|| Digambara Digambara Shreepad Vallabh Digambara ||
Shree Saunsthan Dattawadi, The legend of creation of Dattawadi is full of miracles and the dedicated efforts of some of the devotees more than 125 years ago. One of the devotees of Shri Dattaguru, Laxman Mahadev Kamat used to visit Ghanagapur or Narsobawadi every year for Shri Datta darshan and used to read the Gurucharitra. However, he always used to face discrimination and locals used to trouble him as he was a GSB. During one such visit, when he was reading the Gurucharitra, some of the locals came up to him and insulted him. After this incident, Kamat was hurt so much that spontaneously he uttered these words "Oh Dattaguru Maharaj, you are everywhere. I consider my insult as your insult." The very night a bright man appeared in his dreams and said "Don't worry, I'll come to your town." Madhurabai Yesu Shenvi Bodke thought of planting a sapling of Audumber (kind of fig tree) and she gave some money to Rameshwar Pitre who slit and planted it at Sankhali, the place where the temple of Shri Dattatraya stands. This sapling started growing bigger and later Madhurabai & Laxman Kamat contributed to build a platform around it. When the digging work commenced, an idol of Nag, a pair of silver padukas (footware), and idols of Shri Ganesh & Shri Marutirai were discovered. These things gave credence to the fact that this was the precise venue for Shri Dattatraya temple.
The bajarkars (businessmen) from Sankhali namely, Laxman Mahadev Kamat, Vasu Mahadev Kamat, Govind Pai Kuchelkar, Yeshwant Prabhu Asgaokar, Vishnu Shenvi Shetye, Mukund Bodke, Vasu Babla Shenvi Shetye and other devotees came together and constructed a Sanctum Sanctorum near the Audumber tree. But, their endeavour was to construct a bigger temple and therefore they initiated a fund collection drive throughout Goa. This assignment was guided by Rameshwar Pitre, Laxman Kamat and Narayan Shenvi Dubashi. Shrimant Giridhar Shenvi Dempo from Panaji and Shrimant Narayan Savkar from Borim contributed Rs. 500/- each for this noble cause and others contributed as per their capabilities.
Laxman Kamat's brother Vasu Kamat had a dream wherein a sanyasi told him, "I have come from a distance and am very tired. Show me a tranquil place to relax." Kamat mentioned to him about a place near Shri Vitthal temple. However, the sanyasi replied, "Not there, I want a tranquil place." And he pointed out to the place near the Audumber tree and said, "that place near the betel nut tree is ideal, I'll go there" and disappeared.
There were not enough funds for the construction of a temple. Nevertheless, by the grace of Shri Dattatraya a development took place. Portuguese used to rule Goa then. There was a small fortress at Sankhali market and an order was issued by the higher authorities to the mamledar to pull it down and clear the place. As per the order, the mamledar initiated the work by auctioning it. The devotees bought the fortress for Rs. 300/- through auction and used the laterite stones of the fortress for temple construction. Immediately after this, the government issued another order that the fortress should not be pulled down and be preserved as it is. At this juncture, the mamledar bought it back for Rs. 250/- from the devotees. In this development, the construction work of the temple was done and the devotees got money in return as well. The next step was the requirement of wood for the temple and devotees had hardly any money left and there was no other option than praying to Shri Dattaguru for help.
At that time, Rafael Andrade was appointed Governor General by the Portuguese Government. Andrade was on a trip to Goa and happened to visit Sankhali. During his visit, the devotees met him and put forward their request of wood requirement for the temple. The Governor General immediately ordered the forest officer to sanction about 40 trees. Bhaskar Shenvi Dubashi also donated 6 jackfruit trees. Apart from this, the other trees which were in the vicinity of the temple also came handy. A crafty carpenter from Bandodem, Pandurang monitored the wood work. The devotees put in a lot of hard work in the construction of the temple. The total expenditure for the same was Rs. 8500/-.
The next step was the sthapana (installation) of the idol. An ekmukhi (single face) idol of black basalt sitting on a tortoise was procured from Borim but the same could not be used.
It was decided to have an idol of white basalt and Pitreshastri and Laxman Malu Kamat generated a fund of Rs. 250/. Both of them went to Mumbai and along with Chintamanrao went and selected an idol which was costing Rs. 800/-. The idol sculptor did not agree to reduce the price and they had to leave the place dejectedly. The next day, the idol sculptor sent his servant to call them at his place. He told them, "Last night a sadhu (hermit) came in my dream and ordered me to give it to you. Actually, I had designed it for the King of Nepal but due to his sudden demise it was left here itself. As a Prasad of Shri Gurudatta you offer me something and please take this idol with you." They paid him as per their initial offer, and returned with the idol. The idol was kept at the residence of Anant Bodke. A miracle happened during this time, Bodke's wife, who had a psychological problem, was immediately cured of the same when the idol was brought to their house.
On the day of the idol sthapana (installation) Vishnu Vitthal Shenvi Shetye made arrangement for the havan. Ved Shastri Rangacharya Buva Bhat Shastri, Ved Shastri Soiru Bhat Sukhthankar, Ved Shastri Vasudev Malu Kamat, Ved Shastri Krishna Shastri Mahale, Ved Shastri Ganesh Shastri Sukhthankar, Ved Shastri Rameshwar Shastri Dashgranthi, Ved Shastri Shankar Bhat Shastri Karande, Ved Shastri Krishna Bhat Shastri Badkar, Ved Shastri Narayan Bhat Shastri Haldukhe, Ved Shastri Shrirang Bhat Kamat, Ved Shastri Vitthal Shastri Kamat, Ved Shastri Vaman Nayak Karande Shastri, Ved Shastri Narayan Bhat Shastri, and others performed the vedic rituals. Vedic rituals commenced on Shakey 1804 Chaitra Shukla Pournima and culminated on Chaitra Vadhya Dwitiya as per Hindu almanac and April 5, 1822 as per the Gregorian calendar.
Apart from numerous devotees, the contribution of two families stands out in the prosperity of the Devasthan. They are the Dabholkar family from Mumbai and the Dempo family from Goa. The annual Datta Jayanti festival was started by the Dabholkar family and now the tradition has been continued by the Dempo family.