Monday, July 15, 2024

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Shri Mahalasa Temple




North Goa District, Goa

Best Season


Whole year..



One of the most famous temples in Goa

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450-year-old Mahalasa Narayani temple, a popular shrine in Goa, is located at Mardol village in Ponda. Mardol village is 1.5 km south of Mangeshi on NH4A. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mahalasa, the Mohini avatar of Lord Vishnu. She is also known as Mhalshi. Unique to Goa, this diety is worshipped as a young girl in the morning, as a maiden in the afternoon and as a woman in the evenings.

Some believe that the main temple was originally located at Dicholim, and then Verna in Salcete taluka. The temple was demolished when Portuguese conquered Goa. The diety survived and was shifted to Mahardhol (Mardol), after the local deity Kamakshi gave permission. Since then, the temple has been rebuilt or renovated on several occasions.

The court in which the temple stands is entered from the east through an arched tower with a tiled roof. Immediately to the right stands a seven storeyed lofty white octagonal tower which is a landmark of the countryside. Goa's temples share many common features and this feature is one among them.

Near the tower and directly on an axis with the temple itselft is an unusual brass lamp with a tortoise base and 21 stone circular trays. Stands at a height of 40 feet, it is known to be the largest in Goa. When it is lit up with oil wick during the festival times is indeed a sight to see. Around the temple one can see various carvings of dieties in various positions and scenes.

The interior of the temple is distinguished by intricately carved columns. The 16 sided shafts are covered with stylised foliation and miniature figures in niches; cut out ribs adorn the double circular capitals. The brackets are of the lotus type or crouching lions. The central part of the ceiling is raised up on panels, with brightly painted gods arranged niches. The hall has high wooden seatings, with open balustraded screens which allows light and air. The octagonal tower above has arched niches containing plaster figures; the enlarged parrots. The bulbous dome above is roofed with metal shingles.

Through the marble floored outer mandapa with large pillars with some intricate carving, then a stone columned inner mandapa, the final mandapa has carvings of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu that have been beautifully painted. The diety, a stone image of Mahalasa sits behind an embossed silver doorways which is only visible through bars. The deity is draped in yellow and red silk saree. A table near to this, to leave offerings of sweet water, coconuts, or flowers.

Behind the temple is a large laterite-lined water tank overlooked by a large sacred peepal tree.

Jatra Mahotsav (Magh Mahotsav) is a popular festival celebrated at Mahalasa Temple. Held in February, it is also called the Mardol Zatra. The annual festivals include Ramanavami, Akshaya Tritiya Besides these, there are two other special festivals held at the temple the Jaiyanchi Puja around the month of August and the Kojagiri Pornima just after the mosoons on full moon day.

Note : Non-Indians are not allowed to visit this temple; Timing : 6am to 9pm.