History of Maha Ganapathi Mahammaya Temple
The historical records of the Maha Ganapathi Mahammaya Temple state that this religious edifice was constructed almost 400-500 years back by the devotees who shifted their habitation from Goa.
Presently, the temple houses the idols of Shri Mahamaya (Shantadurga) and Shri Mahaganapati (Vinayaka). The chronological events of the temple depict that the deities earlier were enshrined in Goa in particular locations like Golthi also known as Goltim and Naveli known as Navelim. These places are now situated in Divar Island in Tiswadi Taluka of Goa. However, the devotees had to migrate from Goa due to the atrocities and rigid religious practises followed by Portuguese rulers during 1560. The disciples could not carry the idols with them hence, the rituals of invoking the 'saanidhya' i.e. the existence of the divine beings within Lord Ganesha's silver trunk and goddess Mahamaya's mask, were observed. Upon reaching Bhatkal, the devotees were unable to build a shrine for the deities hence they safely kept them in a shop for a short while. A temple was later erected in Shirali, a few miles away on the northern side of Bhatkal. The deities installed in the temple are venerated as Pete Vinayaka and Shantadurga for being located in 'pete' means a town in Kannada.
Festivals of Maha Ganapathi Mahammaya Temple
Maha Ganapathi Mahammaya Temple celebrates several festivals on a grand scale. Shasraganayaga, Ganahoma, Rathotsav and Sahasrachandikahavana are some of the important festivals celebrated with great enthusiasm and vigour. The Rathotsav also known as the Car Festival is observed on the Margashira Shudda Navami i.e during the months of November and December. The festival includes few significant events such as Mahamaya celebrated on Margashira Shudda Ashtami, pete utsava of Mahaganapathi observed on Margashira Shudda Chauthi, okuli on Margashira Shudda Dashami and ratri utsava commemorated on every night.