Baptist, decorated in the rococo style, is located in Monte Benaulim. Blessed Father Joseph Vaz was baptized in the walls of this holy place. First the Church was built more closely to the seashore but removed to the top of the hill in 1956. Every monsoon the feast of St John the Baptist, which is more known as Sao Joao Festival, draws numerous tourists to the church. During the period of this religious holiday conducting people of Benaulim resort celebrate the Thanksgiving Day. Traditional rituals include different colorful processions with singing and with wreaths made of fruits and leaves, the acceptance of gifts, jumping into the water.