Thursday, 9 July 2020

Shri Mangeshi temple in Goa





It is one of the popular temples in Goa and I have visited Shri Mangeshi temple a few times. And also had a privilege of staying there in the premises a couple of times, once in one of the rooms, in the building behind the temple, attending the thread ceremony of one of my relatives, and again stayed  for a couple of days in the rooms at Shri Mangueshi mutt. So I have fair idea of the temple, lake and rooms. It is a well managed temple, with all the rituals and pujas being performed regularly as per the requirement. The deity worshiped here is Shiva. And it was established in the year 1560. This temple is one of the largest and most visited temples by devotees and tourists in Goa. In 2011, the temple along with others in the area instituted a dress code on the visitors who wish to enter the temple precincts.

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Shri Mangeshi temple is located at Mangeshi Village in Priol, Ponda taluk, Goa. It is at a distance of 1 km from Mardol close to Nagueshi, 21 km from Panjim, the capital of Goa, and 26 km from Margao. H.H.Shrimad Swamiji of Shri Kavale Mutt is the Spiritual head of Shri Mangueshi Saunsthan, Mangeshi. This temple had its origins in Kushasthali Cortalim, a village in Murmugao which fell to the invading Portuguese in 1543. In the year 1560, when the Portuguese started  conversions in Mormugao taluka, the Saraswats of Kaundinya Gotra and Vatsa Gotra moved the Mangesh Linga from the original site at the Kushasthali or Cortalim on the banks of river Aghanashini (Zuari)(Sancoale) to its present location at Mangeshi in Priol village of Atrunja Taluka, which was then ruled by the Hindu kings of Sonde of Antruz Mahal (Ponda), to be more safe and secure from the Portuguese.

Since the time of the shifting, the temple has been rebuilt and renovated twice during the reign of the Marathas and again in the year 1890. The final renovation occurred in the year 1973 when a golden kalasha (sacred vessel) was fixed atop the tallest dome of the temple.
The original site had a very simple structure, and the current structure was built under Maratha rule, some 150 years after it had been moved. The Peshwas donated the village of Mangeshi to the temple in 1739 on the suggestion of their Sardar, Shri Ramchandra Malhar Sukhtankar, who was a staunch follower of Shri Mangeshi. Just a few years after it was built, this area too fell into the Portuguese hands in 1763, but by then, the Portuguese had lost their initial religious zeal and had become quite tolerant of other religions and hence this structure remained untouched and continued to flourish.



The main temple is dedicated to Bhagavan Mangueshi, an incarnation of Shiva. Bhagavan Mangeshi is worshipped here as Shiva linga. According to the legend, Shiva had manifested into a tiger to scare his wife Parvati. Paravati, who was frightened at the sight of the tiger, went in search of Shiva and cried out, "Trahi Mam girisha!" (Oh Lord of Mountains, save me!). Upon hearing the words, Shiva turned himself back to his normal form. The words "mam girisha" became associated with Shiva and over time the words got abbreviated to Manguirisha or Manguesh. He is the kuldevta of many Goud Saraswat Brahmins and Chitrapur Saraswats.
The complex also has shrines of Goddess Parvati and God Ganesha. The other deities in the temple are Nandikeshvar, Gajana, Bhagavati and the Gramapurusha Deva Sharma of the Kaudanya gotra. The subsidiary shrines to the rear of the main building house Devtas like – Mulakeshwsar, Virabhadra, Saanteri, Lakshminarayana, Suryanarayana, Garuda and Kala Bhairav.
 As per the legend, the Mangesh Linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Brahma, from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga to Gomantaka and settled at Mormugao, on the bank of Zuari river, presently called Kushasthali (now Cortalim).and established their most sacred temple there.
The 450-year-old Shri Mangeshi temple dedicated to Shiva stands out with its simple and yet exquisitely elegant structure. The temple architecture consists of several domes, pilasters and balustrades. There is a prominent Nandi bull and a beautiful seven-story deepstambha (lamp tower), which stands inside the temple complex. The temple also has a magnificent water tank, which is believed to be the oldest part of the temple. The Sabha Griha is a spacious hall which accommodates over 500. The decor includes the chandeliers of the nineteenth century. The central part of the Sabha Griha leads to the Garbha Griha where the image of Mangeshi is consecrated.
Like most temples in Goa, Mangueshi temple has many rituals and pujas being performed daily. Every morning, Shodshopchar pujas, namely Abhisheka, Laghurudra and Maharudra, are performed. This is followed by Maha-aarti at noon and Panchopchar pooja at night. Every Monday, the idol of Manguesh is taken out for a procession in the Palakhi accompanied by music before the evening aarti. Devotees take part in all the pujas and traditional rituals and seek the lord's blessing. 

The annual temple festivals include Rama Navami, Akshaya Tritiya, Anant Vritotsava, Navaratri, Dussera, Diwali, Magha Poornima Festival (Jatrotsav) and Mahashivratri. Magha Poonima festival begins on Magha Shukla Saptami and ends on Magha Poornima.
Apart from devotees and visitors from all over Goa and India, foreigners come to seek blessings. A lot of foreign tourists come here to see the temple, the design and architecture and rituals being performed, and understand the Goan culture and tradition of this temple.

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