Shri Mangeshi Temple, a Must Visit Goan Temple

There are not many old temples in Goa. All the popular ones are newly constructed ones, the reason being most of the temples were razed down by Portuguese rulers and churches have come up in their place. Pujaris (Hindu priests) carried away the idols worshiped in those temples to safety.  Later they built new temples for these idols. One such temple is the Shri Mangeshi Temple.

Shri Mangeshi Temple, History

Shri Mangeshi Temple of Priol, Ponda Taluk of Goa is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Wiki mentions in the history section of this temple that:

This temple had its origins in Kushasthali Cortalim, a village in Saxty (Salcette) which fell to the invading Portuguese in 1543. In the year 1560, when the Portuguese started Christian conversions in Salcete Taluka, the Saraswats of Vatsa Gotra moved the Mangesh Linga from the original site at the Kushasthali or Cortalim on the banks of river Aghanashini (Zuari) to its present location at Mangeshi in Priol village of Atrunja Taluka to be more secure. This village was then ruled by the Hindu kings of Sonde of Antruz Mahal (Ponda).

In 1739 this region too fell in the hands of Portuguese, but by then they had become more tolerant of other religions so they left this temple untouched. The temple was established in Jan-Feb 1561 AD by its Kulavi devotees. The temple was renovated by their descendants in 1744, 1890 and 1973.

The entrance to the temple.

Tour of Shri Mangeshi Temple

A modestly sized temple, the hall has seating for 500 devotees at a time. Various rituals are done through out the day. We were not allowed to take pics of interiors, but one purohit was kind to take us around the small shrines in the complex and recited mantras (prayers) for us. A huge courtyard surrounds the temple. There are rooms for weddings and pilgrims. The temple also has a magnificent water tank, which is believed to be the oldest part of the temple.

Best time to visit this temple would be during the main annual festival. The festival “Magh Pournima” is in February (it begins on Magha Shukla Saptami and ends of Magha Poornima). The three day zatra of Shri Mangesh takes place in the lavish temple in the Ponda district. Huge crowds gather to witness this.

This seven storey structure is deepstamba (a lamp tower). The tower isn’t tilted, some faulty settings there, sorry for that.

Shri Mangeshi Temple
Pic. of Mangeshi idol, from internet.

Legend of Shri Mungeshi Temple:

Once Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati were playing dice in their abode at Mount Kailas. Shiva kept losing, and in the last roll of the dice staked his heaven. Having lost that too, he had to leave the Himalayas. He wandered southwards and presently crossed the Sahyadri Mountains and came to Kushasthali, now Cortalim. Here Lopesh, his faithful devotee, entreated him to remain.

Forlorn Parvati, now heartbroken without Shiva, left heaven and went in search of him. In the midst of a dense forest she came face to face with a huge tiger. Shiva had taught her an incantation, “He Girisha mamtrahi” – O Lord of the Mountains protect me – but she was so frightened that she lost her coherence and uttered the jumbled incantation, “Trahi mam Girisha”. Shiva, who had assumed the form of a tiger, instantly returned to his normal form. And then at a much relieved Parvati’s behest, he added Mam-Girisha to the many appellations he is known by. This is also how the village where the temple is situated came to be eventually known as Mangeshi, an abbreviation of Mam-Girisha.

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Travel Cartoon by Mario
Thirumayam Fort Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu

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